Kingdomino Review

Kingdomino is a game by Bruno Cathala and Cyril Bouquet, published by Blue Orange Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players take on the role of Lords of a budding new kingdom. They must explore new territories as they try to add the best spots to their kingdom. Of course, their opponents are trying to do the same thing and might snatch up those places before they can. In the end, the player that can build the best kingdom and earn the most points will be declared the winner.

To begin, players choose a color and take the corresponding colored castle. They are also given a starting tile which they place in front of themself. They then will place their castle on the starting tile. The dominoes are shuffled face down and then randomly placed back inside the tray of the box. Depending on the number of players, a certain amount of dominoes are removed from the tray, not to be used during the game. Each player is given a wooden king of their chosen color. In a 2 player game, each player gets 2 of these. A number of dominoes are then drawn from the tray based on the number of players. For 2 and 4 players, 4 dominoes are drawn. In a 3 player game, only 3 dominoes are drawn. The dominoes are then placed face down in a column from lowest to highest number. Once the column is determined, the dominoes are flipped over to their landscape side. A player takes all the colored kings into their hand and shuffles them up. One at a time, a king is drawn out of the player’s hand. Each time a player’s king is drawn, they will then place it on one of the face up dominoes. Once all the dominoes have been chosen and kings placed on each one, a new column of dominoes is chosen by drawing new ones from the tray and repeating the same process as earlier. Once completed, play now begins.

The game is played over several rounds. Each round players will place dominoes into their kingdom. The order in which this is done is determined by the position of the kings placed previously. Starting with the domino at the top of the column, the player whose king is on that domino now retrieves their king and places it on one of the dominoes in the new column. They then place the domino they removed their tile from and place it into their kingdom. This continues down the column until all 4 tiles have been placed in kingdoms and new dominoes chosen. A new column of dominoes are drawn just like during setup and a new round begins. It should be noted that as players add dominoes to their kingdom, they must be in a 5×5 grid. Each domino must connect to either the starting tile or to another domino that matches 1 of the lands on it. If there are no matching dominoes or empty spaces around the starting tile, then the domino must be discarded.

The game continues until the last dominoes are lined up. Players then complete 1 final round of placing dominoes. However no new dominoes are chosen as there will be no new column to choose from. Once the last dominoes are placed, the game ends and scoring occurs. Players gain points for each group of connected lands that match. Each square earns the player an amount of prestige points equal to the number of crowns on all the matching and connected lands times the number of squares. For instance if there are 3 squares of connecting forests and two of the squares have a crown on them, then the player would earn 6 prestige points for the forest. Players add up their prestige points for all their territories and the player with the most points is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This game doesn’t consist of a whole bunch of pieces. There are 4 colored castles that must be assembled from 4 punchboard pieces. There are 4 small starting squares that each player will place their castle on. There are 8 wooden kings in 4 different colors. Finally there are the stack of dominoes. The cardboard castles are kinda nice looking and pretty easy to put together. The wooden king pieces are really bright colored and look nice. The starter squares and dominoes are all really thick with a glossy finish. They are super sturdy. The box has an insert that actually works with the dominoes and makes it easy to pull them from. The artwork on the dominoes is really nice. It has a kinda cartoony feel to it that should appeal to kids. I have to say that I really like the look and feel of the different pieces. I think overall it’s really well designed and looks light and fun.
8 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is written in 3 different languages; English, French and Spanish. Each set of rules is separated into it’s own section. Each set is only 3 pages long, making it very fast and easy to read over. There are lots of pictures throughout the book, as well as plenty of examples of gameplay. Each page of the book has a nice full color glossy finish to it that looks great. The back cover of the book has a nice reference guide to all the dominoes, telling you exactly how many squares there are of each type of land and how many of each land have crowns on them. For instance, there’s only 1 mine tile that has 3 crowns on it, but there are 21 blank desert tiles. Overall I think the rulebook conveys the rules in a really simple and easy manner. It’s well written and looks really nice. I’m pretty much happy with the overall look.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
This is a really fun and simple game. Basically you’re drafting tiles and then placing them in your kingdom as you try to match up the different territories to earn points. This is a quick game that even my daughter enjoyed. You can play a game in like 10 minutes, especially if you’re playing only 2 players. There is a little bit of strategy involved as you’ll have to think about whether you want to be able to go first the next round or to take that bottom domino for the crowns on it. You can block out your opponents and do a little hate drafting but I find it to be more fun to simply try to get the best for your kingdom. The game is very simple and easy to play. After playing through the game once, you’ll most likely want to play it again. My daughter regularly requested to do just that. There are a few variants included in the rules to add a bit more difficulty but it’s still not a difficult game. Fans of tile laying games like Carcassonne should really enjoy this one. I’m not normally a tile laying fan, but the drafting aspect of this one really saves it for me. It’s really a nice fun game that can easily be played with the whole family. I highly recommend it. It’s full of fun for everyone.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Kingdomino is a light weight tile laying game with a bit of drafting thrown in for fun. It’s really quick and easy to play. Most game sessions last around 10 to 15 minutes, making it a great little filler. If you’re like us, you’ll most likely want to play it again. The components are all good quality and the artwork is light and fun. I like that every aspect of the game was well thought out including the insert for the box. There’s not a lot of strategy involved but can include a bit of hate drafting for those that choose to go that direction. Fans of games like Carcassonne should enjoy this one. Even if you don’t like that game, you might enjoy the drafting aspect of this one. Overall, this is a really fun and simple game that’s great for the entire family. The young kids will enjoy it as well as the adults. I highly recommend this one. Long live the King.
9 out of 10

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

http://www.blueorangegames.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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