I surveyed the board and found a good, no, a superb move. I would add two more Viziers to my collection giving me the edge over the previous leader. This would give me 10 more points. Plus the three points per vizier- one of my Jinns, Jafaar, made them worth three instead of 2. And I would clear the tile and could place my camel there. That's 8 points. Not to mention the two buys I can make at the market. Those will make my trade cards increase in value from 30 to 50, though it'll cost me 6 to buy them. So... 20 - 6 + 10 + 6 + 6... 36 points! Not the best move ever, I still can't believe he nabbed 42 points with those builders. I guess he burned through a lot of Fakir cards to do it. But I digress.
Surely the rest of the jakals around the board can see this move too, though it wouldn't be worth as much to them. But now we get to bid to see who goes first. Peace! He bid 8!? When he's been bidding 0 the whole game? He must see something he wants in a bad way. Since he's been saving his money the whole game, I guess he can afford to bid so high now. 12!? She's bidding 12 to go first? You've gotta be kidding me? My only option to be first is to bid 18 now. Is it worth 18 to get 36? Or will my move be left over after they go? It's so late in the game, I... I don't know!
And that, gentle reader, is a not an uncommon conundrum you'll face playing five tribes.
If you are familiar with mancala, you'll know the experience above has nothing to do with that age-old game. But you will understand how turns are taken. The “board” is a five by six arrangement of beautifully, yet curiously colorful, desert tiles. These tiles begin loaded with multi-colored meeples. Three on each.
On your turn you simply lift all the meeple from one tile and drop then one at a time till they reach their destination. The only two requirements is that the tiles they pass through have to be adjacent and the last meeple you place has to match the color of at least one of the meeples on that last tile. Then you pick up all the meeples of that color and then the fun begins.
The first thing that happens is tile dependent. Some tiles let you
buy a Djinn
buy one or two cards from the market
build a palace on the tile
build an oasis on the tile
do nothing special
Second is dependent on the color of the meeples and the count of them you picked up.
Viziers (Yellow) you get to keep these in front of you, they count for a point a piece at the end of the game. If you have one more than the another player, you get an additional 10 points.
Elders (White) you likewise keep these in front of you. They are worth two points each but they can be used as currency to buy djinns.
Assassins (Red) let you kill a meeple on the board or one that a player has in front of them. You'd want to kill one on the board if it was the last meeple on the tile as you'd get to place one of your camels on it- claiming it as part of your sultanate. He more you get, the further your reach in killing, though you can always kill a players Elder of Vizier.
Builders (Blue) get cashed in for instant money. You multiply the number of builders by the number of tiles with blue circles on them in and around the tile the builders left. This can be very lucerative.
Merchants (Green) these get cashed in allowing you to take as many trade cards as you pick up meeples from the board.
Among the trade cards are Faqir (or slaves if you have an older less sensitive copy.) These can be used to virtually increase the count of meeples you pick up, with exception of Elders and Viziers, though they can be substituted for one of the Elders it costs to get a Djinn.
You play till there are no legal moves left and the game ends then.
I hate to tell you what to do but...
Using the faqir cards with the builders are probably the best turns I have ever single turn moves I have ever seen. The winner usually has also made a significant investment with the merchants getting trade cards. People who go after he Djinns usually don't fair well. They should be used to augment a strategy, not be one.
While you are putting camels down on deserty tiles, that doesn't help much. Getting Djinns helps with the theme but mostly not. The only part I really buy into is the assassins, because some unsuspecting meeple leaves the board. Otherwise, you feel like you are playing an abstract game, but it's fun. You talk about the move someone must have seen because they are paying a fortune to go first this round. But you are left wondering what the word tribes has to do with the game. Oh, I finally got it, there are five colors of meeples. But those are matters of profession... I digress and find further fault with the theme.
Very well balanced. You've got lots of choices to make.
Limited ways to directly interact- with the assassins. Otherwise, your move may mess up anothers, either intentionally or serendipitously.
It's there. You've got to wait your turn, and people can consider a lot of moves. But they only make one move, so that's nice.
What’s not to Like?
I don't have any complaints except the weak theme, but I love playing it. Oh, and I almost forgot. I got to use some sharpies on some of the she-djinns, I guess if you've read Arabian Nights (I've only heard) There was need of censoring.
I have it requested from time to time by a gaming group with lots of options. My kids 6 and up can play it. Though the 6 year old still loves the Djinns.
Not that it matters in most cases, but it sometimes could, I believe the tribe action is taken before tile action.
I paid 18 points to gain 78 one time with the builders as I had some slaves(vizirs) and the djin that double the gain of money for builders, it was totally worth it. But in many cases, it is not worth a lot, it really depends on how good the other players are to not let anything good left for you on the position you are.
Good review even though the title didn't telegraph that it was a review until I'd read through for a bit (to be fair, it is under the 'review' tab derp!). I like this game enough that even though two other people in my group have a copy, I'm getting one for myself.
There are a couple of djinn that can create some balance issues (the one that let's you buy other djinn comes first to mind), but otherwise I find it to be a fascinating gain/loss puzzle.
- Last edited Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:18 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:17 pm