Mancala Worker Placement

The worker “earn” mechanic is what attracted me to Five Tribes (and also a Days of Wonder + Bruno Cathala production).  The idea of the cause and effect of player actions across turns should provide a fertile ground for emergent strategies.  Said another way — looked like a good engine for fun.

I like to provide an initial reaction to games and then a later full review.  The reaction after playing once can focus on how hard it is to get started — but also that “need to play again” feel.  In the case of Five Tribes I think the initial game setup is very inviting: beautiful interesting pieces, lots of tiles, etc.  The rulebook is also streamlined.  The game is easier to learn than all the pieces would imply.  One note — it wasn’t obvious to me how to play 2 player via the rules (it’s implied not explicit).

My wife, who is not easily impressed by games that we intend to learn, remarked: “Hey this looks cool.”

We got started playing fairly quickly.  The outstanding question that emerged right away is “what should I do?”  So while the game’s rules are straightforward there are so many options that for new players you are just sort of testing things out.  We played the full game, tabulated score, and then thought: “how do we play better next time?”  And it’s not quite clear yet.

So the best way to assess a first time playing a game:

  1. How much do I want to play again?
  2. Who would I like to play with?

For Five Tribes, I’m interested in trying again.  I think I need to get a better sense of how to think about all the options — and I think that only comes with more gameplay.

Initial Reaction:  Play again with more players.

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