We will start with the award winning game first. Kingdomino is at its heart a domino game, hence the name. But instead of matching numbers you match biomes. The goal is to get as many points using these tiles as possible. You score points by creating as many contiguous biomes as you can. But you only score points for the biome if you have a crown on a tile in the biome. But here’s the kicker you count how many tiles of the same type are connected, and you multiply that number by how many crowns are on that type. So there is a little bit of math involved, but that’s part of the strategy. The difficulty is you can only have to work within a 5×5 square around your castle which is the starting piece. We played a version that expanded this out to 7×7 because it was the two of us. We had a lot of fun with this game, I will say though that the instructions are a little hard to read. But it is small enough that it’s not too difficult to travel with, and can be played with up to four people.
The second game is Pocket Madness. Amanda enjoyed this game much more then I did. The game to me just didn’t seem to make much sense to me. I didn’t see the real strategy in it so it just felt weird, like when I did my turn I didn’t really feel like it made a difference towards winning most of the time. To start you select 17 at random out of the deck and shuffle it all up. The rest of the deck is used face up with these random cards face down. Now you spread the deck in a line so the face up are up and down are down. Its kind of hard to explain, but if you play you will understand. Now who ever’s turn it is can take up to 3 cards from the top of the pile into their hand. The point is you either make a run of 7 consecutive cards, or sets of three. When you put down a run it gives you control of that runs monster with which comes with special abilities you can use at any time, once you use its ability it goes back. Placing a run will give your opponents a certain amount of madness tokens depending on how many runs were placed during that round. Once the deck is depleted, you shuffle it all up and start again. The goal is to make your opponents have more then 10 madness tokens at the end of a round. If that happens, they lose. As I said, I thought this game was a little weird. But it is very small and easy to travel with, so maybe the more I play it the more I will like it. But it was pretty cheap as well.
The last game we have had for a while. Compounded is a game of science, kinda… So the goal is to create compounds from elements you randomly pull from a bag. Each compound is worth a certain amount of points, the first to 50 starts the last round of play and players tally up their total points and a winner is declared. There are a lot of little nuanced strategies for this game, and it is a little bigger then the previous two. Amanda loves this game, a lot more then I do, yet she has yet to beat me at it. This game is not a dice game, in fact its made by ‘Dice Hate Me Games’. So if you’re anything like Wil Wheaton is at dice games you will probably like this game a lot. It is a very fun game, and it will take a couple of rounds to understand the strategy, especially timing you’re turns to coincide with compounds available to score, and avoiding lab fires. To rules are too numerous to write, but it doesn’t take long to understand. But we do recommend this game, and it can support up to 5 players.