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Istanbul Dice – Alderac Entertainment Group – Review

Theme and What is it?

If you haven’t played Istanbul, you have been living under a rock. I mean, some people would think living under a rock is cozy, but it is so cold in the winter.

In this great looking game, you are a merchant trader, who will build his stock of goods, to trade for rubies, and those rubies are like, oh mahr gawd valuable. Istanbul: The Dice Game builds on the legacy of the original game, by changing up the formula. Instead of the game being based on movement, it is now based on the roll of the dice, and how to best use those resources gained through the roll to build your cache of rubies, which signal who has won the game.

 

Gameplay Mechanics

This dice game, has dice. I mean, that should not be too surprising. 

The manipulation of those dice is a thing of beauty. Your resources are determined by your tableau build, and what you have rolled. The system feels very samey to the original, but that is where it ends. It has just built a upgrade system, that takes movement out of the equation. 

Initial Impressions

I am a huge fan of the original game, so seeing the similar art, made me want to like this re-imagined successor. Everything looked nice coming out of the box, and felt very familiar to me, as I enjoyed the first game so very much.

Game Build Quality

Everything here looks good. The gems are all bright and shiny, the cardboard thick, the board colorful.

My only nitpicky issue is, I am just not a fan of wooden dice. These are in fact very pretty, and look good. However, for me the roll just doesn’t feel good. I know many people, would say I’m just crazy, or nitpicky, and I probably am, but that doesn’t change the fact that I would have preferred big hefty chunky plastic dice.

Artistic Direction

The art of Istanbul: The Dice Game is very reminiscent of the original game. It is however a brand new experience, that just uses the mechanic of trading to make the game have a similar feel. All in all, I find the art crisp, functional and brings enough of the original that it should make any fan of the original want to try this sequel. The addition of the rubies, and blue gems, are a great throw back to the original game, and honestly, would not have felt like Istanbul without that asset.

Fun Factor

Dice are such a disputed thing in games. I know people who won’t play ANY dice game, because dice are inherently based on chance. 

I disagree with that statement, I think all games have chance built in, even the “perfect” euro style game. You never know what tiles or cards or whatever else will come up, and it necessarily changes your manner of gameplay. The dice in this game do the same, it changes your choices based on what resources you have available. 

Therefore, I think once you have decided dice are okay, this is a pretty neat game.

Age Range & Weight

8+. I tend to agree with the analysis. The dice throwing and deciding what to buy based on those resources is just about 8+, though only an 8+ that has played lots of games will be working toward an end-game.

Conclusions

If you look at the first photo and the last in this article, they may feel familiar, or samey. They are in fact two different photos.

The point is, although this game may feel familiar, it is a very different experience than the original. The build based on resources is different based on the random tiles that come up. There is no traveling, or the traveling is actually the roll of the dice. The build of your resources will be very different than your neighbor, and very different than the original Istanbul.

I unhesitatingly feel that anyone who enjoyed Istanbul, should also have Istanbul: The Dice Game on their shelf, I do, and will.