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Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh» Forums » Variants

Subject: Simple Tavern Fix: Allow each action to be used. rss

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Trey Chambers
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I've played Istanbul quite a few times now, and I have a hard time ever justifying a trip to the Tavern. The movement tile is good in certain setups, and might be worth an action and a coffee, especially if there is an encounter there, but then your assistant is stuck there until you can work the Tavern back into your plans somehow.

The other tavern tile is rarely worthwhile, especially now that the board is expanded and encounters are more rare.

The barrier is simply a trap action, especially with more than 2 players. It's not "useless", but it'll never be worth a whole action to claim just to inconvenience your opponents (and indeed, it may not inconvenience all of them equally if they are doing different strategies).

The gem action is good for sure, but other options may be easier to get to 6 gems.

BUT if you can do all three actions when you use the building (much like the Coffee Roaster), then all of a sudden this building might be VERY interesting, and worth a trip.

Anyone tried it, or had similar thoughts?
 
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Ian Lim
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I partially agree to this.

but.. I still go for what the designer Rudiger Dorn Want it to be.

If you are playing with all expansions (5X5), I think Tavern is not that bad at all it is an average location for me.

and also there is a Guild card that allows you to use the tavern by choosing two options there. If you make the tavern like Coffee Roaster like you said, this Guild card become a very very weak guild card.
 
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Michal Starek
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Since getting to 4 coffee is pretty easy, I'd say the Tavern gem is the easiest gem available in the latter half of the game. Plus, choosing where you take it from, it might be easy to screw someone else over.
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Erik Burigo
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Shampoo4you wrote:
[...]
The barrier is simply a trap action, especially with more than 2 players. It's not "useless", but it'll never be worth a whole action to claim just to inconvenience your opponents (and indeed, it may not inconvenience all of them equally if they are doing different strategies).[...]


Do you remember that claiming and positioning the barrier also grants you the action of one the two places the barrier has been positioned adjacent to?
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Mihir Shah
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The way we house rule it: we use the barrier to put it on a tile and that tile is blocked from other players, only the person with the barrier access can use that tile, makes it a bit more cut throat and the way we like it, the person using the barrier cannot use that tile's action as we cannot justify that thematically.
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Jason
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Painkeeper wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
[...]
The barrier is simply a trap action, especially with more than 2 players. It's not "useless", but it'll never be worth a whole action to claim just to inconvenience your opponents (and indeed, it may not inconvenience all of them equally if they are doing different strategies).[...]


Do you remember that claiming and positioning the barrier also grants you the action of one the two places the barrier has been positioned adjacent to?


Yeah, that's usually what we end up using it for. Nobody every really primarily uses it for the block. It can be a handy shortcut to a far-away tile, or one that doesn't work well with your merchant path.
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Trey Chambers
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Painkeeper wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
[...]
The barrier is simply a trap action, especially with more than 2 players. It's not "useless", but it'll never be worth a whole action to claim just to inconvenience your opponents (and indeed, it may not inconvenience all of them equally if they are doing different strategies).[...]


Do you remember that claiming and positioning the barrier also grants you the action of one the two places the barrier has been positioned adjacent to?


NOPE! I had missed this rule. Now it makes more sense! Thanks!

Okay so maybe it's not that bad a spot anymore. But the other tile, the one that lets you skip paying for encounters, still really sucks.

I don't understand why buying both tiles doesn't give you a gem like the others do. That makes them so much worse in comparison.
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Jason
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Shampoo4you wrote:
Okay so maybe it's not that bad a spot anymore. But the other tile, the one that lets you skip paying for encounters, still really sucks.

I don't understand why buying both tiles doesn't give you a gem like the others do. That makes them so much worse in comparison.


I'm not a big fan of the straight-line movement tile, but that tile that lets you skip paying for encounters is already mega-powerful in my opinion. To me, bonus cards can often be the thing that wins the game, especially since no one can effectively block you because they have no idea what extra goods/money/powers you may be holding. And on top of that, you get free goods and coffee! It just makes your turns so much more lucrative.

It just goes to show how different groups of people play the same game. When we play it, it sounds totally different than you. I'm not saying you're wrong (apart from that missed rule), but I can tell you your experience is not mine.
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Erik Burigo
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Shampoo4you wrote:
[...]

Okay so maybe it's not that bad a spot anymore. But the other tile, the one that lets you skip paying for encounters, still really sucks.

I don't understand why buying both tiles doesn't give you a gem like the others do. That makes them so much worse in comparison.


