Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Game Profile: Istanbul

Welcome, merchant!  How well can you utilize your assistants in this strategy game of collecting valuable rubies?

Classification Strategy Game
Mechanics Modular Board, Grid Movement, Pick Up & Deliver
Publication AEG, 2014
Ages 10+
Time 40 - 60
Players 2 - 5

Istanbul is the 2014 winner of the prestigious Kennerspiel des Jahres award, i.e. strategy game of the year in Germany. The game features merchants racing around a marketplace, dropping off and recollecting assistants who can perform tasks in each of the 16 modular market stalls.  The race is to acquire 5 rubies before your opponents.

Players will each begin with a team of one merchant, 4 assistants, one family member, and a wheelbarrow.  They will take their merchant/assistants team through the various places within the bazaar. Each place has as a specific action that will be performed when a merchant and his assistants stop at it.  In order to perform the action at a location the merchant must leave behind one assistant.

There are various ways to acquire rubies.  Rubies can be acquired at both the small mosque and the great mosque.  Each mosque requires 2 visits and 2 specialty mosque tile purchases in order to obtain a ruby. One ruby can be acquired from the wainwright after 3 visits and 3 purchases of wheelbarrow expansions.  Exchange goods for rubies at the Sultan’s palace.  The Gemstone dealer wants gold for his rubies.

In order to get ready to acquire rubies, merchants will have to drop off assistants at various warehouses and markets to obtain goods and/or coins to be traded for what is needed to acquire rubies.  Merchants must use their assistants as efficiently as possible, pick them back up quickly and re-employ them in other market locations.  Along the way merchants can acquire bonus cards to speed the process.  They can make use of the governor and the smuggler.  They can even use their favorite family member who keeps getting arrested and sent back to jail.

With the modular set up of the 16 stalls and a number of ways to get the rubies, Istanbul promises plenty of good times and replayability. We have an open copy of Istanbul available in our Demo Games Library for you come in and try.

Awards: 2014 Kennerspiel des Jahres (Game of the Year)

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