Author: Reiner Knizia

Fantasy Flight Games

Awards: none



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes:

Kingdoms is a new republished international version of the German game "Auf Heller und Pfennig". You can find a review of this game by Doug Adams here at the G@mebox, so I will concentrate on the differences and give my own opinion of the game.


First of all the rules are the same, the story is slightly different. While in "Auf Heller und Pfennig" the players try to earn money with marketplaces by choosing the best costumers, the story of Kingdoms is set in a fantasy world. Instead of marketplaces you have castles, instead of costumers there are goblins, orcs, dragons, farms, villages and your aim is to get as much gold as possible. So, of course the design has changed too. But apart from that there aren't any changes.

Apart from the game's end that Doug Adams describes, Kingdoms offers three other variants:

The first one is to continue to start new rounds until a player plays his last castle. For this, the players receive all their castles at the beginning of the game, but they do not get their value 1 castles back at the end of a round.

In the next variant all tiles are placed face-up at the beginning of a round. With this you can eliminate the element of luck from the game. You should try it….

The last variant is to score each time you fill a column or a row instead of waiting until the end of a round. I don't know what this is for, because at the end it does not make any difference, or does it? Probably it is for those people who don't want to calculate too much in a short time….

So, now here comes my personal opinion of the game: Kingdoms is an interesting and clever game that you can play in between. One game takes you about 30 minutes and the rules are so simple that you can explain them in 5 minutes. Nevertheless there is enough tactics in the game to fill even the more experienced players with enthusiasm. I must confess that I am very fond of these short games with simple rules and nevertheless enough tactical elements so that you will not become bored. And Kingdoms is one of those games. The design is nice, although green is not my favourite colour for a game (but I fear it is quite popular at the moment).

By the way, the number of players effects the way you will play. While in a two player game you always have enough time to place your castles at the best spaces (i.e. in the columns or rows with a lot of positive value tiles), in a four player game you often have to place your castles before you can be sure that they are in a good or bad row or column. So in the two player game you can play more tactical and the three or four player game is more influenced by luck.

If you like short but clever games Kingdoms is something you must have. So enjoy the game!

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany