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Since looking at a review, I had my eyes on Islebound. The game looks interesting for me for the following reasons: (a) it's nice art, which I tend to like; (b) it's action selection with a spatial element, something quite unique, or at least for which I do not own any game but looks interesting; and (c), related to (b), it's kind of a forgiving worker placement, in the sense that I see this action selection mechanism and worker placement as similar, but forgiving in the sense that you are not forever blocked from a spot if someone gets it first. We tend to not like such unforgiving WP games, but on the other hand we reall like The Voyages of Marco Polo.
Now, I dismissed Istanbul from games I would be interested it when it first came out, but thinking about it, it has the same points I made above. The main difference I saw between the two games are that the first is a "get the most points" type of game, while Istanbul is a race to get X points. Which also makes Istanbul, as I see it, less forgiving.
So I'm still more tempted by Islebound, but I'd be happy to hear what people think of these two games, how they compare, and why not about other games which are similar to these two mechanicly. Also keep in mind that while I intend to play multiplayer games, most of my plays will be 2p, so a good 2 player experience is a must.
Thanks for any input.
My first two plays of Islebound as a 2-player game have made me want to sell it off. I'll probably give it another try with the "close quarters" variant to see if that makes it more enjoyable. The art is beautiful, but the game play seems rather lackluster to me.
Istanbul is still in my collection after 2 years, and I still am glad to bring it out for a play every couple of months. The randomized board makes a much bigger difference than it does in Islebound (and you are more restricted in your movement, which is a good thing). I would highly recommend the Mocha and Baksheesh expansion if you are going to get Istanbul (I have not yet tried the new Letters and Seals expansion).