Game Night Favorite: Kingdomino by Bruno Cathala

Kingdomino board game

The frequency of play really tells the truth about board games. And after six years on our shelf Kingdomino has earned its place in the top ten best board games for family game nights. It’s also great for new players with rules that are light enough for anyone to catch onto.

Designed by Bruno Cathala and published by Blue Orange Games in 2016, Kingdomino is a tile-placement game that challenges players to build the most impressive kingdom by connecting different terrain types and scoring points. The game is played over several rounds, with each player taking turns selecting and placing domino-like tiles featuring two different terrain types. The goal is to create a 5×5 grid of connected tiles, with each tile matching at least one adjacent tile in terrain type. Each terrain type (forest, wheat field, lake) scores differently and players earn points based on the size of each connected area of terrain.

Kingdomino is a relatively simple game to learn, with a playtime of around 15 minutes per game. But it also has a surprising amount of depth and strategy. In 2017, Kingdomino won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award, the highest honor in the board game industry. It has since spawned several spin-offs, including Queendomino, Kingdomino Duel, and Dragomino.

kingdomino in play

The Origins of Kingdomino

Bruno Cathala, a French game designer who has created several popular board games, designed Kingdomino. Cathala wanted to create a game that was easy to learn, but also had a high replay value. He was inspired by the classic game of dominoes, which is a simple game with a lot of depth. He also drew inspiration from the popular mobile game, Threes. Cathala wanted to create a game that was just as easy to play as Threes but had a tactile, physical component that was missing from the digital game.

How to Play Kingdomino

Kingdomino is a tile-laying game that is played over four rounds. Each round, players will choose a domino-shaped tile from a set of four, and add it to their kingdom. The goal is to create the best kingdom possible by scoring points for different types of terrain and by connecting similar terrain types.

At the beginning of each round, players will shuffle the domino tiles and create a display of four tiles. Each tile has two terrain types, such as wheat fields, forests, lakes, mountains, and deserts. The back of each tile has a number from 1 to 48, which is used to determine player order for the next round.

Players take turns choosing one of the four tiles from the display and adding it to their kingdom. The tile must be placed adjacent to an existing tile in their kingdom, and the terrain types on the newly placed tile must match the terrain types on the adjacent tile.

Players score points for different types of terrain based on how many connected tiles of that type they have. For example, a player who has three connected forest tiles will score three points for forests. Players can also score bonus points for having a continuous area of terrain types or for having certain types of terrain in their kingdom.

After four rounds, players add up their scores to determine the winner.

kingdomino meeples

Strategies for Winning Kingdomino

Kingdomino is a simple game, but there are some strategies you can use to increase your chances of winning.

Focus on One or Two Terrain Types

Instead of trying to score points for every type of terrain, focus on one or two types and try to connect as many tiles of that type as possible. This will give you a higher score for that terrain type, and you’ll be able to score bonus points for having a continuous area of that terrain type.

Pay Attention to the Numbers

The numbers on the back of the tiles determine player order for the next round. If you’re in last place, you’ll have the first pick of tiles in the next round, so try to get a low-numbered tile. If you’re in first place, you’ll have the last pick of tiles, so try to get a high-numbered tile.

Plan Ahead

Try to think ahead and plan your kingdom layout for the next few rounds. You can do this by looking at the tiles that are still available and considering which terrain types you want to focus on. Think about how you can connect those tiles to your existing kingdom and try to anticipate what your opponents might do.

Keep Your Options Open

While it’s important to have a plan, it’s also important to be flexible. Don’t be afraid to change your strategy if a better opportunity arises. Keep your options open and be willing to adapt to changing circumstances.

Watch Your Opponents

Pay attention to what your opponents are doing and try to anticipate their moves. If you see that an opponent is focusing on a certain terrain type, try to block them by taking tiles with that terrain type or by placing tiles in a way that makes it difficult for them to connect their tiles.

Balance Your Kingdom

While it’s tempting to focus on one or two terrain types, it’s important to have a balanced kingdom. Make sure you have at least a few tiles of each terrain type so that you can score points for each type.

Use Your Castle Tiles Wisely

The castle tiles are the starting point for your kingdom, and they can be used to connect tiles of different terrain types. Use your castle tiles strategically to create connections and score bonus points.

Read more about Kingdomino at Blue Orange Games

Scroll to Top