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Subject: Five Tribes - Kingdom Builder Done Right? - A Review after 10 plays rss

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Jimmy Okolica
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What's this game about?

I bought a copy of Five Tribes at Gencon and have now played it 10 times - two 4-player games, five 3-player games and two 2-player games. Although DoW has called it a "gamer's game", I think of it more as a Gateway+ game. There are definitely decisions to be made and the better player will almost always win. However, there is enough randomness and chaos thrown in that the conclusion is always in doubt. That makes it ideal as a family game and not bad as a medium-light game to play with gamers. Personally, I'd stay away from playing it with heavy gamers who are inclined to min-max the whole thing.

The game is a nice mix of strategy and tactics. Players have the option to go down a couple of strategic paths early on (e.g., choosing a specific Djinn and getting the most from it, going market card heavy, or going Vizier heavy) but the amount of change that occurs on the board between a player's turns means that much of the time, they will be looking for what gets them the most points "right now". I've played this with my kids and they've done well. Their biggest struggle is the turn order auction and balancing "lots of points now" with liquidity later.

This is a beautifully produced game. The components are wood and thick cardboard. The graphics on the Djinns are gorgeous. The insert is functional and not a waste of space. The rulebook is easy to read, easy to teach from, and easy to look to for answers. In short, this is a great game to introduce to people who have played games like Ticket to Ride or Small World and a good game to introduce to anyone interested in seeing the boardgaming hobby.

Bottom Line: this is a game that combines a high quality components, simple ruleset, a fair amount of depth, and enough randomness and chaos to create an above average Gateway+ game for families, casual gamers, and even BGGers.



How do you play?

Feel free to skip this if you already know how to play. I thought about leaving it all out, but figured I'd leave it in for people who needed it.

This is no replacement for the rules. I've probably left something out. However, this should give you a feel not only for how to play but for how quickly it can be taught.

Overview
Each round begins with players doing a once-around action for turn order. Then each player takes a turn. On a player's turn, he'll pick up all of the meeples on a single tile, then he'll drop them Mancala style, one at a time, on an orthogonal path. The last meeple he drops, he must drop on a tile that already has a meeple of the same color. Then he picks up all the meeples of that color and does that meeple action. Then he does that tile's action. Then, if there are no more meeples on that tile (and no camel already there), he places his camel there. This repeats until the end of the game -- either a player places his last camel or there are no more moves left. At the end of the game, players get points for a bunch of different things and whoever has the most points wins.


Meeple Actions



Blue dudes - Merchants - count up the number of merchants you took (plus any slaves you want to turn in) and multiply that by the number of blue tiles adjacent to the current tile (also include the tile itself). You get that much money and the blue meeples go in the bag.

Red dudes - Assassins - count up the number of assassins you took (plus any slaves you want to turn in) and trace an orthogonal path that far from the current tile. Kill (put in the bag) a single meeple on that path (including the starting tile). If you emptied a tile by doing this, put your camel on it. Alternatively, kill (put in the bag) one meeple that another player has. Then put the assassins you took in the bag.

Green dudes - Traders - count up the number of traders you took (X) and take the first X market cards. Then put the traders in the bag.

Yellow dudes - Viziers - take the viziers and put them in front of you.

White dudes - Elders - take the elders and put them in front of you.



Tile Actions



Sacred Space (optional) - turn in 2 elders (or one elder and one slave) and take a Djinn

Large Market (6/2 of 6) and Small Market (3/1 of 3) (optional) - turn in $6 ($3) and take two (one) of the first six (three) market cards.

Oasis (Palm Trees) and Villages (Palaces) (mandatory) - place a palm tree (palace) on the current tile.



Turn Order Auction



In Turn Order (either from the previous turn or randomly at the beginning of the game), each player has one chance to place their token on an unoccupied price (0, 1, 3, 5, 8, 12, 18) and pay that price to the bank. Once all players have done this, the turn order is from most spent to least spent. The zero space is an exception and multiple people (up to 3) can place their token there. The last person to place there goes first among them and the first person to place there goes last.


