Boardgame Reviews: Kingdomino, I Saw it First!Oceans, Machi Koro, and Dungeon Mayhem

Disclaimer – this is not an ad and there are no affiliate links on this article.

In preparation for another lockdown after Christmas, I made sure to add some new boardgames to our collection, to give us more some screen free options for fun. With a 12 year old, a 10 year old and a 7 year old as eager testers, here’s what we thought of Kingdomino, I Saw it First!Oceans, Machi Koro, and Dungeon Mayhem:

Kingdomino: 2-4 players, 8+ years, 15 mins

Kingdomino takes the framework of dominoes and paints it as a lovely fantasy countryside. In this short, fast game, you pick tiles and try to make a 5×5 grid that will score you the most points. My nearly-8 year old loves this game, and it’s definitely the sort of game we can pull out a play a few rounds of without any problem. It’s easy to pick up and play, and it looks beautiful.

I Saw it First! Ocean: 2+ players, 4+ years, 10+ mins

I Saw it First! Oceans reminds me a bit of Dobble but on a grand scale. You have a large board covered in sea creatures, (which is double sided so that’s it’s harder to memorize), and a box of cards, each with a picture of one of the said creatures on it. You pull out a card, show it to everyone and the first person to find it on the board gets to keep the card. This is a very potato chip type of game (to borrow a metaphor from knitting and crochet,) in that it’s easy to start as a best of 5 game and end up playing best of 35 before you know it! (Nom, nom, nom.) The only problem that can arise is if you have a younger player that regularly just can’t find the right picture fast enough. You want a pretty level playing field ability-wise or you might need to adapt the game to make it more manageable for the abilities of players that are playing. So for example, I bought this for my ocean-loving 7 year old but she hates lose to her older sister who is really good at it. However she likes watching me and said older sister go head to head, where we are pretty well matched. It would also work well as a matching game, and it does have the names of all the creatures on the small cards, so there is some memory work there too if you want there to be. (My only complaint is that the box for putting the cards in needs to be taken apart so that it fits in the box, and it’s easy for the small cards to fall out of the bottom of it. A bag would be better.)

Machi Koro: 2-4 players, 10+ years, 30 mins

Machi Koro is a Japanese card game that we have been really really enjoying. In it you each try to build up a business district (of sorts) and earn or lose money each round, depending on the throw of a dice and what cards you have bought. There are a couple of different ways to play using the same cards, and both are really fun, and have their own advantages and disadvantages. Despite being aimed at the over 10’s my 7 year old got the hang of things quickly and was happy to play along with us once she knew how everything worked. She now plays it as an independent player, (rather than part of a team with me or her dad) and can totally hold her own. This game is right up there as a family favourite, alongside Sushi Go, and – in our house at least – gets competitive and silly very quickly, especially when revenge restaurants come into play.

Dungeon Mayhem: 2-4 players, 8+ years, 10 mins

I really like Dungeon Mayhem, even though I consistently lose, regardless of which character I play. It’s a fun, quick card game where players battle against each other to see who is the last hero standing. Each character has their own special cards, and ways of playing and… I don’t know why I keep losing! But I do. And yet somehow it doesn’t put me off. There are two add-ons for this game and I really want to get the large Monster Mayhem to go alongside this one. Because of how the game works, you can actually play the add-ons as their own games without needing the original game. And because of this – assuming both households have one of the three versions of the game – it’s possible to play the game over skype, which my eldest, and Kate’s eldest did a couple of weeks ago, while waiting for their Minecraft server to start. It worked really well. It might also work well as a social distanced games once we can sit in each other’s gardens again, since you only need to interact with your own cards. Regardless, this games is a hit in our household, especially when I channel my inner Travis Willingham and put on a Grog voice.

We’d love to hear what games you’ve been playing, and what you’d recommend to other home educating families, in the comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *