Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Ten Tribes

After last night's bewilderment I was eager to have another crack at Five Tribes whilst I still remembered it. Andrew was curious enough to join me and we tried it as a two-player tonight.

It's very much the same game (I suppose it would be) only with two each player has two turns in a round: two sets of bids for turn order, and the possibility to either get two turns in a row - potentially very rewarding - or stop your opponent from doing so.

We began fairly quickly with the comments from yesterday fresh in Andrew's mind. One thing we - or I, anyway - missed last night was that some Djinns need paying for to activate them. We probably did this and I missed it in my befuddlement. A look at BGG confirmed that Djinns can only be activated once per turn. Now you know.

We blasted pretty quickly through the first game with both of us playing with a certain experimental air. But my experiences of last night (and the fact the Viziers are less powerful in a two-player game) saw me ride away on my various camels to a decent win:

Sam 186
Andrew 137

Andrew now familiarised with the game, we reset and went again. This time a little slower, as we pondered moves a bit more and had an extended break courtesy of the kids upstairs. Andrew started well, claiming some tiles early on, and I felt I had my work cut out to keep the pace. Every time I did a decent move I left something behind, but on the other hand I got a decent set of Djinns that meant I could get more Djinns, place a camel on a populated tile and do something or other else which I now forget.

But although I got a bit of an engine going it wasn't enough to catch Andrew, who was going great guns on the resources and picked up a Djinn that let him turn slaves into resources too (see BGG for the ongoing debate about slaves in this game). In fact even nabbing the vizier lead from him at the death wasn't enough, as he sailed to a serene victory:

Andrew 208
Sam 187

We both liked it, and the two-turns thing for two players was intriguing. There *is* the downside I think, as highlighted by Martin already, of analysis paralysis. At one point in the second game my brain started to melt at the number of options and their various consequences, and I pretty much gave up, making what was a sub-optimal move (not that I could have caught Andrew).

But I think it's a bit of a good 'un - maybe it just needs a timer.


  1. Yes, it was fun. But if I'm being honest I think the best bit was the opportunity to pay for two goes in a row if you thought it was worth it. In a game with more players that doesn't have this aspect, Five Tribes might be a case of maximizing your opportunities when it's your go and safely ignoring the board when it isn't.

    Unless you're last on one turn, and then pay money to be sure of coming first on the following turn... That might be interesting.

  2. That's a bit like the Brass turn order tactic isn't it.
    But if you go last, you'll be last to bid for the next round, so you could be outbid if your opponent was willing to pay the 18.

  3. For a game that's not horrendously long it really runs the gamut - for me - of experiences. Opening with multitudes of options, you don't need to fret too much about missing out, and I feel a kind of generic game-love. As the game progresses you need to think more and there's some appreciation of puzzling things out. Then in the middle third, or third quarter perhaps, there's total brain-draining option meltdown, and I get a sense of thinking the game is too much.

    That passes, and at the close it's more of a canny battle again.

  4. Yeah it gives me the 'generic game-love' feeling too. I like that phrase.

  5. I think furnishing yourself with a Djinn that allows an action once the game end is triggered is probably key - the end of our game was a bit of a damp squib in that regard.
    Did that affect your 2 player games at all?

  6. I had the Djinn that let me populate an empty tile with three more random meeples - but I chose not to action it. There had been so much to think about I was glad the board was getting sparse!

  7. Joe was the only one of us on Tues night to have a Djinn that needed activating... and he never activated it. The 2p version does sound like it could be a little more strategic, and yet also more AP prone!

  8. Not for want of trying. When placing a palace it allowed me to place it in any of the surrounding tiles instead; but the opportunity never arose.
    One would need to place one' camels strategically adjacent to palace tiles to make use of it, so quite a lot of joined up thinking required.
    I wonder if it would be better if it could be used whenever *anyone* placed a camel - you'd still need to be able to pay to activate it and only use it once per turn so it wouldn't be a total spoiler.

  9. I meant palace not camel in that last sentence, obv.

  10. That sounds too strong. Remember you got a bunch of points for buying the Djinn too, even if you never used him.

  11. Yeah thas true - that's all mine were good for really. But even my activatable one wasn't usable in the endgame as it required a viable move to trigger. I wonder how many of them can be used independently in the endgame scenario.
    The endgame thing is bugging me, it seems un-finessed.

  12. Well if it ends on camels running out, you don't have that problem. And if it looks likely to end on there being no viable moves, it's just another thing to take into account in the turn order bidding, right?

  13. In the cold light of day I still can't decide if it's brilliant or just weird.

  14. I'm pretty convinced it's not brilliant - but I wanna play it!