Djinn Cards



Each round begins with 3 Djinn cards face-up. There are 22 different Djinn cards that let you break the rules in one way or another. Most give the player extra VPs in some way or other. In some cases, each time a player activates the Djinn, he has to pay either an elder, a slave, or both (or 2 elders). The Djinn cards are only refilled at the end of the round.



Market Cards



Each round begins with 9 market cards face-up. There are 10 different types of market cards - slaves (18 of them) and 9 different types of resources (36 of them). Resource cards come in different frequencies - 3 types have 2 copies, 3 type have 4 copies and 3 types have 6 copies. Slaves are used as described above. Resources can be turned in for money. Player try to get the largest set of different resources and then turn in that set (9 different resources = $60, 8 different = $50, 7 = $40, 6 = $30, 5 = $21, 4 = $13, 3 = $7, 2 = $3, 1 = $1). These sets can either be turned in at the end of a player's turn or at the end of the game. Market cards are only refilled at the end of the round.



End Game Points
Note: when teaching this, distribute old score sheets to players to help them.



Each dollar (you start with $50) is worth a point

Each yellow dude is worth a point. In addition, in a 4-player game, whoever has the most gets 30; second most 20, third most 10 (ties drop to the next level). In a 3-player game, it's 20 and 10 for most/second-most and in a 2-player game, it's 10 for the most.

Each white dude is worth 2 points.

Each Djinn you got is worth the points printed on it

Each camel you placed is worth the points printed on the tile

Each palm tree on a tile with your camel is worth 3 points

Each palace on a tile with your camel is worth 5 points

Market cards score points as described above



How Does the Game Feel?
After 10 plays, it reminds me of Kingdom Builder. Don't get me wrong, they are very different games, but they have a similar feel. At the beginning of the game (or at worst by the beginning of Round 2), players should have a rough strategy of what they want to do. Viable strategies include getting big sets of resources, getting a Djinn and building your game around it, or going after Viziers. These strategies will account for possibly up to half of your points. Although players may try to mess with you a bit, there's only so much they can do without hurting themselves. Screwage is higher than Kingdom Builder but not much.

The rest of your points (and this may be most of them) will come from opportunistically doing what's best each round. Getting camels on the board is important. Getting camels on palm tree or palace spots and then re-activating those tiles is important. Getting viziers is important. Clearing a tile with assassins that lets you kill the last meeple on another tile and place two camels in a turn is important. Getting the stuff you need to activate the super-cool Djinn you got is important. Getting lots more money is important. Possibly getting resource cards is important. Lots of important things.

And what you do depends on what the board looks like on your turn. That's where it reminds me of Kingdom Builder. On your turn, there are lots of things that you want to do, but the card in hand (Kingdom Builder) or the board (Five Tribes) will restrict what you can do. In both cases, clever play will mean you have more options to do something that helps you. And, in both cases, by play 2 or 3, the "very good" (but not necessarily the "best") options are clear very quickly.

The big spot where it differs from Kingdom Builder is interaction. While screwage is fairly low in Five Tribes, interaction is not. There's interaction during the bidding. There's interaction in the placement of the meeples (via your mancala path). There's interaction in assassinating each other's meeples (one play saw me lose 20 points from a timely killing of one of my Viziers). There's interaction in taking market cards. There is a lot of interaction here. Fortunately, most of the negative interaction is incidental screwage but interaction is very much there.

The other trait it shares with Kingdom Builder is game pace. If everyone is going along their merry way, collecting market cards and viziers and Djinns, they may be rudely surprised by the guy who's been dropping one or two camels each round. Players can very much influence game pace and depending on what players do, the length of the game can vary significantly.

There has been some discussion on the 2-player game. I've only played it twice with 2 and I like it. The chaos is definitely decreased and since it is possible to take two actions back to back (and even four, theoretically), there is much more of a possibility to set yourself up for clever plays. That said, money is much tighter (you bid for two spots each round) and money management and liquidity are correspondingly much more important.

All of my plays have taken around 60 - 75 minutes. While I'd like to see the time drop to 45 - 60, I'm not convinced it will. There's a fair amount to think about, including how much it's worth to pay for turn order (knowing someone may pay slightly more and take the action you wanted) and which of the "good actions" is better.


