Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kingdomino (Blue Orange Games)

Any good king is not happy with the size of his kingdom and is always looking to expand it. Be it fields, lakes, or mountains, they should belong to you and not the lord next door. In Kingdomino, you have a chance to do just that. Will your kingdom be the most valuable at the end or will the rival king claim all the choice land for themselves? Kingdomino is a game for 2-4 players, age 8+. It retails for $20 and takes approximately 15 minutes to play.

Setup - (Before the first game, assemble all four castles)
1. Each player takes one King of their color, except in a two-player game where they take both Kings. Also give them a Starting Tile, and the Castle of their color.
2. Thoroughly shuffle all the Dominoes, number side up. Then, remove a certain amount depending on number of players (24 in a two-player game, 12 in a three-player game, 0 in a four-player game). Place the Dominoes back in the box to form the draw pile.
3. Draw a number of Dominoes from the draw pile equal to the number of Kings in play. Arrange them in ascending order and then flip them over so the landscape side is face-up.
4. A player takes all Kings in their hands and shuffles/shakes them out of their hand. When your King appear, place it on a Domino of your choice.
5. When all the Dominoes have been chosen form a new line of Dominoes as you previously did.

Game Play - Play is determined by the positions of the Kings on the Dominoes line. Each player in King order does the following:
1. Add the chosen Domino to the your territory, according to the connection rules. (Connect it to the Starting Tile or to a matching landscape on another Domino. You must also not exceed a 5 x 5 grid.)
2. Choose a new Domino in the new line by placing your King on it.
3. After everyone has placed (or discarded) their Domino and chosen a new Domino, a new line of Dominoes is drawn and arranged in ascending order. You continue repeating Steps 1 and 2 until all tiles run out.

Scoring - For each different landscape (You may have multiple regions of the same landscape.), take the number of squares and multiply it by the number of crowns. A region without crowns scores no points. Add up all your points from the various regions and the highest score wins.

Review
Kingdomino is nominated for the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year), and it's no wonder why. With the low price point, simple rules, familiar game play, and bright art/colors, it's an easy recommendation for families. There are meaningful decisions (Do I go for more crowns and go later on the next turn, or go for more of this landscape and go early next turn in hopes of better tiles?) Some people might find the game to be too easy, but there are additional rules you can add to up the challenge of the game. My personal favorite is "The Mighty Duel" (only playable with two player) where you can build a 7 x 7 grid. Bruno Cathala took this simple design and knocked it out of the park!