Posted Wednesday, 18-Feb-2015
A compilation of reviews for the award winning board game Istanbul.
Istanbul was a clear hit in the 2014 board game scene. The strategic game published by Alderac Entertainment Group was the winner of the coveted “Kennerspiel des Jahres” or “Connoisseur Game of the Year” for overall excellence in game experience.
Let’s take a look at what makes Istanbul so special.
How it’s Played
Istanbul plunges players into a medieval style Turkish Bazaar, offering them the opportunity to act as independent merchants across an ever-evolving landscape.
The game board is actually made up of twelve separate pieces (stalls) placed next to one another. Players are tasked with navigating the game arena with the help of “assistants.” These “assistants” are tiles that must be left behind in order for the merchant to take an action on that space.
Players move around the board, taking turns exploring different areas, opening new sources of income, and attempting to influence other player’s actions by way of deceit.
There is no simple strategy to conquer your opponents, but Walt Mueller of BoardGameQuest.com says:
“It is crucial to plan ahead with movements so that a merchant doesn’t get left by himself on a space. If that happens, the player won’t be able to take the action of that space.”
Winning the game however, is accomplished by navigating the game space with the greatest of level skill and precision.
“You’re never left with nothing to do, or no good options, unless you fail to plan a single turn ahead.” Says Keith Law for Pastemagazine.com.
The ultimate goal set for each player is to collect the largest number of ruby gems available on the board. Gems are awarded for completing a myriad of tasks, trading goods, and outsmarting your opponents during gameplay.
The level of forward thinking involved in beating opponents keeps this game engaging from your very first turn.
According to the guys at gfbrobot.com:
“If you want to take an action at a particular stall, but someone’s merchant is already there, you have to pay him or her two bucks, and you do that for each merchant already there. While it may seem like a small, throwaway penalty, it actually has significant impact on gameplay.”
Awards like the Kennerspiel des Jahres” don’t come easy however, so what makes the professionals love this game so much?
Richard Miles of BoardGameAuthority.com said,
“I found the game to be somewhere between Puerto Rico and Village in terms of intensity, strategy, and player interaction. And that “weight” plays into Istanbul’s favor. It has a great balance between light and heavy game play, which means the likelihood of it hitting the table is high, at least in my gaming circle.”
Most agree with Richard, and find that while this game can be played with 2-5 players, using 3 players offers the chance for optimal entertainment and strategic ability.
Josh at BoardgameReviewsbyJosh.com gave Istanbul a great review.
“Istanbul is a game that hit me right in my wheelhouse. It has a lot of things that I love about board games, like variable setup, player powers (though you don’t start with them), advanced planning, upgrades/engine building, and even some dice rolling!”
You can certainly see why Istanbul was chosen as the “Kennerspiel des Jahres” for 2014. It truly brings something unique to the action based board game community, and will instantly become a hit in any serious gamers collection.
Published by BoardGamePrices.com
Can we fit all the photos we took at Spiel into this article? No. But we’ll sure try! Here’s your last look at the last day of the biggest board games show in the world.
The tiredness starts to take hold; but we press on toward Day 3! We’ve got dice! We’ve got minis! We’ve got mechs! It’s Spiel!