Tower of Babel Review by kunningkid
Once again Reiner Knizia has gifted the gaming world with a fine intellectual contraption: Tower of Babel. Tower of Babel is a nice balance of thought, strategy, and light fun. This not a very difficult game to play, but your good or ideal play may not be obvious, giving the game a light to medium challenge.
Tower of Babel’s game play value is very high in my opinion. I believe that with its level of challenge, competition, and depth, Tower of Babel should be very appealing to the average teenager and his/her family. Also given that Tower of Babel is only a three to five player game, it is perfect for a medium sized family.
Tower of Babel is, at first glance, an area control game. The goal of the game is to gain points by building the most of the 8 wonders of the world. There are only seven wonders in the world, but the eight gives the game its name, The Tower of Babel. In order to build these 8 wonders, you must pay in cards. In each wonder’s section on the board, there are three tokens representing workers working on the wonders. There are 24 tokens in total, and four different types of workers. The tokens each have numbers 3-6 on them(each type of worker has a 3 token and a 6 token, and two 4 and 5 tokens); these numbers show how many cards you must obtain and pay to use a token. To use a token you must pay the exact number of matching cards as the token shows(a 3 of stone mason requires 3 stone mason cards). Once you pay in those cards you place control markers on that wonder and gain the token you paid for. When all of the tokens of a specific wonder have been taken the wonder is scored. Each wonder becomes more valuable as the game progresses, so sprinkling control markers all over the board can do you good. At the end of the game each worker token you got gives you points, and matching sets are worth tons.
Now to the more interesting part of Tower of Babel, the elaborate bidding and choosing. The bidding in this requires other’s cooperation. If no one in the game cooperated, it would take hours to play because you almost never have enough cards to pay for a token yourself. There are of course rewards for cooperating with other players. Placing control markers is what gives you points when scoring wonders. When attempting to pay for a token with cards, for each card a player uses to pay for a token he places one control marker in the wonder contested. Each time you place a token up for pay, all other players bid a number of cards of their choice(limited by what’s in their hand) and a “trader card” if they choose. If you happen to need help to pay for the worker in cards, you need to pick other player’s cards to help you. Of course that means that both of you get control markers in that area, which is not always good for you, especially if you are already losing that wonder. To counter that, there is the trader card I mentioned. If a player picks another player who has offered a trader, the chosen player does not get to place control markers, but they get the token, which can be worth a lot if you get the right ones.
There is a great feel about Tower of Babel. It always feels like you’re between a rock and a hard place: ‘If I pick him, I lose the wonder, but I pick her, I lose the token worth half my final score, and if I pick nobody, then my turn is wasted.’ This game has an absorbing atmosphere. Even though the theme is lightly painted on to the game, because of the way the game works you can find yourself very enthralled in the game play and bidding.
The game play is great. I am usually more into the heavier and harder games, but this is still one of my favorites of its kind. If you are looking for light competition, light hearted fun, and a game for your kids, or the whole family, this is a must buy game. I strongly recommend this game for just plain fun. I’m sure you’ll have a wonder of a time.
I give this game an overall score of 86 out of 100 Kid Koins