Monday, August 31, 2015

Married with Board Games: Five Tribes

Not a surprise since I just announced it as one of my favorite games on my Top 20 list, Five Tribes is one of my all-time favorite games to play with my boyfriend. Perhaps my enthusiasm is partly due to the fact that he's never beat me...maybe? Nah, it's probably just because it's an incredibly beautiful and well-designed game. Right?

Look at it! Now go to the website and see what's inside the pretty pretty box...seriously go ahead...some pretty pretty pieces! If you need something to draw you to a game, the aesthetics and art work in Five Tribes might just be enough for you. Seriously, look at these:

Now, why do I think this is the perfect game to play with your spouse? 
  • It plays well with two people: Most strategic games have some sort of two player variant but they can be extremely disappointing. For example, as much as I love 7 Wonders, playing with one dummy player does not make a two player variant. Sorry. Five Tribes actually has differences to change up the strategy of the game when you play with two people. Now you bid twice per round so you can either bid low and save money (and make your opponent cough it up) or bid higher to set yourself up with a back-to-back turn. When you play with two people it feels like the game was specifically designed for two people, and that is an accomplishment.
  • I'm hungry for some "point salad" (and you should be too): Some people like destruction and conflict, some like set collecting, some like gaining and using special abilities, and others just like raking in money. Whatever your personal style is, Five Tribes can cover it. I personally love collecting sets of goods and then seeing my boyfriend's face when he realizes I'm holding 60 points worth of goods in my hand. I love that no single strategy is much better than another and you never quite know who's winning, which brings me to the next thing I love about Five Tribes...
  • There are no runaway winners: Everyone has been there. One person is leaps and bounds ahead of you and you know there's no way you can catch up (that's the sort of thing that can ruin your chance of getting your spouse to fall in love with board games). In Five Tribes the opposite is often true, you think someone is way ahead and then come scoring time, they get last place. This is because there are so many ways to get points and it's hard to put your finger on exactly where someone is standing.
Though the publishers recommend the game for ages 13+, I think you can introduce it to younger kids pretty easily. The only thing that can be a bit confusing is the Mancala-style "movement," but once that is understood the game is pretty simple. It is ranked #40 on Board Game Geek and is continuing to pick up more steam as more people play it. 

Also, if you hate reading rules as much as I do or you hate explaining games as much as I do, you can watch Rodney Smith's play-through and learn all you need to know without having a meltdown...or falling asleep with the rule book. 

Hope you enjoy! 

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