When comparing Karuba vs Kingdomino, the Slant community recommends Karuba for most people. In the question“What are the best board games for families?” Karuba is ranked 2nd while Kingdomino is ranked 3rd. The most important reason people chose Karuba is:
Karuba is a very simple game that has only a few mechanics. All players have individual gameboards and tiles that are set up in the same way, the players decide where to place the adventurers and the temples. One player has their tiles shuffled in a deck, this player is the expedition leader. Each turn the expedition leader will choose a tile and call out the number on it, the players then find this tile and decide what to do with it. You can either place it anywhere on your map or discard it to move one of your adventurers. The game ends when either all tiles are played, or a player has reached all four temples. The goal of the game is to gather the most points, be it by reaching temples or gathering gems on the way. The temples give more points to players that reach them first.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Easy to learn
Karuba is a very simple game that has only a few mechanics. All players have individual gameboards and tiles that are set up in the same way, the players decide where to place the adventurers and the temples. One player has their tiles shuffled in a deck, this player is the expedition leader.
Each turn the expedition leader will choose a tile and call out the number on it, the players then find this tile and decide what to do with it. You can either place it anywhere on your map or discard it to move one of your adventurers.
The game ends when either all tiles are played, or a player has reached all four temples. The goal of the game is to gather the most points, be it by reaching temples or gathering gems on the way. The temples give more points to players that reach them first.
Pro Aesthetically pleasing
The game looks great and the components are detailed and add a lot to the theme. The gameboard is a stylized map of the jungle with portraits of the four adventurers on the left. The tiles form a clear and understandable path through the jungle when placed, and the numbers are easy to read. The meeples are designed to look like temples and adventurers, they are colored and easy to distinguish and spot on the gameboard. The treasure tokens are detailed, colorful, and come in many sizes to represent more points. The little crystals and gold pieces are very shiny and come in different shapes.
Pro Well-made components
The components in Karuba are durable and should hold up to regular wear and tear very well. The gameboards are big and don’t feel flimsy, the cardboard tiles are thick, sturdy, and have a pleasant weight to them, the little crystal and gold nuggets are made of plastic, the temple treasures are made of cardboard, and the temple and adventurer tokens are nice wooden meeples.
Karuba can be played by pretty much anyone and in many settings. The game is great for families with players of many ages due to its simplicity and still good for a group consisting of experienced gamers because of the decent amount of strategic depth.
Pro Meaningful strategic decisions
Karuba can be quite strategically deep because it offers some interesting choices to players. Everyone’s trying to solve the same puzzle and use the same tiles, but the way you do it is going to be different. Is it better to place the tile or to discard it for movement? Which adventurer do you move? Adventurers can’t pass through each other, so it’s important to plan ahead.
There are many ways to gather points – reaching temples and gathering gems. If you reach the temple faster, then you’ll receive more points, but often gathering gems can also be very profitable, so it’s important to keep an eye on what your opponents are doing and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Since all turns in the game happen simultaneously, there’s never a dull moment. A player calls out the number of the tile, the players decide what to do with it (place it or discard it for movement), and the game progresses in this fashion until it ends.
Kingdomino is elementary, it’s like playing dominoes with a few extra nuances, which makes it highly accessible and easy to teach.
Each turn the same number of dominoes as players are drawn from the pile and placed in ascending order (the dominoes are numbered). You must then place your king meeple on one of the tiles. The tile you chose will determine the pick order next turn, for example, if you place your king on the highest numbered domino, you’ll pick last on the following turn. When you do your next turn, the tile you picked on the previous one is freed up and must be placed.
Each player starts with a single tile with their castle on it. This tile is “wild”, so you can connect any of the five different landscapes to it. Otherwise, you must connect dominoes matching at least one landscape. You mustn’t build past a 5x5 grid, if a domino doesn’t fit, then it’s discarded.
Points are tallied at the end of the game; each group of connected landscapes gives you as much points as the number of squares multiplied by the number of crowns in the landscape. The player with the most points wins.
Pro Good components
The components of the game are both durable and nice-looking, which adds a lot to the overall value. The domino tiles themselves are cartoony, colorful, and made of nice and thick cardboard, the meeples are tiny wooden kings, and the castles are beautiful three-dimensional cardboard standups.
Kingdomino is available for less than $20 in most places, which is a great value for the replayability and fun that you can get out of the game.
There is no other player interaction in the game apart from choosing tiles, which makes Kingdomino a very laidback experience. You can slowly build up your kingdom and admire it as it grows while casually talking with the other players.
Pro Quick to play through
A full playthrough of Kingdomino takes around 15 minutes, which is perfect if you want to play a quick game to kill some time. Even the bigger 7x7 duel mode variation is quite fast - up to 20 minutes.
Pro A decent amount of strategy
Even though the game is very simple, it can also be quite clever. There’s a fair amount of strategic choices to be made regarding tile placement and tile choosing. Do you try to focus on one type or go for multiple landscapes? Do you choose the tile you need or one that might be useful for your opponent? Do you want to take the least valuable tile right now to get first pick on the next turn?
There are a few variants in the official rulebook that can keep the game replayable and interesting. A very popular variant is the 2-player duel mode that allows players to use all tiles and create a 7x7 grid, which can make the game bigger and longer than usual.
Con One player is at a disadvantage
The player that takes on the role of the expedition leader must have their tiles shuffled in a deck. Each turn this player will draw a tile and call out the number so every player plays the same tile. This means that the expedition leader, unlike other players, doesn’t get to see what the remaining tiles look like and whether it’s possible to, for example, finish the path they have started or reach the temple in time.
Con Not a lot of player interaction
Karuba is basically a solitaire experience. You’re trying to solve the same puzzle in a different way. The only player interaction comes in the form of drawing tiles that determine which tile all players must use and watching other players’ progress in reaching the temples.
Con Takes a while to set up
Karuba has a lot of components that take a while to sort through and set up. On top of shuffling the deck, placing the gameboard and the treasure tiles, before every game you need to arrange 36 tiles in an ascending order, which be quite annoying.
Con Fiddly scoring
The winner of the game is determined after tallying up the scores once the final tiles have been played. There’s a bit of calculating involved, so you might need a calculator or a piece of paper laying around somewhere. You might also need to help children with the process.
Each group of connected landscapes gives you as much points as the number of squares multiplied by the number of crowns in the landscape. For example, if you’ve made an area of 6 connected forest tiles and the area has 2 crowns, you’d get 12 points. This also means that if you have no crowns in the connected area, you won’t get anything, which can be very annoying.
Con A bit of luck involved
Although you get to choose between multiple tiles, there’s no way to tell what the next dominoes are going to have on them, so you can’t predict how valuable pick order will be. You might take first pick on purpose in your previous turn only to see tiles that don’t help you as much as you hoped.