Kingdom of Solomon Review

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Kingdom of Solomon is a game by Philip duBarry, published by Minion Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will collect resources, perform actions and construct buildings to earn victory points. The player with the most victory points at the end of game will be crowned the winner.

To begin, all of the tokens and cubes will be separated into piles for easy access. The two decks of cards are shuffled separately and then placed face down. Each player receives a set of matching playing pieces. Some of the cubes, pawns and bonus spaces will not be used in some games. This is determined by the number of players. When playing, you should check the rules for the specifics on this. Each player will place their turn order tokens on the chart that’s on the board. The arrangement is chosen randomly. Now the top four building cards are flipped over and placed on the four building spaces on the board. Each player places their scoring tokens on the number ten space of the scoring track. Play now begins.

The game is broken up into four different phases, Placement, Resolution, Market and Building phases. The first phase is the Placement phase. During this phase, players will place one of their pawns on an unoccupied resource space, an action space or place all of their remaining pawns on an unoccupied bonus space. This is done in turn order and it continues until all pawns have been placed. This takes us to the Resolution phase.

The Resolution phase is the second phase of the game. During this phase, players in turn order will resolve the actions of their placed pawns. If the player pawn is on a resource space, they will receive the resource cubes that are shown on the board. If the pawn is on an action space, the player will perform the action described in the space. For example, the Prophet space will allow the player to draw a Fortune card. If the player pawn is on a bonus space they will perform the action described just like the action spaces. An example of a bonus space is the Ark. The Ark allows the player to draw three Fortune cards. This space is only available in three and four player games. Speaking of Fortune cards, these can be played at any time. Most of the time these cards will give some type of resource. From here, we move on to the Market phase.

The Market phase is the third phase and is played in reverse turn order. In this phase, a player is able to buy or sell one resource cube or pass. Buying and selling is done through the use of victory points. This is why the game starts all players out at 10 points on the board. Depending on whether you or buying or selling, the player will move his scoring marker either up or down the scoring track. Once all players have passed, the Market phase ends. This takes us to the final phase of the game.

The Building phase is the last phase of the game. During this phase, players will build buildings or contribute to the building of the Temple. Only one building card may be built by a player in a round. To build, the player pays the resource cube amount depicted on the card and places the card face up in front of them. The player then places one of their building pieces on an empty building site box on the board. Some building cards have a special symbol that allow the player to build without using a building piece. Building then provides a set number of victory points as determined by the card. Building the Temple is a little different. To build here, the player pays the resources shown and must start from the foundation up. The player can then take a Temple token or gain the victory points for building. These tokens are used to compete for the High Priest title. The player with the most of these will become the High Priest. This title gives that player the advantage of being able to place one of their pawns in a resource space that another player’s piece already occupies. Players can also build roads to join two regions together. This is done by paying two timber and one food resource cube. The road is then placed between the two resource spaces. This allows the player that has a building on one of those spaces to gain both resources when they play a pawn on either space. This phase continues until each player has had an opportunity to build. When this final phase is over the Building card spaces are refilled. Play continues back to the Placement phase.

The game continues through all four phases until one of the three end game conditions is met at the end of a round. If all eleven building sites are occupied, the game ends. If any player has placed all five of their buildings on Building sites, the game ends. Also, if all sixteen Temple blocks have been filled, thus completing the Temple, the game ends. From here, scoring takes place. Scoring is done by checking the victory point track. Players may play any Fortune cards that award victory points at this time for a boost. They also gain one point for each resource cube they have. Also, the player that holds the title of High Priest will gain twenty points. Once all the points have been added up, the player with the most points is the winner.

 

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COMPONENTS
There are lots of great components in this game. The resource cubes and player pieces are all brightly colored and made of wood. The cards and board all have really great artwork on them that hold to the theme of the game quite well. The cards are a little small but they fit in great with the smaller board. The boards minimalistic design is really great. It really works for me. The High Priest tokens are thick cardboard and the art on them fits in nicely with the other pieces. I really like how the theme fits nicely with everything here. Very nicely done.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rules are very simple to read and understand. There’s nothing that feels difficult or out of place. There are some great pictures and examples of game play throughout. It’s quick to read through as the book isn’t very long. I really feel that once you’ve read it, you will not have much need for it again after that. That’s just how easy the game is to understand. Really well put together.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This game really feels like a mash up of Settlers of Catan and Caylus. That’s not a bad thing as I really like both of those games. The worker placement mechanic is used really well as there are lots of decisions to be had. I especially like combining the areas together with a road to gain more resource cubes with only one worker. The cards are a nice addition that can help you pull out a victory even if you’re behind in points. The theme is very prevalent throughout the game and it doesn’t feel pasted on. It’s not a long game either, usually lasting about an hour or so. The game plays really smoothly throughout each of the phases. There’s nothing hard about the game at all. I really enjoy playing it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Kingdom of Solomon is a light to medium worker placement game set in biblical times. I really like the artwork and design of the board and cards. Everything fits together really well. The game is a lot of fun. Fans of Settlers or Caylus should enjoy this one. Worker placement fans, like myself, will really like it as well. This is a game that could easily be carried to a church lock in and played without fear of being shunned. It’s a lot better than playing Monopoly or some kind of party game for the 50th time. I highly recommend this game. This plays well with two, three, or even four players. The best way of course is to play with four players to have access to all the bonus spots on the board. Definitely give this one a try.
9 out of 10

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For more information about this and other great games, please check out Minion Games at their site.

http://miniongames.com

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About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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