As I start this post I should say I have never played Kingdomino or Queendomino so I can’t really compare them to this version. Actually I have never had interest in either game but I found a copy of Kingdomino Origins on sale and thought I’d give it a go. Turns out this is an amazing option for a beginner strategy game.
The great thing about this game is it has 3 different modes, which is a huge selling point. If this was just the discovery mode I would probably get bored quickly. Adding the different levels changes the game, allowing you to start with children or new gamers without being intimidated and gives you something to build on. I wish more games did this because it will make it accessible to more people.
The other thing I like is the turn order selection in this game. As you get closer to the end of the game your choices are limited with what tiles you need but also you don’t want to be last to pick a tile on the next turn so it’s an interesting choice to balance.
As for what comes in the box, there’s not an overwhelming amount of pieces. The tiles are good quality and I love the wooden resources. Overall this is a really welcoming game.
Kingdomino Origins was designed by Bruno Cathala with art by Cyril Bouquet and published by Blue Orange Games. This is a 2 to 4 player game for ages 8 and up, that takes about half an hour to play.
In Kingdomino Origins you are trying to connect your dominoes into a 5 by 5 grid to get the most points.
- 4 Starting Tiles
- 4 Huts
- 8 Tribe Chiefs
- 48 Dominos
- 1 Cave Board
- 22 Caveman Tiles
- 4 Totem Tiles
- 49 Wooden Resources
- 10 Fire Tokens
- 1 Scorecard Notepad
This game has three different gameplay modes, I am going to go through the easiest one, discovery mode for a 3 to 4 player game.
Players will choose their colour and gather a starting tile, the hut in their colour and a chief also in their colour. The tile will be placed in front of them with the hut on top. Shuffle the dominoes and place them in the box with the numbers facing up. Place the fire tokens nearby.
Take four random dominoes and place them in a row numerically. Then flip the dominoes over. One player will take all of the chief tokens, shuffle them and pull them out one at a time. When your chief has been pulled place the token on one of the free dominos. This will become your first tile.
Once everyone has been placed make a new row of dominoes.
How to Play
The player who’s chief is on the first domino will go first by picking up their tile and placing it on their territory. The starting tile you have is wild so this piece can be connected in any way. After this first turn tiles will only be placed by connecting one side to a matching side like you would in regular dominoes. The max size your territory can be is 5×5. If a tile cannot be placed because of these rules, your tile will be discarded.
Next you will choose a new domino. The top domino will give you first pick the next round but it may not be the terrain you need so there are some decisions to be made. Once everyone has placed those four first dominoes, you will do this process again with the new first player picking up their tile.
An interesting aspect is the volcanoes. They will erupt and cause fires that can be used to make campfires but the volcano tiles themselves don’t earn you points at the end of the game. Once you place a domino with a volcano, take a corresponding fire token:
- A volcano with 1 crater launches up to 3 squares away
- A volcano with 2 craters launches up to 2 squares away
- A volcano with 3 craters launches 1 square away
The fire token must land on an empty square without a fire token or fire symbol and cannot land on another volcano tile. If there’s no spot available you lose the fire token.
End of Game
When the last of the dominoes are placed players should have a 5×5 hunting territory. It is possible to have empty spots if a player had to discard a domino. It is now time to calculate the scores.
A region is made of matching groups of terrains that are connected either horizontally or vertically. Each region is worth as many squares make it up multiplied by the number of fire symbols, both tokens and on the dominoes themselves. There can be more than one region with the same terrain but any regions without fires are worth nothing so it is important to pay attention to the volcanos throughout the game. Calculate the scores and the player with the highest points win.
There are two other modes to this game, each adding a bit more difficulty to the game. The Totem mode adds in resources on tiles to score you bonus points. The Tribe Mode also uses the resources that can now be traded in to add cavemen. The cavemen also add different scoring conditions that make the game more challenging.
The totem mode and the tribe mode add on to the Discovery mode so you can really take this game one step at a time and build up the difficulty level. Since this game has a lot of flexibility, it is a cute option not to be overlooked.