I played Kingdomino the other night and was wondering what the game had in store - after all it had recently been awarded the prestigious Spiel des Jahres Award. I had my doubts going in but was pleasantly surprised. The base game can accommodate 2-4 players, however, with the Age of the Giants Expansion, plays up to 5.
Each player receives their own Tower and King, (I chose pink), and must place 'new lands' (tiles) around their Tower in a perfect 5x5 grid. It's not that easy though as there's a drafting component to the tiles. The tiles are laid out in number order, and if you choose the tile that works better but is also in the last position, well, guess which position you pick in next round? In addition, your tiles must be placed in a strategic manner as there are 2 lands to each tile, and at least one half of the tile must match the tile next to it.
To add another level, in the Expansion, there are Giants (see above) that may romp all over your land and steal your crown and deprive you of points. There are other tiles with footsteps, however, that you can acquire so that your Giant walks off your land onto another players, thus removing the penalty from yourself and passing it on to a player of your choosing.
At the end of the game, after all the tiles have run out - the expansion has a domino tower they come out of - players count or add up their points. Some of the tiles have crowns on them, and then depending how large your territory is, that number is multiplied by the number of crowns. For example, 5 crowns in the sea territory x 6 sea tiles that are connected equals 30 points.
The game is extremely well-balanced, with tile drafting, bright and colorful design, and a nice level of interaction even though each player creates their own player board by building lands around their Tower. I found it to be a bright and cheerful family game, and enjoyed the potential arrival of a guest or permanent Giant stomping all over my land. All in all, the game far exceeded my expectations, and is a fantastic family board game that will light up your day, and any future gaming experience.
For the full rules, see this pdf.