GL First Impressions: Kingdomino

Posted by Adrian Manahan on

Some things jive perfectly like peanut butter and jelly. Having the words kingdom and domino carelessly smashed together may seem to be the last thing to fall under that category, but let us give the quirky title a chance and look at why Kingdomino, the 2017 Spiel Des Jahres winner, is currently the top pick among families and gamers.

In Kingdomino, 2-4 lords and ladies compete over domino-shaped land tiles in order to build the best kingdom possible. The rules of the game are simple and easy to learn. 

A game of Kingdomino starts with players choosing from a set of tiles (based on the number of players) laid out in ascending order, with the smaller number at the top. The first player gets to pick which of the tiles they would like to take for their kingdom. They move their king on that tile, and everyone gets the chance to pick their own as well. Another line of tiles are formed following the same rules and the game starts.

Image from Kingdomino's Rulebook

Every turn each player takes the tile where their king is on and moves it to a new one on the second line. They add that tile to their kingdom and play passe to the next person in line. Once all kings have moved to the new line, players just add another line of tiles following the same rules from before. 

Every land tile is made up of two squares of landscapes and like in a regular game of dominoes, a player can only connect sides of a same landscape. Certain tiles have the same landscapes on both squares and some have crowns which multiply the score of your properties. Properties are groups of connected squares that share a landscape type. Having large areas of properties is key to winning the game!

Image from Kingdomino's Rulebook

Play continues until the stack of tiles run out and the kingdoms are scored. The number of tiles used in the game depends on how many players there are. Scoring is simple: just add up the number of squares a certain property has and multiply it by the number of crowns in the property. Add up all your properties and declare your score.

Kingdomino is popular for a good reason: the game is consistently good. It isn’t too complex and it doesn’t take too long but it also does not rob players of interesting decisions and plays they can make. Having to build your kingdom in a 5x5 Square makes placement challenging. A key aspect of the game is knowing which tiles you would want to get. While certain tiles seem more beneficial for your kingdom, picking tiles at the lower end of the line means you would lose your options next turn. Players need to ask themselves if a tile is worth potentially losing a better one in the future. 

Kingdomino is a concise game that has a lot to offer. Like the title suggests, Kingdomino is a mix of classical gaming mechanisms (dominoes and kingdom-building), but is unique enough to make a name for itself. It may not be the deepest game around, but the low barrier of entry and its quick, elegant approach to tile-laying makes it a potential staple for board game collections of different taste. 

Kingdomino is currently available of Gaming Library. If you would like to experience playing Kingdomino and other similar games, Gaming Library Greenbelt 5 has a demo copy available for you to try out. For review requests and other board game related content, contact Duane at gl.duanebanzon@gmail.com

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