How To Play: Five Tribes – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Quick Summary

In the captivating world of Five Tribes, careful strategizing and thoughtful decision-making are crucial for emerging victorious. Master the gameplay mechanics of meeples placement, bidding, tile control, and endgame tactics to shape your destiny and claim victory over your opponents. Evaluate the board, adapt to changing circumstances, and utilize strategic finesse to optimize your moves. Consider the unique abilities of each tribe and plan your actions wisely. But beware, the road to triumph is fraught with challenges and competition. Continuously assess the shifting dynamics of the game, calculate risks, and seize opportunities. With a deep understanding of the rules and effective strategies, you can venture into the mystical realm of Naqala, outmaneuver your rivals, and secure your place as the ultimate ruler of the five tribes. So gather your meeples, synch your strategies, and embark on an adventure full of twists, cunning maneuvers, and thrilling victories. May your every decision guide you toward triumph in the enchanting sands of Naqala!


Welcome to this comprehensive strategy guide for Five Tribes! In this guide, we will delve into the game rules and reveal the best strategies and tactics to help you emerge victorious in this captivating board game.

Five Tribes is a dynamic and strategic game that takes you on a thrilling journey through the mythical realm of Naqala. As you vie for control over the five tribes, careful decision-making and tactical maneuvers will often determine the success or failure of your quest.

In the sections that follow, we will explore everything you need to know to master Five Tribes. We will discuss the gameplay mechanics, covering aspects such as meeple placement, bidding for turn order, tile control, and resource management. Alongside each topic, we will provide actionable strategies that can tip the scales in your favor.

Whether you are new to the world of Five Tribes or a seasoned veteran seeking to refine your approach, this guide will provide a deep understanding of the game’s core mechanics and enable you to devise effective strategies. By utilizing the invaluable tips and tactics outlined here, you can enhance your gameplay experience and increase your chances of achieving triumph in the realm of Naqala.

What’s in the box

  • 1 Game Board
  • 30 Tiles
  • 90 Wooden Meeples (18 of each color)
  • 8 Camels (neutral color)
  • 22 Djinn Cards
  • 54 Resource Cards
  • 96 Victory Point Markers
  • 1 Bid Order Track
  • Start Player Card
  • 1 Turn Summary Sheet
  • 20 Goods Tokens
  • 1 Scoring Pad
  • 1 Rulebook

How To Play Five Tribes: Rules Summary

Objective of the Game
  1. Score the most victory points by the end of the game.
  2. Earn victory points by controlling tiles, collecting resources, and fulfilling certain requirements.
  3. The player with the highest score wins the game.
  1. Place the game board in the center of the table.
  2. Randomly arrange and place the tiles on their designated spaces.
  3. Place wooden meeples of each color in the bag or container.
  4. Set aside the Djinn cards, resource cards, victory point markers, and bid order track.
  5. Give each player a set of bidding markers, victory point markers, and a hand of resource cards.
  6. Create a common supply of goods tokens and place them nearby.
  1. In turn order, players bid to determine the start player and play order for the round.
  2. On your turn, perform a “Turn Sequence” which includes the following steps:
  3. Place one bidding marker on an unclaimed space to take control.
  4. Select a tile containing meeples and perform the associated action.
  5. Move the last meeple placed, called the “dancer”, along pathways to claim tiles or trigger abilities.
  6. Play continues clockwise with each player taking turns until all meeples have been claimed.
Scoring and Game End
  1. At the end of the game, players calculate victory points based on their controlled tiles, resource cards, Djinn cards, and other bonuses.
  2. The player with the highest score wins the game.
  3. In case of a tie, the player with the most coins wins. If there is still a tie, the tied player with the most resources wins.
Additional Rules and Considerations
  1. Special actions can be triggered by the placement of meeples or by gaining specific Djinn cards.
  2. Strategy in Five Tribes involves tile control, resource management, and careful assessment of shifting board dynamics.
  3. Each tribe’s unique ability affects gameplay and can be leveraged for strategic advantages.
  4. Expansion modules can be added to the base game to introduce new tribes, cards, and gameplay options.

Now that you have a grasp of the rules, gather your meeples, set your focus on the mysterious world of Naqala, and embark on your journey to fame and fortune in Five Tribes!

