Both Kingdomino and Azul have something to do with tiles, and both require certain levels of strategy. But they are still two very different board games. In the discussion below, we will compare the gameplay qualities of Kingdomino vs Azul to find out which one that is better and totally worth the money. So, continue reading!
From this article, you can learn more about:
– How to play Kingdomino and Azul
– The suitable audience and recommended number of players
– The average runtime of each game
– The gameplay experience of Kingdomino vs Azul
– Which board game that is generally more fun and replayable
Kingdomino was released for the first time in 2016 by Blue Orange Games, and the spin-off Queendomino in 2017 (see the difference between Kingdomino vs Queendomino here). The game was designed by Bruno Cathala. Unlike most other tabletop strategy games which have fantasy or roleplaying elements, Kingdomino is especially designed to be a family-oriented game. As a result, the content of the game is definitely suitable for young children.
The box states that Kingdomino is suitable for children as young as 8 years old. Even so, it is still a fun game that can be played and enjoyed by adults as well. The game recommends 2 – 4 players. On average, one game session takes about 15 – 20 minutes. So, the game is quite fast-paced.
In Kingdomino, your goal as a player is to create a five-by-five kingdom by using domino-like tiles. In order to do so, you need to make sure that the tile that you are going to place has a matching side with a terrain type similar to an existing tile. You win the game if you accumulate the most points from your properties at the end.
It is a very fun game, so the great popularity is not surprising. Not to mention that the game has received a number of awards, including the 2017’s Spiel des Jahres for the best board game. Now, let’s take a deeper look into the gameplay.
How to Play: Kingdomino
Each player has to build a kingdom. The players take turns choosing and placing domino-like tiles into their kingdoms. Kingdomino borrows some elements from the traditional domino game by using tiles with different ends. It is possible that a tile has one or two different ends.
However, a tile’s different ends may have different terrain types. You will need to match the terrain type to an existing one when placing a tile into your kingdom. In addition, tiles may have different numbers of crowns. The number of crowns indicates the value of a tile.
There is a special mechanism in Kingdomino when it comes to determining the turn order. If you take a tile with the most crowns now, you obviously get more points for the moment, but you must take the last turn in the next round. Vice versa, if you take a tile with the least crowns now, you get the first turn in the next round.
This mechanism ensures that a player won’t be able to hoard the best tiles all the time. The dynamic turn order will require you to be patient and adaptable, especially because taking the worst tile now can give you an advantage in the next round.
A kingdom can’t be larger than 5×5 (but when playing with just two players, the size limit is increased to 7×7). The game is ended once all the tiles have been used.
The scoring goes like this. When two tiles are placed next to each other with a matching terrain type, they form a property. Evaluate the score of each property by multiplying the size with the number of crowns in it. Then, sum up the total score of the properties in your kingdom. The player with the most points wins the game.
Gameplay Evaluation of Kingdomino
Although it appears to be very simple, Kingdomino is actually really fun and addictive. It has the right balance between relaxation and thinking. The game is not too heavy or complicated, so you can play it with your friends just to have fun. At the same time, it still has some depth that will keep you hooked.
Kingdomino requires some strategy because you can’t just pick the best tiles all the time. There is a degree of randomness because you don’t know what tile that will appear in the next round, but you can try to predict. Also, you need to place your tiles carefully in order to be able to complete your properties in latter rounds.
The replayability is also good. It is lightweight and quite fast-paced, so you can pull it up in most occasions. Playing it multiple times won’t get boring. It is a fine thing to play with your family at night before going to bed.
Azul also uses tiles, but the gameplay mechanics are completely different. In Azul, you take the role of a tile-laying artist who must decorate a wall of the Royal Palace of Evora. But, really, this is just a surface theme for Azul’s tile-drafting gameplay.
The players take turns in taking colored tiles from the suppliers. Then, you must put the tiles that you have taken on your side of the wall. Scoring is performed at the end of each round according to how you place your tiles (for positive points) and how many unused tiles that end up on your floor (for negative points). As usual, at the end of the game, the player with the highest points wins.
The game is recommended for players of 8 years old and over. The game can be played by 2 – 4 players together. One game typically lasts for 30 – 40 minutes.
Although abstract strategy games are not very popular, Azul is one that stands out. In fact, it has won various awards, including the 2018’s Spiel des Jahres and the 2018’s Origins Awards for Best Family Game.
How to Play: Azul
At the start of the game, there are circular Factory Boards which will hold the tiles that the players may pick. Each round of the game progresses through three stages: factory offer, wall-tiling, and preparation for the next round.
In the factory offer stage, players take turns picking tiles from the Factory Boards. You may only pick tiles from one location. Also, you need to pick all tiles of the same color from the location. The unpicked tiles from the location are then put at the center for the other players to take.
After picking tiles, you need to put them in one of the five pattern lines available on your personal board. A pattern line may hold only one color. When a pattern line has been filled, it is considered complete and you must put any excess tile on the floor line.
In the wall-tiling stage, all players can work simultaneously without taking turns. You need to move tiles from your pattern lines to your wall. You can only move one tile from every completed pattern line, to the corresponding spaces on the wall. The wall tiles must be filled from top to bottom.
The unused tiles from the pattern lines are discarded into the box lid. But the tiles of uncompleted pattern lines should remain in place.
Then, once the wall-tiling is done, you can calculate your score. A new tile without any adjacent tile on the wall gets 1 point, whereas a new tile with one or more adjacent tiles score as many points as the number of the adjacent tiles. Unused tiles on the floor line score negative points before getting discarded into the box lid as well.
The game ends when a player manages to complete a horizontal row on their wall. At the end of the game, you can get bonus points from completed vertical columns or having multiple tiles of the same color on your wall. However, if the game hasn’t ended, you continue with the preparation for the next round by refilling the Factory Boards.
Gameplay Evaluation: Azul
When comparing Kingdomino vs Azul, there is one notable difference. Kingdomino is quite simple and easy to pick up. Azul, on the other hand, is relatively more complicated. Although it is not as complex as some other abstract strategy games like Sagrada, it still has multiple stages and specific mechanics that players need to be familiar with.
A new player will need some time to grasp how the game runs. It will be helpful if there is an experienced player or a well-written guide to teach the new player.
Nevertheless, once you understand and join the game, Azul is definitely very fun and challenging. It has a lot of depth where you can craft many different strategies. You need to plan ahead and try to figure out what your opponents want.
When taking a tile, you definitely want to take a color that will complete your wall. However, at the same time, it is possible that the other players are trying to get the same color. If this is the case, you may end up being unable to get another tile of that particular color in your next turn. You can turn this around, though, by forcing your opponents to pick tiles that they don’t want.
In addition to the fun gameplay, the tiles are also beautiful. Azul has excellent replayability because it will make you want to play the game again and again. But apparently this game is more suitable for people who enjoy long games that require thinking and strategy.
Kingdomino vs Azul
|Key features||- 15 – 20 minutes average runtime - Players choose domino-like tiles to form properties - Easier and simpler to understand - Has some depth for light strategy||- 30 – 40 minutes average runtime - Players draft colored tiles to complete lines - Relatively more complicated due to the mechanics - Has great depth for heavy strategy|
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Both of them are great games. But Kingdomino is generally more recommended because it is easier to pick up, while still having some depth for fun and strategy. It is light and fast-paced. On the other hand, Azul is relatively more complicated due to having more mechanics, and is more time-consuming.