Mak Haz
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I am new to board games. I apologize beforehand if this question or anything I say here is stupid. I have played only Pandemic, Ticket To Ride, and Splendor so far (and love all 3). I am thinking of getting an area control game next. My choices are limited because in my country not many board games are available. They have only the most popular board games. Otherwise they ship from the US but shipping costs a lot almost making them not affordable. Right now both Small World and Five Tribes are available at an affordable price. So I am thinking of getting one of them.

Both of them have high ratings and great reviews and so I am torn which one to get. On the one hand I would like a game that's not too complicated, since I am a beginner; on the other hand I want a game that has replay value, not something which ceases to be fun after playing for a couple of times. Which one would you suggest I get and why?
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Evgeni Dimitrov
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Five tribes is not area control, but is much better game.Both games are good with all number of players.Small world has a lot of races and skills to be remembered, and has a ton of set up, and has a PC/APP variant with is better and faster
Five tribes is your choice .Also you do not need easier game because you are new to board games, you are either smart enough to play the more complicated games, or you are not.
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David B
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Five Tribes is the better game. And it’s not hard to learn especially if you watch a video first.
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max8945 wrote:
I am new to board games. I apologize beforehand if this question or anything I say here is stupid. I have played only Pandemic, Ticket To Ride, and Splendor so far (and love all 3). I am thinking of getting an area control game next. My choices are limited because in my country not many board games are available. They have only the most popular board games. Otherwise they ship from the US but shipping costs a lot almost making them not affordable. Right now both Small World and Five Tribes are available at an affordable price. So I am thinking of getting one of them.

Both of them have high ratings and great reviews and so I am torn which one to get. On the one hand I would like a game that's not too complicated, since I am a beginner; on the other hand I want a game that has replay value, not something which ceases to be fun after playing for a couple of times. Which one would you suggest I get and why?


Small World is a medium-light game, average weight 2.37/5.
Five Tribes is a medium game, average weight 2.90/5.

For a beginner I'd probably recommend Small World. It's a great "gateway" game and the nice thing is you'll be able to play it with other folk who you're introducing to the hobby, non-gamers, new/casual gamers, etc. I think Five Tribes might be a tad too complicated to serve in that role, at least Small World is more ideal for that.

Small World has a bunch of expansions, hopefully they would be available where you are. Because the replay-value is increased very much when you start adding in the expansions, especially with higher player counts.
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Chris S
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I'll disagree with the above suggestions.

I think Small World is a better game. And I'm not sure who has played it in here because set up is actually significantly easier than five tribes. You just place the board, put the lost tribes on and stack up the races and power. And you don't have to remember all of the races, you just look up the races as they come up and that's it. No need to remember it all. Small World is easier to get into, makes more sense inherently while you are playing it, and has some really fun expansions that are actually excellent. It is perhaps the very best scaling game I have ever played. It plays excellent at 2 players all the way up to 6 players (with expansion boards). It may be one of the best simple area control games made. It really is quite excellent although it isn't the sexy pick these days.

Five tribes is a good game, but set up is actually more arduous than Small World (although still not a big deal), it is not actually as intuitive as Small World. It really is a lot of fun but it is not area control.

Of the two I think I would highly recommend Small World over Five Tribes. But both are great. I own both and have played both a lot, but if I had to keep only one of the two, it would be Small World.
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Ladson
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I run away when Small World is offered at game night. Sagrilarus sums it up well:

---------------------

"I like Chicken McNuggets."


Of course you do. Everyone does. Chicken McNuggets were designed by a committee whose goal was to create a food considered "good enough" by a maximal number of Americans. Small World went through the same process.

S.

Just not a lot of decision-making here. The game plays itself very nicely for the most part, occasionally asking you for a bit of input.

Decisions do occur when it's time to decline, and there was some interest there for me on a couple of occasions. That doesn't happen very often though -- the bulk of the game is GACMITS and I didn't find it compelling. It's just not a game that requires very much thought. The game plays itself.

Very pretty package though. Days of Wonder sure knows how to fill a box. I understand that this game is geared towards the family market, and I should consider it in that light -- it's an intentionally soft play. But soft doesn't have to mean uninspiring, and I think that's happened on this one. For kids I think some of Days of Wonder's other titles would be a far better choice - Pirates Cove, Ticket to Ride or Memoir '44 all come to mind, largely because their theme has some edge to it and you can put your own personality into the play. Small World lacks that. You can leave the table for a bit and have other people take your turn for you without it mattering very much.

Here's the real disappointment -- there's the remains of a game here that got stomped on.

If you could eliminate multiples of an opponent's pieces in a territory you would have some level of tactical action in the game. You'd have to worry about defense, and position, and consolidation. Territory would have meaning.

Or, if you could press your luck with that cool six-sider on every advance it would make for a press-your-luck element that would really require you to make tough decisions and live with the consequences. You'd have to measure your options carefully, splitting troops with care, not boxing yourself in -- you'd own your game. Even the one special ability that allows you to use that die each time offers it prior to the attack decision (and the rule is carefully written to indicate that, as if someone did it the other way during playtest and mistakenly stumbled across too much joy.)

Alas, none of that is the case. What remains is a very simple, very tepid game, a slice of milquetoast that consumes itself while you watch. I'm very surprised it's getting the attention that it does.
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Daniel
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Small World has fun ideas, but the gameplay didn't do it for me. Five Tribes is great. Very different games, though.
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Philip Kitching
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Small World or Five Tribes?

