590BC. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, marries the magnificent Amyitis, the king of Media's daughter. But the beauty languishes for the lush vegetation of her land.

Nebuchadnezzar wants to have splendid hanging gardens built for her. Now, the city is getting ready to take up the tremendous challenge which will leave an indelible mark for the centuries to come...


Components

  • 1 Babylon board
  • 1 Mesopotamia board
  • 20 Garden tiles
  • approximately 135 cubes (neutral cubes)
  • 4 score markers
  • 35 resource tokens belonging to 5 types
  • 14 camel tokens
  • 30 silver coins (Talents)
  • 56 cards
  • rulebook
Symbols

These Symbols Indicate The Quality Of A Plant (1,2 Or 3).


Round symbols represent a token. Here : a resource (any kind), a camel and a talent.



Framed symbols indicate a Court card: here, a Caravaneer and a Banker.


This symbol indicates a Court card chosen by a player: a Banker, a Caravaneer, the Palace or a Gardener.



Object of the Game

The players embody noble Babylonians in quest of prestige. All along the game, they strive to raise their status by building gardens and their irrigation network, and by trading and recruiting.

At the end of the game, the player with the highest prestige is the winner.


Setup

Note: In three-player games, put the Craft and Court cards with a '4 players' sign back into the box. In two-player games, put the Craft and Court cards with a '3 players' or a '4 players' sign back into the box.

These cards will not be used in the game. Other adjustments concerning the number of players will be explained in the corresponding parts of the rules.

  • The boards are placed as shown on the next page. A camel token is placed on the 'Babylon' square of the Mesopotamia board. The Amyitis card corresponding to the number of players is placed next to the game boards.

  • Talents, camels, neutral cubes and products are sorted out and kept within reach: this is the general stock.

  • The Plant card with a 2 quality figure on each face is placed on the city of Khorsabad (on any face), and then the other three Plant cards are placed randomly on the cities of Eshnunna, Ur and Mari on the face representing a plant of quality 1.

    Craft cards are shuffled and placed in a pile next to the game board face down. Court cards are sorted out and placed next to the game board, face up.One Wine token is placed on each level '2' Caravaneer

  • Garden tiles are sorted out by type and shuffled. Seven quality 1 tiles are placed randomly on the first floor of the Gardens. Five quality 2 tiles are placed randomly on the second floor.

    The quality 3 tile with a '10' value is placed on the last floor. Finally, three quality 3 tiles are placed randomly on the third floor. Remaining tiles are placed back into the box; they will not be used in the game.

  • 2 players : three squares (marked with a * on the following page) are not used. No Garden tiles are placed on these three squares.

  • Each player chooses a color and takes all the corresponding cubes, 4 talents and one camel, plus one level '0' Caravaneer card. The players put their markers on square 0 of the scoring track. Draw lots to decide who is going to play first. That player takes the First player card.


Game Play

The game is divided into turns. Each turn is divided into three phases:

  1. Setup
  2. Players' actions
  3. End of the turn

I. Setup

1. Crafts

The first player takes all the Craft cards, shuffles them, and lays them out in groups of three, face up, according to the number of players:

  • 2 players : 2 groups of three cards,
  • 3 players : 3 groups of three cards,
  • 4 players : 4 groups of three cards.

Remaining cards are set aside close to the game board and will not be used during this turn.

2. Income

Each player takes from the stock a number of talents (and possibly a number of prestige points) corresponding to the figure showing on his Banker card.

A player with no banker card gets no income.



II. Players' Actions

Each player, going clockwise, may perform an action in turn. The players continue performing actions in turn until every- one has passed.

Possible Actions

  1. Pass
  2. Recruit
  3. Move the Caravan

A. Pass

The player places a pawn on the 'Pass' square, and may consequently not choose to perform another action in the course of this game turn.

From now on, each time it is his turn to perform an action (that is, as long as there are players who have not passed, and at the moment when the player is supposed to act), the player takes one talent from the stock.

Pass: White, Black, Blue and Red play in this order. White and Black have already passed. Blue recruits. Red passes and places a pawn in the passing area.

White, then Black, each take a talent from the stock. Blue passes. The turn is over. Red receives no talent.


B. Recruit

The player selects one of the Craft cards in one of the card groups, and gives the stock the number of talents equal to the number of cards in the group which have been turned face down:

  • the first card chosen in the group is free,
  • the second card chosen in the group costs one talent,
  • the third card chose in the group costs two talents.

The player then flips the chosen card (so the 'Talent' face is now face up) and takes the action of the chosen craft.

Recruit: if a player wants to recruit the remaining priest (the purple card) in the second group, he must pay 2 talents.

The peasant (the yellow card) in the third group will cost 1 talent.

1. Peasant

The player places one of the cubes from their stock in an available field and takes from the general stock a resource token of the type corresponding to the field. The token is placed in the player's stock.

Available Fields: The fields are made of two lines to be filled from left to right. The only available fields for the player to place a peas- ant are the leftmost empty ones. The cubes remain on a line until the line is full.

