When comparing Kingdomino vs Charterstone, the Slant community recommends Kingdomino for most people. In the question“What are the best board games for families?” Kingdomino is ranked 4th while Charterstone is ranked 5th. The most important reason people chose Kingdomino is:
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.
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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.
Mechanically Charterstone is extremely simple, which makes it greatly accessible to people of all ages. The advanced rules are introduced to the players as the game progresses, but the basics are straightforward. On your turn you can place a worker on a tile or retrieve all your workers.
You can go to any tile on any charter, each building has a different resource cost to use and a different purpose. There are five initial spots called the “Commons” that you can go to in order to gain money, score objective cards, construct buildings, or open crates. Opening crates lets players draw cards from the “Index” which adds new rules to the game.
Pro Drop-in / drop-out system
Thanks to the Automa system that lets an NPC character take over one of the player spots, you can fill in for a player that, for example, couldn’t make it to a gaming session or doesn’t want to continue the campaign.
Pro Replayable after finishing the campaign
Charterstone is a legacy game, but you can keep playing it as a regular worker placement game after you’re done with the campaign on the map you’ve created over the 12-game campaign.
Moreover, if you want to play through the campaign again and experience what you missed in your initial playthrough, you can buy the official recharge pack for about $30 to get back all the components you used and use the other side of the double-sided gameboard that has the same map.
Pro Huge variability
Every game of Charterstone will be completely different due to card draw, personas, and strategies. Many campaigns end with situations where half of the deck is still undiscovered.
Pro Adjustable to player count
Charterstone is a balanced game when played with any number of players thanks to special rules that vary depending on the player count. Furthermore, the Automa system lets you introduce NPC players to the game that can fill in other players’ spots if you want to add more action to, say, a 2-player game.
Pro Amazing components
The parts that make up Charterstone are both aesthetically pleasing and well-made.
When first opening the box, you are already greeted by an organized view of the components– everything’s stored in labeled white boxes. When looking at the components themselves, there is no mistaking what they represent or what they’re supposed to be – a pumpkin looks like a pumpkin, etc.
The quality is top-notch, and the components should hold up to plenty of plays. The white boxes that store most of the components are made of thick cardboard, the player tokens and the resource tokens are wooden, the cards are made of thick cardstock, and the coins are metal, which feel exceptionally nice and valuable due to the heftiness.
Pro Satisfying progression
The game reveals itself as you progress, be it storylines, rules, buildings, etc. It feels nice to see your village grow and bits of the story unfold over the ~12 hours of gameplay. You get attached to characters, socialize with others, and create your own stories in the process, which creates another adventure on top.
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.
Con Potential information overload at the start
If the players choose to open a lot of crates in their first games, then they might suffer from information overload because of the number of new rules thrown in the game. Some users have reported that the rules are sometimes easy to misinterpret, so this can add to the frustration.
Con Quite long
There are 12 games in the campaign, so you must dedicate approximately 12 hours to finish the whole thing because a single game takes an hour or so. This might also be too long if you’re playing with kids because they could get bored or distracted.
Con Aesthetic won’t suit everyone
Though the art of Charterstone is quite detailed and colorful, it’s also very cartoony and the characters are happy-looking bobble heads, so while the aesthetic might be great for children and families, it might seem childish to others.
Con A bit pricey
Charterstone retails for around $45 depending on the site, which can be expensive for some. If you add in the recharge pack for new campaigns, then that’s an extra $30, but after your second campaign there’s no more room on the gameboard, so you’ll have to buy a new one for that if you want to start over yet again.
Con Requires a dedicated group
Charterstone suffers from a popular legacy board game issue - it might be difficult to gather the same people for a session to try and finish the 12-game campaign. Though the Automa system lets NPC’s fill in for other players, if it’s used in the middle of the campaign, then it renders the score tallying at the end of the campaign pointless.