Concerns

The biggest concern surrounding Five Tribes is Analysis Paralysis. There are lots of options, not just from where you pick up the meeples and to where you put them, but also the path you take and which meeples you drop where. If players worry too much about how they're setting everyone else up, the game can go much too long. In general, players should have a couple of tiles they want to go to and a couple of tiles to start from that get them there. When it's their turn, figuring out the particular paths shouldn't take long. The only potential issue is the min-max calculation of the best path/order of dropping meeples. Hopefully, you won't be playing with people who spend too much time on this min-max stuff.

The second place where AP can bog the game down is the auction. Let's say I'm first. How much should I bid? Well, not only does it depend on how much the best move can get me, but also how much the second best move can get me (and the third and fourth) and how much I think the board may change and how it may change if I don't go first. If I bid $12 ( a high bid) and someone bids $18, I not only may not get my "best move", but Player 1 may change the board enough by the meeples he picks up and where he drops them, that my second and third "best moves" are gone too. So, do I bid low and just get the crumbs? How many good move are out there and how much can the board change between players? Of course, if I'm the first to bid 0, that means I get the last bid next round which means I can probably get whatever I want if I'm willing to pay for it. To me, this is the spot where some amount of AP makes sense. And it's the spot that means this isn't a gamer's game. The auction and board state are too fragile for min-max calculation. Players are playing a bit of "push-your-luck", "hope for the best" game. This is the first reason I don't consider it a Gamer's Game. That's not a bad thing, but for people who are expecting it, I think this is the first reason they'll be disappointed.

The second reason I don't consider Five Tribes a Gamer's Game is due to the randomness of the cards, particularly the market cards. For instance, say in Round 1, you see jewels, ivory, and papyrus along with fish and wheat available if you pay $18. plus $6. If you don't get any more resource cards, you're down $3, but the next resource card you get is worth $9 and every different resource after that is worth $10. Do you drop the big cash? Odds are in your favor, but who knows how the cards will turn out. Market cards can pay huge dividends but they are very much a push-your-luck strategy. I like it and I laugh when I (or someone else) drops the $24 and the next round all the cards are replaced with slaves no one wants. But, that's the risk, and for me, it's the second reason that I don't think of Five Tribes as a Gamer's Game.

Several people have described Five Tribes as a "point salad". No matter what you do, you get points -- every meeple except for the Assassins directly gives you points (note: money = points) and most of the time, the assassins give you points too (in the form of a second camel or occasionally taking away someone's Vizier majority). But the amount of points is often not clear. When I get a couple of elders, will I turn them in for a Djinn or keep them for endgame points? How will I use the slaves I get? For Djinns? For Merchants? But it doesn't feel like an engine builder either, despite the fact that the Djinns, market cards, slaves, and elders all lean that way. Lastly, the fact that the end-game is variable and can be strongly influenced by a player makes me feel like it's neither a point-salad nor an engine-builder.

There are two other concerns people have raised. The second one I'll ignore. The first one concerns DoW's decision to only put enough components in two colors (Turquoise and Pink) for the two-player game. If you play with 2, you have to use Pink and Turquoise (my daughter corrects me every time I say Blue). I think it was short-sighted and midly irritating, but not a huge deal. The insert was designed for 6 markers (4 players plus two extras for the 2-player game). Adding in two more markers would have meant reconfiguring the insert. It probably could have been done, but it's more than just throwing a little more wood in the box.

Kingdom Builder Done Right?

versus


So, my guess is that some people have jumped right to here ready to defend their beloved Kingdom Builder. I am not hear to damn Kingdom Builder but to praise it. Well, sort of. The two games have similarities and differences. Depending on what your likes and dislikes are, you may find either preferable.

Making the most of what you've got - This is why they feel so similar to me. When it's my turn, I look at the board and try to make the most of what I've got. This is where they connect for me.

Strategic - Kingdom Builder is more strategic. It is possible, with clever play, to come up with a strategy early and for the most part follow it through to the end. Five Tribes has some strategy as well, but the chaos on the board means there will be a greater need for flexibility and tactical responses.

