The Jerusalem wall has been destroyed. People are filled with great shame and in trouble. Without the wall, Israelites and the Temple are not safe. Nehemiah heard about the situation in the city, travelled from Babylon, and lead the rebuilding works.
"The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the capital, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem."
And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire." As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. –Nehemiah 1:1-4
In Nehemiah players take the role of Israeli leaders who help to rebuild the Jerusalem wall. The game is based on a unique, worker-placement mechanism:
- Players will place their workers on ever-changing labor cards.
- When a player activates his worker, he may activate other labor cards in the same row of cards that have already been activated. Doing this will cost him gold, but it may help him utilize his resources better.
- When players are not watchful, the row of labor cards may be changed before they have a chance to use their worker(s), so it's important to place new workers on good cards, but also to use the workers already placed.
Nehemiah is a fast-paced family/Euro game with different possible strategies. The course of the game is highly variable and intense. Players take very short turns, so everybody has to be engaged all the time. The game also has two, well-polished variants.