Five Tribes – First Thoughts

I’ve been wandering the trade halls this afternoon and sat down with a bunch of friendly folks for a game of 5 tribes, one of the more recent releases from Days of Wonder.

First things first, the game is gorgeous. Beautiful, thick tiles display oasis, villages and cities all worth various points with abilities clearly marked on them. The meeples and camels, will get to those, are nice wooden pieces and you also get palm trees, palaces and little tower markers to show your initiative in the round.
The game is pretty easy to pickup, but strategy is hard. At the start of the game each tile has 3 meeples on it in 5 different colours. Your turn is incredibly simple whereby you pick up all the meeples from a tile and then move orthogonally to adjacent tiles, dropping a meeple on each tile you pass over.

When you reach the last tile you pick up all the meeples on that tile of the last colour you placed which does something depending on their colour: assassinate, get resources, get money etc. You also get to do the ability on the tile which could be to summon a djinn to your side, place palm trees and palaces or buy more resources from the market. In addition if you clear the last tile you land on, or clear one through assassination or some other method, you get to place a camel of your colour on it claiming it’s points for you at the end of the game. 

It’s an interesting game, but may feel a bit long with too many players who are subject to a bit of the old analysis paralysis. However I think it’s advantage is being easy to teach with multiple strategies to win and also being absolutely gorgeous.

Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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