Control - Five Tribes has more control. Although KB is more strategic, you are ultimately at the mercy of the cards. Several bad cards in a row and you may feel like the game is playing you. With Five Tribes, there are always options and almost always "good" options. What's more, the ability to influence turn order gives even greater contorl.

Interaction - Both games have some interaction, but Five Tribes has significantly more. Everything players do affects other players. However, while screwage is probably higher in FT than KB, it is not much higher, letting this continue to be a good family game.

Game Pace - Kingdom Builder is always ended by someone running out of dudes. It is only one of FT's end conditions. However, in both games, it's something to watch out for. Paradoxically, in FT, it's something that can be adjusted to in the mid- to late- game. In KB, I feel like it's always better to rush the ending. In FT, it may or may not and you can adjust as needed.

Depth/ Replayability - I know the popular answer is that FT is deeper, but I'm not convinced of that. The replayability is higher due to the mixed boards, meeples, and cards (while KB has only a mix of boards and cards and goals) but I'm not convinced that the depth is greater.

Expansions - I hate expansions. I like a game to be complete out of the box. And Five Tribes is. However, I can see DoW making just as many expansions for FT as Queen has for KB.

Point Salad - Both KB and Ft could be labeled as such. KB has fewer ways to get points in a single game, but more variety overall (as the goal cards selected change). However, in both games, points are awarded at the end and in both, sometimes a player will make a move now that invests in the future. Neither feels like Point Salad to me.

Play Time - Kingdom Builder is shorter. IMO, KB should take about 30 minutes while I don't expect Five Tribes to ever come in much under an hour.

Analysis Paralysis - There's no question that Five Tribes has a much greater potential for AP. The potential is so high that immediately after buying it, I went out and bought a sand timer. Luckily, I have yer to need it. Although 7 of my 10 plays have been with family, 3 have not and in all cases, the games finished in around 60 - 75 minutes. That doesn't mean that there won't be players who take longer. I will just do my best to avoid them.

BOTTOM LINE
After reading this, you may think the differences are much greater than the similarities. However, playing it, they have the same feel for me. They have the same weight for me. I'd play these games with the same groups of people. Kingdom Builder has the edge in game length and probably teaching. Five Tribes has the edge in control and interaction. For casual gamers (no AP issues), I think the greater control, interaction and tactical focus makes Five Tribes the preferable game.


First Play Considerations
I don't think anything I'm saying is a spoiler, but if you want to play the game without any preconceptions, skip this.

1. Money = VPs. Money also equals liquidity. It is very rarely a good move to spend more money then you get in VPs (or at least potential VPs). What's more, even if you are getting more VPs than you're spending, consider the game will likely run around 8 turns and if you run out of money before the end, you'll suffer (at least a bit).

2. When you drop your last meeple there already has to be a meeple of that color in that tile. You can't drop the last meeple in an empty tile. However, by dropping meeples in formerly empty tiles, it is possible to claim them later. Furthermore, if you pick up at least 5 meeples, it's possible to twist around and claim a tile that was empty when you started your path.

3. Resource cards can give a lot of points. You don't have to go that route but at least keep it in mind and possibly play spoiler with some of those juicy "2-copy" cards. However, if you go that route, don't stop halfway in. The real points come from getting big sets. If you invest in resource cards early, you really should try to see it through.

4. Getting one Djinn early and riding it through the game works well. Getting several and riding all of them is hard to pull off. If you can easily get them, that's fine, but forgoing camels to get several is rarely a good idea.

5. This can be a race game. The game ends immediately when someone places their last camel. Watch the pace of the game. Long-term strategies don't work well if someone is able to end it early.

6. When trying to figure out if you can go from one tile to another, count the meeples in the from-tile. Then, count an orthogonal path from the from-tile to the to-tile. If the number of tiles is even and the # of meeples is even (and at least as big), you can get from one to the other. The same if both numbers are odd. If one is odd and the other is even, you can't.

Long Term Outlook
So is Five Tribes just another soulless Euro (JASE)? Initially, I thought so. Now I'm not so sure. There's more interaction here than in many Euros. It's filled with high quality, colorful components and is easy to teach. It's got enough thinking that a BGGer won't be bored playing it but it's also got enough chaos that a casual gamer at least has a shot at winning. There are high-risk strategies as well as low-risk strategies and in a given game, either may be successful. Players also have the ability to strongly affect game length further reinforcing the interaction. So, I don't think I'd call it another JASE.

