Five Tribes - My Favorite Board Game

Hello and welcome to our first post in our new Team JB Plays Games blog!  I wanted to talk a little bit about my favorite game - Five Tribes. 

Five Tribes is described by many to be Days of Wonder's first "gamer's game".  And after playing many of their successful entry-level games like Ticket to Ride, Small World, and Memoir '44, I can say that I think I agree.


Five Tribes is a game for 2-4 players (5 with expansions) which will generally take around one hour to play.  Players will move meeples, representing the five different tribes, to gain resources, money, djinns, and power.  The movement is referred to as "Mancala-like" in which you will remove all meeples from a single tile and distribute them one at a time across neighboring tiles.  At the end of the game, whoever has accumulated the most influence and wealth will become the winner and new ruler of Naqala.


Days of Wonder is known for it's quality games.  And Five Tribes is no different.  The pieces are sturdy and the artwork is great.  And you can't forget about the meeples!  So many glorious meeples.  Not only your standard wooden meeples, but you get cameeples (camel meeples)!  

How to Play

Five Tribes is a bit of a heavy game so I am not going to get into the how to play too much here.  But I wanted to touch on the things I love about it.

  • You bid for turn order - Every coin is worth points at the end of the game so you have to weigh how much you bid vs the result of the turn you are about to make.
  • The board is different every game - You randomly deal out the tiles each game and randomly place meeples on each tile.  This makes for great replayability.
  • There are many ways to win - There are so many ways to earn points and each route is very well balanced.  This leads to different paths to victory without being pigeon-holed into a certain strategy.
  • The game plays great with any number of players.

Game Experience

While this game might be on the heavier side I feel like the rules are pretty straight forward and easy to teach.  You can generally teach a new group how to play in 15 minutes and be on your way.  After you get a game under your belt you will be ready to really think about your strategy next time.

The only negative is that this game can cause a bit of analysis paralysis for some players.  Keep that in mind if you are or normally play with someone who is a victim of this.  Just need to keep it in mind and try to move it along.  Some may even incorporate timers for repeat offenders!

Final Thoughts

As you could tell by the title I believe Five Tribes is a great game.  It is well designed and balanced with deep strategy.  The quality is top notch and is always a joy to bring to the table.  In honor of the Team JB mascot, I give this game 5/5 bananas. 

If you would like to treat yourself to a copy of the gem, you can grab a copy for about $50.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published


Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, Team JB Hobbies will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.