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Subject: Istanbul vs Kingdom Builder! rss

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Anders Isaksen
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Hi all you lovely people on BGG!
So I am going to buy one of the above mentioned games.
But I am having a really hard time deciding.
Please present me the pros and cons.
Which one has the highest replay-ability, which one is better with two players, etc etc.
Also if you own both which one do you prefer and or play the most.
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Chris Yi
United States
Las Vegas
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Good question that I can offer a little insight to. Given, I have not played these games extensively, but I've got favorable opinions on both. Now, one important thing I will say first is that Kingdom Builder has an app that is adequate for 2 players. My wife and I play it quite a bit, and it's also nice for airplane flights and such. For more than 2 people I wouldn't want to do the pass-and-play mode. Kingdom Builder is a pretty divisive game whether people think it's clever or boring. Maybe you should try out the app since it only costs a few dollars (or krones). I think overall, I would recommend Istanbul.

Both have good amounts of variety built into the base game. In Istanbul, you can arrange the tiles in one of three suggested orders, or do it completely random. I've only played with two configurations, but it really makes your overall strategy different. Kingdom Builder has lots of board options (which ultimately always feel about the same to me...), and it has 7 different scoring conditions from which you use 3 per game. I think the scoring cards make a bigger feeling impact than the boards, though I'm glad there are a nice variety of things. I think both games don't feel THAT varied from game to game, but Istanbul does a little more. I'd say the changed layout in Istanbul (and the cards and variable markets) affects your overall strategy than Kingdom Builder, but someone with more extensive experience can explain otherwise.

Both have simple turns where the down time isn't that bad. In Istanbul, you move somewhere and take its action. Sometimes you play a card. In Kingdom Builder, you place your 3 shelters where your card indicates to place, and you can use the special power tiles you get. However, on a given turn, you can use multiple of those power tiles in Kingdom Builder, meaning sometimes you'll see a player "place 3 in Desert, then I'll use my stables to move this piece over two spaces ...then I can use my farm to build an additional shelter here...and I have three in a row, so I guess I'll use this one to build a 4th in a row...and..." Istanbul's turns pretty much will always be the same length of time, even later in the game.

Now, for two players, I really prefer Istanbul. Kingdom Builder is almost impossible to block an opponent with 2, whereas Istanbul has more interaction possible. You can place your main merchant to make a space more expensive, but the other 2 unused merchants go on the board to clog up the cost of certain spaces (and they move around after interacted with), AND the family member action/send them back to jail is an interesting interaction. So, Istanbul slightly edges out in that regard for me too.

Overall, I like both, but of the two, Istanbul in a heartbeat.
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Michael Oliver
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I think Chris is right, people either love or hate Kingdom Builder. I love it. It is easily one of my favorite games, and I will play it in a heartbeat, with 2, 3, 4, or 5 players.

I have not played Istanbul, but, it is on my list to get to soon.

For replayability, Kingdom Builder (if you enjoy it) has a lot. In just the base game, there are 8 game boards, of which, you only use 4 each game, and their position you use them affects the game. There are 10 victory condition cards, that determine scoring at the end of the game, but you only use 3, but, order doesn't matter. So, you have about 200,000 "game combinations" available in the base game. Some will feel similar to others, but, there is a lot of variety there.
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Patrick C.
United States
Milford
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I own both and like them both, a lot. I've played both mostly 2p.

Kingdom Builder is very abstract feeling and, like others have side, is very divisive. You're going to hear from people who hate it. One of the problems is that it appears light and fluffy the first time you play it. It might even feel stupid. But it's a solid game. It's about creating chained combos during your turn after you've acquired special ability tokens. The early game is a race to get those tokens.

Critics of Istanbul complain that it can be repetitive once you figure out the the path that gets you jewels the fastest. My wife and I love the game. I know my wife understands it on a strategic level far better than Kingdom Builder.

In terms of appearance Istanbul will look like the deeper game, but I actually think KB is. KB has an experience curve for a lot of people to figure things out.

I could easily recommend both, but I lean toward Istanbul. However, that's based on my own subjective experience which involves my wife's preferences and abilities. But I do think Istanbul is going to please most people more than KB no matter how much I like KB. I also think the theme in Istanbul is far more apparent and thus makes it more appealing.
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Jerry Martin
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I own both and like Istanbul more.

I have played Kingdom builder about 10 times and I would play again, but it is pretty dry and to be honest sort of boring (for me). I realize that there is a lot of strategy to the game and setting up your combos is important. But no matter what: it is flip a card, lay three pieces if you have bonuses use them. It is unexciting because there is no variety. (for me)

I have played Istanbul 3-4 times and I have liked it a lot more than KB. I guess maybe I feel more achievement? There certainly seems like there is a lot more to do and there is more variety.

Do I like both games? YES
If I had to give up one what would it be? Kingdom Builder.
Personally I would say neither is really amazing. Others of that caliber that I would rather play, Castles of Burgundy, Kingsburg, and 7 Wonders
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Anders Isaksen
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Thanks for the comments guys

I have decided to go with Istanbul and then somewhere down the line I will get Kingdom Builder.
 
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Sephakay wrote:
Thanks for the comments guys

I have decided to go with Istanbul and then somewhere down the line I will get Kingdom Builder.


Meanwhile there are also two expansions for Istanbul which add very much to replayability. You get more options and because of the additional tiles the board layout is even more variable.
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