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Bruno Cathala

Blue Orange (EU)

No. of Players:



Gamebox author Lutz Wildt writes about the game:

Queendomino by BLUE ORANGE GAMES…Wait a minute! Queendomino? I thought the name of the award winning game of the year 2017 was Kingdomino? Is the the game a result of gender mainstreaming? Or female quota? Same game, new name? No, of course that is all rubbish! Although both games are lookalikes, “namealikes” and designed by the same author Bruno Cathala, Queendomino and Kingdomino differ in a lot of details.

But still, both games share the same object and the main game mechanics. The players are kings. As usual, these kings aren't satisfied with what they have, but they are seeking new lands to expand their kingdoms and become richer and richer. Each king starts with his or her own territory, a lonely small domino tile in the middle of nowhere (or better in front of each player).

During the game, they try to expand this land by a clever and easy to learn card drafting and tile placement mechanism. At the beginning of each round, new domino tiles are drawn randomly from a nice three-dimensional tower. All new tiles are placed on the table in ascending order with their numbered side face-up, so that in the end, there are two columns, each with as many landscape tiles as there are players. After that, all tiles are flipped and revealed.

To start the game, players place their Kings randomly on the revealed tiles of the left column. The topmost king begins the game by taking the domino tile his or her king stands on, adding this new landscape tile to his territory according to the connection rules. These are quite simple: at least one landscape square of the new domino has to fit to a landscape square of the domino where the player wants to place it (the starting domino is considered as a wild domino, every terrain can be connected to this tile). Afterwards, the player chooses a new domino tile in the right column that is still in the middle of the table, and places the king on it.

After all players have carried out these two actions, a new column of landscape tiles is drawn from the tower. The next round starts by the topmost King of the new line on the left side again. So, each round the players have to decide, if they want to get the most compatible domino for their territory or if it is better to be the first player in the next round. Only sometimes, both aims fall on the same landscape tile.

The aim of the game is to connect as many domino tiles with the same landscape terrain as possible in a 5x5 grid territory (7x7 in a two player game). But that's not enough: a territory without a crown gives the players no winning points. So every player tries to get the best landscape tiles to connect and to integrate winning points with crowns in it. The player with the most points is the winner.

Up to now, the game feels a little bit like a mixture between Carcassonne and the name-giving good old Domino game. But Queendomino is more complex than Kingdomino. And so, it also introduces a lot of different types of buildings that can be aquired from a building deck, accessible for all players. These buildings increase the opportunities to score, and makes the game much more tactical. Black knights, towers, a queen and a dragon, all with their ownassociated actions and possibilities, are only a few examples. For example: When a player erects a building, this could end up in immediate effects like getting a knight or a tower, permanent effects like increasing your income by raising taxes, or just victory points at the end of the game.

As a result, a player can decide, whether he wants to invest some money to buy a building in order to get better access to resources or if he prefers to go for benefits he can use to improve his positions. Furthermore, the players may react to the actions of the other players by choosing a corresponding strategy.

Playing Kingdomino means that players can decide which domino tile they choose and which landscape they want to develop. Playing Queendomino on the other hand let them determine on which additional aim they will concentrate on. It might be a good strategy to aquire the most towers by erecting the corresponding buildings, because in that case the Queen joins the player's kingdom and lowers the building cost by one. And at the end of the game, she counts as one extra crown. All those additional game actions of Queendomino are optional, whereas the initial actions, especially adding the landscape tiles and choosing a new domino are mandatory.

From my point of view, Queendomino brings the playing mechanism to a higher level and increases the replayability of the game. There is a broader range of opportunities to build your territory and gain winning points. Although the rules are a little more complex, it is still a family game. It was great fun playing Queendomino with my 8 year old daughter in a two player game. However, playing the game with some grown-up and experienced players tells another story of the game. Last but not least, Queendomino is a standalone game, but it can also be used as an expansion for Kingdomino.

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Copyright © 2017 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany