There are board games that gamers find stupid just hearing their name. For example, titles such as Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit represent a true love-hate relationship in board games. Other games are combined with the Sunday card game with the grandparents. When grandma puts the bottle of Ramazotti and four glasses on the table, it is immediately clear: it's time for canasta!

Dominoes are also such a classic that can only rarely lure modern board players to the gaming tables, although the gameplay is not that bad at all. It's good that Bruno Cathala decided to refurbish the outdated mechanics. Apparently with surprising success, because Kingdomino was named Game of the Year 2017 for a reason. We have now put many games of the placement game behind us and share our impressions in our board game review Kingdomino with you.

The king is (far from) dead

King Domino is alive. The classic Domino has been experienced since the publication of the placement game Kingdomino a kind of revival. From now on you can finally play dominoes again without being seen as a dinosaur. Big thanks go to the game designer Bruno Cathala, creator of board games like Shadows over Camelot, Mr Jack or Jamaicawho has created a completely new gaming experience with his reworking of the simple domino rules. 

That the basic idea of ​​designing a simple puzzle game is far from obsolete proves Kingdomino impressively.  

And so 2 to 4 players follow in the footsteps of enthusiastic kings who want to expand their lands. The set of rules is unmistakably simple: players create the current game display using a bag mechanic (in the new edition, the cloth bag has been replaced by a pretty 3D tower). Then it is a question of creating lands within a 5 x 5 token "playing field" in the right color. Everyone makes sure to use as many crowns as possible. That's basically it!

Who thinks now Kingdomino is a completely undemanding board game is wrong. Nice game mechanics actually accommodate strategic actions in the game. And because "nett" is the little sister of grundsolide in the board game business, this rule detail plays the same way. Players get the country plates according to an ascending number, which at the same time makes a statement about the value. The higher the number, the more valuable the tile. However, because there are only four tiles in the display for players to claim and four more beside them, a certain amount of tactical action is advisable. After all, the choice of a worthless tile is given with a free choice when making the reservation. At the same time, exploiting advantages puts a player further behind in the next round. The extremely clever trick ensures that experienced players do not simply accept results, but try to use the optimal strategy fairly early on. Because the expenses are drawn depending on luck, the tactics only work to a limited extent. What is always possible is the renunciation of certain point values ​​in order to thwart the opponent's tactics. You shouldn't expect big interactive gimmicks apart from the explained game actions: everyone plays more or less his game - and if possible drives into the opponent's car.

One has to praise the extraordinarily good 2-player compatibility. What is just a nice gimmick in many board games works excellently with the simple domino offshoot from Pegasus Spiele. When 2 player board game Kingdomino truly royal. With four players, the placement game splashes smoothly. Whereas the variant with three players can be called a riot version - always against the background that the kingdom is fundamentally peaceful. The pleasantly short lap time of between 10 to 25 minutes makes Kingdomino the perfect nightcap for professionals and an ideal family game. 

What will become of the game in a few years' time is uncertain, but fundamentally there is potential for a timeless classic. The stand-alone game proves that the basic idea of ​​a completely redesigned domino can be further developed Queendomino, also by Bruno Cathala.

The target group dilemma

In the context of board game reviews, it is often discussed whether and how clearly one can use certain target groups as a rating factor. who Kingdomino reviewed, is quickly faced with this target group dilemma, because when different types of players are included, different evaluations result - at least if one evaluates fairly. The games are sure to be fun for frequent players. However, the game principle wears out quickly and the possibilities of playful influence are ultimately rather limited. A simple set of rules paired with simple gameplay offers little incentive for fans of complex board games. Become a frequent player Kingdomino best described as a solid work.

For families with children as well as for infrequent and casual gamers, Kingdomino is a real revelation, which proves that you don't need complicated rules to be able to have fun with board games.

Inexperienced players in particular find the game to be far more strategic, despite the obvious luck component. Ultimately, every board game review is to be seen as one recommendation among many, so that we are always happy to get involved in evaluating for the larger target group in each case - and that is with Kingdomino clearly to be found among the family players. 

