Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Boardgames session 14 Dec 2014

Our friends, Val and Chris visited on Sunday for an afternoon playing my new boardgame ‘Five Tribes’. IMG_1295.JPGThere has been a lot of hype about this game on forums such as BoardGame Geek (BGG) etc. I was therefore keen to try it out for myself. We played twice, both four player games and the final scores were very tight (I did not win though!). All the players quickly picked up the Mancala style of moving the meeples. None of the players were overly extravagant with their turn-order bidding, and were rarely prepared to bid more than 3 or 5 coins. I can only think of a couple of occasions where a bidding war happened, and in our second game my wife bid zero every turn (and did better than me in the final scoring). In the second game I did notice some differences in tactics employed by players; Chris focussed on controlling the higher value tiles, whilst Val was buying as many Djinns as she could. Val’s tactic proved most successful, but even so she only won by 9 points. The only colour of meeple we did not heavily utilise was the red ‘assassins’, which we should have used against Val to prevent her collecting and utilising her Djinns. It is clear we were focussed on our own moves and were not inclined to aggressively attack fellow players.
Looking at various gaming forums, a major criticism of Five Tribes is the tendency to induce ‘analysis paralysis’. We found that this can occur but was not a serious issue. Players did decide on their moves quickly without analysing all possible permutations; the best move appeared to be fairly obvious. The biggest problem was the downtime between each player’s move; as a player you were only engaged when it was your own turn, only being mildly interested when the player before you was moving. I certainly felt that if I was the last player in a turn then I could walk away from the game after the bidding process and only needed to return when I was due to take my turn. I am sure there are intricacies within the game that we have yet to uncover, particularly the differing effects of the various Djinns, and I am sure we will return to playing Five Tribes soon. Of all the players, I think my wife was the least keen on the game mainly because it lacked a strong theme.

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