After 10 plays, I like it. I'm still not sure if it'll have a permanent place in my collection but it might. It'll really depend on the kids. Right now, they still really like it. If that continues, it'll have a long-term place. If not, I'm not sure but it's possible I'll keep it as a good casual game.

Current Rating: 8
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Rick Teverbaugh
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You aren't praising KB at all in any way. You are also wrong about one oter thing: Kingdomb Builder is Kingdom Builder done right.
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Robert Hahn
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Well written. I like how you helped illustrate Five Tribe's points by comparing and contrasting with a game I am (and hopefully many others are) familiar with.
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Jimmy Okolica
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rickert wrote:
You aren't praising KB at all in any way. You are also wrong about one oter thing: Kingdomb Builder is Kingdom Builder done right.


Fair enough. It was more of a compare and contrast. KB is quite a good game. i can't recall ever turning down a game of it. It's rules-light, short to play, and engaging in a Dominion front-loaded abstract sort of way. Both KB and Five Tribes are very good and, depending on what you like, either might be better.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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I like the review overall. I am waiting for my copy of Five to play it some more. The one time I played at GenCon it didn't feel like KB at all. Reminded me more of Istanbul.
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Phil Triest
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A thumb for your title
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Paul Lister
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Great review. I also felt a similarity with Kingdom Builder - it feels that it engages the same part of my gamer brain. The puzzley nature of the game also allows for what appears to be some creative play. However, 'Kingdom Builder' feels like a much more elegant design to me in the way that it presents what appear limitations which are in fact opportunities for creative play. In 'Five Tribes' opportunities for creative play abound but the visible decision tree feels vast. I don't mind this but it has had the effect of literally paralyzing some of the people I have played with. To me it begs a question - is it a bad design that has this effect on gamers, or are the gamers at fault? I like 'Five Tribes' a lot but i want to play it at speed. An hour tops.
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Ultra Bithalver
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1 for the "dudes"

Good review, thank you very much !
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John Bandettini
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That one not so much
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Don't quite understand how the greatest game ever can be done right? Or is that instead of perfect?
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David Hubbard
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Nice review! Small rules nitpick though:

Butterfly0038 wrote:
Each yellow dude is worth a point. In addition, in a 4-player game, whoever has the most gets 30; second most 20, third most 10 (ties drop to the next level). In a 3-player game, it's 20 and 10 for most/second-most and in a 2-player game, it's 10 for the most.


Not sure where you got that... the rules are pretty clear they're worth 1 point each, plus 10 for each opponent who has less Viziers than you. It can often work out the way you describe, with 30/20/10 points given out as bonuses, but if people are tied you can have situations like:

Player 1 has the most Viziers in a 4-player game (6), so he gets 36 points.
Players 2,3 and 4 are tied with 4 Viziers, they all get 4 points each since no one has fewer Viziers.

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Jimmy Okolica
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Sorp222 wrote:
Great review. I also felt a similarity with Kingdom Builder - it feels that it engages the same part of my gamer brain. The puzzley nature of the game also allows for what appears to be some creative play. However, 'Kingdom Builder' feels like a much more elegant design to me in the way that it presents what appear limitations which are in fact opportunities for creative play. In 'Five Tribes' opportunities for creative play abound but the visible decision tree feels vast. I don't mind this but it has had the effect of literally paralyzing some of the people I have played with. To me it begs a question - is it a bad design that has this effect on gamers, or are the gamers at fault? I like 'Five Tribes' a lot but i want to play it at speed. An hour tops.


Paul,

Great comments. Except for topping at an hour -- I'm ok if it tops at 75 minutes although I wish it were shorter. Maybe after 20 plays?

I completely get what you mean about the elegance of KB, but I think it's a turn-off for new players. It feels too confining until you've played it 5 - 10 times. FT's huge decision tree can be paralyzing but it makes sure there's almost always something useful -- a big plus for casual/family gamers.

