Winner of the 2017 Spiel des Jahres, one of the most prestigious awards in the boardgame industry, Kingdomino has been a huge hit for Blue Orange Games. The game takes the basic mechanic of matching dominos and turns it into a light kingdom builder all while keeping in line with Blue Orange’s pattern of easy-to-learn games with a physical small footprint.
The goal of Kingdomino is to build the highest-scoring 5×5 grid using domino-like tiles. Each player gets 1 or 2 King meeples, depeding on the number of players, a starting tile, and a little 3D castle. Each player places their starting tile in front of them and places their castle upon it. As many tiles as there are players are drawn at random and placed in numeric order in a column, then the process is repeated again to form a 2nd column. 1 King is then taken from each player, randomized in some manner, and a king is placed on each tile in the first column. All tiles are then flipped over to reveal them and play can begin.
Player order in Kingdomino is determined by the order of King meeples on the first column of tiles. On a player’s turn the take the tile their King currently resides on and then places their king on the tile they’d like to obtain from the 2nd column. They then add the tile the just took to their kingdom, matching at least one side of it to a side already in play. If the tile cannot be played, it’s discarded. Once each player has taken a tile and chosen a new one, a new column of tiles is created and play continues until there are no tiles left.
Once the game ends players will score areas of similar terrain in their kingdom, but only if they contain crowns. Areas are worth the number of tiles in that area times the number of crowns. Therefor an area of 4 fields with 2 crows contained would be worth 8 points. An area of 8 water with no crowns would be worth absolutely nothing.
Check out the full rules of Kingdomino here for more examples of play and scoring here.
Blue Orange Games isn’t a company to skimp on quality, and Kingdomino doesn’t disappoint. While there aren’t many components, the ones you go get will stand up to years of play. The domino tiles are a thick cardboard and about double to size of a standard domino. The starting tiles are also quality, and the 3D cardboard castles, while not really necessary in the game, are a nice touch. The wooden King meeples are your standard fare, and really nice.
Kingdomino didn’t win the Spiel des Jahres for nothing. It’s an excellent little game that perfect for family play. It’s small, easy-to-learn, inexpensive, and a joy to play. While it may not be a game for hardcore gamers, it certainly ticks off all the right boxes to be an instant family classic. My kids can’t get enough of this one and it’s a game they can easily take off the shelves and play on their own.
Gamers looking for a bit more, don’t fret. Blue Orange recently released Queendomino, a stand-alone expansion for Kingdomino that adds a bit more depth to the game. Keep an eye for that review soon!