Board Game Review: Five Tribes + Expansions

this should be on everyone’s shopping list…

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Five Tribes Expansion: Artisans of Naqala

Once you’ve got to grips with the base game, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a look at some of the expansions available, one of which is the Artisans of Naqala. This adds a whole new tribe (so I guess we could call it “Six Tribes” now, but that sounds a bit pants) which uses purple meeples to represent this magical tribe. In addition to the all new meeples you’ll also get some new tiles too, which include two workshop tiles with mountains on two of its sides preventing movement across them, and a large chasm which takes up an entire tile and can’t be crossed in any way, shape or form. It sounds like a nuisance, but the game board expands to a 6×6 grid instead of 5×6 so there’s plenty of space to move despite the addition of these new barriers. The workshop spaces allow you to exchange various meeples for an unseen item, which could grant you some magical ability to use and bolster your points either as a one-off or ongoing reward – one of the more useful I got was the Magic Carpet, allowing you to drop your final meeple anywhere on the board away from the usual path you’d be taking. That’s an incredibly useful tool when used the right way.

ft_artisans_openbox-400Collecting the Artisan meeples grants you points at the end of the game, and there’s a nice bonus if you have more of them than other people. You can also put a tent down instead of your camel, giving a similar effect but taking advantage of any red coloured tiles around it when earning the points.

What I really liked about this is the new Artisans don’t feel overpowered like they might have become, they just slot in around the others with some nice rewards if you focus on them. It does make the game more complicated though which might be a step too far for some, and it took longer to play as well as a result of even more thought being needed between turns. Also, as with a couple of the other tribes, the Artisans have their own individual rules to learn which can feel a bit disjointed and stuck on if you’ve been enjoying the main game for a while.

As to whether or not to buy it, it’s certainly one to consider. If you’ve had your fill of the main game and want something new to jazz it up then this new tribe will do exactly that. It’s harder to recommend if you find the main Five Tribes game perfectly balanced though – this will certainly alter the feel of the game, and that might not be for everyone.

One thing’s for sure though: meeples look awesome in purple.

Five Tribes Expansion: Artisans of Naqala
Available Now, RRP £17.99
Find your local stockist here


Five Tribes Expansion: Thieves of Naqala

Some people like some weight to their expansions. These people won’t like Thieves of Naqala: it contains 7 cards. Yup, just seven. But don’t be fooled by the small content count; this expansion adds a lovely mechanic to the main game.

The cards included here involve one thief for each of the six tribes on offer (including the purple Artisans discussed above, which is a nice touch) as well as a whole new djinn which can protect you from the effects of the thieves. The six thieves are positioned in their own pile, and one made available for each turn. If you choose to buy the thief card you can use it to steal resources away from another player, keeping some of the takings for yourself. It can be a devastating move to make, and even if you choose to keep the card to earn you 6 points later it’s still a very powerful option to have available.

ft_thievesAnd that’s pretty much all there is to it. It’s a small expansion for sure, but it’s under a fiver and adds such a new feel to the game it’s most definitely worth looking out for. The base game doesn’t have a great deal of direct messing with other players’ stuff, but this totally changes that. Anyone can buy a thief, anyone can activate it against anyone else, and as such rivalries are sure to fire up and make the game a far tastier experience. Stealing directly from your opponents is a sure fire way to make them want to steal something back, and the right player can use that to take their focus away from bigger point scoring opportunities and actually end up better off despite being stolen from. There’s a lot to consider with such a small change, and it definitely improves the game.

Five Tribes Expansion: Thieves of Naqala
Available Now, RRP £4.99
Find your local stockist here

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