When I arrived, I was fully expecting Five Tribes to be the night’s choice. Imagine my surprise when I saw that Ys had been chosen. This game was new to Ian and it was so long since we’d played, it was as good as new to Sam and myself, so we went through the badly written rule book to refresh our memories.
Once we’d got over that ordeal, the game itself is pretty straightforward. Your bidding for control of areas, with the proviso that each area gives a different bonus and it can be hard to remember what gets you what, especially the market. We also pondered the historical accuracy of using a queen to lock an area, unless this particular queen spoke like Ray Winstone, yelling "This 'ere area's locked daaahn, you slags!"
Ian went for black gems and cards mostly, getting a couple of decent super-powers such as placing all meeples face down or always winning ties. I went for points on the board early on, and then a late investment in yellow gems, pushing it from last into third. Sam pushed his blue gems up into first place while complaining that the cards he’d got weren’t as good as he’d thought. Still, they and a handful of black gems seemed to do the trick.
A nice game once you get going, and a close result meant that everyone was satisfied.
Then we broke out Five Tribes. It’s been played as a four-player, and as a two-player. Tonight was its debut as a three hander. No need for the rule book this time, and we set about reuniting the five tribes of wherever it is. Sam looked good at the start as he went for a djinn-heavy tactic. I went after resource cards and Ian... well, Ian had a trick up his sleeve.
During the game, Sam thoughtfully mused,
“We should have a games night...”
“Every night!” I gleefully suggested.
“... Cheese board.” Sam finished. And true to his word, he brought out some crackers and cheese for us.
As the game neared its end, my position looked good. I had lots of Viziers and the djinn to make them three points each, plus plenty of camels on the board, PLUS lots of resource cards. Sam had an entire army of djinns lined up alongside him. I thought it was between me and Sam, but you ignore Ian at your peril.
When it came to counting up, Ian started very strongly, having a cool seventy points in money. Sam and I hardly had any, effectively giving Ian a huge lead. No one saw that coming at all (according to Ian, not even him, but we don’t believe that for a second). I got 44 points for my viziers and Sam’s djinns scored 38.
What an ending to the game, and to the evening. Full of excitement and woe, and we didn’t even break out the whiskey!
Maybe next time.