Rudiger Dorn is ‘Walking’ Back With a New Design!

14 10 2013

GoaBy Firestone

On my very first game night, almost 10 years ago, I played a game called Goa, designed by Rudiger Dorn. It was complex and confusing and I’d never played anything like it. I instantly fell in love. So I have a soft spot for Dorn and his games, and the announcement of a new game—Istanbul—fills me with joy.

Part of the reason is that I just like getting new meaty games from some of the classic designers (Dorn, Wolfgang Kramer, Reiner Knizia), but also because this game looks to use Dorn’s “walking” mechanism.

Here’s the description from Boardgamegeek.

“In Istanbul, you lead a group of one merchant and four assistants through 16 locations in the bazaar. At each such location, you can carry out a specific action. The challenge, though, is that to take an action, you must move your merchant and an assistant there, then leave the assistant behind (to handle all the details while you focus on larger matters). If you want to use that assistant again later, your merchant must return to that location to pick him up. Thus, you must plan ahead carefully to avoid being left with no assistants and thus unable to do anything…

Prototype image: NOT final.

Prototype image: NOT final.

In more detail, on a turn you move your merchant and his retinue of assistants one or two steps through the bazaar, either leave an assistant at that location or collect an assistant left earlier, then perform the action. If you meet other merchants or certain individuals at the location, you might be able to take a small extra action. Possible actions include:

  • Paying to increase the your wheelbarrow capacity, which starts the game with a capacity of only two for each good.
  • Filling your wheelbarrow with a specified good to its limit.
  • Acquiring a special ability, and the earlier you come, the easier they are to collect.
  • Buying diamonds or trading goods for diamonds.
  • Selling special combinations of goods to make the money you need to do everything else.

When a merchant has collected five diamonds in his wheelbarrow, players complete that round, then the game ends. If this player is the only one who’s reached this goal, he wins immediately; otherwise ties are broken by money in hand.”

Dorn has used this mechanism, of leaving pieces behind in order to move, to great effect in other games—Genoa, Louis XIV, and Goa all use this, and they’re all terrific games. So Dorn returning to put a new spin on this is exciting news. And in the meantime, if you get a chance to play Genoa, Louis XIV, or Goa, YOU SHOULD DO IT. You’ll be glad you did. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Constantinople Istanbul.

Thanks for reading! Have you played any Dorn games? What was your impression? Share your thoughts!

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