Games Gazette Logo

KING DOMINO DUEL

COILED SPRING GAMES Bruno Cathala & Ludovic Maublanc with the illustrious artwork of Cyril Bouquet
Prices seen online £11.00 - £17.00 though your local game store should also be carrying this excellent two-player version of the highly popular King Domino tile laying game
For your money you get 2 pencils and 4 dice plus a large score pad that is printed on both sides. It is noted as 'double-sided' but the print isn't the same on each side; for every game you need one of one side and two of the other. Each player needs one side with the shields over the map, but only one of the reverse side is required.

The dice are solid impact six-sided cubes, each different from the others. The six sides have seven variations of Shield Emblems. One Dot, Two Dots, One Diagonal Line, Two Diagonal Lines, One Fully Black, One Black and White Quarters and One with a Question Mark. Of these there are some, only a few, with one or two Xs, and these are the most important for without Xs you cannot score.

There is an element of Yahtzee,in as much as you are collecting dice sets, plus there is the recently popular mechanic where the dice are rolled and then the first player selects one, the second player takes two and the first player gains the remaining die. Any taken without Xs are marked on the scroll sheet with the first player to fill in a Row gaining the bonus/advantage associated with it (as shown on the sheet) - just remember that only Dice without Xs are marked on the sheet.

  

Each two dice you take count as one domino and are placed (marked by pencil) onto the players Map/Shield sheet as if you were laying actual Dominoes. They must be laid next to either the central Home Castle or next to one of the same type already laid unless you have one of the Wizrd's powers that lets you do otherwise. There is a sentence in the rules that states "The first player to fill all the Wizard squares on their side will be able to use that power". This is one of those slightly ambiguous rules that pedantic rules lawyers have a field day with. Does it mean that when you fill ALL of the Wizard squares on your side of the sheet (the sheet is printed basically as a mirror image of itelf with rows of boxes inbetween the Shield Emblems and the Wizard's Powers) in which case you have to complete 24 squares to be able to use a power? Well that's a definite NO! as you wouldn't know which single power you could use and nothing directs you to choose one. Thus it is taken that it means that the first person to complete a single ROW of squares gets to use the power associated with it. 

As each power can only be used ONCE in each game it therefore follows that being second to complete the Row of squares doesn't allow you to use the power, but there may still be a positive by selecting the Dice that fill these squares because when laid on your map as a domino they may bring extra VPs.

There is a list of SIX powers on the sheet. Two require 5 completed squares, 2 require 4 completed squares and the last two only need you to fill in 3 squares - the difference being that the last two powers have to be played immediately. As you can use the other 4, at least those of the other four available to you personally, whenever you want, we ticked them as we got them and crossed the tick as we used them, this prevented confusion later in the game when both players had completed the same Row - the one with the tick was the player who had use of the power.

On the player's personal shield/map sheet you use the pencil to shade in the emblems for both ends of the domino when you position it. If you play carefully you will shade every shield, though it is easy to paint yourself into a corner if you use the power that allows you to split the domino. When shading the shields you are trying to gain areas of same types and you can have more areas of the same type elsewhere on the map. Each connected shield with the same emblem scores points by multiplying the total in each block/area by the number of Xs in that block; no Xs mean no points no matter how large a block you have created. This brings the fun and the frustration, for like almost all dice and card games, the combination you require to complete your winning run doesn't come up when you want it to.

As stated earlier, it is possible to completely fill your shield map if your dominoes are placed with absolute care (and legally of course). There have been several cases in our games where one player has left themselves with two blank squares that are not next to each other (because they split a domino using the Wizard's power). As players have equal turns this means on the very last turn, if split squares are in play, one player will have an extra turn at laying a domino. The regular method of rolling and choosing dice is still used. On two or three occasions the person choosing second, and thus taking two dice at the same time (selection being one - two - one) has managed to ruin the placement of the last player's domino. The one thing to remember when doing this though is that if the player is left with a domino that they cannot place, due to it not being next to the centre nor having at least one side that meets the criteria of being the same as one it is beoing laid next to, then the dice have to be rolled again and another selection made.

Because of the strength of the flip-top box we remove the plastic component insert and use the box itself as a dice tray into which we toss the dice.

KINGDOMINO and QUEENDOMINO are very good, thoroughly enjoyable games and KINGDOMINO: DUEL is an excellent, great fun, addition to the series. To the authors I say, please think of other ways to continue this super series, but please, pretty please NO Catapults!

KINGDOMINO DUEL from COILEDSPRING GAMES is a cracking 15-20 minute entertainment that can be played by anyone who can roll dice and understand the concept of the two ends of a Domino. The authors have given it an Age 8 and upwards rating which is well justifed.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015