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In our recent 7 Wonders play session we've tried playing Babel extension, which triggered a question/thoughts about babel tower add-on.

Specifically tower tile nr. 2 and 15 which states:

These two tiles allow players to ignore the resource cost when constructing military buildings or for a Wonder stage.

Now, while building military buildings virtually for free seems to be very powerful, especially if you are lagging behind in a 3rd age and want to catch up with at least one neighbour, but it felt okay-ish. However, building Wonder stages for free felt like completely messing up game mechanics - some wonders require a lot more of resources to build than others, with a cost and reward system being quite balanced, but with this card open, everyone would just built their wonders within few turns. It felt as if someone switch on god mode. Besides, it wasn't a fair game from that point on, considering how different rewards for Wonders are.

So my question is, whether we've misread/misinterpreted the rules, or does this card really effectively permits building Wonders completely for free for every player, apart from the money, that aren't required for the most of wonder stages?

P.S. And while we are here, tile nr. 20 - " Raw materials cards (brown cards) which produce a unique resource (Lumber Yard, Stone Pit, Clay Pool and Ore Vein) produce an infinite number of resources." felt overpowered as well, just maybe by a lesser degree than the previous ones.

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You have played correctly; tile #15 indeed lets you construct wonder stages without paying the resource cost. It's very true that some Wonders will benefit much more: Gizah B, with its massive 4 stages, will be able to take 20 points for "free" (using 4 actions), even if other players conspire to lock this player out of resources, which is very possible in 3-player or 7-player games. On the other hand, Rhodes B would benefit little, with only 2 stages to construct.

Furthermore, your feelings are justified; yes each Babel tile tilts the game to one way or another. They are not meant to be "fair for all". However, in general you may find both tiles that tilt the game to either way; take for example the opposite tile, tile #16: every player will have to pay a tax for each wonder stage; Gizah B would effectively have to pay 10 coins (+ any resources, if applicable) to construct all wonder stages. In another example, tile #22 double the penalty for losing a Military battle, while tile #19 diminishes the points gained by the victors, making military less or more important, respectively.

Finally, if you feel that one tile turns "god mode" on for a specific player, there's always a solution: conspire with other players to cover the tile. If you do it correctly, it won't stay there for more than a single turn.

  • Your example with #22 vs. #19 is a good example of two oposite cards that are balanced IMHO - they have effect, however it is limited and within certain scope. However, #15 felt overpowered, as it gave too big bonuses for too small cost, as it felt more like a 'free wonders for everyone', which in turn felt like completely beating the purpose and fun of the game. In the end we decided to simply ban this card, but I wasn't 100% if our interpretation was correct, so thank you for your answer! – KlausK May 30 '16 at 14:43
  • @KlausK It does seem strong at first but it's not ridiculous. Remember first that each wonder stage is already a play, as is the Babel tile. Not having to pay resources is helpful but it also means you're wasting time, and it probably means you don't have a strong enough resource base. The same effect exists on the Architect's Cabinet in Cities. The Babel version of this is easily covered in a 4+ player game if it would be too strong for a single player. There can be situations where free wonders will turn a game but more often it's an attempt to make up for a weaker strategy. – Samthere May 31 '16 at 8:40
  • @KlausK Also, if it does seem that people keep winning because of this effect, take a close look at the rest of their points. They're probably getting points across multiple categories. – Samthere May 31 '16 at 8:57

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