Generally speaking, tavern tiles don't earn you a ruby because coffee is the only good you can accumulate disregarding your wheelbarrow size altogether, thus they are easier to gain than the mosque tiles.

Like many things in this game, the real value of a tile or place is conditional. 1 early coffee for a permanent 2-lira discount on each of the 3 (or 4, with Letters and Seals) NPCs could be enough to justify the tempo hit. Even if the tableau is larger, the set of possible locations where you can find those characters does not vary. And because of the Gaussian distribution, there's quite a good chance of finding 2 or 3 of them clustered on the same tile. That would suddenly increase the value of that tile because of the free goodies.
However, I agree with you: later in the game tavern tiles (and this one in particular) are much less tempting than late mosque tiles.

If you feel dissatisfied by this, I think you could at least introduce a home rule.
I'd like to try this one: as soon as you have both tavern tiles, you draw 2 guild cards, keep one, discard the other, and immediately take an extra turn.
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Trey Chambers
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jepmn wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Okay so maybe it's not that bad a spot anymore. But the other tile, the one that lets you skip paying for encounters, still really sucks.

I don't understand why buying both tiles doesn't give you a gem like the others do. That makes them so much worse in comparison.


I'm not a big fan of the straight-line movement tile, but that tile that lets you skip paying for encounters is already mega-powerful in my opinion. To me, bonus cards can often be the thing that wins the game, especially since no one can effectively block you because they have no idea what extra goods/money/powers you may be holding. And on top of that, you get free goods and coffee! It just makes your turns so much more lucrative.

It just goes to show how different groups of people play the same game. When we play it, it sounds totally different than you. I'm not saying you're wrong (apart from that missed rule), but I can tell you your experience is not mine.


Spending an action and a coffee (or potentially more than one coffee if someone already bought it) does not seem to justify the benefit of (potentially) saving a few dollars over the game.

The encounters are nice, but rarely should they tempt you to deviate from your plan, so you can only gain benefits from that tile if one happens to wander in your path.
 
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Trey Chambers
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Painkeeper wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
[...]

Okay so maybe it's not that bad a spot anymore. But the other tile, the one that lets you skip paying for encounters, still really sucks.

I don't understand why buying both tiles doesn't give you a gem like the others do. That makes them so much worse in comparison.


Generally speaking, tavern tiles don't earn you a ruby because coffee is the only good you can accumulate disregarding your wheelbarrow size altogether, thus they are easier to gain than the mosque tiles.

Like many things in this game, the real value of a tile or place is conditional. 1 early coffee for a permanent 2-lira discount on each of the 3 (or 4, with Letters and Seals) NPCs could be enough to justify the tempo hit. Even if the tableau is larger, the set of possible locations where you can find those characters does not vary. And because of the Gaussian distribution, there's quite a good chance of finding 2 or 3 of them clustered on the same tile. That would suddenly increase the value of that tile because of the free goodies.
However, I agree with you: later in the game tavern tiles (and this one in particular) are much less tempting than late mosque tiles.

You feel dissatisfied by this, I think you could at least introduce a home rule.
I'd like to try this one: as soon as you have both tavern tiles, you draw 2 guild cards, keep one, discard the other, and immediately take an extra turn.


Gaining a coffee card AND an extra action might even be better than getting a Gem, depending on the coffee card you get. I've certainly gotten coffee cards that help me more than fulfill the requirements for a gem, thus also helping me towards a second gem. Maybe one or the other would suffice to make getting both tiles worthwhile.

I do like the idea though. I just feel that SOMETHING needs to be offered, otherwise I'm only going to bother with the Mosque tiles which give me a useful ability AND half a gem.
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Jason
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Shampoo4you wrote:
The encounters are nice, but rarely should they tempt you to deviate from your plan, so you can only gain benefits from that tile if one happens to wander in your path.


Well, that's where we're going to have to agree to disagree. In the groups I play in, encounters are usually a pretty big factor in adjusting your plan on the fly. Usually with Istanbul there are multiple "right" ways to go at any given time (hence why it's a great game). But there are also many things that can change your plan before it gets to your turn, the key ones being where other players merchants are and where the encounters are.

At least, that's how the groups I've played in play it. Like I said, I'm not saying you're absolutely wrong. The people you're with just play it differently.
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Trey Chambers
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jepmn wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
The encounters are nice, but rarely should they tempt you to deviate from your plan, so you can only gain benefits from that tile if one happens to wander in your path.


