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Five Tribes» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Five Tribes as a 2 player game rss

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Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This review is part of my series of reviews of how multiplayer games play with just 2 players. For the full list see: My 2 player game reviews.

Rules - how are they different in a 2 player game?

In a 2 player game you play with just two of the colours, but there are extra pieces available - so you play with 2 pieces/turns each, and have extra camels to place. The others rules are unchanged.

How is the game different with 2?

The major difference is the fact that you have 2 turns in each round, and often these turn out to be double-turns. This makes a big difference to the thinking required, because unlike the multiplayer game where generally the board changes dramatically between your turns, you can actually have to plan two turns in a row on a regular basis - often trying to use one of your turns to set something up more powerful on your second turn. This type of second-level planning just isn't present in the same way in the multiplayer game, as the only time you get a double turn then is if you're last in one turn, and then you often have to pay highly to be first on the subsequent turn so lose much of the benefit.

There are also value changes in a couple of the tribal strategies. The green strategy can be harder to get complete sets in, as the deck doesn't cycle through as quickly, so can get stuck before the green player can get a huge set. The yellow strategy is also weaker, as the bonus for having the most yellows is effectively lower, as there are less people to have more than. On the other side, it's easier to amass large numbers of both white and yellow men, so you can get more points that way, and also get more power out of the Djinns you buy that need white men, as you get more use out of them.

Obviously Five divides differently by 2, so another difference is that each player will probably go for more tribes than in a multiplayer game - in 4 player games I often find each player concentrates particularly on one tribe with one subsidiary one; whereas in a 2 player game each player is more likely to score from a variety of tribes.

On the other hand, the basic gameplay from turn to turn plays out very similarly in the 2 player game as in the multiplayer one. On your turn you study the board, try to find the best mancala present, and you have an underlying strategy aiming for scores from particular tribes primarily. I don't find this aspect changes at all in the lower player count, so the feel of the game is unchanged.

I'm unsure whether there is more or less AP in a two player game. Obviously with 4 players you have three players to move between each of your turns, and very little planning you can do in their turns, so it feels like a lot longer between turns. However, if your opponent has a double turn that requires a lot of thought, then the AP that induces can be just as long at times - planning a double turn takes a lot more effort than planning a single one! On the whole though, I think the 2 player game has less downtime.

Verdict

Five Tribes works very well as a 2 player game, and I think I prefer it slightly that way to the multiplayer game, but it's fairly marginal.
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Michael Drog
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Appreciate the 2 player reviews!

I'd recommend Longhorn as a stripped down Five Tribes for 2 players.
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Jaime D.
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Yes, thanks for the insights in the 2 player mode. We've played 3/4 times in this way and your overview is very accurate.

Cheers
 
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Taylor Kitto
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This is good to read. After watching Rahdo's run through, he hated how much AP the 2 player game brings. I am mostly going to play 2 players with my fiance, so i'm relieved that not everyone's experience was negative.
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Mike James
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The game certainly feels no different to me. We've played twice now, one two player and one three player, and the only difference I noticed was a focus on one tribe in a three player game. One of us went for yellow, one went for green, and the third utilized the assassins. Both games we've played have been close, and we're quickly learning the strategy.

I'm not sure which of the two games I enjoyed more. I guess only time will tell, as I can already see a HUGE array of strategies and tactics available.

This has nothing to do with your review, but I thought this game was supposed to be a "gamer's" game. I am absolutely in love with it, but my mom, who is not a gamer, played it with us and seemed to really enjoy herself. I guess that's just a testament to good design!
 
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