Istanbul sees two to five players travel to various locations in the city in a race to collect a set amount of rubies first. Players have a Merchant Token and a set of assistant tokens underneath. On your turn you will move this stack of tokens one or two spaces on to a different location and either drop off one of your assistants or, if there is one already there, pick on back up. You then do the action for that location.
Most locations offer you a chance to gain goods, rubies or improve your chances at both in some way. Along the way, you might upgrade your goods wheelbarrow to store more, gain another assistant, and task your uncle to help you. There are also a couple of other characters on the board who you can encounter, which give you some more options.
The board is made up of 16 location tiles and although there are a few suggested set-ups, you are equally welcome to them randomly or make your own. Being that you must either pick up or drop off an assistant on your turn you will find yourself either with a widespread of tokens across the board, or a tight little corner where you move back and forth between them. To help you if you get stuck, the fountain location lets you collect all your assistants from where ever they are on the board.
As players race to collect rubies, some of the easiest ways to get them to become more and more expensive to use, giving you lots of decisions - compete with everyone else or go your own way and unlock some of the other rubies?
Istanbul is a great game in anyone’s collection. It is easy to understand but rewarding to play, with a good depth of decisions. The game is not too long or too short and accommodates all player counts well. Truly a modern classic.
Player Count: 2-5
Playing Time: 40-60 Minutes
Age Rating: 10+