Inspired by Go
The latest game from Kingdomino creator Bruno Cathala will see you venture into the desert to plant one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the Ancient World, the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon has been co-designed by Cathala and first-time designer Evan Singh, and is said to have been inspired by traditional abstract classic Go.
The green-fingered action of the game involves placing tiles representing flowerbeds and trees on a shared central map, made up of modular sections. To amp up the jostling for control of the board, players can take control of a rival’s vegetation tile and score points by assigning their assistants to any tile – so planting a tile doesn’t necessarily mean getting its benefits.
Of course, turning the arid desert green isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. First, you’ll need water, representing in Ishtar by fountains. Tiles can only be planted next to these sources of water or other areas of vegetation, making taking control of the fountains with assistants key to growing your garden.
When tiles are placed, they give players the chance to collect gems from the desert sands. These gems can be used to improve your horticultural mastery by buying upgrades and hire extra assistants, or to plant one of five trees available to players – which reward points straight away and block other players from planting flowers. The trees come in both common versions and rare variants, which give players an extra advantage if they can afford them.
We probably don’t even need to tell you this, but the most points by the end of the game wins – whether they’re collected by planting trees, controlling fountains and flowerbeds, or capitalising on the bonus scoring conditions of upgrade cards.
Cathala and Singh’s design is complemented by the visuals of Dice Forge artist Biboun, with King of Tokyo label Iello bringing Ishtar out this October.