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:
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:
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.