Explore the lands and expand your kingdom in this new tile laying game from Bruno Cathala. Inspired by the classic game of Dominoes. Is is just that, or is there more?
The goal of the game is to create a 5×5 kingdom by placing one tile per turn. A tile consist of two square areas. Some tiles have two areas of the same kind of terrain, others have two different terrain types. Some area have one or more crowns depicted on them, others have zero. There are six different types of terrain. Some are more abundant or more valuable than others. Crowns are important for your end game score.
At the end of the game you multiply the total squares of one terrain type with the amount of crowns in that same area. So, if you have an area of five squares of grassland and on two squares you see one crown, you get five times two equals ten points for that area. You’ll do that for every area in your kingdom and the player with most points wins the game.
There’s more to the game than that off course. There are placement rules and you have to get the right tiles. And these are just the two thing about this game that makes Kingdomino not just a simple copy of dominoes.
Every round four new tiles are placed on the table. Tiles are numbered and shuffled, so when your draw four tiles you sort them. From low to high. When you place your king meeple on the lowest numbered tile you are the first player next turn and can place that tile first and pick your next one first, four new tiles are drawn. So the higher the number the later you choose your next tile, but the higher numbered tiles are also slightly better, which means there’s a better chance of them containing crowns.
I like this tile selection mechanism a lot, because being able to pick first from the new set of tiles can be very advantageous, but in the end you’ll only get point if you get tiles with crowns, which most of the time means that your turn comes up later.
Being able to pick your next tile first is very important because of the placement rules. Every tile you place has to be placed next to either your castle or next to another tile with, at least, one matching terrain type. This in combination with the restriction, or goal, that you have to build a 5×5 grid, makes building a perfect kingdom harder than you initially might think. Especially near the end you might be forced to pick tiles that you can’t place.
Balancing the size of your areas and the amount of crowns is essential. Having large areas alone is not a guarantee for success, because you might have an area of eleven squares and only one crown, which only gives you eleven points. Another player might have an area of three squares with five crown, giving her fifteen points, plus she probably used the other eight squares for another area type, giving her even more points. And lets not even think about the times you try to build a large sea area, but for some reason are not able to get a crown on a sea tile. A big area, but a big number times zero crowns is still zero points. How sad.
The first time you hear about, see, or even play this game, you might think that Kingdomino is hardly more than just plain old dominoes. However this game offers more than you initially think. There’s more to it than meets the eye. Its gets better with every game you’ll play.
Yes, it’s a family style game, but it gives you enough to think about. Plus, it has that addictive vibe, you immediately want to play it again. And don’t forget about the illustrations, they are pretty. On most tiles you’ll find detailed elements from familiar fairy tales and other famous stories. All in all, I recommend Kingdomino. A quick filler with easy rules and that is addicting and fun.