Thoughts on Kingdomino

Kingdomino Board Game
Sometimes I like to call it Kingdom-eeno

A friend of mine that works in my FLGS described Kingdomino as “the grilled cheese sandwich of games.” I suppose that also makes it the quesadilla of games as well. In spite of the fact that the game contains neither bread nor cheese, the game went on to win the 2017 Spiel des Jahres, the German game of the year.

The game’s designer, Bruno Cathala, has designed or at least co-designed many wonderful games like 7 Wonders Duel, Mr. Jack, Queen’s Necklace, Shadows Over Camelot, Animalia and Sobek. The game features some nice art by Cyril Bouquet, which sounds like a totally fake name. But I suppose the name John Flowers doesn’t sound that fake. Maybe it’s just because it’s not English. Okay, never mind.

How to play Kingdomino

The game comes with 48 rectangular tiles. Each tile is made up of two squares featuring a type of terrain. There are forests, plains, wastelands, lakes, deserts and mines. One some tiles there are also crowns, and these determine how each region will score. At the end of the game, players multiply the number of crowns in a terrain region times the number of squares.

Players take turns choosing tiles from a group equal to the number of players. The order in which players choose is determined by your previously chosen tile. Players add tiles to a central kingdom square and build out their domino kingdom to a 5×5 square. There are some limitations about where you can place tiles. With the exception of your kingdom square tile, each tile must share at least one side with similar terrain.

What I think of Kingdomino

I’m going to honest with you. I don’t love Kingdomino. I’m not saying it’s a bad game. It’s easy to teach to young people or folks who are new to gaming. It plays quickly and is pretty easy to score. The bits are nice and the price is reasonable.

I just find it a bit dull. A grilled cheese sandwich can be tasty sometimes, but really it’s just bread and cheese made hot. I expect more out of my gaming sandwich. I want spicy mustard and maybe some lettuce. I also really dislike having to lay out the tiles. The game plays so quickly that the whole tile laying out thing seems to happen too frequently.

Hey, maybe you love Kingdomino. That’s cool. Sometimes, grilled cheese sandwiches are just the thing. Like when you’ve been out drinking and it’s really late and there’s no real food in the house. Slap some bread and cheese together and heat it up in a pan. Maybe you’ve just finished a game of Twilight Struggle and your brain is fried. Bust out Kingdomino. It’s light, quick and easy to digest.

The logo of the Spiel des JahresThis is part of my Spiel des Jahres winner series. If you would like to comment on the 2017 winner, Kingdomino, then please do so on this post. If you would like to discuss or comment on the Spiel des Jahres award in general, please do so on the Spiel des Jahres series post.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Kingdomino”

  1. “The order in which players choose is determined by your previously chosen tile.” — For me, this is the innovative part of the game. I like the interplay of how this works with other players. And I almost always enjoy a puzzle element in games, so placing the tiles is fun for me. There is something of all overall blandness to how scoring works, which may be due to seeing similar scoring rules in other games, and I’m not crazy about the artistic aesthetic of the game. But overall I’m happy to play it.

  2. I agree that it is the innovative part of the game. I can only imagine the amount of playtesting that went into determining the composition and order of the 48 tiles. It just irritates me that the laying out of the tiles has to take up so much time and energy in such a short and simple game.

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