This week’s comic is part two of the adventures of our friend Panda. Part one can be found here.
The winner of the 2017 Spiel Des Jahres is Kingdomino, and I couldn’t be happier with the choice. I love Kingdomino. It’s so perfectly simple I can’t believe no-one thought it up decades ago. Of course, it’s exactly that kind of simplicity that masks brilliant design. In the same way that a short story can be harder to write than a novel, I would guess designing a game with so few mechanics and rules can be much harder than a 4X space opera. With so few moving parts, every single one has to be in perfect harmony. Chris from Tabletop Cork introduced me to Kingdomino a couple of weeks back, and now I refuse to even meet him for coffee unless he brings it along.
My personal feeling aside, it is the perfect candidate for a Spiel Des Jahres winner. It’s simple tile-laying game in which players draft tiles to build a 5×5 grid in front of themselves. The aim is to build sections of similar type in your grid – forests, seas, plains, etc. The larger the section, the more it will potentially score at the end of the game (which takes maybe 15-20 minutes).
But there is one more factor in end-game scoring. Certain tiles have crowns printed on them, and the scoring for each section in your grid is multiplied by the number of crowns on it. So 4 forest tiles with a total of 2 crowns on them will score you 8 points. The more crowns the better, and in fact, if you fail to acquire any crowns, the section is worth nothing.
The tiles you draft each round will determine the order in which you get to draft next round. But a clever wrinkle in the mechanics means that generally it’s a choice between getting more crowns or going first.
It’s a wonderful small box game, and probably the closest I have ever seen to matching Star Realms regards value for money. If you can find a copy before the Spiel Des Jahres stampede sweeps them up and out of print, I highly recommend it.