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A game of Kingdom Builder in progress.
|Designer(s)||Donald X. Vaccarino|
|Players||2–4 (5 with expansion)|
|Age range||8 and up|
|Playing time||45 minutes|
Kingdom Builder is a strategic board game designed by Donald X. Vaccarino, published in 2011 by Queen Games with illustrations by Oliver Schlemmer in German, British and international versions (English, French, Dutch, Spanish, German). A Finnish-Swedish version was released in 2012 by lautapelit.fi.
Kingdom Builder is a construction game in which each player creates a kingdom by placing settlers' houses in various locations. The winner of the game is the player with the most gold. However, the gold is only awarded at the end of the game, according to three sets of rules that were randomly revealed at the beginning. The rules are simple but each game is likely to play out differently due to the random selection of board sections (choosing four from eight) and scoring rules (choosing three from ten), the luck of the draw, and competition for resources.
The game received the 2012 Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year), German game prize 2012 is listed at number 7 and was the International Gamers Award 2012 in section General Strategy - Multi-player nominated.
The game has eight different game board sections composed of 100 terrain hexagons each. Five terrain types are suitable for building: canyon, desert, flower field, forest and grass. Four terrain types are not suitable: castle, "location", mountain and water. At the start of the game four game board sections are selected at random and constructed to form a rectangular game board. Three random Kingdom Builder cards are drawn and displayed, which explain the rules for earning gold in that particular game. For example, one Kingdom Builder card may award gold for settlements next to mountains, while another awards gold for settlements arranged in a horizontal line.
Each player's turn consists of:
- Mandatory Action: The active player displays his previously drawn terrain card and places three settlement tokens on unoccupied hexagons of that terrain type according to the building rules.
- Extra Action: For each location tile that a player has accumulated in previous rounds, he or she may perform an extra action authorized by each tile (namely, place an additional settlement or move an existing settlement) before or after the mandatory action.
- Collecting location tiles: Whenever a player builds a settlement adjacent to a location hexagon, he or she immediately takes a location tile, if one is still available at that site and he has not already taken one from that particular site. The player must discard that tile if he or she ever moves his settlements such that none are adjacent to that site.
- Completion of turn: The player discards his terrain card and draws a replacement card to study for their next turn.
The game ends at the completion of the round in which at least one player places his last settlement. Then each player totals his gold according to the several scoring methods. The player with the most gold wins.
Location tiles and flexibility of movement are the keys. Having to play adjacent to existing settlements is an obstacle to overcome. Therefore, the play of the first settlement should be adjacent to a location that provides a powerful tile. For example, this first placement may require playing on a grassland hex adjacent to a forest hex that later restricts your placements when you draw a forest terrain card. Careful placements, powerful location tiles and luck allow you flexibility to expand to acquire more tiles and to occupy profitable hexes.
Four expansions have been released. They contain new game board sections, new locations and more ways to expand your kingdom and receive gold during and at the end of the game.
- Nomads: Contains 4 new game board sections, 4 new location types, nomads tiles with one-time extra actions, 3 new kingdom builder cards and game pieces for a fifth player.
- Crossroads: Contains 4 new game board sections, 8 new location types, 6 task cards and new game pieces.
- Capitol: Expands the game with two "Capitol" game pieces.
- Caves: Expands the game with four "Cave" pieces.
- Spiel des Jahres: 2012 Winner and Nominees, Spiel des Jahres official website
- Spiel des Jahres: Kingdom Builder in German