Hanging Gardens

a game of strategy for the piecepack
(v 0.2b, 29 May 2001)
Copyright (C) 2001 by James Kyle
2 to 4 players - 30 minutes


King Nebuchadnezzar II has ordered the construction of a grand terraced garden complex, filled with trees and plant beds, to present to his wife as a gift. As royal engineers, the players compete for the king's favor by offering the most beautiful view upon completion of the gardens.


The gardens are created turn-by-turn using terraces (face-down tiles) and terrace-topped plateaus built on supports (face-up tiles). The terraces are populated with plant beds (coins) of various colors. Gazebos (pawns) are placed atop terraces to look out over a view. There is no set order to playing terraces, supports, beds, and gazebos; these elements can be added to the gardens as the players choose (with a few restrictions). After the gardens are finished, the player with the most beautiful view (highest scoring) wins the game.


Put all tiles in a pile within easy reach of all players. Turn all coins suit-side up and leave them within easy reach of all players. Give each player a die and matching pawn. (If there are fewer than four players, place extra dice and pawns back in the box.) Roll to see who goes first. (After this point, the dice are only used to indicate which pawn belongs to which player.)


Take turns until all tiles, coins, and pawns have been played. When the last piece has been played, the game ends immediately and players count their individual scores. The player with the highest score wins.

Turn Sequence

On your turn, take two actions, chosen from the following possibilities, then pass play to the left:
1) take a tile from the pile and add it to the gardens as a terrace
2) take a tile from the pile and add it to the gardens as a support
3) take a plant bed (coin) from the pile and add it to the gardens
4) place your gazebo (pawn)
5) move your gazebo to a new space in the gardens
6) if there are no more tiles in the pile, move an exposed support (one that has no terrace on it) to a new space in the gardens, either as a support or as a terrace

Terrace Placement

A terrace can be placed on the table, with at least one of its spaces adjacent to a terrace space that is already part of the gardens (diagonal is not sufficient). (Exception: the first tile placed on the table will obviously not be adjacent to anything else.)

A terrace can also be placed squarely atop a stack of two supports.

Support Placement

A support can be placed on any empty two space by two space area of terrace. A support can also be placed squarely on another support, provided the bottom support is resting on terrace. (That is, supports can only be stacked two high before another terrace must cover them.)

Bed Placement

A plant bed can be placed in any empty space of any terrace.

Gazebo Placement

A gazebo can be placed in any empty space of any terrace.


After all pieces have been placed, players take turns counting their individual scores. When you count your score, perform the following:
1) Choose a direction to view from your gazebo, which can be out any of the four sides of your gazebo's space (not diagonal). The column of spaces extending from your gazebo's space off into the distance is called your "sight line".
2) Make note of what you can "see" from this view by tracing along the diagonal lines that are 45 degrees to either side of your sight line. You can see each bed in spaces that lie between or on these diagonals, provided supported terraces are not obstructing your view. From your gazebo, you can only see beds that are at the height of the terrace your gazebo rests on and beds that are below that height.
3) Count the score for each row of spaces and add them to your total score, beginning with the row of 3 spaces directly in front of your gazebo, then proceeding to the next row of 5 spaces, etc., until you have totaled the score for every plant bed you can see. Score each row as follows:
a) Score one point for each different color of plant beds in the row. For example, RRBGR scores 3 points for color.
b) If the row (meaning the portion you can see in your view) is symmetrical with your sight line as the point of reflection, score an extra bonus point for each plant bed in the row. For example, B G B scores 2 points for color, plus 3 bonus points for symmetry (assuming the G plant bed lies on your sight line). For purposes of symmetry, blank spaces are equivalent to empty table (where no terrace exists).
c) Any rows of beds that are interrupted in any way by height variance should be counted separately.
4) Add the height of your gazebo to your total score. The terraces resting on the table are at a height of zero, and each "floor" above that, consisting of two supports topped with a terrace, represents an additional level of height.

Debateable Bed Visibility

If there is any question during scoring regarding whether or not a particular bed is visible from a particular gazebo, the players should endeavor to come to an agreement. If none can be reached, use the following guidelines:

1) After straightening all relevant tiles so that their edges match the edges of the spaces upon which they rest, hold a piece of string taut (or the edge of a piece of paper) so that it passes through the center of the gazebo's space and the center of the bed's space. If the string does not pass over any part of a particular plateau then that plateau is not obstructing the view of the bed from the gazebo.
2) A particular bed is obscured by a plateau unless its distance from the plateau is equal or greater than the following: the product of the bed's distance from the gazebo multiplied by the plateau's height all divided by the gazebo's height. Ignore any remainder.

Both the height of the gazebo and the height of the plateau in the formula are relative to the bed's height, so if the bed is not on the first layer of terrace, be sure to account for this. For the purposes of this calculation, consider the gazebo's height to be one level higher than the terrace on which it rests.