Friday, December 18, 2015

Kingdom Builder

Guest post by Janice H. 

Kingdom Builder is an area control game for 2-4 players. It is the 2012 Spiel des Jahres winner and a favorite in our family!

You start the game picking the variable elements of the game. We choose these items blindly.
• There are connectable board quadrants showing five different terrain types. You pick four boards, decide how to orient them and then connect these at the beginning of the game to make your kingdom.
• Each board contains a different type of Location Tile you will be playing with. These tiles give optional extra actions each turn. The Location Tiles – only two of them each – are put on the Location Hexes, which are scattered across the four board segments.
• You also pick three Kingdom Builder cards, which represent various trades found within a kingdom. These determine how you score a particular game. For instance, if you get Fisherman, every settlement built next to water scores one gold (point) at the end of the game.

Then the strategy begins! On your turn, each player draws a card showing what terrain type (for instance, grass) they must build on that turn. They then place three settlements wherever they would like on the board (on grass) in a way that will give them the most points at the end of the game. If you are one of the first two people to build next to a Location Hex, you get the corresponding Location Tile.

But wait! You must build next to an existing settlement of yours, if at all possible! This adds an incredible amount of fun – and angst! – to the game. Once learned, it is a simple and quick game to play. It falls in the category of a Strategic-But-Doesn’t-Take-Forever-To-Play-Game. If you get tired of the base game, there are expansions which add complexity to the scoring of the game, allows a fifth player, and adds additional Location Tiles. The variety of the game – it is different every time! – and the right mix of chance and strategy make this a fun game to play!

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