Kingdomino was pitched to me as a “family light strategy game that plays in 15 minutes” — sounds great, right? And it totally is! It can be played with 2-4 players and it easily plays in 15 minutes. It’s quick to learn, but it’s hard to master because the order of the tiles change, thus making your strategy change, and it leaves you wanting to play it over and over and over. And since it only takes ~15 minutes, of course you have time for another game!
In Kingdomino, each player is creating their own little kingdom in a 5×5 grid. You start with a square tile and place your castle on it. Then you select 3 or 4 domino tiles (based on the number of players). All of the dominoes are numbered on the back and they are placed face-up in numerical order (see the numbers on the tiles below? These should be flipped face-up). To start, you randomly choose which king to place on each tile. Now more tiles are drawn and placed next to the first column in face-up in numerical order. The player who is on the lowest number tile in the first column gets to select which new tile to place their king on. They collect the tile they just left and play it on their kingdom, and it’s the player who is on the 2nd lowest number tile’s turn to select a new tile. Once all of the players have taken their turn/all of the new tiles have been selected, more tiles are drawn and the game keeps going until you play through the number of tiles required (which is based on your number of players.)
There are 6 different types of terrain and with the exception of your start tile (which is a wild), you must place a tile so that at least half of the tile touches terrain that matches — kind of like dominoes! The goal is to get as many points as you can in your 5×5 grid, and points are calculated by how many crowns are in a swath of connected terrain multiplied by the number of squares in that swath of terrain. In the example above, if it was the end of the game the player would score 15 for the dark color tiles because they have 3 touching squares and 5 crowns in that swath. (3×5=15) You can have more than one area of the same type of terrain but it definitely helps if you can connect large sections and get as many crowns in there as possible! No crowns in an area makes that swath worth ZERO (because 0 x Anything = 0) Also of note, not all terrains are equal; there are a bunch of some, and very few of others and some have lots of crowns, whereas others have very few.
Between the choosing which tile you’d like (provided you’re not always stuck going last!), what kind of tiles are available, and what’s been played in your grid/kingdom, the game never feels the same! There’s a slight bit of guessing what other players want, and while you might want to block someone from getting a good tile — you also need to choose something that’s going to work for you AND put you in a good tile selecting position for the next round. And on top of all that, you need to manage your 5×5 kingdom! It’s easy but hard, puzzle-y but not too heavy on the decisions — overall I LOVE IT!
But you know what I like even better? The 2-player 7×7 variant of Kingdomino (included in the game). You have 4 tiles per round and each player has 2 kings to choose tiles and you use ALL of the game tiles. It’s such a great 2-player game! Cannot recommend it enough!
If you were confused by my instructions, you can watch how to play it below. If you cannot wait to try it, you can buy it here:
~$20 Amazon, local game stores
2-4 players (2 player 7×7 version is my FAVORITE!)
~15 minutes (a little longer for the 7×7 but it’s worth it!)