In 2017, game designer Bruno Cathala (Abyss, Five Tribes) surprised us with a quick playing and accessible game called Kingdomino. This little game used the basic mechanics from Dominos as its core, which quickly turned into a great gateway game.
Today, we are going to look at the first expansion for Kingdomino (also compatible with Queendomino), Age of Giants. This expansion will have giants invading your kingdoms, much to the chagrin of the players. So let’s dive in and see if the expansion is a worthy addition to this great game.
There are a few new things the Age of Giants expansion introduces. The first is pieces for a 5th player. While we don’t usually play with games with 5, Kingdomino is short enough that a 5th player wouldn’t cause too much issues with the game length. The expansion also comes with a tower to hold all the tiles and dispense them during the game. It reminds me of the card shoes that casino’s use. It’s neat, but on the downside, it doesn’t fit into the Kingdomino base box (I do hear that it fits in in the Queendomino box).
Age of Giants introduces a new gameplay mechanic, notably giants. These tiles are lettered instead of numbered and always are placed before numbered tiles in the draft line. If you draft a giant, you have to place a giant token on one of the crowns in your kingdom, which cancels it out. There are also footprint tiles (which are high numbered tiles), which allow you to pass a giant token to another player when you place it in your kingdom.
Finally, there are 12 new challenge tiles. The base game had a couple of these as variant rules. These award points for building your kingdom in certain ways. Players will draw two of them to use every game.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
I think the benefits of the five player components and the tile tower are pretty obvious, so we can skip talking about those and head right into the new gameplay elements. Overall I thought that the addition of the giants was a solid, if not light, addition to the game play. The ability to pass a giant to another player does add in a bit of much needed interaction, although it’s still fairly minimal. Unless you are in a high player count game, you might not see a giant very often as there are only 6 giant tiles and 6 footstep tiles.
That being said, I do like the placement of the new tiles in the draft line. The Giant tiles are always first in the line, with the footstep tiles being near the end. As the giant tiles are pretty terrible to draft, chances are you will only take one if forced. However that means that you probably also took a high value tile in the previous round. It’s a nice little balancing mechanic that I like in the game. Do you take the tile with many crowns at the end of the line, knowing that you will be picking last next round? As the giants are bad, it almost adds a bit of press your luck to the gameplay.
The ability to pass the giants off to other players was also a nice touch. I found this worked better in games with the higher player counts, because you had more options of players to disrupt. In a 2 player game, its easy to take a giant handed to you and dump it on a lone crown that you aren’t even using since the receiving player gets to decide where the giant goes. With more players, you have a better chance of being able to choose someone who is only focusing on one area.
Finally, my favorite addition to the game has to be the new challenge tiles. These really add to the replay value of the game by giving players something else to focus on. Instead of just trying to maximize your scoring areas, now you can concentrate on meeting specific objectives. And some of these can be quite lucrative, scoring you 15 or more points each.
Kingdomino: Age of Giants is a worthy addition to Kingdomino. It adds some nice variety and replay value to the game all without adding much to the rules. The nice thing about the giant tiles is that you don’t even need to explain them to new players until the come up. This is easily one of those expansions that you can mix in with the base game and just always use.
I think Age of Giants is a great addition for fans of the variant rules in the original Kingdomino, and also players looking for a bit more interaction in the game. And since it works with both Kingdomino and Queendomino, this one is an easy pickup for just about any fan of the game.
• Can’t fit both the expansion and core game in the same box
• Might be too few of the new tiles