26 March 2012

Let's Build A Temple - Kingdom of Solomon Review

The King desires for a temple to be built for God. He has commissioned you to build buildings and collect goods throughout the kingdom in order for this temple to be built. However, there are also several other contractors who are working on the temple. Your team will need to be the most efficient and contribute as much as possible to the building of the temple so that you can earn the prestige of being the Master Builder.

The game is Kingdom of Solomon. Before you think, "O great a Bible-themed game, this is not going to be pretty", hear me out. This is a worker placement game for two to four players and takes about an hour to play. The goal is to build Solomon's Temple. You do this by using your six workers and placing them on a map (consisting of mostly modern day Israel, but also contains other countries within the region, most notably Lebanon), or there are several special locations you use, and finally you can place them in any building you have constructed. The point of doing this is to collect resources, special abilities, fortune cards, and victory points. You will then use the resources you collected order to build buildings that give you victory points and special abilities that only you can complete. You can also build part of the temple and collect a high priest token or gain victory points. If you have the most high priest tokens, you have the privilege of another special ability and you score an additional twenty victory points at the end of the game. The game ends when the temple has been built or someone has built all of their buildings. At the end of the game, the player with the most victory points will be the winner.
Building Cards

Kingdom of Solomon is a solid worker placement game. It is also probably the best Bible/Torah- themed game that I have ever played (and growing up in church I played a lot of them). The game was fairly easy to learn with a small, concise rulebook. I don't think this is a good game for non-gamers as it is very strategy driven, and some of the concepts might be hard to pick up on right away. Even so, the game runs very smoothly, and is pretty self explanatory throughout the game. If you do come along a snag, the rulebook is easy to access. That being said, I did feel that Kingdom of Solomon was missing something. I can't put my finger on it, but I think that an expansion to this game would be well served. I could easily see adding an additional player, and more building and fortune cards.

The Board
The components of Kingdom of Solomon were a little lacking. Minion Games is a small publisher and they did a great job offering you a solid game play experience, but I felt like some of the markers could have been a little bigger and more distinguishable--especially the building markers. It was hard to differentiate these from the resources sometimes. The board is smaller than most game boards, but I really liked this. I hate when I pull out a game (eh-hem, Defenders of the Realm) and the board takes up half the room. Kingdom of Solomon has a small, efficient board. It is very functional and does everything it needs to do without wasting space and not feeling like the pieces are eating each other because of lack of room. The cards are a nice quality, but I do wish the fortune cards were full size since the text can sometimes feel small. However, it does make it easy to tell the difference between the two different types of cards because of their different sizes. Finally, the artwork is just ok. I think some minor tweaking could make the game look so much better.

Fortune Cards
Again, this is a solid game. If you like worker placement, Bible themes, History themes, and resource management then this game is right up your alley. If you enjoy any one of those things, then this one is worth taking a look at. Although, the game does play two player, I believe this one is best served playing with three or four. With two, you will have too many options too often, and I can see their being little to fight over as you build the temple and your buildings. It works with two, but way better with more. That being said, I would suggest that you try this one out.

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