Gameday First Play – Five Tribes

Five Tribes, 5 Guides, 4 players…

All the Meeples…

Crossing into the Land of 1001 Nights, your caravan arrives at the fabled Sultanate of Naqala. The old sultan just died and control of Naqala is up for grabs! The oracles foretold of strangers who would manoeuvre the Five Tribes to gain influence over the legendary city-state. Will you fulfil the prophecy? Invoke the old Djinns and move the Tribes into position at the right time, and the Sultanate may become yours!

So this game comes with really great, detailed almost 100% ‘everything you need to know’ guides, but there was 5 of them and it confuses me… Ah well, moving on…

This is a very simple game with some unique game play. They call it a ‘Worker Displacement’ game.. get it? The board starts full off meeples and you take turns removing them to take actions.

Five Tribes Djinns and Turn Order Board

Turn order stuff at the top, Djinns lined up below.

You bid for turn order. Turn order is important but your money is also your points so balancing this is key to have a good turn, and a good game. Bidding high means you spend points to make points but bidding low basically puts your turn in your opponents hands…

So what is a turn?

Well, you choose a tile, pick up all the meeples on it and then create a path of orthogonally adjacent tiles, dropping a meeple off as you go. The last meeple you drop off MUST match a meeple of the same colour on that tile.

Then you pick up all the meeples of that colour from the tile and resolve the action of that colour. There are Five Tribes so obviously 5 colours of meeple. Some give you points, some kill other meeples (on the board or in front of another player), some let you get resources or gain money.

Five Tribes Board


If you empty that tile you put a Camel of your colour on it to show it’s yours. Each tile is worth a number of VP’s at the end of the game.

Then you perform the action on the tile. You can buy Djinns (Which give you abilities and end game points), buy resources or drop an Oasis or Village on a tile which make the end game scoring for those tiles more valuable to the controller.

Once everyone has had a turn, goods and Djinns are replaced and bidding starts over again

This continues until someone places all their camels or until there are no legal moves left to make with meeples. Everyone takes an even number of turns before the game ends, which is nice.

Then scoring occurs and its in-depth. You use a scoring pad to do it and you add it all up.

You get…

1 point for each gold you have.

1 point for each Yellow Vizier meeple you have plus 10 points for each opponent who has fewer than you do

2 points per White Eldar meeple you have

Points for your Djinns

Points for the tiles with your camel on

3 points for each Oasis on a tile you control

5 points for each Village on a tile you control

Then VP’s for goods. Goods, which are resources cards are like a set collection type sub game going on. You can sell them in sets of unique items, the larger the sets, the more the gold. You can do this at the end of each of your turns, or save them up for the end game.

Five Tribes Slaves and Goods

Goods (and Slaves) lined up next to the board


So what do I like about it?

It’s a nice weight. Not too heavy, not too light. Reminds me of Bruges without the randomness. The balance of bidding your money (VP’s) for turn order vs taking a turn and earning points is a tough one. You could spend 18 gold to gain 20 points, is that a good idea? Spend 12 gold to gain 10 points but get a Djinn in the process… is that worth it? maybe, it’s up to you.

It looks pretty, lots of colours and the artwork is great.

I just like the way the game plays. As we were packing it away the first time we were talking about playing it again, and we did shortly after.

The Djinns are great and help you craft your strategy, as well as looking awesome.

The rest?

Well, it has slave cards and the debate about this is odd. Slavery happened, it wasn’t nice, but it happened and we can’t ignore it. Bruno Cathala and Days of Wonder aren’t condoning it people, it’s just a card based on something that happened at that time and is mentioned in the One Thousand and One Nights folk tales the game is based on.

You get points for everything and just because it isn’t a Feld game there is no reason why this can’t be called a “Point Salad”?

All in all this is a very good game I’m looking forward to play again… and again.

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