How to Play the Tribes Strategy Game by KOSMOS

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If the Tribes Strategy Game by KOSMOS intrigued you in our Game Night Gift Guide then you’ve come to the right place! This post will help you get a great overview of Tribes: Dawn of Humanity!

How to Play the Tribes Strategy Game by KOSMOS

The Tribes: Dawn of Humanity strategy board game was sent to us by Thames & KOMOS and is geared for ages 10+. It takes about an hour to play with 2-4 players able to join in. Although I highly recommend leaving two hours for your first game as you are learning it!

How to Play the Tribes Strategy Game


The object of the game is to make achievements in your tribe so that your civilization grows. The player with the most points at the end wins!

Tribes strategy game board

So here’s a basic overview of what’s in the box. As you can see there are a lot of pieces! Thankfully the box included a ton of extra ziploc bags to store everything in!

What’s in the box?:

  • 1 double-sided game board
  • 8 page instruction booklet
  • 60 wooden tribe members (15 of each color)
  • 48 marking stones (12 of each color)
  • 16 progress markers (4 of each color)
  • 15 achievement boards (5 of each color)
  • 1 starting player marker
  • 24 event tiles (8 of each color)
  • 6 action tiles
  • 50 land tiles (10 of each resource)
  • 89 bear teeth tokens
  • 4 arrow tokens
  • 20 shell tokens
  • 1 felt bag
  • 1 bag tag

Tribes strategy game board

Not necessary to the game play but I LOVE the artwork on the back of the game board! Not often you see this!

OK – so bear with me, the next 7 step section is a little tedious so if you’re not trying to set up your board game then just scroll down to the next section!

How to set up the Tribes Board Game:

  1. Each player receives 15 tribe members, 12 marking stones (large cubes), and 4 progress markers (small cubes) in their designated color. They also receive 5 shells and 1 arrow token.
  2. Each player places one of their progress markers at the base of each of the 4 progress tracks. (left side of the game board)
  3. Mix 50 land tiles in the bag. Draw 3 land tiles from the bag per player and creating a triangular shape in front of you. You must have 3 different land tiles.
  4. Shuffle the 6 action tiles and place them at the top of the game. This creates the game sequence.
  5. Sort the 15 achievement boards by color and remove one of each color.
  6. Place 4 achievement boards of EACH color on the game board in their corresponding places. Place face up: Paleolithic brown boards. All others are face down.
  7. Sort the 24 event tiles by color and place each stack face down.

Note – Bear teeth represent victory points. Depending on how many players you have per round will determine if you will start with bear teeth.

Tribes strategy game board

Phew ok now that we got that out of the way! The cards you see above are the Achievement Cards. These will play a very important part in your strategy. There are three levels of achievement cards and whoever reaches the 3rd tier of Achievement Cards – TWICE – ends the game. Notice I didn’t say WINS the game! Just because you end the game does not make you the winner.

Above you can see a round “token” at the top of each card. You are required to have a tribe member on a piece of land with those same resources before you are allowed to play on an achievement card.

The symbol next to the arrow signifies which progress marker you will move up on the left side of the board game.

The numbers at the bottom represent how many bear teeth victory points you receive.

And the lightning bolts signify that you need to add a sequence card to the top of the board.

In order to win the game you will need to add up all of your points per the instruction booklet and the person with the most points wins. Essentially it helps a lot if you have plenty of bear teeth victory points!

wooden game pieces Tribes strategy game board

These are your tribe members.  In Tribes: Dawn of Humanity you will want to collect tribe members, bear teeth, land, and achievements. So it’s multi-leveled in your strategy efforts.

I recommend for your first time playing you read out loud the first few pages of directions so that everyone understands. Hopefully I’ll be putting together a video for you soon so that you can see more visually how to play!

After we read through the first few pages of instructions we decided to get started on our game play and simply referred back to the instruction booklet as needed.

numbered game pieces Tribes strategy game board

These are your bear teeth victory points which you can earn for acquiring achievements, moving up in the progress tracker on the left side of the game board, or by completing specific designated actions of events. The general idea in Tribes: Dawn of Humanity is of course that you want to expand your tribe, expand your land, and move up in your achievements of humanity. Sounds simple enough but it took us a full round in the game to really pick up speed more naturally!

It’s a fantastic game though and worth teaching to your kids!

clam shell game pieces Tribes strategy game board

These are clamshells which will help you skip actions that you don’t want to take but have no bearing on your final total of points.

wooden tribe game pieces

At the beginning of the game you start with 3 land tiles and a single tribe member. You’ll need to strategize whether it’s more important for you to procreate and create more tribe members, to gain more land with different resources which will be required to make achievements, or to spend your time completing as many achievements as possible!

How to Play the Tribes Strategy Game by KOSMOS

As with any good strategy board game it will take a little time to set up Tribes: Dawn of Humanity by KOSMOS and you’ll need a good round of the game or two to get the instructions under your belt. But I found that it is simple enough for my boys to play with me and really appreciate the simple varied levels of strategy included. This is a great “starter” strategy game for your tweens and up and still absolutely enjoyable to adults.

If you’re looking for a good game to intro your tweens into the strategy board game realm, then Tribes is it! My husband and I have been playing it and we’re so busy working on our own strategies we don’t even have time to watch what the other person is doing! I tend to end the game but he tends to win it!

Buy Tribes: Dawn of Humanity HERE!


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