Table Top Game Review:
Kingdomino Origins by Blue Orange Games
Players: 2 to 4
Playtime: 25 minutes
Perfect for: Families who enjoy mildly competitive strategic set collection games with a bit of luck.
Kingdomino Origins is a game of world building in a prehistoric era! Players must assemble a landscape where the terrain types connect together to form large patches of desert, lakes, grasslands, and jungles. But with scarce resources up for grabs, individuals must be thoughtful about which land types to invest in thereby maximizing their value. Added to the mix are volcanoes, wildlife, and even cavepeople that can drastically alter scoring.
To begin Kingdomino Origins, two to four players ready their play area with a single tile. Next, everyone decides on which version of the game to play—there are three to choose from depending on the desired level of complexity and style. In Volcano Mode, tiles emerge that when acquired players can put fire emblems on their world which act like score multipliers. In Totem Mode, wildlife tokens are added to the map as tiles get placed which score bonus points to the player with the most of each type. In Tribe Mode, players recruit cavepeople by spending wildlife tokens. These cavepeople score additional points related to their placement on the board and the tiles around them.
On a turn, players claim tiles from a market. These tiles have the aforementioned terrain types and a value associated with them. Thus, whomever took the least valuable tile on the previous round gets to choose first in the next. Players then place the tile in their play area, slowly forming a 5×5 interconnected grid (7×7 in two-player games). Once all tiles have been drafted, scoring begins. While the exact rules are mode-dependent essentially individuals add up the number of contiguous squares for each terrain type and multiply that times the number of fire tokens in that section. Bonus points are then added as appropriate. The player with the most points wins.
What works in Kingdomino Origins is the creative and engaging upgrades to the core mechanics that made Kingdomino a modern classic. To be sure, the heart of the gameplay of Origins matches its predecessor, but totally functions a standalone title with its own personality. The new modes provide some depth to the proceedings with increased strategy—players must be more thoughtful about which avenues to pursue given every changing options and what the opposition appears to going after.
Table Top Game Review
Players who don’t enjoy directly competing for resources, or games with a decent amount of luck, may not enjoy Kingdomino Origins as much as others. For example, it is possible for two or more players to choose a particular type of terrain to collect, and then competition could become fierce. Additionally, players may be seeking certain tiles and they simply don’t get drawn into the market at the opportune time. These happenings could cause mild amounts of frustration.
Kingdomino Origins is the definition a great sequel: it builds upon the strengths of the original while adding new exciting elements, but yet doesn’t lose the heart of what made the first one great. Origins is easy to pick up, making it accessible for all ages, and has tremendous replay value. Highly recommended.