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Subject: How strategic is Five Tribes? rss

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Christopher Howard
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Bentonville
Arkansas
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How much strategy is really involved in Five Tribes? It seems like there are times (fairly often) when there is a clear 'best' move to earn the most points in a turn. Most experienced players will see the same optimal moves.

I guess my main question is, does the game allow much for individual strategies? Or are players simply looking at the optimal point-driven moves and being played by the game?


(I'm really hoping for strategy that allows players to successfully navigate different paths to victory. I can't wait to give this one a try. I'm really hoping it's a good one.)
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Der Malte
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I think it is much more tactical. The djinns support a little strategy, to focus some movements.
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trevor

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I haven't played the game.

But when I play it in my mind it seems much more tactical, too many ever changing factors. The board always changing, the djinns changing, what others are scoring in.....
 
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Shoosh shoo
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I have played this a handful of times at my local games nights. I have taught it to nearly ten people right now and it has been a big success.

This is all based on my personal opinion so don't think that I am the authority on this I feel that there is a lot of strategy in this game. If I could show you a picture of the score card it would summarize the way in which you score points. very quickly you get points for gold, viziers and elders you hold at the end of the game, points for tile control, owning oases, palaces, recruiting djinns, goods obtained from the markets, builder actions....I think that's it.

So when you set up the game randomly, you basically have quite a few directions in which you can start. But I have found so far that if you try to get all of your points through 1 method...you will fail!!! The reason is because the conditions may simply not be optimal for you to get all of your points that way, so you need to utilize multiple methods. The methods you choose are going to be highly dependent on how the board is set up and where the meeples are.

As an example, I have yet to play a game where focusing on Builders was an optimal strategy simply because I don't remember a game where the board was set up with a lot of blue tiles surrounding a lot of builders. I could have tried to move some builders into a good position but that would take multiple turns to do and gain me very little return. Each of your turns is very valuable.

Also, and it seems that this aspect is overshadowed by the main game, is the bidding mechanism. I am starting to realize just how important this part of the game is. Deciding when you want to go first, or hang back and let someone else go ahead of you (thereby saving your money aka points) is a key element to the game.

I am by no means a master at FT but I am starting to understand things a bit better and I think there is a lot of strategy in this game. Also, the game does not take very long to play. I can take it to my games nights and get in a couple of games and still have time to play others if I wish. I honestly don't understand all of these comments about the game being AP prone! I don't feel that way at all. I think if somebody is concerned about AP then that may suggest someone in their group has a bad case of AP no matter what the game they're playing (I know one guy who turned Love Letter into a 30 minute game!!!) In that case it may be better simply not to play with them

I would definitely give this a try. I have taught it to several new people and I can explain it in 10 mins roughly and afterwards everybody seems to catch on pretty quick. I've won a couple times and lost many others but it's a lot of fun either way! I freakin love this game!!!
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Josh Wood
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Sherman Oaks
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I feel like this game is a good blend of strategy and tactics.

Tactically you have to look at what moves are available on your turn, which is always changing.

Strategy develops more and more through the game. As you collect the genies, merchant cards, or whatever you start being more focused and plan on certain types of moves at that point.
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Christopher Howard
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Thanks for this overview. I got worried especially because the first move of Rahdo's run through was so obviously the best move, I hope that wasn't repeated through the games.

Thanks again for your response. I'm really excited to give this one a try. I hope it goes well with my group.
 
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Shoosh shoo
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While i have nothing against rahdo (i really love his work and he is a pretty nice guy in person) i disagreed with a few things in his runthrough for Five Tribes. He also states in his video and his comments that those opinions are his and take them for what they are.

The meeples are distributed at random on setup. If u dont like how they are laid out u can always redistribute them. Last night the game began with a tile that had 3 elders. I pointed that out to the newbies and said that would be an excellent first move.... But that doesnt happen numerous times a game.
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Christopher Howard
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Great. I'm excited to give it a try? Shooshoo, have you tried 2 player? Your thoughts?....that's another thing Rahdo disliked.
 
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Shoosh shoo
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I've only played in 4 and 3 player games and they all seemed pretty balanced. I think what rahdo disliked about the 2 player bidding aspect is that he said him and his wife felt like it was "cheap" because you're likely to end up with both players taking their turns back to back. He also suggests that it's possible to end up going 4 times in a row. He's not wrong, but you have to keep in mind that all of these bids cost money! If you're not getting enough of a return than there is no benefit to bid high.

I think Bruno also suggested in a thread somewhere that a viable strategy is to make your opponent bid high and make him or her spend all of their money before you. That's how somebody won in one of the games I played.

Also I got the impression that when Rahdo was talking about the whole bidding back to back, it sounded to me like he was saying that it was just too powerful. Yes you COULD set something up and then capitalize on it with your second move, but this doesn't guarantee you're always going to have an amazing move that you can pull off. He made it sound like it was so powerful to set up these situations where you are able to go 2 or even 4 times in a row... yes if you're experienced enough to be able to do that and set up a situation like that you could take a lot of great moves away from your opponent, but if there are no decent moves for you, then what's the difference if you go once, 4 times, or 10 times back to back? It wouldn't get you anything.

Again I'm not down talking rahdo at all. When I watch his videos I keep in mind that he seems to prefer playing 2 player games and his opinions reflect that. I would have to play FT with 2 players to see what it was like. I've just read a lot of comments on here who seem to take what rahdo says as the ultimate word, when they haven't really played it themselves. I think it's wrong to hold any reviewer to that standard! Rahdo didn't seem all that crazy about A Study in Emerald after his runthrough... after watching it I bought that game and it's one of my most favourite games!
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Enon Sci
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shooshoo wrote:
He made it sound like it was so powerful to set up these situations where you are able to go 2 or even 4 times in a row... yes if you're experienced enough to be able to do that and set up a situation like that you could take a lot of great moves away from your opponent, but if there are no decent moves for you, then what's the difference if you go once, 4 times, or 10 times back to back? It wouldn't get you anything.



No, not powerful. His concern was AP. The actual power was irrelevant -- his annoyance was in the potential. With 4 turns back to back, you could really set yourself up nicely , but only if you worked the puzzle turns ahead (otherwise you'd miss those opportunities). It was this working ahead of the puzzle that he didn't enjoy, regardless of its fruits (AP prone people have to work it even in instances where the analysis returns fruitless results).
 
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Shoosh shoo
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I guess u could really work to set yourself up nicely by getting 4 turns in a row... But im thinking that would be a lot of work to do for not enough gain and who says that when u r done u havent set up the next person? If i played the game so much where i was that experienced then i think that would mean either... There wouldnt be a lot of ap because i would be a very experienced player and i would see potential moves like that before they happened. Also if i were that experienced then my games likely will be shorter because i will either be playing with other experienced players or i will be destroying newbies...which is not fun for me

You guys are really making me want to play this with 2 people now so i can see the difference! Anyone living in my town own this game??? Maybe we can meet up and start playing
 
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Enon Sci
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Mind you, I'm not claiming this level of AP will spontaneously emerge in all players, just that the game appears to allow for it in those so predisposed. I'm (thankfully) not of their ilk, but a buddy in my group certainly is.

Personally, I'm a bit more Zen about things; I feel first impressions speak to decisions that are more quintessentially "you".. and after years of analytical work, I have a pretty high threshold for complex decision spaces (physics, music production, programming, econometric homework at Uni, ect).

Five Tribes seems like a decent little title. I pulled the trigger on Trajan instead, though.

 
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