The tribal stage is the first and most basic technical level of a goblin army. This first phase is the least complex and provides a framework which is built upon when they discover new technologies.
The units of the gobins can be split into five categories; Technical, Crafting, Military, Animal and Peon. These are listed in order of how high up they are in the goblin hierarchy, Techical goblins being the most important, and usually the smartest.
The goblin tinker is really the only technical unit that the tribal stage actually has.
They specialise in building contraptions and walls. Mostly walls though. They carry backpacks full of obsidian blocks (the preffered building material of the goblins) around with them everywhere and can lay them down with quite incredible speed.
Unfortunately their intelligence is often over-ridden by their enormous imaginations. Often a goblin colony will start with hardly enough room to move a finger, and end up with two square miles of empty space per goblin inside, with crenelations, spires, temples towers and spikes bristling out of it at all angles.
To train a peon into a tinker requires a wall to have been built. Goblins usually embark with a single tinker.
Farmers are in charge of rearing hens, making sure they don't fall down holes and aren't eaten by predators and such.
Some people think does not really look like a particularly taxing job.
These people are correct.
Any peon can train into a farmer with no requirements. Normally one accompanies an embark party.
Chefs cook food, and thus are very highly venerated by the goblin community. They are specialised at turning any meat they can get their hands on (be it hen, goblin or pathogenic amoebus supremes) into a meal fit for any goblin king.
Of course this means that nobody but a goblin would want to eat it, even if it was the last piece of edible material (and whether it's even edible is questionable) on the planet.
There are no requirements for a peon to train into a chef. Normally one accompanies the embark party. One meal made by a chef is equal to four units of food (the amount left is visible by the size of the crate).
All military units (except the beastmaster) follow a series of ranks denoting skill level. As goblins train in combat they often learn the strengths and weaknesses of their weapons and make "adjustments". This is why the best weapons and best armour are always carried by the best military goblins.
The first rank (recruit) only requires there to be a training dummy present. A peon who finds it will take a turn crafting himself a stone weapon and making some leather armour and become a recruit. Occasionally three recruits will be present in an embark party.
The second rank (champion) requires a turn spent practicing, be this on a dummy or an opponent, as well as two units of food. They are stronger and more damage resistant than recruits. Sometimes two of these come along with the goblin embark party.
The final tribal rank (elite) requires two additional turns practicing the use of their chosen weapon and four units (an entire crate) of food. These goblins are the best of the best. They can take the most punishment, and also dish it out to others. Most of the time a single elite military goblin will be in the embark group, in place of goblins of lesser rank.
It is debatable whether the beastmaster is actually a military unit, but he's not as smart as a craftsgoblin so this is the category he is in. As stated above there is only one rank of beastmaster, and as a consequence he's pretty bad at fighting people. In addition to this his only weapons are a pair of spiked knuckles he wears to increase the power of his punches.
The real reason every goblin army needs one (or several) beastmaster(s) is the fact that they can train beak dogs. Without a beastmaster, any dogs that the goblins have will finish whatever it is they are doing and then go off to wander the map eating wildlife.
To train into a beastmaster requires a kennel. Sometimes one comes with the goblins in the embark party instead of a military goblin.
Goblin "maces" are basically just large sticks with rocks tied on. As the weapon is upgraded, bigger rocks are used.
They have a medium speed and do a medium amount of damage.
Goblin axes are like maces, but the stone is larger and sharpened. As the weapon is upgraded the head increases in size and then a second one is added.
They can only be swung slowly and thus can be more easily dodged but do huge amounts of damage if they hit someone.
Goblin whips are made of leather, with rocks tied on as they are upgraded.
They are almost impossible to dodge due to their speed, but aren't likely to do very much damage to even lightly armoured opponents.
Crossbows are almost the only ranged weapon that tribal goblins have. They fire sharpened stone bolts into enemies from a distance. A recruit can only fire once every two turns, a champion once a turn and an elite twice every turn. Better targeting sights also mean that the range and accuracy increases as the weapon is upgraded.
Spears do a large amount of melee damage and can reach further than other melee weapons, but they can't be used from very close to the enemy because of their size.
They can also be used to throw at the enemy for massive damage, but it takes a few turns for the wielder to make another one (Two for recruits, one for champions, none for elites).
Chickens are raised by goblins for their deliciousness. They lay an egg once every three turns. The egg hatches into a chick the turn after, which grows into a hen the turn after that and immediately lays another egg.
It's best not to ask how the eggs are fertilised.
An egg mysteriously appears whenever a hen coop is built.
Beak dogs are raised by goblins as they see a sort of similarity in them; both species are green, bloodthirsty, bad smelling and willing to eat their own young.
Beastmasters train these dogs from pups into vicious killing machines. Pups take two turns to grow up and (unlike chickens) actually need to have two parents.
The goblin mother is the only female member of a goblin tribe ever seen so far. They are usually the oldest goblin in the family and mother to almost all of the members. They are enormously fat and made up mostly of reproductive organs.
As long as they are fed once every six turns they'll produce one baby every other turn.
Goblin kids are are loud, obnoxious kleptomaniacs who do nothing useful all day. So basically exactly like their adult selves except shorter.
After two turns they inevitably grow into a peon.
Peons are the lowest of the low and have to do whatever any other goblin tells them. Only the stupidest don't realise that they can quickly get out of this predicament by finding a job as soon as possible.
In the game, they build the various structures used as tools by other goblins, like cooking pots and hen coops.
The most basic tribal vehicle simply requires a goblin to sit on a beak dog.
They move faster and the beak dog can still attack things. The only real disadvantage is that an explosion would kill them both instead of just one.
Chariots take a turn for a tinker to build. These are pulled by beak dogs and can seat a single goblin. They have quite good cover inside the chariot which makes up for the fact that it's a little slower than riding a dog.
Carts take two turns to build. They also are pulled by a dog. It can hold two goblins, a greatmother or even a goblin operating a ballistae. They are only slightly faster than a walking goblin.