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Kingdomino Duel

Divide your kingdom among the noble families, attract dignitaries in order to score points, and compete for the right to cast magical spells!

Kingdomino Duel is a two player roll-and-write adaptation of Blue Orange’s award-winning tile-laying game. So how does it stack up compared to its predecessor?

Gameplay

Each player takes a game sheet and places it in front of them, kingdom side up. A third sheet is placed in the middle between the two players and is flipped over to the spell book side.

Players take turns being the start player. At the beginning of each round, all four dice are rolled. The start player will choose one die, the other player will choose two, and then the final die will go to the start player.

The dice can show one of six different coats of arms or a question mark (which is a joker and can be any coat of arms). When you have your two dice, you draw the coat of arms onto your kingdom. You must place them adjacent to each other, and at least one must be placed adjacent to either the castle in the middle of your sheet of paper or to a matching coat of arms. If there is one or two x’s next to the coat of arms on a die, you make the appropriate number of x’s next to the coat of arms when you draw it onto your sheet. If you select a die that does not have an x, you mark off a box on the spell book.

For each coat of arms, there are two lines of boxes (one for each player) on the spell book. The first player to complete marking off each box in a line gets to cast the spell associated with that line (a spell can only be cast once per game). The spell abilities vary — for example, some allow you to ignore placing rules, or separate the two dice when drawing their results onto your map, or allow you to rotate a die you selected. Once per game players can also fill in the spire of their castle to add one x to any coat of arms in their kingdom.

Once one player has completely filled in all the coat of arm spaces in their kingdom or neither player can make an eligible move, the game ends. For each collection of connecting, matching coats of arms, players add up the number of matches within the collection and multiple it by the number of x’s for how many points that collection scores (so if there were no x’s in a collection it will be worth zero points). Players then add up all their points from all their collections, and the player with the most points wins.

Kingdomino Duel Components

Review

Kingdomino Duel does a good job of adapting the domino tile laying game Kingdomino into a game of dice, while bringing some new elements to the table. The magic spells, for example, add a fun extra layer during decision time, as they offer some powerful advantages and make a difference when it’s time to tally the final scores.

The fact that the you are swapping out tiles for dice, also means there is a wider array of combinations for your ‘dominos’ each game. The artwork on the coat of arms is also well thought out and it’s easy to copy them when filling in your sheets.

There is a lot of player interaction in this game. You’re constantly balancing your own goals with those of your opponent’s, both when it comes to the coats of arms you choose, selecting the x's, and racing to be the first to activate the spells.

At its core, Kingdomino is probably the better game, with a prettier aesthetic and more versatile player count. However Kingdomino Duel is much more portable, and easier to travel with than the original game. It’s also got a much faster setup time and takes up less table space as well.

If you love roll and write games, or two player games with lots of back and forth gameplay and interaction, you should check out Kingdomino Duel. It’s lightweight but still quite strategic, is easy to learn, and plays fast.

Pros: Dice ensure variety where tiles do not, portable and takes up less space than Kingdomino

Cons: Kingdomino is the better choice if you only want to own one game in this series

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.