Best Five Tribes Strategies

Opening Moves: Setting the Foundation for Victory

The opening moves in Five Tribes can play a crucial role in determining your success throughout the game. By choosing the right strategies early on, you can set a solid foundation that will give you a competitive edge. Here are some key opening moves to consider:

1. Assess the Initial Board State
  1. Evaluate the distribution of meeples across the board.
  2. Identify areas with high concentrations of meeples.
  3. Take note of valuable tiles and potential scoring opportunities.
2. Prioritize Board Control
  1. Focus on obtaining board control in the early stages of the game.
  2. Place meeples strategically to gain control over advantageous regions.
  3. Consider the benefits of controlling specific tribes for their unique abilities.
3. Maximize Scoring Potential
  1. Look for opportunities to claim valuable tiles that offer high scoring potential.
  2. Plan your moves to maximize the number of tiles you acquire.
  3. Keep an eye on potential scoring opportunities and plan ahead to maximize their effects.
4. Consider Tile Placement Bonuses
  1. Make use of the tile placement bonuses to gain additional advantages.
  2. Strategically place tiles to attain valuable ability cards.
  3. Combine tile placement bonuses to create powerful synergies in your strategy.

Mastering the opening moves in Five Tribes is essential for establishing a strong position and setting yourself on the path to victory. By carefully considering the initial board state, focusing on board control, maximizing scoring potential, and utilizing tile placement bonuses, you can gain an early advantage and lay the groundwork for a successful strategy.

Optimal Meeple Placement: Mastering the Art of Strategic Allocation

One crucial aspect of mastering Five Tribes is understanding how to strategically place your meeples across the board. Optimal meeple placement can help you gain control, maximize your actions, and outmaneuver your opponents. Here are some key strategies to consider:

1. Meeple Distribution
  1. Distribute your meeples across different areas of the board to gain influence in multiple regions.
  2. Strategically place meeples to control valuable areas or block opponents’ moves.
  3. Consider the influence of neighboring meeples and assess potential consequences before placement.
2. Chain Reactions
  1. Look for opportunities to trigger chain reactions by placing meeples strategically.
  2. Consider the ability to move or remove meeples from adjacent tiles to create openings or hinder opponents’ plans.
  3. Plan your placement to maximize the number of additional actions or benefits you can gain from the chain reaction.
3. Assess Resource Availability
  1. Place meeples strategically to acquire valuable resources, such as gold or cards.
  2. Consider the trade-off between obtaining immediate resources and long-term advantages when placing meeples on specific tiles.
  3. Plan ahead and coordinate your meeple placement with your long-term resource management strategy.
4. Evaluate Scoring Opportunities
  1. Place meeples on tiles that provide additional scoring opportunities, such as those triggering extra points or set collection rewards.
  2. Coordinate your meeple placement with your overall scoring strategy to maximize the potential for higher game-ending points.
  3. Consider the value of tiles based on their position or their relation to your current tribe dominance.

Mastering the art of optimal meeple placement in Five Tribes allows you to seize control, create advantageous situations, and put yourself in a strong position to claim victory. By strategically considering meeple distribution, planning chain reactions, assessing resource availability, and evaluating scoring opportunities, you can maximize the impact of your meeple placement and increase your chances of emerging as the winner.

Bid Strategies: Navigating the Competitive Realm of Turn Order

Bidding for turn order in Five Tribes can significantly impact your gameplay and set the stage for success or struggle. Understanding effective bid strategies is crucial in gaining an advantage over your opponents. Here are some key strategies to consider:

1. Assess the Value of Turn Order
  1. Evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of going first versus going later in the turn order.
  2. Consider the potential advantages of securing high-value tiles, acquiring desirable resources, or claiming powerful actions before your opponents.
  3. Weigh the impact of future turns and potential opportunities as the turn order progresses.
2. Bid Conservatively
  1. Start with a conservative bid to preserve your resources and maintain flexibility.
  2. Observe other players’ bidding behaviors and evaluate the potential demand for turn order.
  3. Gradually increase your bids based on your assessment of the value and urgency of securing advantageous play options.
3. Strategic Denial
  1. Deliberately bid to disrupt opponents’ plans and limit their ability to execute specific strategies.
  2. Anticipate potential moves or actions your opponents may prioritize and bid to deny them the opportunity of benefiting from favorable turn order.
  3. Balance your bidding with maintaining enough resources to capitalize on opportunities yourself.
4. The Late Bid Advantage
  1. Consider the potential benefits of bidding later in the turn order.
  2. Assess the actions or resources your opponents accumulate early on and bid strategically to capitalize on their groundwork.
  3. Evalute the remaining possibilities and gauge your bid accordingly to optimize your chances of securing advantageous play options.

Mastering effective bid strategies in Five Tribes can grant you a significant advantage in navigating the competitive realm of turn order. By assessing the value of turn order, bidding conservatively, strategically denying opportunities to opponents, and utilizing the late bid advantage, you can seize control over the flow of the game and increase your chances to emerge victorious.

