The first turn

You’ve got your startup sheet and you have a map that shows you a few hexes of terrain. Have a look at the proper formatting for your Orders and set up a file to reflect it.

So now it’s time to get your tribe working.

At startup you will have been given some skills. You need to utilize these skills. The most important skill at this stage is Hunting.

Allocate people to all other skills and send however many are left to Hunting.

First, though, work out how many herders you need for your animals.

Herding: 1 person is required per 5 elephants, 10 horses, 10 cattle and 20 goats.

Then move on to another skill. Everybody starts with different skills, so I can’t be specific here. Refer to the rules and work out what you can do at your skill levels and allocate people to doing it.

Remember: Some skills are based on skill level, so, for example, a maximum of 10 people can do Forestry at level 1.

Remember: Only Warriors and Actives can engage in work.

Once activities have been allocated you might end up with something like this:

120 Herding
10 Gutting
10 Forestry
6900 Hunting

That’s cool. Don’t think you have too many people hunting; you’ll need all the provisions you can get at this time. What you should do now is give some tools to those who are hunting – bows, slings, traps, snares, bone spears, etc. all help hunters find provisions. Weapons add to the number of effective hunters. For example, 100 hunters with 50 slings means that there are 110 effective hunters. They don’t need these hunting tools, though; they can hunt with their bare hands.

You might also want to consider whether you really want to gut those animals. What do you want the gut for? Would it be better to keep the animal and grow the herd first? Maybe you should hold off and wait until you have Skinning and Boning so you can do all at once and not waste any part of the animal.

And those foresters, are they in the right terrain to cut logs? It may seem silly, but it is easy to overlook the fact that you are in prairie, especially at the start. So be aware that some skills are terrain dependent.

By the way, you don’t have to worry about water or feeding the animals. That only becomes a problem in certain terrain – desert, snow, tundra. For now, it isn’t a concern.

Nor is it a concern that you haven’t fed the people – that comes automatically from the provisions on hand. You do not need to allocate people to defending the tribe. For the first 12 game months you are immune from attack, so you can allocate all Warriors and Actives to an activity without fear.

You can stay where you are if you like, but it’s a good idea to see where you are with a bigger picture. You’ll have plenty of opportunity for settling down later on.

At your startup you will have some terrain that is pre-scouted. At this stage, any direction is as good as any other direction. Choose whichever one takes your fancy. Write in your Orders a direction and go there writing 6 hexes for your Orders; for example, NEx6 or SWx3, S, SWx2, or some such combination using N, NE, SE, S, SW, NW.  Note that if you are traveling in one direction for more than one hex use the multiply sign. For instance, SEx4 not SE, SE, SE, SE.

You may not move all 6 hexes due to weather or terrain, but it is best to order a full 6 hexes.

See Movement Points for what is possible and what each terrain costs to move through.

At this early stage you won’t need to worry about carrying capacity, that comes later, but keep an eye on it.

Scouting can be dangerous. It’s probably a good idea to send your scout groups out in groups of 2 or 3 to start with, though it can be managed with just a single scout. Give each scout a horse. Then give them a direction to move using the same basic directions as those used for the tribe.

Scouts do not have as many Movement Points as a tribe.

You can use 8 scout groups. Use them to the max! The number of scouts used should now be subtracted from the number you sent out hunting, as people can only do one activity a month.

There’ll be more on scouts later, but this all you need for the first turn.

There is little help I can give you here. You will need to check out all the skills in the rules and decide what you want to do. You should have enough Hunting and Herding levels to keep you going for a while, so maybe you can think about something else. Maybe you want to ensure your scouts are skilled, maybe you want to make something in particular, maybe you want to branch out and work towards having more than one tribe. This is where TN differs from many other games: your development is solely up to you.

If you are unsure, play it safe and go for an increase in Hunting or Herding and then try for Scouting as a secondary skill attempt.

Make sure that you got those directions right and didn’t say east when you meant west.
Make sure you have taken into account the limits in the numbers sent to activities
Make sure all your numbers add up – that only Warriors and Actives are being used.

And that’s it. Still not very complicated, but by now you might have some idea about how much you have to micro-manage the tribe and make decisions about the future.

Next turn

To prepare for your next turn, you should do some research on the basic skills available to you and what you can make with them, then decide on options. Also, read the section on elements in the rules, because it is advised that you request a free element from the GM.

More on that in the next installment.