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Five Tribes – The Artisans of Naqala Review

The Artisans of Naqala board game review

What is the most logical way to expand the game Five Tribes? Indeed by adding a sixth tribe, the Artisans (craftsmen). And that’s exactly what Bruno Cathala did. The oriental fairytale world of Five Tribes turns out to be even bigger than we already knew. There are mountains where a mysterious tribe lives where you can find beautiful treasures.

The Artisans of Naqala consists of 6 extra landscape tiles. Three of them depict the workshop of the mysterious sixth tribe, two depict a new marketplace and one depicts a ravine. The workshops appear to be located in the mountains and therefore two special wooden mountain toys will be placed there. And as everyone will understand the mountains and the ravine means that you have to walk all around. Furthermore you get new (purple) meeples (for the sixth tribe) and chips with the treasures this tribe produces. And of course there are a few new Djins.

The core of the game doesn’t change. So the only thing is that there are new landscape tiles and a new tribe. If you pick this tribe, you may take one tile for each meeple with the treasures of this people and then choose one. The chips contain treasures (points!) and very interesting special actions. And when your turn ends at the Artisans’ workshop, you receive the top chip of the stack of treasures.

The expansion also contains an extra piece for each player, namely a tent. A tent is actually a camel with a small bonus. Just like the camel, you place it on a tile that you have emptied. Like a camel, it scores the points for that tile, but also 1 point for each adjacent red tile.

The game still ends when no more moves can be made or when a player has placed all his camels and his tent. The player with the most points still wins.

I would not recommend The Artisans of Naqala

I think an expansion is successful if it really adds something to a game that gives you more depth or changes the game completely. And unfortunately, The Artisans from Naqala are disappointing at this point. It is more of the same but a bit worse. I think there is too much difference in how strong the treasures that you can get with the new people and the new tiles are. Some are very strong, while others only score 5 points. In the games I played with the expansion, the purple people were not really wanted. I don’t really like the addition of mountains and the ravine. This quickly creates corners on the board where you almost can’t come and which are often ignored for a long time. The expansion adds extra playing time, a bit more hassle, but little extra depth.