In 2016, Kingdomino was launched, a placement game that brought the domino principle to the table in a creative way. It won numerous awards, including Game of the Year 2017. No wonder numerous sequels followed. Among them Dragomino, which was even named Children's Game of the Year in 2021. No wonder that the successful principle is given another part. This is called Kingdomino Origins and was recently published in German by Pegasus.

Kingdomino Origins takes us even further back in time than its predecessors. This time we are building our kingdom or territory in the Stone Age. As the leader of a Stone Age tribe, we expand our territory and use the volcanic lava to bring our tribe vital fire. A change that makes the original pleasantly more tactical.

Three game modes offer great variety

There are three game modes that completely change the game behavior with only small changes:

The fire mode represents the classic game mode. As in the original, we build up a 5×5 territory by forming the largest possible areas with as many fire symbols as possible (instead of crowns). Areas always consist of one of six landscape types. At the end of the game, the victory points of an area result from the number of fields in the area multiplied by the number of fire symbols it contains. In addition to the classic landscape types, Kingdomino Origins adds the volcanoes. These erupt as soon as they are attached to your own territory. Depending on the number of craters, the volcano then spits out a tile with one to three fire symbols that you can place one to three spaces away from the volcano, depending on the type of tile. The multiplier can be significantly boosted by the newly created fires. However, volcanoes themselves do not count for points. Therefore, you have to weigh up whether you would rather expand your area or set volcanoes. With this small innovation, Kingdomino Origins is already significantly more tactical in its basic version than the original.

Scoring in classic fire mode. The volcanoes that spit fire as soon as they are created are new.

Scoring in classic fire mode. The volcanoes that spit fire as soon as they are created are new. The fire tokens give you more control over which areas give you more victory points. Photo: Sven Karsten

The totem mode brings another innovation, the resources, into play. Overall, however, the same rules apply here as in fire mode. There are only additional victory points for the players who have collected the most resources of a type. Because as soon as a player has the most resources of a type, he gets a totem tile that gives more victory points at the end depending on the rarity. In addition to the totems, you get an additional victory point for each resource in your territory. However, resources are burned by the fire of a volcanic eruption. In this mode, you also pay attention to a good placement of the fire and ask yourself which resources you can do without for a fire.

The last mode is the cave mode and represents the most demanding of all modes. There are also resources here, but the totems are replaced by cavemen, which you can buy with the help of the resources. These then bring different bonuses. For example, the hunter earns three victory points for each mammoth standing around him. Warriors, on the other hand, reinforce each other by standing side by side and forming a horde. The sum of the combined strength is then multiplied by the size of the horde and thus results in the victory points. This addition makes building up your own territory much more tactical and considered. Large territories are still important, but one often thinks about making the territory smaller, but increasing it for the cavemen's bonuses by skillfully laying out the resources.

The cavemen give additional victory points at the end of a game.

The cavemen give additional victory points at the end of a game. The warriors left and right together form hordes. If our two warriors were to stand next to each other here at one end of the game, the end of the game would get the combined strength (3) times the number of warriors (2) in points, i.e. a total of 6 points. The Sculptor (2nd from right) scores 5 victory points per stone resource and the Shaman scores 2 victory points per caveman around her. Photo: Sven Karsten

Suitable for every type of player

Kingdomino Origins was well received in all constellations. Whether there were two or four, all players, those who played a lot as well as children, found the game consistently entertaining. In our test groups, however, there were different opinions on the different modes. The totem mode was the best, as the various cavemen made the game much more complicated and the relaxed gameplay that characterizes Kingdomino seemed more stressful. However, the cave mode offers a nice change. Especially those who play a lot, who have already played the original or the other modes until the end, will have fun with the tactics around the cavemen.

The rules are well written and easy to understand. We never had any problems understanding, everything was clear and concise. Of course, Kingdomino Origins isn't a tactical cracker like other games, but there's just nothing bad to say about the rules. From the outset, the rulebook suggests starting with Fire mode and then playing the other modes. The entry hurdle is therefore quite low and even non-gamers could find their way around quickly. Just the overview of the number of tiles of all landscape types could have been printed on the other side of the volcano so that you don't have to turn it over to get an overview and then turn it over again to draw new dominoes. But this is complaining on a high level.

It just feels good

The quality of Kingdomino Origins is outstanding. Many games can learn a lesson from here. The domino tiles are a nice thickness, the wood resources are amazing with their printed details, the cloth bag from the original is replaced by a magnetic volcanic tower from which you can easily pull the new dominoes... The gameplay just feels and feels good throughout holding a real quality product in your hand. Only the 3D huts placed on the starting stone were disappointing. Here, too, we would have wished for a wooden figure, as this would have perfectly matched the wooden resources and figures.

The game material feels high quality. You never had the feeling that anything would wear out quickly. The only thing we would have wished for was the 3D huts in wood.

The game material feels high quality. You never had the feeling that anything would wear out quickly. The only thing we would have wished for was the 3D huts in wood. Image: Sven Karsten

 

About Kingdomino Origins

 Number of players: 2 to 4
Age: from 8 years
Playing time: 20 - 40 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Long-term motivation: high
Classification: family game
Core mechanisms: placement game, resource management

Author: Bruno Cathala
Illustrations: Cyril bouquet
Publisher: Pegasus, Blue Orange Games
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2022
Language: German
Cost: 34,99 Euro

Summary

Kingdomino Origins is convincing all along the line and is a worthy successor with its different game modes and improvements. It is suitable for all game types thanks to its three game modes and can almost always be interspersed for a short game or for the whole evening be played in several rounds. If you already liked the original, you can confidently buy Kingdomino Origins and get a game that improves the formula for success and makes it more motivating. Players who have not tried Kingdomino before should make a detour to the Stone Age at the latest now. Because this is totally worth it.

Last updated on 1.12.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API