The newest game by Days of Wonder is called Five Tribes, The Djinns of Naqala. This beautiful game takes place in the wonderful world of a thousand and one nights (think Aladdin). Djinns are supernatural beings and Naqala is a reference to the main game mechanism in Five Tribes. Naqala is the Arabic word for “move”. So at least the title of the game is well thought out, but what about the rest of the game.
The central game mechanism of Five Tribes is borrowed from Mancala. Mancala is an old game that is traditionally played on a round board that consists of small trays containing shells (or seeds). During your turn, take all the shells out of a tray and place one shell in each subsequent tray on the track. Then you may take all the shells from the last tray in which you put a shell.
In Five Tribes you start with a board made up of loose square tiles (6 by 5 tiles large) with three colored figures on each tile. By means of an auction it is decided in the order the players take turns.
During your turn, take all the figures from a tile and place them one by one on adjacent tiles. You have to make sure that you place the last figure on a tile with other figures in that colour. Then you automatically activate the action that belongs to that tile. There are several types of actions, such as buying goods, building a palm, a palace or buying a jinn. In addition, you get all figures in the color of the last placed figure of that last tile. There are five different colour figures and each colour has its own special characteristics. Yellow and white figures score points at the end of the game, blue figures score points, red figures give you the right to remove other figures from the game and green figures give you goods. If there are no figures left on the last tile, you must claim this tile by placing a camel in your colour (claimed tiles also score points).
The game ends when no more legitimate moves can be made or when someone has placed his last camel. Then the points are counted (there are eight elements that score points) and the player with the most points wins the game.
So Would You Recommend Five Tribes?
Five Tribes is rather dry and abstract with a tasty thematic touch. The game itself is simple (taking and moving figures from a tile), but at the same time it offers a lot of choices: different actions for the tiles, different actions for the different colours of the figures and then many different ways to score points. Because of this abundance of possibilities, it is difficult to see what you can do in the beginning. That’s what makes this game so much fun, every time you play it you’ll discover new strategies and clever tricks. You also need to keep an eye not only on what a move will bring you, but also on the opportunities your move will create for the other players (which figures do you place where). The downside of this is that you can think long before you make a move (you know what type of player I’m talking about) and this can cause the speed of the game to slow down.
Because the game board is made up of separate tiles and the figure placements at the beginning of the game are different each time, each game will be different. Five Tribes is also easy to play with all numbers of players. With this game Days of Wonder has added a top seller to her assortment.