Tile Control: Mastering the Art of Influence

In Five Tribes, the strategic control and manipulation of tiles on the board can be the key to securing victory. Understanding how to effectively control and utilize tiles is essential for success. Here are some key strategies to consider:

1. Evaluate Tile Scarcity
  1. Identify tiles that offer valuable resources or special abilities.
  2. Evaluate their scarcity and plan your moves accordingly to secure control over these high-demand tiles.
  3. Consider the long-term benefits of controlling certain types of tiles, such as those that provide ongoing scoring opportunities or powerful actions.
2. Manipulate Tile Placement
  1. Plan your meeple placements strategically to acquire control over tiles that benefit your overall strategy the most.
  2. Consider the opening moves discussed earlier to establish controlled areas and create opportunities for later tile acquisition.
  3. Value tiles that allow you to disrupt opponent plans, block their access to important resources, or hinder their scoring potential.
3. Focus on Tribes and Tribes’ Abilities
  1. Identify the tribes with unique abilities that align with your strategy.
  2. Place meeples strategically to control tribes of importance, allowing you to leverage their advantages for your benefit.
  3. Manipulate tile positions to maximize the effectiveness of tribe abilities and create advantageous situations.
4. Adapt and Reclaim Tiles
  1. Continuously monitor the state of the board, reassessing the value of currently controlled tiles.
  2. Adapt your strategy and gameplay to reclaim or shift control over tiles that better suit your progress or impede your opponents.
  3. Take calculated risks by replacing higher-scored tiles under your control with others that could lead to greater scoring potential.

Mastering the art of tile control in Five Tribes allows you to establish influence and gain an advantage on the path to victory. By evaluating tile scarcity, manipulating tile placement, focusing on tribe control, and adapting to reclaim and shift control when necessary, you can maximize your influence and increase your chances of winning the game.

Endgame Tactics: Sealing the Win with Strategic Finesse

The endgame phase in Five Tribes can be critical in determining the winner. With the finish line in sight, employing effective endgame tactics is key to securing victory. Here are some key strategies to consider:

1. Countering Opponent Moves
  1. Anticipate and analyze opponent moves to counter their scoring potential in the final turns.
  2. Block or limit their access to high-scoring tiles or fulfill endgame goals.
  3. Consider denying favorable tile shifts or manipulating board state to hinder their chances of closing the gap.
2. Maximizing Scoring Opportunities
  1. Evaluate your current position and identify potential last-minute scoring opportunities.
  2. Focus on fulfilling endgame goals, triggering set collection bonuses, or manipulating unique scoring conditions.
  3. Plan your actions, tile placements, and meeple movements intentionally to maximize your score potential in the final moments of the game.
3. Efficient Resource Conversion
  1. Convert acquired resources to valuable actions or score multipliers.
  2. Trade or spend carefully to optimize your ability to score in the endgame.
  3. Consider the timing of resource conversions to gain the most benefit.
4. Mindful Timing of Termination
  1. Decide when to trigger the end of the game based on your advantage over opponents.
  2. Evaluate the cost-benefit analysis of ending the game early or delaying for additional scoring opportunities.
  3. Monitor opponents’ progress and terminate the game strategically to disrupt their plans or protect your lead.

Employing effective endgame tactics in Five Tribes allows you to consolidate your lead and secure victory. By countering opponent moves, maximizing scoring opportunities, efficiently converting resources, and mindful timing of game termination, you can finesse your way to the win and emerge as the triumphant ruler of the tribes.

Master the Tribes and Claim Victory!

Congratulations! You have grasped the fundamental strategies and rules of Five Tribes, and you are now equipped to dominate the realm of Naqala. By understanding the intricacies of meeples placement, bidding wisely, controlling coveted tiles, and employing strategic finesse in the endgame, you can shape your destiny and emerge as the triumphant ruler of the five tribes.

Remember to assess the ever-changing board, adapt your strategy to the shifting dynamics, and anticipate the moves of your opponents. With careful planning, calculated risks, and clever decision-making, you are well on your way to victory.

However, keep in mind that each playthrough of Five Tribes offers a unique experience, and adapting to new challenges will be key to your ongoing success. Revisit this guide whenever you need a refresher, uncover new strategies, or explore different expansions that offer fresh twists to the game.

Now, gather your tribe of meeples, navigate the tricky world of Naqala, and harness the power of the Djinn to lead your caravan to triumph. May your strategies be cunning, your decisions be precise, and your mastery over the tribes be unrivaled. Good luck, and may the sands of Naqala be forever in your favor!

Want to know what we think of Five Tribes? Read our detailed review of Five Tribes here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.