iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux •
Maybe it’s just me, but 2018 thus far has been a rather depressing year from a digital board game perspective. I’m still playing the hell out of Through the Ages, Twilight Struggle, and even Race for the Galaxy, but 2018 has been the “Year of the Beta”. It’s been a lot of talk about a bunch of great games set to release in 2018, but nothing has actually manifested into reality yet. We have Scythe, Terraforming Mars, One Deck Dungeon, Onitama, Among the Stars, XenoShyft, and probably a few more that I can’t remember offhand. I get that it’s a long slog to get a game released, but I want more goodies on my iPad and it’s all about me, me, me!
Today we have another beta for an upcoming game that I really, really want to start playing, Istanbul.
Istanbul released back in 2014 and won that year’s Kennerspiel des Jahres award even though it was up against Mac Gerdts’ fantastic Condordia. At the time I was outraged [by outraged, Dave means that he almost gave one shit -ed.], but, over time, Istanbul has hit the table more often than Gerdts’ card-driven-Roman-engine builder.
Istanbul has a modular board made of 16 tiles that are randomized each game. Each tile does something a little different and it’s finding the connections and fastest paths between tiles that make the game fun. You’re a merchant traveling the market but you also have servants who travel with you. As you stop at a space, you drop off a servant to let them do your shopping for you, and you continue on. When you’re out of servants, you’re screwed and have to retrace your steps and collect your retinue for more market adventures.
You are leading a merchant and four assistants through the 16 Places of the bazaar. At each Place, you can carry out a specific action. The challenge is that, to carry out an action at any of those Places, your merchant needs the help of an assistant and has to leave him behind. To use that assistant again later, your merchant has to come back to that Place and pick him up. So plan ahead carefully to avoid being left with no assistants and thus unable to do anything …
The digital version is being developed by Acram, the same folks behind the digital versions of Eight-Minute Empire and Steam: Rails to Riches. They’re actively looking for beta testers for all platforms: Android, iOS, and PC/Mac/Linux. Head over here and sign up. Who knows, if enough of us sign up and test the hell out of this thing, we may actually even get a full release one of these days.