Recommend
35 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

Kingdom of Solomon» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Is Kingdom of Solomon any different, or is it the same old fare? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ken Armstrong
United States
Bedford
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I was privileged to be able to play a game of Kingdom of Solomon at GenCon on Friday night. I had seen this on the Geek, and it was on my list of things I wanted to check out.

We had a four-player game, and all of us were playing it for the first time. Philip duBarry and James Mathe (of Minion Games) were the teachers. It was a lot of fun learning all the ins and outs of why things worked the way they did.

This is the first review I have done, so please have mercy on me.

wowAt heart, Kingdom of Solomon is a worker placement/resource management game.

Each turn you will be placing 5 workers, (6 in a two player game) on different locations on the board. You can place them on territories to gather the resource type shown in that territory, or you can place them on different action spaces around the board to be able to perform that action. There are three special action spaces, and when you place workers on them, it will end your turn (you must put all the rest of your workers on that space). I will discuss these spaces a little more later on. Otherwise, you will be placing workers one at a time, in turn order. (Ex. Yellow places one, blue places one, red places one, etc...)

After all workers are placed, in turn order, you will gather all your resources, and perform all your actions. The first player will perform all the functions for all five of their workers, and then the second player will do all five of theirs, etc...

Next, in reverse turn order, you may go to the market and buy or sell one resource. The market works on supply and demand. In other words, the more resources in the market, the cheaper that resource is.

Then, in turn order, everyone may build one building and then contribute to the building of the Temple of Solomon. Buildings will give you victory points and an action that only you may place one of your workers on. Also when you build a building, you may place one of your (house?) markers on any one territory that does not already have one. This will allow you exclusive access to that territory for the rest of the game.
The temple will give you victory points or a priest token. Whoever has the most priest tokens gets to be the high priest, which gives them a special ability, and twenty victory points at the end of the game.
You may also build roads at this time. Roads will allow you to link territories together. When you place a worker on a territory that is linked to another territory by a road, you will collect resources from both territories. This can become quite powerful if you manage to link several territories together. (I managed to link five together, which was quite cool.)

You then reset everything for the next turn. If I remember correctly, the game goes until all the territories have buildings in them. You receive 1 victory point for any resources you have at the end of the game, and the person with most points is the winner.

yukSo what did I think?

At first look, this game is just another worker placement/resource management game. There are already a ton of those out there, so unless this game has something different to offer, it would not be worth adding to your collection. So what does it do different?

First of all there is the competition to be the high priest. If you manage to be the high priest at the end of the game, those twenty points can be huge. However, if you keep choosing to take high priest tokens, then you are not getting the victory points for contributing to the temple. If you take the victory points, then someone else may steal the high priest from you. Ooohhhh what do I do???????

Being able to claim territories for exclusive use can really put others in a bind. If you need stone, but can’t put a worker in a territory that gives you stone, you are in trouble. You might be able to get it from the market, but it won’t come cheap.

There are only five buildings out each turn, and it really hurts if the building you wanted was bought out from under you. If you don’t have enough resources to get a different one, you are out of luck that turn. That happened to me once, and it made a big difference in the game for me.

The market was also really cool. First of all, you use victory points when you buy and sell at the market. Do you buy that gold you need for seven victory points, so you can build that twelve-point building? Or do you wait, hoping that someone else sells a gold to the market, so that the price will go down? Toward the beginning of our game, one of the players asked, "Why would I want to sell resources to the market, so that others can buy them to build buildings and give them victory points?" Philip’s answer was great, "I don’t know, why don’t you try it and see what happens"? He then decided to "play the market" by gathering a bunch of resources each turn, and then selling them at the market. He took an early demanding lead, and if I had not been able to prolong the game by one turn, he would have won.

laughAll of these things are a little different, but it is not really enough to elevate this game to a "must have" game. However those three special action spaces do. The three spaces are gather one of each resource, draw three fortune cards, and become the first play (and earning 3 victory points times the place you are in the current turn order.) These three places are big. There is always one less space than the number of players, so everybody competes for them each turn. In order to get one, you must end your turn early by placing all the rest of your workers on the space. Deciding when to do this each turn, or taking the chance of not getting one is one great "press your luck" element. This put the game over the top for me, and put it into the must buy category. On the last turn of your game, I really need to take the first player space. I was currently the fourth player, so taking it was going to earn me twelve points. I also was the high priest worth another twenty points. This was a whopping thirty-two points to end the game, which would earn me the win (or so I thought). The problem was, I took the space one placement to early, thereby not gathering enough resources. Buying the resources at the market, to build that twenty-point building that was available cost me way to many victory points and the win. If I had just placed one more worker in my territories, gaining a boatload of resources because of all my roads, I would have had it. Or would I, if some one took the first player space after I placed my worker in my territories I would have been sunk. Did I place it to early, or would it have been available for my next placement? I guess I will never know.