Well, that's where we're going to have to agree to disagree. In the groups I play in, encounters are usually a pretty big factor in adjusting your plan on the fly. Usually with Istanbul there are multiple "right" ways to go at any given time (hence why it's a great game). But there are also many things that can change your plan before it gets to your turn, the key ones being where other players merchants are and where the encounters are.

At least, that's how the groups I've played in play it. Like I said, I'm not saying you're absolutely wrong. The people you're with just play it differently.


A single coffee or good is rarely the tipping point unless both spots were almost as good to you anyway. Bonus cards are certainly much better, but again, it would have to be an almost as good option anyway and not cause you to deviate much from your path.

You have to remember, your path is just as important as your action choices. Any deviation from your planned path can have a ripple effect that changes your next several actions or even the rest of your game! If you ever use the Fountain in any of my games, you've likely already lost.
 
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Shampoo4you wrote:
If you ever use the Fountain in any of my games, you've likely already lost.


Then you must hate Letters & Seals. ;)
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myyysha wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
If you ever use the Fountain in any of my games, you've likely already lost.


Then you must hate Letters & Seals.


I haven't played it, nor do I desire to. I watched Shut Up's review of it, and agreed with their takeaway that it is likely a bridge too far. I think Mocha added the perfect mix to bring replayability to Instanbul without adding "too much".
 
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Jason
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Shampoo4you wrote:
A single coffee or good is rarely the tipping point unless both spots were almost as good to you anyway. Bonus cards are certainly much better, but again, it would have to be an almost as good option anyway and not cause you to deviate much from your path.


A single one, no. I tend to get that tile early in the game, so it's never a single coffee/good/card. It's those things over and over through the rest of the game. I think they can definitely make planning OTHER moves way easier, and give you more flexibility, because you have the things you need on hand. So even if you go out of your way a little for the encounter, it works out because you save on you having to go to a certain tile to get a certain thing for some other action.

Quote:
You have to remember, your path is just as important as your action choices. Any deviation from your planned path can have a ripple effect that changes your next several actions or even the rest of your game! If you ever use the Fountain in any of my games, you've likely already lost.


Considering Istanbul is the my most played game in my collection, I do remember. Though again, we'll have to agree to disagree on how important a rigid path is versus a fluid plan that can change based on the state of the board. It's all about playing style.
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jepmn wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Okay so maybe it's not that bad a spot anymore. But the other tile, the one that lets you skip paying for encounters, still really sucks.

I don't understand why buying both tiles doesn't give you a gem like the others do. That makes them so much worse in comparison.


I'm not a big fan of the straight-line movement tile, but that tile that lets you skip paying for encounters is already mega-powerful in my opinion. To me, bonus cards can often be the thing that wins the game, especially since no one can effectively block you because they have no idea what extra goods/money/powers you may be holding. And on top of that, you get free goods and coffee! It just makes your turns so much more lucrative.

It just goes to show how different groups of people play the same game. When we play it, it sounds totally different than you. I'm not saying you're wrong (apart from that missed rule), but I can tell you your experience is not mine.


I played a game recently with both expansions + the Pegasus Depot (in place of the Post Office) and the Camel mini-expansion for the Caravansary. The straight-line movement tile helped me win the game, as I was able to quickly go to the Caravansary and get two cards (keeping both due to having the camel). I was able to quickly rack up a bunch of coffee and money from the Caravansary cards, fill-up my wheelbarrow, and ended up being at least 2 moves ahead of my wife who couldn't stop me from securing the win.

I share this only to say that depending on the board set-up, the movement tile can very much come in handy. Either that, or the Camel can really come in handy if nobody decides to take it from you.
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WooHoo1 wrote:
I share this only to say that depending on the board set-up, the movement tile can very much come in handy. Either that, or the Camel can really come in handy if nobody decides to take it from you.


Yeah, I should clarify that I'm not saying the straight line tile is bad. I'm just not a big fan of it. Probably just doesn't click in my brain very well when I'm planning my movements.

Those two mini-exps look interesting, but I'm too cheap to shell out that much for them. X)
 
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You don't need to spend any money for the Camel one. Just use a meeple (or penny, button, anything really) and play by the rules of it.
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I think the Tavern is the most underrated location in the game.

- Two rubies for a handful of resources and 8 coffee (visiting twice) is great value, even earlier in the game when one ruby costs only 6 coffee at the Coffee House. This works really well with the 5 coffee Tavern card, but the Coffee Roaster is usually just as good.

- The barrier I generally use less than other two actions, but I've used it to win games under the right circumstances. Turns are arguably the most important 'resource' in the game, and the barrier can cause your opponent to waste a turn.

