Queendomino takes a pre-existing game (Kingdomino) and literally builds on it: like its predecessor, the heart of the game is adding a ‘domino’ (albeit they show landscape types rather than numbers) to your kingdom, following the standard domino rules: the tile you’re adding must match the landscape you’re adding it to. But Queendomino introduces some extra wrinkles: knights, coins and towers. And a dragon, and, of course, a Queen…
Players begin with seven coins and one knight. In each round you’ll add one (or two in a two-player game) domino to your growing landscape, slowly creating a 5×5 grid around your starting piece. You can use your knight to collect taxes from your people – place it on a just-added domino to collect a coin for every square of that type you’ve connected to. And you can use the coins to buy buildings: the red landscape types are effectively building sites where – if you have the money – you can purchase a building to place on them. The buildings often come with a bonus – another knight, or a tower to place in your kingdom – and they score points in various ways come the end of the game. And finally, in each round one player can pay the dragon a coin to burn down an available building (before someone buys it).
You score points for all your landscapes at the end of the game as long as they contain at least one domino marked with a crown (scoring the number of squares multiplied by number of crowns in each area). Having the most towers at games’ end allows you to place the Queen in your largest area – she functions as an additional crown, providing a mini-twist to proceedings. But the twist at the heart of the game is the choosing of the tiles. Take the less rewarding dominoes now, and you’ll choose earlier in the next round. The more rewarding dominoes this round will see you picking up the dregs in the next, so – as with Kingdomino – the game challenges you to strike a balance between instant-rewards and long-term planning.
I love Kingdomino so I was slightly wary of this game seeming like Kingdomino-with-bolt-ons. But there’s something pleasing about the 3D nature of your kingdom as it grows here, populated by knights and towers, and taxing or building aren’t really too fiddly to incorporate. Because every 3 coins is worth a point at the end of the game you can pursue a strategy of grabbing knights when you can and taxing often. Allied to the building that scores you a point for each knight, this could be a valid strategy (albeit I haven’t tried it myself yet!) among a number available to you. It may lack the elegant simplicity of its predecessor, but we really enjoyed this, and I think it’ll probably get played more than Kingdomino in the future.
Not a great deal, although shrewd players may decide to take a sub-optimal move themselves if they see they're denying others big points by taking a certain tile.
It's a pretty fast-moving game.
The rules are fairly light. The burning is all about choices, as every one you make (regarding the domino tiles, at least) impacts not only on yourself, but on the other players too.
The dominoes will come out randomly, and there are different ways to play too: getting as many buildings as you can, ignoring them altogether, or - most likely - a mixture of the two.