Kingdomino – Game of the Week
I always find it pretty clever when a board game designer takes mechanics from an incredibly old game we’ve been playing for decades (or centuries) and repurposes it for a modern board game. Bruno Cathala did that with Five Tribes when he used Mancala as the engine that award winning game. Antoine Bauza took elements of blackjack and used it in his game Samurai Spirit. Well Mr. Cathala is back at it again with his newest offering, Kingdomino.
Our newest Game of the Week has been grabbing headlines lately as it was just nominated for the coveted Spiel des Jahres, the German Game of the Year award. You can read about al the Spiel des Jahers nominees in our article here if you want more information. In case you haven’t guessed from the intro or name, Kingdomino borrows elements from Dominoes (not the pizza company) for the basis of its gameplay. Now I mean the actual tabletop game Dominoes, not setting up an elaborate series of tiles and then watching them all get knocked over.
In Kingdomino, players are seeking to expand their kingdoms from a single tile. The game play is incredibly easy to pick up. Each round, players draft a new tile to add to their kingdom. It must be placed so that one of the terrain types matches a previously placed one. Players will score points for having large areas of contiguous terrain types. And that’s about it. There are a few more hitches to scoring, but explaining how to play should take all of 2 minutes.
And its accessible nature is what makes Kingdomino such a good game. It can be used as a filler game (playable in 15 minutes) while waiting for others to show up to game night, or as a light euro game to play with your non-gamer friends. I played a game of Kingdomino with people who have barely played a modern board game and they picked it up right away. Finally, there is also something incredibly satisfying about watching your kingdom come to life over the course of the game. That must be why I love tile-laying games. At the end of the game, you have a great visual representation of what you’ve built. This one is definitely worth a look.