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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.
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.
Kingdom Builder is a construction game (like Settlers of Catan and Carcassone), in which each player creates his kingdom by placing settler's 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 (like Carcassone), according to three sets of rules that were randomly selected and revealed at the beginning.
The rules are simple but the possibilities are endless because of random selection of game sections (4 out of 8) and scoring rules (3 out of 10), the luck of the draw, and competition for resources.
8 different game board sections composed of 100 terrain hexagons each. Five terrain types are suitable for building: canyon, desert, flower field, forest, grass. Four terrain types are not suitable: castle, "location", mountain, water.
a deck composed of 5 types of playable terrain cards.
8 different types of "location" tiles.
40 houses ("settlements") and 1 score marker for each of 4 players.
10 different Kingdom Builder (that is, rules scoring) cards
Randomly select 4 of the 8 game board sections and construct a rectangular game board. On each "location" hex, place two of the corresponding location tiles. Shuffle the deck of terrain cards and place face down. Shuffle the Kingdom Builder cards, randomly draw and display 3 cards. Each player receives the 40 settlements of his color and draws 1 terrain card from the deck.
Each player studies the 3 Kingdom Builder cards (which explain the rules for earning gold in that particular game) and his initial terrain card and plans his strategy for placing settlements in the most profitable manner. For example, one Kingdom Builder card may award gold for settlements next to mountains whereas another awards gold for larger settlements. Note: Gold is only awarded at the conclusion of the game. In every game gold is awarded for each castle hex with one (or more) settlements.
- Sequence of Play
Players take turns in a clockwise direction, beginning with a starting player.
Mandatory Action: The active player displays his previously drawn terrain card and places 3 of his settlements on unoccupied hexagons of that terrain type according to the buildng rules.
Extra Action: For each location tile that a player has accumulated in previous rounds, he 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 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 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 his 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.
- Building rules
1. Only one settlement may occupy each eligible terrain hexagon.
2. A player must build a settlement on a canyon, desert, flower field, forest or grass hexagon but the "harbor" location tile allows an existing settlement to move to a water hexagon.
3. A player must build or move a settlement adjacent (if at all possible) to one of his existing settlements unless using the "paddock" location tile.
4. A player must build or move a settlement onto the same terrain type as the played card unless a location tile otherwise instructs (farm, oasis, harbor) or allows (tower, tavern, paddock).
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.
A Kingdom Builder card may award gold for large settlements, another for dispersed settlements; one for horizontal lines, another for vertical lines; one for settlements near mountains, another near water. Therefore, the strategy changes each game.
Plan on about 9 rounds of play:
Your first placement should yield a location tile while putting your three settlements adjacent to the least number of terrain types. The goal is for your second or third terrain card to allow you to capture another location tile.
Long distance moves: Your first tower usage allows you to leap anywhere along the edge but pick carefully, because your next tower moves will be adjacent. A first tower placement immediately followed by a paddock move can be a game changer because it removes your tower settlement from the edge. A series of paddock moves can also move long distances but time is limited. However, the paddock works well with Hermits scoring.
Build additional settlements: Five of the location tiles give you an extra settlement each time. Good for scoring with everything except Hermits.
Overcoming the terrain card: The tavern, harbor and paddock free you from the restriction of the current terrain card. Good for local expansion, but beware until you have a second location.
Kingdom Builder rules
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