Well I think there has been enough of a break to justify doing another of these Verses posts. I actually put this match up out there before the expo.
It really is a hard decision to make. Then again I think I have said that about more than one of these so far. Both of these games are in my Top 10 (at the moment, but I don’t expect that to change).
Istanbul, when played with all the expansions goes from a great game to an amazing game. The random nature of the layout of the tiles (taking into account a couple of tile positioning rules that stop one or two tiles being near each other) adds to the replay-ability of the game. With the expansions there is more than one path to victory. Plus there is a little take that added when you can block a route on the board slowing down your opponents.
Viticulture is a great worker placement game. But like Istanbul add in the expansions and wow. This has great production values. The turn order selection for each round is really cool, and gets even better when using the Tuscany extended board. The decisions you have to make at this stage before you have placed any workers on the board is incredible.
These two games are great examples of how to take great games and then take them to the next level with the expansions. I’d only play either without the expansions when introducing new players to the games. Otherwise it has to be all in (well we are still working towards that with Viticulture).
What did I decide? Well I don’t think it will come as any surprise to anyone I sat on the fence on this one and called it a draw. It is so hard to decide which one I prefer more than the other. There really is nothing that separates these two.
On Facebook Jonathan echoes my feelings about this one.
On a follow up, since the comment was made by Gavin, he has caved and bought Viticulture.
On Instagram I had one comment. I think the difficulty of this match up scared people off. That or they just didn’t care.