Full line: When a line is totally occupied, the player with the most pawns on the line gains a Gardener card, if there is one left in the stock. If players are tied, no-one gains the card. In any case, the line is emptied, and each player gets their cubes back in their stock.

Wine: In this game, Wine is a wild ressource. A wine token can replace any other ressource (this does not include camels and talents).



During Blue's turn, the player recruits a peasant. He chooses to place a cube in the bottom line, and take a wine token from the stock. The line is complete.

Red, owning a majority of cubes on the line, takes a 'Gardener' card from the stock, and adds it to his own stock. The bottom line is emptied.


2. Priest

The player places one of the cubes from their stock into a temple.

Available places: Each temple is represented by a line divided into four squares, to be filled from left to right. Whenever a player places a cube in a temple, he places it in the leftmost square and shifts whatever pawns were already in the temple by one square to the right.

If the fourth square is already filled by a cube before the shift occurs, the rightmost cube is expelled from the temple and its owner gets it back (it goes back into the player's stock).



During her turn, White recruits a priest and chooses to assign him to the Ishtar temple. White puts a cube in the leftmost square of that temple and pushes all the cubes which were al- ready there to the right. The red pawn which was initially on the rightmost square is pushed out and goes back to its owner.

The temples will yield bonuses to players with majorities during phase III.


3. Engineer

The player places one cube from his stock in one of the available irrigation areas in the garden, and scores two prestige points. This area is now irrigated; from now on, it is impossible to place another cube in it.

Irrigation areas: Irrigation areas are indicated by little blue waves situated between two Garden tiles. On higher floors, there are two wave symbols next to one another. They represent two distinct areas.

Available Areas: The gardens have the shape of a square. Two sides of that square are watered by the river (the blue line on the board).

In order to be allowed to put a pawn on an irrigation area, a player must be able to draw a path composed of irrigated areas, starting at the player's cube and leading to the river, without crossing empty areas. The path may be composed in part or fully of irrigated areas belonging to other players.

Note: Non-irrigated areas on the edge of the river are always available.



During his turn, Black recruits an engineer. The cube can be placed on each area marked by a white X. These areas lead to the river either direclty (green line) or by following a path of irrigated areas (yellow line). Black scores two prestige points. Areas marked with a red X cannot be irrigated for now, since they cannot reach the river.


4. Merchant

The player takes a camel token from the general stock and puts it in his personal stock.



Merchant: during his turn, Red recruits a merchant. The play- er takes a camel from the stock and adds it to his personal stock.




C. Move The Caravan

The Caravan moves clockwise. The player may move it by one square per camel he spends. What is more, the player may have additional movement squares, depending on his Caravaneer level:

  • Level '0' (+0): the player moves the Caravan by a number of squares equal to the number of camels he spends.
  • Level '1' (+2): the player may add up to two squares to the number of camels he spends.
  • Level '2' (+4): the player may add up to four squares to the number of camels he spends.

Movement: Whenever a player chooses to move the Caravan, he must move it by at least one square (it is forbidden to remain on the same square). What is more, no matter what the player's Caravaneer level is, he must spend at least one camel to move the Caravan.

Trade: The player must act on the very square where the Caravan ends its movement. Thus, moving the Caravan is impossible if you do not satisfy the conditions below.

A. Sale In Babylon

The player sells resource tokens (of one or several types) to the stock to earn prestige points and place a free irri- gation (without scoring additional points for this irriga- tion). Placing the irrigation is compulsory.

  • 1 resource ► 3 prestige points plus one irrigation
  • 2 resources ► 6 prestige points plus one irrigation
B. Buying Court Cards

The player buys the card shown on the square where the Caravan's move has ended. To do so, the player gives the stock one token of the resource asked for by the city in which the Caravan has stopped, and then chooses one of the two types of cards available in the city:

  • If the player does not own any Court card of the chosen type, he takes the corresponding level '1' card.
  • If the player already owns a Court card of the chosen type, he takes the card which is one level higher than the one he owns; the previous card is covered with the new one which is now active.

Note: when a player buys the level '2' Caravaneer card, he takes the Wine token which is on it and adds it to his personnal stock. When a player buys a Palace card, he scores the prestige points indicated on it immediately.

If the Court card with the right value is not available any- more, the player is not able to progress in the cor- responding field for the rest of the game.

C. Buying Plants

The player buys the plant shown on the square where the Caravan's move has ended. To do so, the player gives the stock one token of the resource asked for by the city in which the Caravan has stopped, plus the token which may be represented on the card (in the case of a quality '2' plant). Then, the plant is immediately planted in the garden.

The Plant card is then turned over to the other side.

Planting

The gardens are composed of sixteen squares laid out in four floors. On these squares, the players 'plant' the cards they have bought on the Mesopotamia board. The action of planting is performed by choosing and removing a Garden tile (the Plant card remains on the Mesopotamia board).

