Updated: Apr 8, 2019
Publisher: Blue Orange
Designer: Bruno Cathala
Artist: Cyril Bouquet
Player Count: 2-4
Age Appropriateness: 8+
Playtime: 15-20 minutes
"Expand your kingdom my Highness! In Kingdomino you are a Lord seeking out new lands in which to expand your kingdom. Explore the vast landscapes of wheat fields, lakes, wastelands, forests, mines, and mountains in order to build the most impressive kingdom. However, other Lords will be challenging your expansion for their own kingdoms! Choose your plots wisely, in order to gain the grandest kingdom!"
"Kingdomino is pretty much summed up in the name. It is a clever tribute to the classic dominoes game with a kingdom building twist. Each turn, players will connect a new domino to your existing kingdom starting with any terrain able to touch the initial castle piece. Then players must continue to make sure that the rest of the dominoes have at least one of its sides connecting to a matching terrain type already in play. To begin, shuffle each meeple playing and draw one to decide who will go first. Then shuffle the 48 tiles and place four of them down numerically in descending order. Starting from the first player, each will take a tile depending on how many players are in the game. Make sure to secure tiles with crowns because they won’t serve just as accessories for the king but treasures that help to multiply the worth of your kingdom at the end of the game! The game ends when each player has fulfilled a 5x5 grid to the best of their ability, and then points are counted based on number of connecting tiles for each different landscape multiplied by the crowns. For example, a forest containing 6 connecting tiles with 5 crowns would award you 30 points. A 7x7 grid can also be utilized when playing with only two players. Do not be troubled if you do not fill every spot in your kingdom, especially when initially playing Kingdomino."
What We Think
Gameplay & Rules
The gameplay for this game is extremely simple but will provide gobs of fun, especially with how quickly it can be taught and played. Usually two play types emerge which consist of either creating the best strategic kingdom with numerous points or creating a visually appealing kingdom that any king would be proud to call their own. The tile placement mechanics are quite basic, but the turn order part of the game is where decision-making and strategy comes more into play and really allows this game to shine. The turn order begins with the starting player claiming one of the tiles, with the other players following. Once all the tiles are claimed, the next round’s set of tiles is revealed. Next, the player who claimed the top-most tile last round gets to choose first the next round. This creates a conundrum each round for players to decide if they want to maximize their points or to set themselves up for future points in next round. It is very tempting to grab all those crowns on the high valued tiles, but doing so means you will not have the best position for next round to grab a possibly even more valuable tile. The analysis required each round for better positioning or equipping your kingdom with bigger bonuses is a large part to why this game is so great. The only area that I thought was lacking in this game is the game play when there are only three players. I would recommend playing with either two or four players, but still enjoy a three player game. However, when playing with three players you must pull a set amount of tiles out at the start of the game. Doing so creates a stack of tiles that will never be seen during your game, meaning huge bonuses you are striving for may be all for null if certain tiles are out of the game. For example, a player could somehow have gathered most of the mine cards except the glorious three crown mine. That means the player used a few turns forfeiting good turn position over the high valued mines, and then they get to the last round to discover the tile was actually in the discarded stack of tiles that creates an understandably frustrated player. However, when playing with four players all the tiles will be used, and in the two player game all the tiles are used as well when using the optional rule of increasing your grid of a 5x5 to now build a 7×7 grid. The optional 7x7 gameplay is by far my favorite! There is also an expansion called Age of Giants that expands the base game by adding two modules, bonus tiles, and the titular giants; Therefore, would allow even more variability to increase replayability.
Components & Art
Kingdomino provides great components and art for such a small and inexpensive game. The art on each tile is illustrated beautifully with great detail and with fun references on the some of the tiles. This gives the game even more uniqueness when players are deciding on how to create their specifically oriented kingdoms. For example, one of the double forest tiles has frodo blinding shelob on it, or some people may desire the sea monster or the shadow of a dragon flying overhead in their kingdom. The thickness of cardboard tiles, starting castle tile, and castles are quite astounding and durable, and the custom shaped meeples are of equal quality.
Here at Green Akers Games we love games. It sometimes can be difficult to be a reviewer since almost every game has at least something to love about it! So what we like to do is simply let our readers/viewers know if we think this game is a game we’d choose to pay for, play, and recommend to others without hesitation. A 3 out of 3 is a perfect score while anything less means the game has missed the mark somewhere in our eyes! We chose to do this in addition to our star system above because a game should not be deemed “bad” just because better games exist! Please keep in mind, our perception of or feelings about any game should not trump your feelings about that game. We believe that if a game interests you then you should at least give it a shot! Utilize your local FLGS or local gaming group to test out games before you decide to go all in!
Kingdomino gets a 3/3 from us as it is a game we will happily pay for given the price point and what you get for your money. We would have no problem putting this in the game bag regularly since it a perfect filler game that can be quickly taught with surprisingly great quality components for the price! Lastly, we would recommend this game without hesitation. It is a perfect game for my wife and I with our 13 week old boy due to quick play time. We are able to get a few games in during his naps with ease and enjoy it every play as if playing it for the first time. This does not mean YOU will love this game as not every game is for everyone. Kingdomio is a fantastic and easy to play filler game. Obviously, you do not just receive the Spiel des Jahres, Germany’s coveted Board Game of the Year award, without being quite an amazing game.
Below are links to the Blue Orange for other great items and a link to BGG to see more reviews and such for Kingdomino. We’d also love for you to join us in the comments section with your thoughts! Create a member profile and let us know what you think!