Review: Istanbul The Dice Game

In this dice version of Istanbul you visit the bazaar. Cleverly use the dice and collect the most rubies!


Pegasus Spiele




Game explanation

Istanbul The Dice Game is the dice version of the original game Istanbul. In this game you use dice to collect money and resources. With the money and resources you can buy rubies that you need to win.

You set up the game by placing rubies on all spaces of the game board. You can buy these later in the game. Next to the game board, place 6 mosque tiles face up, these form the market. Also, place the stack of face down bazaarcards next to the board. After setting that up, each player receives a crystal, after which the starting player begins rolling 5 dice.

Using the correct combinations of dice, you can perform a number of actions. You may perform up to 2 actions per turn at the beginning. The actions are as follows:

Buying resources

Resource markers are used to carry that resource with you to subsequent rounds. Dice are lost after the round, but resource markers can be taken until you want to use them. You buy them by discarding 2 dice of the same colour. For example, you can discard 2 blue dice for 1 blue resource marker. You may also discard 4 different colored dice to get 2 resource markers of your choice.

Buying crystals

You may turn in crystals to re-roll 1 die. You can buy them by discarding 2 dice of a different color.

Buying crates

A crate counts as a wild card resource. You may use it as any other resource. You can buy a crate by rolling 3 different colored dice.

Earning Lira

You can also earn Lira with the dice. If you roll the dice with Lira on them, you may discard all your dice with Lira on them to get that many Lira. Lira can be used to buy rubies.

Bazaar cards

Do you roll one or more bazaar cards? Then you may take as many bazaar cards as you discard dice with cards on them, but you may only use one. These cards have bonuses on them which you can then use immediately. An example of such a bonus is that you may take 4 Lira.

Mosque tiles

To advance in the game and get income you will be needing mosque tiles. These tiles give you permanent bonuses. To buy a mosque tile you discard 3 dice of the color shown. An example of a mosque tile is that you may now roll 1 additional die. 

Buying rubies

You need rubies to win the game, so these are very valuable. You can buy them in different ways. On the game board it is indicated how many of what type of resource you need. When you buy rubies from a certain section, it becomes increasingly expensive to buy the next rubies.

These are obviously a lot of actions to memorize. Luckily, there is a very handy player aid with the game that clearly describes everything. The game ends when one of the players has 6 rubies. That person wins the game!

Our thoughts

We love dice games. The great thing about dice games is that these games are often a lot quicker to set up than the board games in our collection, but still offer an awful lot of challenge and depth! Rajas of the Ganges: The Dice Charmers is one of our favorite dice games. After our first few games of Istanbul The Dice Game, we got the same enthusiasm as we did with Rajas. So that's good news!

Istanbul The Dice Game is a quick and easy to learn game. One game doesn't take very long, so after learning the rules we immediately played a few games in a row. From the beginning we were very enthusiastic about the game. It is a fast dice game, but you still get the feeling of a board game. Istanbul The Dice Game is definitely a fun, smaller version of the board game. You can easily pick this version up at any time of the day. Do you have little time for a game or are you looking for a quick game in between? Then Istanbul The Dice Game is perfect. 

We have since played the game very often. The game does not take long and is easy to set up, which is why it is often on the table. We did start to doubt the replayability of Istanbul The Dice Game more quickly than with other games. There are many different types of bazaar cards and mosque tiles in the game that ensure that you can get different bonuses every game. Still, after a while, every game felt the same to us. It happens often that faster and smaller games come down to the same thing, but with Istanbul it really stood out to us. We still think Istanbul The Dice Game is a very fun game, but because many games feel the same we will not play it multiple times in one evening. We can imagine that as a frequent player you quickly get bored of the game, but if you play Istanbul The Dice Game once in a while it remains fun in the long run!

Overall, we think Istanbul The Dice Game is definitely a successful dice game. It makes sense that a smaller dice game won't offer the same depth and replayability as a large board game, but this version certainly comes a long way! If you're looking for a fun and fast-paced dice game, we can definitely recommend Istanbul The Dice Game. 

Playing with 2 players

Istanbul The Dice Game plays great with 2 players. The game board has separate fields for a 2 or more than 3 player variant. It is nice that the game is adjusted to this. This makes the game play smoothly with any number of players. We really enjoyed playing this dice game with 2 players. It does not take long, your turn is over quickly and if you lost, you can immediately continue with your revenge! 

 Pros and cons

+ Simple and fast
+ Tactical dice game

Low replayability

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This game has been kindly gifted to us for review purposes by Pegasus Spiele.