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What a great family game. Very fast game play and multiple paths to victory. Every decision counts while the choices each turn are not overwhelming. Short turns and short playing time. INCLUDED: Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh Istanbul: Letters & Seals Istanbul: Kebab Shop Mini Expansion
RECEIVED: 2016 (Bought 2nd-Hand) GAMEPLAY Players are opportunistic merchants, plying their goods from their cart and trying to make a quick ruby in the streets of Istanbul. This is a race game with the objective to be the first to collect five to six rubies (depending on player count). On a turn, a player moves their stack of assistants one or two tiles and takes the arrival tile’s action. An action can be taken either by leaving an assistant or by picking one up, making for a slight network building/destruction mechanic. THOUGHTS Istanbul is a great step-above-gateway game, in my opinion, in that it introduces players to action selection, network building, and different paths to victory. YYou can’t out and out ruin an opponent’s plans, but you can get to something sooner or make it more costly for an opponent to take an action. The artwork and components are lovely, and the game play is fast and fun once everyone knows what they’re doing. On the negative side, tile placement is variable and can make for a less interesting game if two powerful tiles are placed close together and one player takes advantage of this. Even more problematic is that the art does not have a single depiction of a female. Despite these problems, I will likely have Istanbul in my collection for some time to come. PROS -Restriction of the placement/pick-up of the assistants is puzzley and fun. -Components are high quality and art is evocative. -Player interaction is baked in to the way you can make tiles more expensive and through the use of the relative pawn. -Variable set-up helps keep the game fresh. Doesn’t hurt that there are two expansions as well. -Multiple paths to victory via the gem seller, the sultan, extensions, and mosque tiles, but a combination of some or all will be necessary to win. NEUTRAL -Need to really think about how the tiles are placed as this could sink the game before you even get started. CONS -No female representation in the artwork.
A modular pick up and deliver race game. Plays 5 well, has little down time between turns, and is different every time I play it. The Mocha and Baksheesh expansion really helps the game to shine.
One of the best euros I've ever played. So many options and all of them good. Lots of interesting reasons and incentives to make a given move, and all of it affected by the player driven economy.
Fun game. The fact that you need to put down and pick up helpers as you make your way around the board may be a bit too much forethought for my taste. I feel that it really messed me up when I played (I, and ever other non-winning player, were at 4 rubies when the game ended).
+ Fun game, finding the optimal route to trade your goods for rubies. o Not incredibly deep, but fun and thinky enough considering a relatively short duration. - Does not feel related to the city of Istanbul in any sense, but the trading part itself is pretty thematic.