‘Kingdomino’ lifts the time-honoured principle of dominoes to a new level – without losing any of the sleek elegance of its predecessor. On the contrary: the dual mechanics of planning the far-reaching lands surrounding the castle and the clever method of selecting tiles fit together extraordinarily well, they are expertly reduced to their essential components. The strong two-player variant with an XXL kingdom rounds off this quick and easy-to-learn gaming experience. -2017 Game of the Year (Spiel De Jahres Winner) /Jury statement
Review by Dad…
Take some dominos, paint some landscapes on them, and build a 5×5 landscape with them and you’ve got a handle on how Kingdomino works.
The goal of the game is to place rectangular landscape tiles, halved like standard dominos, into your tableau. No matter how you place them, the area can’t exceed a 5×5 square grid, and at least one half of the tile must be orthogonally adjacent to either a matching landscape (woods, sea, desert, etc.) or the starting tile. When done your starting tile may be in the center or anywhere in the area.
Spacial awareness and reasoning will help you avoid placing tiles in a way that will block you.
Players will know the next tile they will place and the options for the tiles after that. At the start of the game, each player’s meeples are drawn randomly, and in that order, they can choose their first tile. Then the next set of tiles is chosen. Every tile is numbered 1-48 on the back, and the lower numbers are at the top of the options. When a player places their tile, they take their meeple off and choose their next tile. At this point, they can choose a higher one to go again sooner next round or can pick a tile they need which may be further down and going later on the next turn.
There is room here for planning ahead, so you’re not just stuck with a random tile, though if you go last, your choice is the only remaining one.
To score, some tiles have 1 or more crowns on them. On each specific land area, you multiply the number of crowns by the number of square that match. For instance, if you have a contiguous area of 5 woods squares with 3 crowns in it, that’s 15 points. If you have a separate section of woods, it is scored separately. Highest score wins.
There are optional achievements you can play with to add more ways to score, such as having your starter tile be in the center.
The game plays quickly, but there’s the potential for someone to analyze for hours.
The two kids enjoyed playing it. While it’s competitive, if you’re happy with being able to place all your tiles, you can try and beat your own scores even if you don’t overall win at the table.
I like this game. While shuffling the big domino tiles isn’t really the easiest thing, it’s also the only minor quibble I have. The gameplay is fun, fast, and while you have some thinking to do, it’s focused, not a lot of things to track.
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Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review and giveaway purposes. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience with the product.