The rogue’s gallery of reviewers at The Opinionated Gamers discuss the new game from Bruno Cathala and Days of Wonder, Five Tribes. Like Dale and most of the OP gang, I’m fond of Five Tribes after two plays, including a tie for the win this last weekend at Gateway 2014. This is actually kind of a new things for Days of Wonder, a venture in real Gamer’s Games (although some might say that Small World is a bit beyond their normal market, too).
Cathala’s excellent use of the Mancala-style mechanism that is the basis for Trajan (one of my favorite games of the last few years) as well has resulted in a good game that is at once pretty intuitive and also sufficiently detailed to engage serious gamers. Dale astutely points out the big knock on the game – players can fall into analysis paralysis with the often huge decision tree on the board (which, admittedly, dimishes as the game progresses). The challenge is not just that the board changes each turn (making it harder to plan), but you have to suss out the actual options you can take, and you are subject to following someone who just isn’t very good at finding the patterns who may leave you with great moves. In fact, in my game this last weekend, a guy spent five minutes trying to find the way to perform a move. It was right there and I could see it but heck if I was going to point out the thing he kept missing. Next, it was my turn and I made the move. He seemed a little annoyed but, seriously, am I supposed to play your game for you (he was accepting of it in the end – but maybe not all players will be.
Speaking to Tom Rosen’s point about the added need to bid points/money (they are one in the same) for turn order, the first time I played the game (earlier this year at the Gathering of Friends), we completely missed the turn order mechanism for a sizable portion of the game. I mean, it was a prototype and we just forgot. It happens. But the game moved like lightning and we were having fun. Is there a potential lighter version where you just skip turn order and the need to balance your bid against how many points you will score that turn? Notably, on the final turn of our game, one of the players took almost ten minutes to make his final bid for turn order. As I said, this isn’t for the AP players.
Anyway, I heartily recommend Five Tribes as an excellent game. I actually just had an email from Bruno Cathala a week ago and he noted he feels this is one of his finest games. He’s right – Five Tribes is going to be heavily played and, I think, loved in the days ahead. Glad to see the recently-acquired (by the excellent folks at Asmodee) Days of Wonder back on top with a winner that I will be buying as soon as it becomes available.
Designer: Bruno Cathala Publisher: Days of Wonder Players: 2-4 Time: 40-80 min* Ages: 13+ * recommended time is what is printed on the box, our games proved to be closer to 120 min for a 4p game Times played: 3, with review copy provided by DoW Five Tribes is the new Gen Con/Essen 2014 release…
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