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Istanbul: Letters & Seals» Forums » General

Subject: Which expansion to get (2 players)? rss

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maantje 183
Belgium
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My boyfriend and I would like to get only 1 expansion for Istanbul. We always play with 2 players. Any suggestions on which expansion to get? Which of the two expansions is the best with (only two players)? Thanks for your advice!
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Ken Sinn
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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So .. we also play mostly with 2P. The introduction of Mocha really changed our strategies (and reversed our win ratios!) by introducing a 5th resource, and lots of new places for gems.

We've added B&S to Mocha (so playing with both expansions), and it makes for a really great game -- but I suspect if you were to choose only one, it might have to be Mocha. We haven't played Istanbul without Mocha, after introducing it.
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A S
United States
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If only picking one I would choose letters and seals.
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James Williams
Australia
Marrickville (Sydney)
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I'd have to say both expansions are equally good. That doesn't help you much though. If you only got Letters and Seals, there would be one location tile you'd never use (Catacombs). For that reason, perhaps go with Mocha first.

However, each expansion adds a new dimension, so I'd say get both. See my storage solution here:
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Ken Sinn
Canada
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Maybe a closer quantitative comparison:

MB (mocha & baksheesh) vs BS (brief & siegel)
Similarities:
- both introduce a new resource (coffee vs letters)
- both introduce one location to strictly grab that resource
- both introduce a location to take a gem off an existing gem track
- both introduce a new traveling trader
- both introduce new bonus cards

Differences:
- MB introduces a 2 new mosque-like power tiles
- MB introduces powerful Guild cards (which you can use instead of taking your normal turn)
- MB adds a "blocker" barrier
- MB introduces a new gem track, paid using coffee

- BS introduces a helper that can move independently from your merchant
- BS introduces a way for players to take double turns
- BS adds a location where players draft from a pool of instant bonuses
- BS adds a location with a once-around auction for 2 bonus cards

Qualitatively:
MB introduces a 5th resource, and a new respective gem track. I think the addition of that gem track opens up the strategic options. Adding the new mosque-like power tiles also give you a new movement method (any number of steps in straight direction) helps better manage the larger board (4x5 now). The Guild cards and the blocker are no big deal .. kinda neat for one-off uses.

BS adds the helper, which opens up your tactical options and allow you to cover two different areas of the board, and gives you fun tactical options when you're out of helpers or your opponent is squatting on your next location. BS also adds the ability to gain an extra turn by turning in the new Letter resources, and that makes for really interesting tactical surprises. The drafting and auction locations aren't really a big deal though -- gives players a break from the normal quick step-step action, step-step action rhythm -- some players may enjoy that, some players may not.

Both are equally good, but if you like that Istanbul offers and want to introduce more complexity and analysis paralysis, the MB is the way to go. If you want to mix things up and change up the flow of Istanbul, then BS is the way to go. Can't really go wrong with either, but I prefer MB first, then BS.
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maantje 183
Belgium
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Thanks for all your advice. I picked up Mocha & Baksheesh today!
 
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Michal Starek
Czech Republic
Sezimovo Usti
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I'm coming late to the show, but one important extra point, should someone else read this thread:

If you're not German / English speaker or have someone like that in your playing group, then: MB uses language-dependent components (cards describing actions to take instead of normal turn, in words). LS does not.
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