To be able to plant, the player must satisfy several criteria:

Irrigation: To choose a square, at least one of its sides must be fully irrigated. Thus, for squares which have sides with two irrigation areas, both areas must be filled for the square to be considered as fully irrigated.

Note: The plants on the lowest floor of the gardens are not considered as irrigated by the river.

Plant quality: To choose a square, the quality of the plant to be planted must be at least as high as the quality of the floor.

For instance, it is impossible to place a quality '1' plant on the third floor. However, it is possible to place a quality '2' plant on the first floor.

Note: The fourth floor of the gardens has a quality of '3'.

Gardeners: The player may spend Gardener cards to improve the quality of the plants they place. Each discarded Gardener improves the quality of a plant by one. Thus, a player who spends a Gardener may, for example, place a level '2' card on the third floor. Gardener cards used this way go back into the stock.

Note: You may spend two Gardener cards to place a level '1' plant on the third floor.

Planting: The player selects a valid square (which implies a square with at least one of its sides fully irrigated and a valid plant quality level), takes the Garden tile and earns immediately the prestige points and the other bonuses indicated on it. From now on, no other plant may be placed on this square.

Irrigation bonus: Once the tile has been removed, the player counts the irrigation cubes around it. The player with the most cubes scores a number of prestige points equal to the quality of the plant which has just been planted (its quality is indicated by the figure on the Plant card). In case of draw, no-one scores.


Note: Gardener cards spent by the player do not affect the irrigation bonus. The bonus is attributed according to the intrinsic quality of the plant.

Automatic irrigation: Once the tile has been removed, see if it touches one or several plants previously planted. In that case, use neutral cubes to irrigate all the unoccupied irrigation areas between the concerned plants.

Note: Afterwards, irrigation can be spread (by recruiting an engineer or by selling resources in Babylon) from a neutral cube.


III. End of the Turn

This phase begins once all the players have passed in phase II. Go through the following actions:

1. Procession

The last player in the turn order places one of the cubes from their personal stock into a temple of their choice (following priest placing rules). Then, the player places one neutral cube in each of the other two temples (following priest placing rules).

Procession: during this turn, Black plays last. The player chooses to place a cube in Marduk's temple (the one in the middle), and adds a grey cube (that is, a neutral cube) in each of the other two temples.


2. Temples

Count each player's cubes in each temple. Players with a majority in a temple are rewarded.

Note: Neutral pawns are not counted to determine majorities. Also, if a player is alone in a temple, he only gets the reward for the first place.

  • Ishtar : the reward for the first place is one camel or one talent from the stock; the other element is the reward for the second place.

  • Marduk : two points for the first place, one point for the second place.

  • Tammouz : the player with the majority places one pawn in one of the two fields and takes the corresponding token from the stock (see Peasant). The player in the second place may exchange one of their resource tokens with a token from the general stock. However, the player may not take wine (purple token).

Note: If one of the lines is completed through the action of the player in the first place, the Gardener card is attributed as usual, and the field squares are emptied.

Draws in the temples: If two players are tied for the reward in a temple, the tied player with the right-most cube wins the draw.

2 players : the player with the majority wins the reward for the first place. The other player does not win anything.

In the temple of Ishtar (on the left), Blue and Red are tied with one cube each, but Red is closer to the right and is consequently wins the draw.

Red chooses to take a camel from the general stock; Blue gets a talent.



In the temple of Marduk (in the middle), Black owns two cubes.

White is beaten, with only one cube. Black scores two prestige points; White scores one point.



In the temple of Tammouz (on the right), White, Red and Black own one cube each. However, Black is closer to the right, followed by Red.

Black puts a cube in a field and gets the corresponding resource token, then red may exchange one of his resources with one from the gener- al stock (except wine). White earns nothing at this turn.


3. Stock

Now the players adjust their resource stock according to their Caravaneer level:

  • Level '0' & '1': The player may keep a maximum stock of 2 resource tokens.
  • Level '2': The player may keep a maximum stock of 4 resource tokens.

Excess cubes go back into the general stock. Following the turn order, players choose which cubes they want to get rid of (camels and talents are not limited).


4. First Player

The First player card goes to the next player, going clockwise.


End of the Game

  • 2 players: As soon as there are 3 Garden tiles or less left to plant, the game stops at the end of the turn.
  • 3 & 4 players: As soon as there are 4 Garden tiles or less left to plant, the game stops at the end of the turn.

Then, Amyitis' favor is granted according to the number of Garden tiles the players have:

  • 2 players : 5 or 6 tiles: 5 points, 7 Tiles & More: 10 Points
  • 3 players : 4 or 5 tiles: 5 points, 6 Tiles & More:10 Points
  • 4 players : 3 or 4 tiles: 5 points, 5 Tiles & More: 10 Points

Note: These bonuses are non-cumulative.

Finally, each player scores 1 point for each resource token remaining in his stock (nothing for the camels and the talents).

The player with most prestige points wins the game. In case of a tie for the first place, all the tied players win.


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