Thousands of years ago, in the fertile land between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, a new civilization flourished. The leaders of the powerful and independent kingdoms were believed to be the earthly representatives of the gods. These leaders developed this new culture, which would last for thousands of years. Many of the most important scientific and cultural inventions would develop under the rule of these leaders. Farmers would discover the wheel and use it for the oxcarts needed to bring produce to market. The characters of cuneiform, the earliest form of writing, were invented long before the Egyptians developed their own hieroglyphics.
Take care! It is your responsibility to see that your dynasty grows and prospers in this land. You must use your four leaders: the King, the Priest, the Merchant, and the Farmer, to accomplish your goal of forging strong kingdoms out of the fledgling settlements that dot the landscape.
The key to your victory, however, does not rest in military conquest alone! You must develop all four areas of civilization: Politics, Religion, Trade, and Agriculture.
Arguably Reiner Knizia's best game, this is certainly one of the highlights of his prolific career. The game is set in the ancient fertile crescent with players building civilizations through tile placement. Basically, players are given leaders in four different categories (farming, trading, religion, and government) and must use them to collect victory points in these categories. However, your score at the end of the game is the number of points in your weakest category, which encourages players not to get overly specialized.
Playing Time: 90 minutes
Designer: Renier Kniza