Rise of Tribes takes place in a prehistoric period just as civilization is starting to dawn. Each player controls a tribe of people who must migrate, populate, produce resources, and develop new technologies while competing for space with other prehistoric tribes in their world.
Raising over $380k on Kickstarter, Rise of Tribes is now currently available in retail along with a deluxe upgrade to replace many of the cardboard tokens in the game with wooden meeples.
Rise of Tribes begins with the setup of the board. Draw the number of players + 1 for each tile type: Lake, Forest, and Mountain and set these up in the formation listed in the rulebook for the number of players. The Volcano tile is set aside for now. Each player then chooses a Player Board and takes a set of colored meeples, a scoring marker, and a deck of Goal Cards in their color. Resource and Village Tokens are then placed within reach and the Action Board is placed centrally to all players. As for the Event Tiles, remove the Chieftain and Abandoned village tiles and place them next to the Action Board with 2 Village Tokens on them. The rest of the Event Tiles are shuffled and placed in the appropriate spot on the Action Board. 3 Dice are placed above every action in this order: Sun, Moon, Blank.
Each player’s turn consists of 5 phases:
- Score Villages – Score 1 point for every village controlled.
- Roll Dice – Roll 2 dice. If doubles are rolled draw and resolve an Event Tile.
- Take Actions – Choose 2 actions from the Action Board, pushing out the rightmost die from that action and placing die to the left. If there are 2 suns in that action’s line a bonus occurs. If there are two moons, the action suffers a penalty. The two pushed out dice are now the dice the next player rolls.
- Grow – Add the number to meeples indication on the action to hexes that already contain a player’s tribe members.
- Move – Move the number of tribe members indicated 1 hex.
- Gather – Gather resources from the number of hexes indicated that a player’s tribe members occupy.
- Lead – Draw the indicated number of Goal Cards and place them face up in the “In Progress” side of the player’s Action Board.
- Resolve Conflicts – Each hex can only hold 5 meeples. If any are moved in that cause this limit to be broken each player simultaneously removes a meeple until only 1 player is left with a single meeple left in the hex.
- Build Villages and Complete Goals – A player may use their resources to build a village in any hex they occupy or to complete In Progress Goal Cards.
Play continues in this manner until one player has amassed 15 points. Of course, this is just a brief overview. For more in-depth rules, as well as rules for advanced play, read the full rulebook.
- Box 👍
- Rules 👍
- Tiles 👍
- Tokens 👍
- Meeples ⭐️
- Action Board 👍
- Dice 👍
- Cards 👍
- Player Boards 👍
- Box 👍
- Village Tokens 👍
(👍 = Good, 👎 = Bad, ⭐️ = Exceptional)
I was a bit worried about the balance of Rise of Tribes when I first played the game. It felt like it was too easy to collect a horde of resources, amass a large group of people, and start spreading those people across the board. The more I played the more I realized how intentional this was. The board is supposed to feel tight. Tension is supposed to build, and villages are meant to be built and destroyed. The game is less about building up your tribe and more about keeping it built up.
Yes, you need to amass more people and move them around the board, but if you neglect goal cards you won’t develop new technologies to help you best defend yourself against invading tribes or to help you rebuild faster if you manage to lose some people or villages. The game is about maintaining the constant balance of people, resources, and power. Of course, you still have to deal with the Events deck.
Rise of Tribes feels a bit like Scythe ultra-light, though I almost feel that description does both games a disservice. It’s just the closest comparison I can make at the moment. It’s an excellent game that’s easy to learn, plays in an hour, tops, and includes enough variability to keep it fresh and interesting for a long time. At $50 it’s most certainly a game to add to your collection. Do yourself a favor and pick up the deluxe component upgrade pack for the additional $25. You’ll be glad you did.
A copy of Rise of Tribes Deluxe was provided free for review by Breaking Games
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.