Friday, October 9, 2015

Tabletopper Friday - Istanbul (2014)

Most of the games of Istanbul (2014) I've played have been two player games.  My first was with five, but since then it's only been one on one except for one three player game somewhere down the line.  While I know that it can be quite a different challenge with more people, I really like the way it plays as a two player game.

The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
There's hustle and bustle at Istanbul's grand bazaar as merchants and their assistants rush through the narrow alleys in their attempt to be more successful than their competitors. Everything must be well organized: wheelbarrows must be filled with goods at the warehouses, then swiftly transported by the assistants to various destinations. Your goal? Be the first merchant to collect a certain number of rubies.
In Istanbul, you lead a group of one merchant and four assistants through 16 locations in the bazaar. At each such location, you can carry out a specific action. The challenge, though, is that to take an action, you must move your merchant and an assistant there, then leave the assistant behind (to handle all the details while you focus on larger matters). If you want to use that assistant again later, your merchant must return to that location to pick him up. Thus, you must plan ahead carefully to avoid being left with no assistants and thus unable to do anything...
In more detail, on a turn you move your merchant and his retinue of assistants one or two steps through the bazaar, either leave an assistant at that location or collect an assistant left earlier, then perform the action. If you meet other merchants or certain individuals at the location, you might be able to take a small extra action. Possible actions include:
  • Paying to increase your wheelbarrow capacity, which starts the game with a capacity of only two for each good.
  • Filling your wheelbarrow with a specified good to its limit.
  • Acquiring a special ability, and the earlier you come, the easier they are to collect.
  • Buying rubies or trading goods for rubies.
  • Selling special combinations of goods to make the money you need to do everything else.
When a merchant has collected five rubies in his wheelbarrow, players complete that round, then the game ends. If this player is the only one who's reached this goal, he wins immediately; otherwise ties are broken by money in hand.

I've said this in a previous blog post but it definitely pays to plan far enough ahead to avoid needing the fountain.  Getting Mosque Tiles then the Cart Upgrades might be the two biggest priorities.  Their importance is two-fold, the action benefits as well as the ruby at each location.  A couple of trips to the markets is often enough to allow for purchasing the other three rubies (six required in a two player game).  However, you do need to plan those actions out along with visits to the regular markets for goods and it can't hurt to grab a bonus card or two.  Avoid paying the fee for running into other merchants.  In fact, all encounters come with a fee, so I don't go out of my way for them like some folks might.

Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
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