Is there any down side to this game?

gulpUnfortunately this game has a real colorblind issue. I am red/green colorblind and I struggled the whole game. The colors for copper, wood, and food drove me nuts the whole game through. I kept having to pick up the building cards and asking what resources were needed, because I couldn’t tell the colors apart. This advertised what buildings I wanted to buy, giving everybody a heads up and a way to prevent me from doing what I wanted to do.
We did have a long conversation about this issue with Philip and Jim, and they took a lot of notes. I gave them several ideas on what they could do, and offered to look at their files before they go to print. I do believe they will have all this fixed before they go to print, but I am not the one that can guarantee this.

This game does have a decent amount screwage in it. So if you do not like that in your games, this game is not for you (personally I enjoy it). Also this game does not have very much luck. So if you like luck in a game, then maybe this is not for you.

I would like to thank Philip and Jim for an enjoyable gaming experience, and I will be preordering this game, and would recommend others do likewise.

25 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Walters
United States
Hercules
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

After a handful of plays I came to a very similar conclusion. This is worker placement, sure, but compressed compared to others - it's shorter in duration, and there's a lot more stepping on toes.

Sorry to hear about the color blindness issue, but at least you only have to replace discrete components - a few new bits and you're set, you don't have to worry about indistinguishable dice sides or card faces.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Andersen
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Solid review. Mine is in pre-order. I'm not sure why designers don't have games tested for color-blindness. I am not color-blind but am certainly sympathetic.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip duBarry
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the great review, Ken. We did end up making a few tweaks to the colors. The prototype you played was just printed off my deskjet and a bit washed out. The final professional version will look much better and (I hope) be easier on your eyes. I believe we also fixed the building cards to better represent the necessary resources. Thanks for raising this important issue with us during the demo!
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Andersen
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pdubarry wrote:
Thanks for the great review, Ken. We did end up making a few tweaks to the colors. The prototype you played was just printed off my deskjet and a bit washed out. The final professional version will look much better and (I hope) be easier on your eyes. I believe we also fixed the building cards to better represent the necessary resources. Thanks for raising this important issue with us during the demo!


Good for you. thumbsupthumbsup
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very good review. Thanks for describing how it plays and the types of decisions you're faced with rather than just the rules.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dundy O
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Exellant review! If this is your first, keep it up, I'll be reading your stuff ALL the time.

I preordered this from Kickstarter and was hoping to read more about it to confirm the good feeling I had about it. Your review did just that.

Thank you! It was my first Kickstarter purchase and I'm glad it is a good one.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek H
South Africa
Johannesburg
Gauteng
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review! Just one small point... "press your luck" is what you do at an ATM, whereas I think you meant "push your luck".
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
flag msg tools
designer
Baseball been bery bery good to me
badge
This is a picture of a published game designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
gamesbook wrote:
Great review! Just one small point... "press your luck" is what you do at an ATM, whereas I think you meant "push your luck".

I believe "press your luck" is the more common form of the expression in the USA.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark C
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb

Only played once, but we had the temple built very quickly, and the game was done by turn 3...maybe 20 minutes tops. Seemed like a problem to me, but hard to say on 1 play.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Brownsill
United Kingdom
Milton Keynes
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Gamer_Dog wrote:

Only played once, but we had the temple built very quickly, and the game was done by turn 3...maybe 20 minutes tops. Seemed like a problem to me, but hard to say on 1 play.


Was that on the original board?

Have a look at this thread :

Tweaked Temple

Temple has now been tweaked.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark C
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Pogle wrote:
Gamer_Dog wrote:

Only played once, but we had the temple built very quickly, and the game was done by turn 3...maybe 20 minutes tops. Seemed like a problem to me, but hard to say on 1 play.


Was that on the original board?

Have a look at this thread :

Tweaked Temple

Temple has now been tweaked.


Yes, the original. I'm probably one of the people who suggested it was too small. Glad they made a change as I thought temple rush was the only sensible strategy when I played (and I won, in case you're wondering). It seemed obvious to me, and I was planning on tweaking it with a home rule once it arrived (I pre-ordered before I had a chance to play it).

Edit. Btw, only 2 players tried to build the temple, so I don't think it was a strange game by any means. Having such a short game really messes up some of the spaces as turn order becomes all important as to who gets what on the final (in this case 3rd) turn.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.