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2nd edition

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Ages Play Time Players
9+ 20-40 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): Fantasy Flight Games

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Product Description

In Kingdoms, players assume the roles of rival kings trying to increase their wealth by establishing castles across the land. By building castles in the richest regions, you stand to reap the most gold. But build carefully! For those regions may be infested with dragons, trolls, or other hazards that rob your kingdom of its riches.

Note: Funagain will have a limited number of free promo tiles to be shipped with orders for this product.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Manufacturer(s): Fantasy Flight Games

  • Artist(s): Eric Lofgren

  • Year: 2003

  • Players: 2 - 4

  • Time: 20 - 40 minutes

  • Ages: 9 and up

  • Weight: 526 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English).


  • game board
  • resource tiles
  • hazard tiles
  • gold mine tile
  • mountain tiles
  • dragon tile
  • castles
  • epoch counter
  • gold counters

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.3 in 12 reviews

by John T
Face-up Tiles Variant is the best way to play this
January 04, 2004

My friends really didn't like this game until we played with the 'No Luck Variant'. I'd be happy to play it either way, but I admit that the strategy gets a lot more interesting when playing with all of the tiles face-up. Random tiles might be more appropriate when you are looking for light filler at a faster pace.

Either way you play it, though, this is an excellent game. The mechanics are simple to learn, so it makes it easy to introduce to non-gamers.

The best filler I own!
June 04, 2003

It seems like there is a plethora of tile-laying games in the past decade. Some of them, like Carcassonne, have become quite famous. Others, like Tigris and Euphrates, are considered by many to be works of art. Then, there are some that are overlooked, but are still gems to play. Kingdoms (a reprint of Auf Heller und Pfennig) is one of these. Produced by Fantasy Flight Games, and designed by the immortal Reiner Knizia, Kingdoms is a short, tile laying game about castles, resources, and hazards.

Is Kingdoms worth playing? The short answer is that it is my favorite tile laying game, and that it makes a superb filler. A longer answer follows.

First a short description of game play:

Kingdoms is played on a small board with 25 spaces on a 5 by 5 grid. Each player receives Castles, octagonal tiles that have a number of dots on them - showing what rank they are. Each player gets one Rank 4 castle, two Rank 3 castles, three rank 2 castles, and a specific number of Rank 1 castles based on how many players are playing the game. Each player receives 50 gold (points) to start with. The 22 tiles that come with the game are shuffled and spread face-down next to the board. Each player takes one tile, which they keep a secret from the other players.

The game is played in three rounds. Each round, play passes from player to player until every space in the board is filled up. Each turn, a player must do one of two things:

1) Place one of their castles in any space on the board.

2) Place a tile on the board (either a random one from the face down tiles, or the one they have set aside.)

When all 25 spaces are filled, the round ends, and scoring occurs.

There are 5 different kinds of tiles. The most common are the resource tiles. These add 1-6 points to the castles in the same row and column. There are also hazard tiles, which subtract 1-6 points from the castles in the same row and column. Two mountain tiles separate rows and columns for scoring purposes. The Gold Mine Tile doubles all the resource and hazard tiles in its row and column. The Dragon Tile cancels all the resource tiles in its row and column, but does not affect hazard tiles.

During scoring, each player takes the rank of his castle and multiplies it by the total points in the column and row in which that castle resides. So, if you have a 2 Rank Castle in a row with a +6 resource tile, a 3 hazard tile, a +2 resource tile, and the Gold Mine Tile, you would get 20 points {((6-2+2) x2) x2}. Each player takes (or pays) the amount of money equal to the points they earned. Then, every castle Rank 2 or higher that was played during the round is lost. Rank 1 castles are return to their owners.

After 3 rounds, the game is over. Whoever has the most points (gold) is the winner!

Some comments on the game:

1). Components: The box is of nice size, and is small and of good quality. You have to bag all the tiles inside, as there is no tray, but they fit inside the box nicely. The tiles themselves are of very good quality, and I especially like the artwork on the different tiles. The castle tiles are especially riveting, as they are octagons rather than squares. They have a sharp border, letting you know what color player owns them, and are very clear what rank castle they are. Not only are there dots on them to show what rank castle, there is a picture of a castle (the larger the rank, the larger the castle). The board is made of four pieces that fit together like a puzzle. On the back is a nice painting, while the front is basically all green. Which is perfect for this game, as you are placing tiles down onto the green, and it would be confusing otherwise. All in all, the components for this game are excellent, and are language independent.

2). Theme: The theme for this game is definitely added on. It could be space, Wild West, bean planting anything, and you wouldnt know the difference. If the fantasy theme turns you off, dont worry about it! Ive played the game with people who HATE fantasy themes, but they still enjoyed the game. But at the same time, dont come looking for a theme the game is mostly just a fun game mechanism.

3). Strategy vs. Luck: There is a certain amount of luck in drawing the tiles, but other than that, it is all strategy about placing the tiles. Should you place your castles quickly to get a good position? Or should you hold them back so that others cant play hazard tiles in the same row as your Rank 4 castle? Should you play you Rank 3 castles in the first round, or save them to the last round? Should you place your castles in the same rows as opponents, so that you both score similar points, but wont play Hazards on each other? When should you play your hidden tile? I really love the simple, yet crucial decisions you have to make to play this game.

4). Scoring: When the board is scored, it seems like a slightly daunting task, but is actually rather simple. If the players remove one castle at a time, scoring its row and column, it makes the game much quicker. We hand out the gold immediately, which saves time adding up all the points.

5). Rules: The rules are fantastic, printed in seven languages, and only taking 2 pages each. Three small variants are included at the end of the rules, as well as detailed scoring examples. And this is the absolutely best thing about the rulebook. On the back, there is an example of a full board. The rulebook then shows the point totals for each color, giving reasons and examples as to how those points were scored. We once had an argument on how a rule was worded, but by going to the example in the book, and scoring it out, we were able to find out who was right! A very useful thing indeed!

6). Time: Although it might sound as there are many decisions each turn (and there are several), it isnt very hard to size up which one you want to make. Ive never played the game with anyone who moved very slowly. Games usually take from half an hour to forty-five minutes. This game can be classified as a great filler game.

7). Fun Factor: I cant really explain why Kingdoms is so much fun. The theme is very thin, and the scoring, while easy, is mostly math. I suppose its just fun to try to place tiles where they will hurt your opponent, and help yourself. And try and hold back that 4 Rank castle until just the right moment, so you can score a massive amount of points. Kingdoms is very fun, and everyone Ive played it with agrees on this point.

8). Players: Four players is best for this game. Three is still a fantastic game, but two is just not quite there. With two players, go play one of the Cosmos line instead.

So, I highly recommend this game. Its my favorite of the FFG small box line (with the exception of Citadels), and is the best filler I own. Its easy to teach, easy to play, and everyone will have a great time! Get this game.

by Scot
Excellent tile-placing game; strategies abound
December 25, 2002

Reiner does it again. Though I never played the original, this is a great game so I'm glad it's back. Has a feel similar to Samaurai (another Knizia favorite) but without the cities. Here, you are playing for points (but toss the tokens away; just use pencil and paper). There is just enough luck factor in the game; like Mah Jongg, it's what you do with the tiles you draw along the way that counts. And, how you allocate your castles (which cause you to score or lose points) is essential, especially over the course of three rounds. A great game especially for two, not very long.

Show all 12 reviews >

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