Deserved Game of the Year 2017: Kingdomino

The placement game Kingdomino is the game of the year 2017. There is nothing to be done about it. Basically, there are different opinions for every jury evaluation and we too tend to have Race to El Dorado as favorites seen. Still is too Kingdomino a deserved award winner.

The reasoning of the jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV sums it up:

"Kingdomino takes the time-honoured domino principle to a new level - without losing the simple elegance of the model. On the contrary: the planning of the extensive estates around the castle and the clever mechanism in the tile selection are harmoniously interlinked and masterfully reduced to the essentials. The strong two-person variant with XXL kingdoms rounds off the fast and easy-to-learn gaming experience.”

Kingdomnio In the end, it is nothing more than a polished domino game, which, however, works perfectly in all of its game elements: from a simple set of rules to easy-to-learn game strategies. If an elementary school child can play a board game as well as their grandpa, then a game designer has done a lot right with his creation. 

Images of Kingdomino


Number of players: 2 to 4 players
Age: from 8 years
Playing time: 10 to 25 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Long-term motivation: medium

Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Author: Bruno Cathala

Year of publication: 2016
Language: German
Cost: 25 Euro


You could say Kingdomino has achieved something that only a few board games can claim to have made it: to make an absolute classic game socially acceptable again. The times when dominoes could only be played in smoky rooms and in the semi-darkness behind thick velvet curtains are finally over. Dominoes are even more fun today than ever before - at least in the revised version that the author Bruno Cathala offers players. How simple the idea behind the modern variant is, the naming suggests to some extent. Kingdomino is dominoes where players build their kingdom. 

Has purely optically Kingdomino little in common with the classic. On closer inspection, however, the parallels become apparent. Instead of contrasting wood or plastic, Bruno Cathala relies on colored cardboard, which you have to put together to match. Not only is this fun, it looks pretty good on the gaming table. You can do that from that Kingdomino-Stones after a few games do not necessarily claim: Cardboard blocks are known to always be prone to fraying edges. at Kingdomino the wear and tear is increased by the bag mechanism. Ultimately, the optics suffer from this, but the fun is not impaired. At least in this way you can understand why classic dominoes are made of much more stable materials. For the new edition of Kingdomino you have to praise Pegasus Spiele: instead of a bag, a tower serves as a tile store. Not only does it look better, it also significantly reduces the signs of wear and tear. Even the tower cannot completely prevent minor blemishes.

The really royal on Kingdomino is the extremely good accessibility, which makes the game of the year 2017 especially interesting for beginners as well as infrequent and occasional gamers. It is important to place tiles next to each other in a matching color and to build as many crowns as possible. Kingdomino is minimalist and breaks the rules down to so few details that gamers might wonder why a manual is needed at all. How simple Kingdomino is best shown in a direct comparison: Carcassonne is similar, but has significantly more freedom of choice. What sounds negative is basically the award winner's greatest strength Game of the Year 2017. As part of the board game review too Kingdomino We noticed the extremely fast entry, which we rarely find in this form in board games. Also for Kingdomino From Pegasus Spiele, however, the following applies: Where there is light, there is also shadow. While infrequent and casual gamers bask in the gleam of minimalism, frequent gamers feel in the dark. As an experienced board player with a penchant for complexity, you have to significantly reduce your demands on strategically dense game plots. But then it proves Kingdomino Even frequent players why the king and pawn are in the same box after the game.

Weshalb Kingdomino is so valuable for the game market only becomes apparent when you consider the evolution of individual types of players. The placement game from Pegasus is the ideal entry-level title into much more complex bag or placement games. Age plays a role Kingdomino hardly a role. Children can grasp the simple rule structure in the same way as older people. Instead of the next batch Man does not annoy you the grandson can do it easily Kingdomino Take with you to grandma's for a great family afternoon. The cross-generational playability is one of the main reasons for the award for Game of the Year 2017 - and rightly so. And even if board game experts are not challenged with the placement game, they can still enjoy it. Kingdomino as an in between game goes on every board game evening. So minimalism in everything works extremely well.

The simple placement game is not a title that players spread out on the gaming table on a weekly basis. Still has Kingdomino the potential to become an evergreen: the gameplay is timeless!