Havoc with the Tribune


Yehuda is really good at explaining rules of games, even complex games. At the session he hosted this week, John, Laurie, Sheer, and I sat through his explanation of Tribune. At the end, I thought to myself: I don’t have a bloody clue what this is about or what I am supposed to do. Looking round the table, I was not the only one. But we are hardy gamers, and off we went. Continue reading

Hail! Hail! The Tribune’s here!

[Crossposted from the Ra’anana Boardgames Group blog, here.]

A faction! A faction! A faction!

A faction! A faction! A faction!

Guess what game we played this week? Yes, Tribune, a worker placement game Yehuda referred to as suffering because it came out at the same time as the legendary Agricola. Well, Agricola has always seemed like too much work for me to even try it, so something a little less involved was attractive. Besides, if Yehuda has it in his collection and offers to play, that’s a good recommendation. And so it proved.

So the theme is Rome. The key mechanic is, as mentioned above, worker placement. The neat twist here is that worker placement gives you different ways to get cards (of different types). And the cards are a way to get the various victory conditions. For example, you control a faction by having the best cards for that faction on the board. One of the victory conditions is to control 5 factions. This reflects another cool part of the game: depending on the number of players, there are a different number of victory conditions you need to claim the win. Therefore, you as a player can choose which ones to go after and which to ignore. But, be warned. In Tribune you must have 30 coins to claim a win. I know this because even though I had mentioned it, I forgot it. Ooops.

[Yehuda says: “Small correction: The game comes with several victory condition cards, and each card defines different victory conditions for three, four, or five players (some of the victory condition cards are only for three or four players, and some only for four or five players). There are at least two victory condition cards for each of “easy”, “medium”, and “hard”. Only the specific victory condition card that I chose for our game had 30 coins as a mandatory condition. Other cards list other conditions as mandatory, or none at all.”]

Although the rules explanation Yehuda gave made it (uncharacteristically) sound complicated, after one round, it was sorted, and we all got stuck in to working out our strategy.

The brave chariot protecting my cowardly senators

The brave chariot protecting my cowardly senators

I tried to build up money and use it well. I got that half right. I tried to build up a reserve of cards and use them well. I got that half right too. Hmm. In short, this is a game where timing is important, and I did not get it right.

However, one satisfaction from my play was that I seemed to be clobbering poor Yehuda, with us competing for the same faction cards and me doing better than him. In fairness, the game does have a luck element, and managing that is part of the challenge. Given different cards, Yehuda may have done better, but he was certainly held back.

[Yehuda says: “Even though you were blocking me, I was still pretty close to victory. It was my fault for not bidding higher on the last round to ensure that I could take your faction.” Me: Yeah, right!]

Peleg got his timing right. He claimed the win and so this triggered the last round. If nobody else could claim satisfaction of the victory conditions, the win was his. But, with some finely timed moves of her own, hostess Laurie got to the finishing line and also claimed a win. That triggered a tie breaker of counting points.

Good game support play aids

Good game support play aids

It was very close, and right up until the last category was a tie. The last category was an award of points for being first to claim the win. So, Peleg – just – claimed the real, final win. It was a great display by the youngster. Well done Peleg. Tough luck on poor Laurie, who had done 99% of what she needed, but just lost out.

Thanks also to Yehuda for introducing this game. I enjoyed it and will definitely play it again if offered.

Finally, thanks to Laurie for hosting (and organizing food to break the fast with).