A look into Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon
Award-winning designer Bruno Cathala brings you the glorious world of Ishtar. In the game, you are a gardener aiming to transform the desert into the Lost Hanging Gardens of Babylon. You do this by planting flowers, which, if placed well can help you gather precious gems. It can also let you do actions like buy Trees (which will block the link between two Flower spots, and also earns you points) or to getting upgrades which may help you gain more points at the end. This is why collecting gems is a crucial part of the game. The aim is to get games before others do, recruit apprentices that help you tend the gardens, and get upgrades that make you the best gardener in the land.
There's a reason why Ishtar was #1 on the GeekBuzz Leader Board for Gen Con 2019, fans were highly anticipating the game's release due to the pedigree of the designers Bruno Cathala and Evan Singh. They hit a home run by creating a fun, yet thinking abstract game beautifully illustrated by Biboun. Because of the different paths to victory, whether creating the largest flowerbeds or unlocking high-level skills on your player board, you'll enjoy a depth to gameplay aside from the ease of play.
Learning the game takes only minutes, but mastering it is another story. You will see yourself playing it over and over because after each game you want to try out different strategies at winning. Player interaction in the game, given everybody is playing on the same board, is superb. This is not a game where you plan all of your moves ahead of time. You have to balance that with reacting to what others are doing and how they are affecting you. You need to learn how to adapt quickly to win!
Inside Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon
So what do you do in the game? In a series of rounds, players choose a vegetation Tile, then place it on the board. This helps them collect Gems. Now depending on the tiles you place on the board you can do special actions like place an assistant or unlock a skill. Then you can plant a tree which can give you a ton of victory points. You do this round after round until you meet the end game conditions, which is when two piles of vegetation tiles are empty. You then score all the trees in front of you that you've planted, one point for each visible flower on a flower bed controlled by your assistant, four points for each purple fountain you control, six for red ones you control and 8 for white. You also score the points from unlocked skills on your player board. Whoever has the most victory points wins!
Ready to play? Get your copy of Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon here.