That’s easy, buy Five Tribes.

Not because it is better, although it probably is.
Certainly not because it is a better area control game for beginners - it isn’t area control.

It does have a nice progressive puzzle aspect:

1. Which tile can I reach from here?
2. Which tile can I start on to reach this one?
3. Which tile can I start on to claim this one with blue?
4. Which route does not leave my opponents with easy points?
5. What is the value of paying extra to go first?
6. Probably worth thinking about victory points by now...

However, the real reason for buying Five Tribes is Vinci.
This is the original and better version of Small World.
 
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Andrew Turpin
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Re: Small Worldd or Five Tribes - Which area control/influence game is better for beginners?
The AP alone is likely to suck the fun out of Five Tribes for newbies. I have no dog in this fight, got rid of both for different reasons. Five Tribes for the AP with new players and Small World became slightly dull for me personally after 10 or so plays. My group would have kept playing Small World had I kept it.
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I've never played Five Tribes, but about Small World, all the above comments are true.

Small World is a very simple game, easy setup, fantastic quality components, whimsically beautiful artwork, modular characteristic+race combinations to create a wide variety of replayability. Plays from 2-5 players with different board sizes to help scale the game for different number or players, but it's really lackluster at 2-players. The game is better with more players with increased tension.

With that said, Small World is a great family with young kids...but I wouldn't bring it out in an adult play group even if they are beginner gamers.
 
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Steve Greasby
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I like 5 Tribes much more than Small World. I find Small World to be rather boring. The fact that the races are randomized each game makes it slightly more entertaining, but the game feels very repetitive.

5 Tribes has a lot more game behind it. There are tons of ways you can play 5 Tribes so you should always be able to find a path to victory. However, as you play 5 Tribes, there the number of available moves shrinks and other player moves start to have more impact so the game does slow as you try to find a move, any move, let alone a good move. AP implies that you are weighting your options, that is not necessarily what is happening, you are just trying to find a move you can make. I think a better term would be "turn paralysis". That said, if you don't mind it slowing down, it is a great game and it feels different than most other games.
 
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Fernando Robert Yu
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secoAce wrote:
I've never played Five Tribes, but about Small World, all the above comments are true.

Small World is a very simple game, easy setup, fantastic quality components, whimsically beautiful artwork, modular characteristic+race combinations to create a wide variety of replayability. Plays from 2-5 players with different board sizes to help scale the game for different number or players, but it's really lackluster at 2-players. The game is better with more players with increased tension.

With that said, Small World is a great family with young kids...but I wouldn't bring it out in an adult play group even if they are beginner gamers.


I own both games and while I agree Five Tribes is the better game, Small World is a lot of fun and is the better game for noobs. The trick is to take it at face value as a game which should not be taken seriously and just for light in your face action. I also won't recommend 5T for beginners they mught find it overwhelming and be turned off to the hobby.
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James Patterson
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I have never played Five Tribes, so I can't comment on it, but we have enjoyed Small World immensely. I think it fits right at the level of games you mentioned: Ticket to Ride, Pandemic and Splendor. It is definitely more confrontational than any of those, but not unreasonably so. The variable combination of races and powers gives a ton of replayability, and it is very accessible to players who are new to modern gaming. Sure, you may tire of it eventually, but I think you'll enjoy it quite a bit before you reach that point.

Of course, it all depends on your group. Small World would go well with a group of guys that want to trash talk each other as they spread out their armies. If that's your style, I don't think you could go wrong with Small World. If you want something more puzzley and contemplative, then (as far as I can tell having never played it) Five Tribes may be your choice. You should base your decision on what you and your group will get the most enjoyment out of, not some nebulous definition of the "better" game.

Good luck, and welcome to BGG!
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JohnnyDollar wrote:

For a beginner I'd probably recommend Small World. It's a great "gateway" game and the nice thing is you'll be able to play it with other folk who you're introducing to the hobby, non-gamers, new/casual gamers, etc. I think Five Tribes might be a tad too complicated to serve in that role, at least Small World is more ideal for that.


I highly disagree with this statement; Five Tribes was actually a gateway game for some people.meeple
Gateway games shouldn't be too simple or family friendly; they should look interesting and enticing enough for them to look for other games.

Otherwise, they may dismiss the game, and move on (too boring for their tastes); or like it - and continue playing it for a long time until they move on or look for other games (why look for other games if this one works?).

As for the original question, he should try the app for Small World and watch gameplay videos of both games; and them decide for himself.

p.s. I didn't like Small World for a couple of reasons:
- too cut-throat and mean (2 player game)
- too simple to enjoy - there are nuances, but the game isn't appealing enough to actually care.

 
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Chaddyboy
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It seems like a lot of replies have gotten caught up in what game they personally like better.

Objectively, if your criteria is an area control game for beginners, Small World much better fits the description.

Welcome to BGG!
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river tam
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I got bored of small world quickly. I think el grande is a better choice for area control. The rules are not too hard but it’s a game you can fun with for years.
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Mak Haz
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Thank you all for your replies! One thing that I didn't mention in my original post is that everyone I play with is new to board games. Which means that I have to explain the rules to them before playing. So, even before I can play my first game, I will have to learn the rules myself well enough to actually teach my friends so that they can play with me.

So I have decided to go with Small World for the time being. Maybe eventually I will also get Five Tribes. But right now Small World seems to be the better choice given my situation (limited number of available board games, cost, and not too intimidating rules to learn and teach for a beginner).
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