Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Saturday 25 August 2018

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Kingdomino: Age of Giants

Game: Kingdomino: Age of Giants

Publisher: Blue Orange Games

Designer: Bruno Cathala

Year: 2018

Kingdomino: Age of Giants is a new expansion for both Kingdomino and Queendomino. The expansion introduces giants who also want a piece of the kingdoms you are building. Some areas of land are already plagued with giants, whilst others have the ability to scare them on to pastures new. Kingdomino: Age of Giants adds giant meeples, a tile tower, end game scoring objectives, and most importantly, a score pad, to Kingdomino.

For the purposes of this review we have played the expansion only with the Kingdomino base game, as we don’t own Queendomino. For us, the simplicity of Kingdomino was always its selling point so we’ll see if the expansion takes things too far or becomes an essential addition.


Age of Giants adds a couple of new gameplay elements to Kingdomino. Firstly there is a large tile dispenser included which can be used to hold all of the tiles for both the base game and the expansion. Secondly there are now objectives, each game you will choose 2 objectives which can be met for bonus points. The rewards on these vary from relatively small bonuses to completely game altering amounts of 30+ points! Everyone has the same 2 objectives available so it's up to each player to decide what the new value of affected tiles is.

As there are now more tiles in the game each round you now draw 5 tiles from the tower, arrange them in numerical order, and then discard the middle tile before flipping them over for selection as usual. As the new giant tiles are always either low or high numbers it is very rare for any of the new tiles to be discarded this way.

Finally the stars of the show are the giants themselves, giants appear on low-numbered (technically lettered...) tiles which never have any crowns on them. This way if you take a giant one turn you are almost guaranteed to be first player next round. Whenever you gain a giant you must choose one of your crowns to place it on which it will block, preventing it from scoring at the end of the game. There are also high numbered tiles which have footprints on them, should you claim one of these then you get to send one of your giants away to an opponent's kingdom whereupon they must place it to cover up a crown of their choice.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

By far the biggest and most welcome change for me was the inclusion of random objectives every game, the points value on some of these is absolutely huge and it can encourage you to take tiles that would, under normal situations, be worth zero points. Just the small gameplay change adds a huge amount of replay-ability to Kingdomino.

The giants themselves were no-where near as impactful, sure it can suck to cover up a couple of your crowns, but since you get to choose where to put them this usually means you are only losing a couple of points per giant. What it does achieve is making the early tiles less appealing and the late tiles more appealing, which does help prevent the occasional issue where one play would be stuck taking the last tile for several rounds. For me the giants were just fine, I could happily play the game with or without them and both ways have their merits.

The tile dispenser certainly looks good (on that note the art on the giant tiles is charming and the large giant meeple are lovely too), but it's not as practical as I hoped. When you get close to the end of the game there isn't enough weight left in the tower. This means that the tile you are meant to be sliding out can often instead get pushed up, away from the slot. It's not a major issue, but can be a little bit irritating by the time of the final round.

Overall Age of Giants is an improvement over the base game for me, it's just a shame that the giants aren't the stars of the show. There is a lot of style in the box and it's clear that a lot of love has been put into the expansion. There has clearly been care taken to ensure that the expansion didn't make the game that much more complicated, which is important for such an approachable game. I would have appreciated the giants having a little bit more bite (perhaps automatically going onto a crown in what is currently you biggest area?) to them, but importantly I can't see myself playing Kingdomino without the expansion again.

Fi’s Final Thoughts

Kingdomino is a very simple game, but it's one we enjoy teaching to new players. Age of Giants does add a couple of new elements to the teach, but nothing overly complex that I wouldn't throw into a first game. The giants have great artwork and allow you a bit more player interaction, whilst the end game scoring adds an extra puzzly aspect to the game which can cause more competition over certain tiles.

My biggest disappointment has been that you can't choose where to place a giant when you push it onto an opponent. Most players end up with a location on their board where the addition of a giant will on make a 1,2 or 3 point difference to their final score and so they will, of course, put the giant in the location with the lowest impact. If everyone picks on one person then they'll have to start making sacrifices, but this isn't a very fun way to play the game!

My favourite part of the expansion is honestly the scorepad - this was definitely missing in the base game! So far, I've not seen the giants or the end game victory tiles make a huge difference in any of our games, although I have enjoyed the extra layer of puzzle that the end game points in particular add to the game. Age of Giants doesn't really add complexity to the original game and for me it doesn't make it better or worse, so I see no reason not to throw it into a game. On the plus side it makes Kingdomino more eye-catching too, which is a good reason to play with this expansion.

You Might Like...
  • If you want to make more of a splash at game night with a game that looks amazing then the tile tower and the printed giant meeples, will definitely help Kingdomino to stand out.
  • The end game scoring opportunities add another layer to think about when you are planning your landscape that can make the game a little harder and more interesting.
You Might Not Like...
  • If you’re looking for a game with a lot of take-that then the giants in Kingdomino might be too low impact – they rarely deny a lot of points to a player.
  • The tile tower looks incredible, but is ultimately less practical than picking the tiles out of a pile or from the box, especially towards the end of the game.

The Verdict

6/10 Kingdomino: Age of Giants is a really well produced expansion and the aesthetic appeal is what will make me want to add it to my games. However, it doesn’t add a whole lot to the gameplay experience and if you’re looking for more complexity than Kingdomino, Queendomino might be a better choice than the Age of Giants expansion.

Kingdomino:Age of Giants was a review copy kindly provided to us by CoiledSpring Games.

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