Once again, players take on the role of shrewd merchants whose goal is to gather goods and lira, then trade them for the precious rubies needed to win. In Istanbul: Choose & Write, instead of a common set of locations in the middle of the table, each player has a bazaar in front of them as a game plan, a personal tracking sheet where players will mark their choices as they play.
On their turn, players must choose to play either a Location card or a Guild card. Location cards will allow all merchants to perform the action of the specified location, or the action of an adjacent space on their sheet. If a player would rather prevent others from taking this follow action, they can instead play a Guild card, which is expensive but triggers powerful effects.
Fans of the Istanbul game series will recognize familiar locations in Istanbul: Choose & Write, such as the Large Market and the Gemstone Dealer. However, thanks to the innovative choose-and-write mechanism, this visit to the bazaar will challenge players in a completely new way.