- I rarely play a game without getting at least one of the two Tavern tiles, but I'll usually only pay 1 coffee for it... 2 only if it seems to be particularly important to my strategy. I also tend to get it within my first few turns so that I can maximise it's usage. I'd also say these tiles are more valuable when you're using both expansions, as they make better use of the larger distances you can travel and more encounters available.
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Shampoo4you wrote:
I've played Istanbul quite a few times now, and I have a hard time ever justifying a trip to the Tavern. The movement tile is good in certain setups, and might be worth an action and a coffee, especially if there is an encounter there, but then your assistant is stuck there until you can work the Tavern back into your plans somehow.


One of the most common ways to go back to the Tavern after taking a tile is to go and pick up the other tile. The two tiles work together well, because being able to move any distance makes it easier to chase down the governor, smuggler, and coffee trader.

Quote:
The other tavern tile is rarely worthwhile, especially now that the board is expanded and encounters are more rare


But there is a third encounter available; three encounters in 20 spaces means that you have more than you would with two in 16 spaces. Typically, if you get this early, you will use it at least five times during the game, saving $10.

And many different moves become strong when you add a free card or a good of your choice, particularly spots which the neutral characters like to visit. If you can get a card and a coffee for going to the Fountain, and also take back some assistants, you aren't wasting a turn. If you need two blues and the smuggler is at the Black Market, you only need one from the dice, and if you get two from the dice, you can take a non-blue as a bonus. One card from several choices at the Caravansary, plus a coffee, is already a good move, and it becomes even better if there is a free coffee.

In most of my games, both 1-coffee tiles are taken early, often by the first player or players to get coffee. The 2-coffee tiles are occasionally taken, especially by players who already have one of the pair. I almost never see a 3-coffee tile taken, both because of the cost and because the game is far enough advanced by then that you won't have many chances to use it.

Even playing the barrier correctly, I rarely see it used, but that means that the barrier is likely to stay in place for a long time when it is used. The most effective use of the barrier I have seen was an early placement between the Tea House and Wainwright, allowing the player to use the Wainwright from the other side of the board. Four of the five players got the red mosque tile which made the Tea House strong, and this prevented the other three from bouncing between the Tea House and Wainwright.
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Shampoo4you wrote:
If you ever use the Fountain in any of my games, you've likely already lost.


I usually use it exactly once, although I have won a few times without using it. It's not worth using the yellow mosque tile repeatedly to avoid going back to the Fountain, and you can also make the Fountain visit less costly by going when a neutral or two is there.
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David Grabiner wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
If you ever use the Fountain in any of my games, you've likely already lost.


I usually use it exactly once, although I have won a few times without using it. It's not worth using the yellow mosque tile repeatedly to avoid going back to the Fountain, and you can also make the Fountain visit less costly by going when a neutral or two is there.


I use that mosque tile even less than I do the Fountain. It's an efficiency game, so I try to avoid putting myself in the position of using either since $2 or an action in the case of the Fountain are both valuable resources. Obviously in extreme cases it's worth it, but with careful planning, it can be unnecessary.
 
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David Grabiner wrote:
Quote:
The other tavern tile is rarely worthwhile, especially now that the board is expanded and encounters are more rare


But there is a third encounter available; three encounters in 20 spaces means that you have more than you would with two in 16 spaces. Typically, if you get this early, you will use it at least five times during the game, saving $10.


While the number of total tiles players can visit increases, the number of total tiles the NPCs may visit stays at 11 in any combination of base game and expansions.
The more NPCs, the higher probability of finding a cluster of 2 or 3 of them, the higher the expected return of investment for that tavern tile.
Unfortunately, they also tend to walk about the Fountain, which is the least attractive space for experienced players. I still don't know how much the added benefit of putting into play your Companion (from Letters and Seals) offsets the Fountain's inherent unattractive power.
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Painkeeper wrote:
Unfortunately, they also tend to walk about the Fountain, which is the least attractive space for experienced players. I still don't know how much the added benefit of putting into play your Companion (from Letters and Seals) offsets the Fountain's inherent unattractive power.


But, as has kind of been pointed out, the mosque tile makes that much more attractive because they're often at it.

I think it's all down to different playing style. If there was only one way to play and win Istanbul, it would be a boring game. My playing style is flexibility, and I do win. Not every time, or even half the time (as long as I play with experienced gamers). They have their own play styles, too. That's what I love about Istanbul - so many many ways to victory, and almost always a very tight race for first.
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