In answer to your question, I wonder if it's because despite DoW's claim that it's a gamer's game, it really is better suited to the casual/family gamers (and possibly to gamers who are willing to take off their min/max hats and play it more casually).
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Jimmy Okolica
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Daverman wrote:
Nice review! Small rules nitpick though:

Butterfly0038 wrote:
Each yellow dude is worth a point. In addition, in a 4-player game, whoever has the most gets 30; second most 20, third most 10 (ties drop to the next level). In a 3-player game, it's 20 and 10 for most/second-most and in a 2-player game, it's 10 for the most.


Not sure where you got that... the rules are pretty clear they're worth 1 point each, plus 10 for each opponent who has less Viziers than you. It can often work out the way you describe, with 30/20/10 points given out as bonuses, but if people are tied you can have situations like:

Player 1 has the most Viziers in a 4-player game (6), so he gets 36 points.
Players 2,3 and 4 are tied with 4 Viziers, they all get 4 points each since no one has fewer Viziers.



yep. That's why I say ties drop to the next level (e.g., if two people are tied for first in a 4-player game, they each get 20 and it goes down from there). I find it easier teaching it this way than the 10 points for everyone who has strictly less Viziers for you. Since everyone reads the player aid, after hearing me explain it one way and then reading it the other, it makes sense to them.
 
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Jonathan White
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Here I was all ready to (yet again) defend Kingdom Builder, but I have to say, I found your comparisons valid and well thought out. Great review! Five Tribes seems like a game I would really enjoy.
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Antonio Ferrari
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I like this game and I'd like to buy it one day but ...

Concerning this point: "Several people have described Five Tribes as a 'point salad'". What do you feel? Is the winner the player who really played better or a random player (possibily the one who has played only random moves without a strategy)?

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Andre Dubien
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Excellent review. I was excited for this release but now I'm not so sure. As I have been eyeing Kingdom Builder for quite a while now, I think KB might be a friendlier family game for me. My gaming group also consists of a couple of people who would definitely suffer from AP as there looks to be way too many choices and options on every players turn in this game. I do like the sand timer option to limit players turns.
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Paul Lister
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Re 'Five Tribes' as a 'Point salad'. Yes you do score every round. But some salads are just mountains of random leaf and vegetables, others crunchy affairs of a only a few ingredients with a zesty dressing. 'Five Tribes' is the second type of point salad. The lay out of the board and meeples and the starting Djinns might make some parts of the scoring more contested and important in a particular game than others - for example the blue tribe might yield average pickings in one game but in another could be a game winner. Picking up cards for sets can be super powerful or run of the mill. I always sense that my point accumulation is meaningful in relation to how well the other players are accumulating points. And in every game I have played the table has identified the winner before the points tally - unlike some Feld games where the end result can come as bit of a surprise. 'Five Tribes', for me, takes the pejorative out of 'Point Salad'.
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Lloyd
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This game is bullshit.
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Sorp222 wrote:
In 'Five Tribes' opportunities for creative play abound but the visible decision tree feels vast... literally paralyzing some of the people I have played with. To me it begs a question - is it a bad design that has this effect on gamers, or are the gamers at fault?


The gamers are to blame. They should be tied by the leg to a giant firework and, while the ignition fuse is lit, asked to list all of the possible ways they could escape and rank them in order of preference.

I figure this solution either cures them or solves the problem altogether.

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Jimmy Okolica
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af7hqs wrote:
I like this game and I'd like to buy it one day but ...

Concerning this point: "Several people have described Five Tribes as a 'point salad'". What do you feel? Is the winner the player who really played better or a random player (possibily the one who has played only random moves without a strategy)?


I'm not sure if I understand your question. If you're asking if a player can win without a long-term strategy simply by making the best move each turn, I think (but am not sure) that the answer is yes. After ten plays, there are two long-term strategies that I think are strong -- getting lots of market cards and getting an early Djinn and riding it to victory. The market card strategy is risky and can definitely fail and, depending on the early Djinns, there may not be any Djinn that is a strong candidate for a long-term strategy. So, it's definitely possible to win without a long-term strategy. That said, there are some things that every player should focus on (e.g., getting camels on the board, getting at least one or two Viziers, etc.). Is that a long-term strategy? I'd say no, but others might disagree.

