Expanding Kingdom Builder - A Review of Nomads

Well, we figured since we're on the subject, why not talk a little more about the 2012  Spiel des Jahres award winner, Kingdom Builder.

Nomads, the first expansion of the game, adds a few new layers to the game, but mostly just adds more variance to the title, which in turn adds to the replayability. Here's a quick rundown of some of the new features Nomads brings to the table—and yes, I'll insert my opinions as well.

4 New Sector Boards—Which brings the total for the set up to 12! The randomness in which you pull them, as well as how you place them, consistently shakes things up. There's even less chance for the board to look and play the same twice!

5th Player Settlements—Now that 5th wheel can join in the fun! I personally LOVE the addition of a 5th player; keep in mind you're still setting up only four sectors to create the game board, so territory becomes more and more valuable as the game progresses—as do ability tokens! The competition is fierce, and cut-throat; I love it when a plan comes together.

Nomads—The title element of this expansion consists of 15 unique Nomad tokens; they look a lot like the special ability tokens but behave slightly differently. Each of the four new sector boards have a Nomad hex (or two) on them; if any of the new boards are selected for the game, one Nomad token is selected randomly and placed on the Nomad hex. The player who claims that token can only use it on their next turn, and then it's removed from the game (whether it's been used or not). The abilities are generally a little more beefed up than your run-of-the-mill extra actions, but only being able to use them once, (and on your next turn) definitely requires a little forethought before just grabbing them up—at least, if you want to get the most out of them.

Stone Walls—One of the new abilities you can claim from one of the four new boards is the Quarry token. This will allow you to place up to two gray circular disks on the board each turn. These disks represent stone walls; they cannot be built on top of, and they break continuity between settlements. They come in handy if you want to cut off your opponents, or build somewhere else on the board but your settlements are adjacent to EVERYTHING.

3 New Kingdom Builder Cards—There are three new ways to score gold in Nomads, but now there's a possibility of scoring gold during the game instead of tallying up only at the end. I would have found this annoying, but I really enjoy the new scoring scenarios, so I don't mind so much keeping score during the game.

All in All, the expansion doesn't completely overhaul the game, or add so much to it that the overall feel and flow of the game is completely thrown out of whack. But it does help the title grow, adds variability,  and let's you bring in a 5th player, which becomes a lot of fun!

Capitol—It's also worth mentioning that there was a promo released last year called Capitol. This consists of 2 Capitol tokens that covered one of the two Castle hexes on the Oracle and Harbor boards. The capitol scores players one gold for each settlement built within two hexes of the Capitol. Personally, I'm not a fan of this small expansion; the Castles seem to do the job, and this pumps up their abilities, while diminishing from the other scoring options.

Thanks for reading; we hope you're enjoying yourself here at Theology of Games. We'd love to hear your thoughts about the blog and the games we talk about! Leave 'em in the comments below!

Nomads and Capitol are both on Amazon!