Hey folks, today we’re grabbing our scepter, robe, and crown. We’re becoming kings over our land. Yes kings and not queens. Queens is a different game I’ll touch on later. Today, we’re looking at Kingdomino. It’s the 2017 Spiel des Jahres winner. It’s a tile drafting and tile placement game for 2-4 players. It plays in about 30 minutes, and it’s produced by Blue Orange games.
The box is a medium square box. Inside you’ll the rules, 8 king tokens (2 for each player), 4 player starting tiles, 4 player castle models, and 48 domino tiles. Each domino tile has a number side and a landscape side. The landscapes are forests, fields, water, meadows, swamps, and mountains. Each domino has a combination of two landscapes, sometimes having two of the same. Some of these dominoes will also have buildings and crowns on a certain landscape. These come into play for scoring.
Let’s look at set up. Each player picks a color to be for the game. Each player gets a starting tile, castle model, and a king token in the chosen color. If playing two players, then each player will take two king tokens. Shuffle the domino tiles. In two player games, remove 24 dominoes randomly. In three player games, remove 12 dominoes. Then in 4 player games, use all the dominoes. Now, draw as many dominoes as king tokens. Arrange these in numerical order then flip them over.
I want to preface the rules with how to win. Since this will be what makes your tile placement decisions. You’ll trying to get the most points at the end of the game. To do so, you’re drafting these tiles and making a 5×5 grid of dominoes. You’ll score points by having like landscapes linked together with at least one crown in that grouping. If you have multiple crowns in a grouping, the score is multiplied by them.
Starting player will then place their king token on a flipped tile. Once all tiles are spoken for, you’ll draw, arrange numerically, and flip over a new set of tiles. Starting with the top most player token, they will place their tile and select a new tile. This means the player order for selecting tiles will change each round. For placing the tile, players need to follow the following rules. First, it has to either connect to the starting tile or a matching at least one landscape with another tile. Think of the starting tile as a wild card. Tiles can be placed vertically or horizontally. Tiles cannot go past the 5×5 grid. If a tile cannot be placed, it is discarded.
Play goes on until all the dominoes are gone. Then it’s time to score your kingdom. You’ll count how many squares are in your linked landscapes then multiply them by the crowns present. Then, player with the highest scoring kingdom win.
This is a quick and easy game to play. It’s tile drafting, tile placement, and some what pattern building. I really like the drafting part of the game. First player is consistently changing, and makes your choice have to take that into consideration. I really like the components in this game. Each tile has nice little details that scream this is a fantasy realm. Sea monsters on water tiles, a dragon’s shadow in a field, and a hero fighting a giant spider in the woods. One bit that wasn’t as necessary were the 3D castle models. Just a starting tile would suffice. This is a great gateway game and a nice intro to a drafting mechanism and tile placement. Once kingdoms are complete, it’s nice to look at the finished product as well.
Now, this game has an expansion out already and one coming within the next couple of months. Queendomino is out already. It’s a stand alone game and an expansion. I haven’t played Queendomino yet. It can be played 2-4 players, or combined with Kingdomino it can be played 2-6 players. Queendomino adds a red square to landscapes, buildings, coins, and knights. The other expansion coming is a true expansion to Kingdomino. It’s Kingdomino: Age of Giants. It adds a fifth player and giants to the game. Giants are represented by their giant tokens. If you draw a giant tile, it cancels out one of your crowns, if you place a tile with footprints, you get to hand off the giant to another player. I’m not one to usually get into the game expansions, but I can see myself getting both of these expansions down the line.
I had other reviews ready to go this week, but I saw something on a board game group that prompted me to speed this review up and head it to the front of the line. Now, Kingdomino isn’t that hard to find, but what I saw will make it a little easier for everyone to get their hands on. Target is going to start selling a Target Exclusive version of the game. From what I can tell, it has a domino tower to help organize the dominoes. These should be in stores soon, and the price was relatively cheap for a board game. I believe coming in at around $25 mark. This is a great game, family friendly, and one I think should be in everyone’s collection.