If you're asking if a player can win by bidding zero each time, I'm not sure. Players start the game with 50 points ($50). In our games that's around a third of the points you'll end with (sometimes significantly more, sometime a bit less). Can you stick that in a corner and still get good points each round? Absolutely! Consider that the player who bids high to go first is really just taking the action following the guy who went last. Market & Djinn cards aside, that means the board state is unchanged and the guy who went last very likely had some good options to take. After 10 plays, I don't know if paying $0 every time can be a winning strategy or not, but it's one I'm curious to try (my gut is the answer is No and that sometimes investing to go earlier is necessary).

Lastly, if you're asking if a player can just play haphazardly, "Oh, look it's my turn, I'll take some market cards this turn. Oh look, it's my turn again, I'll get a couple of Viziers. Oh look, it's my turn again and I'm low on money, guess I'll take some merchants. Hey look! I get to place a camel" and win? No. This is a game where some moves are better than others and finding them and taking them is necessary to win.
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Enon Sci
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af7hqs wrote:
I like this game and I'd like to buy it one day but ...

Concerning this point: "Several people have described Five Tribes as a 'point salad'". What do you feel? Is the winner the player who really played better or a random player (possibily the one who has played only random moves without a strategy)?



I find your association of 'point salad' and 'random winners' a touch perplexing. Those elements shouldn't be conflated. The implication of random determination vs. skill isn't inherent to the term.

See Trajan (or really any Stefan Feld title) for reference. Sure, these games give out points for everything, but at the end of the day you're playing against other people.
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Jimmy Okolica
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Mandreke wrote:
Excellent review. I was excited for this release but now I'm not so sure. As I have been eyeing Kingdom Builder for quite a while now, I think KB might be a friendlier family game for me. My gaming group also consists of a couple of people who would definitely suffer from AP as there looks to be way too many choices and options on every players turn in this game. I do like the sand timer option to limit players turns.


First off, KB is friendlier in the sense that in FT there will be definitely times where I'm just trying to do what's best for me and that messes you up. That very rarely happens in KB. OTOH, as player get better , both games have opportunities to intentionally mess with people -- blocking them from spaces they need in KB so their choices aren't the way they wanted them, either taking meeples or at least re-positioning meeples that players want in FT. So, I'm not sure KB is friendlier depending on your table, but it definitely has less unintended interactions.

As far as AP, it really depends on the players. If you're talking about gamers that like to min/max things, then I would definitely recommend Kingdom Builder over Five Tribes (the sand timer might help, but why do that when you can just get a different game). If you're talking about people who might just be overwhelmed by the options, I'm not sure. I play with my kids. They move quickly (quicker than me). Sure, there's lots of options, but they see the one they want (and it's usually a good if not great one) and take it. They're competitive even if they're not winning (and I suspect that has more to do with the auction than anything else). So, AP is a funny issue with this one -- but, yeah, if they're gamers with AP, get Kingdom Builder.
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Andre Dubien
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I also mostly play with my family. We are not prone to AP (unless I'm losing in Splendor again to my oldest son) so Five Tribes might be be okay in that respect.
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Shoosh shoo
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In regards to point salad...

As was mentioned u do score points for nearly everything. As for a long term strategy...my suggestion is BE ADAPTABLE! IN Aall games i have played people who focus on one strategy always lose and score very poorly. You have to do a combination of things.

Also in one game i played the person who bid zero every time did in fact win. However it was all of the players' First game and we were juat trying to figure it out. We also let him rack up viziers. I still think its possible somebody could win by betting zero. Just dont count on it being a failproof strategy.

Great review
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Jonathan White
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In KB, the board state is less likely to change (unless maybe you are playing with a full compliment of 5) so you have time in between turns to identify your best move, thus minimizing AP. In FT, the board is constantly changing so planning your moves in advance would be difficult.
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Tim Royal
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Great article. Having Kingdom Builder, I probably would like Five Tribes it looks like.

And I'm very relieved it's not just another take on Djinn Rummy
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Phil Triest
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JohnBandettini wrote:
Don't quite understand how the greatest game ever can be done right? Or is that instead of perfect?


Are you being serious or facetious?
 
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