Spreading the love of board games one meeple at a time
So, it turns out the world didn’t end and you might be thinking to yourself, ‘I guess I’m going to actually have to buy Christmas gifts this year.’ And if you’re like me, it may have been something along the lines of, ‘well I guess I really should do a Christmas blog post this year.’ With only a couple days left until that gift-giving holiday, you might be in need of a really, really, last minute gift idea for your loved ones.
Have no fear, Kingdom Builder is here!
Kingdom Builder is one of my new favourite games and was this years Spiel des Jahres winner.
Like it’s name implies, Kingdom Builder is a kingdom building game. Each turn players place their settlements on the board to build and expand their own kingdom. Game play is actually quite simple; players flip up a terrain card, and then must place three of their own settlements on the game board on the corresponding terrain type on their turn. The game follows one important golden rule: players must build a new settlement adjacent to their own settlement whenever possible. After playing the game for the first time it becomes apparent what that really means in terms of strategy.
What really makes Kingdom Builder a great game is it’s re-playability. Each game begins with the random selection of game board and the random selection of the rules governing the scoring of the game. During set up, players randomly select 4 of 8 different landscapes. Each of the 8 landscapes are different and have a special location tile that grant extra actions, like bonuses to players who manage to collect them. These landscapes are then assembled together to make your game board. Next, players select 3 of the 10 different kingdom builder cards. These cards are used to determine the winning conditions of the game. These random elements of the game really increase the endless possibilities of the game. As I’ve mentioned in other game reviews, being able to play a game over and over again without getting board is important to me in a game.
I purchased my copy of Kingdom Builder at the Essen Game Fair in October and have played it with my wife and her sister and brother-in-law several times, and it’s been fun each time. We’ve had really high scoring games, from picking scoring rules that offered us lots of options, and we’ve had a really low scoring game, where scoring options were limited.
I think Kindgom Builder would be a great gift for almost anyone (ages 8 and up) and Christmas is a great time to get a board game. You’ve got lots of family around to play with, and people have the time off work to actually relax and play a game. Kingdom Builder can play quite quickly, depending on your strategies and the scoring cards used, but the box says playtime is about 45 minutes.
But, as much as I enjoy Kingdom Builder, hopefully you won’t spend the next day and a half in line at the mall getting last minute gifts. Hopefully you’ll all be at home spending time with loved ones, maybe even playing a couple of games.