It has been a few weeks since I bought it but we finally cracked open the Babel expansion for 7 Wonders and not only that, we played Wonder Pack, Cities & Leaders at the same time just for maximum chaos. Gotta say, I liked the Tower of Babel as there was plenty of room for utter spite and malevolence compared with the other packs. Cities has spite in the form of the shadow cards but Babel really mucks up the strategy so being reactive and having a certain amount of slack becomes much more useful. We only did the tower, not any of the city structures alongside it.

So in a nutshell: the Babel Expansion is one or two expansion packs rolled into a single set. You can build the Tower of Babel, the civic improvements outside the city or both all at the same time. Babel can be played with/without the other expansions. So for the Tower, each player gets three pieces to construct, all with a different game-changing effect and a player can discard a card from their hand in order to place a piece on the Tower. Thing is, the effects can be positive and also negative (hence my earlier comment on spite and malevolence). In a 3 or 4 player game, the Tower has 3 slots visible, in a 5-8 player game there are 4 slots. Once all slots are taken, new pieces go over the oldest visible piece on the tower thus removing a (dis)benefit from play and introducing another. Brendan got Dr D(o)om last night nice by eliminating a beneficial piece with a particularly nasty one which completely messed up his strategy. 

Players can score victory points at the end of the game based on how many pieces of the Tower of Babel they managed to construct – 2 points for one, 5 points for two and 10 points for all three. This can make the Tower more valuable than some Wonders (Coliseum and Byzantium/Hagia Sofia spring to mind) and burning yet more cards rather than letting players have access again increases the strategic (read spite) options open to players.

The second half of the expansion which we didn’t play but nonetheless went through the rules sees a project that can be completed alongside one’s normal city. Each project is played a corresponding type of cards (colour coded for your convenience) and if a player constructs a building of that type, they can also pay an additional cost (usually cash but sometimes cash + resource) to obtain a construction token from the project, the total number of which is determined by the number of players minus one. There is no restriction on the number of tokens a player can have.

At the end of an age, a project is ended. If all tokens have been taken, then all participants involved in the construction of a project receive a reward based on the number of tokens in their possession (determined by the project card). If at least one token remains on the project, anyone who did not participate in the construction of a project will receive a penalty. Project participants fail to collect the reward in this instance. This means players cannot deliberately set out to fail a project, they can only determine whether hurting a rival and potentially incurring a penalty is a help or a hindrance. A new project becomes available at the start of an age. 

So two major updates/changes to the game rather than enhancements which is what the other packs do, well worth the outlay and really adds something absent (or at the least, diminished) from the base game.

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