Rainy Day Game's Card Game Review of Babel:
Babel in Summary
The Babel card game is a two-player battle. Destroying your opponent's temples is at least as important as building your own. In ancient Mesopotamia, 5 tribes construct towers (of Babel... get it?). You and your opponent control these 5 tribes: building, destroying and migrating.
Babel is a solid tactical game. How to use the current situation to build a healthy environment is the key. But that situation changes often, so long term strategy is difficult.
The Babel card game comes with a center board to hold the cards, a deck of "people" cards (in 5 tribes), and a deck of temple cards (with levels of 1 to 6). The board is divided into 5 building spaces, each one matching one of the tribes. You also get a nice sandstone marker to show where you are on the board; you can only play cards in the spot your marker is occupying.
You are trying to build temples in the 5 spaces on the board. But you have to build the levels of the temple in order, so every temple starts with a 1 card, then a 2, and so on up to 6. But at any one time there are only 2 temple cards available for building, so you are often stuck needing a card that isn't available.
On your turn you draw 3 people cards, do some actions, and then take 2 temple cards to put face up on your temple card stack. The actions can be done as many times and in whatever order you want. The only limit is your ability to pay for them out of your people card hand. Here they are:
Move- You can move your sandstone marker to a new area on the board by paying one people card that matches the suit of the new area.
The Babel card game has one more very important aspect: the tribal special powers. In any area you have 3 or more people cards of the same tribe, you can use their special ability. The cost is discarding one of those people cards, and the result can be devastating. The affects include stealing all the people of one tribe from your opponents area, your opponent discarding all the people of one tribe, stealing the top level from the opponent's temple. Most devastating is the Assyrians' tribal power: they completely destroy the opponent's temple. Those three blue cards will often totally change the face of the game.
So, your building your towers in Babel, tearing down your opponent's... When you reach 15, you win if your opponent has less than 10 points. Otherwise you keep playing until you can force him under 10, or someone reaches 20 (regardless of the other's points). If your game battles back and forth for too long, the end of the Temple cards marks the end of the game and highest total wins.
Who should buy Babel?
Here's the thing: the Babel card game is aggressive. It's great fun, good tactics, and full of tension. So many times you almost win, then are brought back by losing a temple. BUT, Babel is card game for people who like competition. Direct. This is not the "dual solitaire" kind of card game, you're right in each other's face.
Another point some gamers may want to consider: you WILL find yourself waiting on the draw of the cards. Especially those temple cards are a big bottle neck. If the two available cards don't match what you need to build, you have to wait for next turn when (hopefully) the cards you need will turn up.
If you're still reading, we think Babel is a great 2 player game for people who have graduated past "non-gamer". You'll find it challenging, fun and full of tension.
The Manufacturer's Card Game Review of Babel:
Mesopotamia was home to many tribes and many golden ages as each tribe had its season in the sun. During its season, a tribe would start new temples or continue working on temples begun by other tribes. Thus, with the help of various tribes, the temples grew more and more beautiful and eventually reached so high they seemed to touch the sky. The temples of these master builders took peoples' breath away, but natural and man-made disasters could bring the temples down. When this happened, the craftsmen began anew, moved to work on other temples, or just went home. Even with such setbacks, the temples continued to grow toward the sky as the players worked to complete these monuments. There are several ways to win, but all are based on the total number of temple layers a player has built.
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Darryl's Card Game Review of Babel:
Hey. Babel has been a great addition to my games cabinet. It's been a lot of fun, almost beating out my favourite 2 player game, Hellas
I have a comment about the bottle neck mentioned above. It does sometimes happen that the building of temples is put on hold while you wait for the right temple cards to appear. But that is where the beauty of Babel's aggressive game play. Because your own building is at the most 1/2 the game play. There's also defense, developing your board for future building, and of course sabotaging your opponent. Any time my opponent goes back on his heels waiting for temple cards, that's when I know I'll win.
There's just so much to this game that bottle necking one aspect of it should not shut you down.