The fourth game on my series of gateway games is Kingdom Builder. I will free admit that I had no idea what this game was like when I helped to Kickstart the Big Box edition of the game. It was a few months after I got the game that our group decided to give it a go. It turned out to be a great game that I believe should be considered a gateway game for its simplicity, re-playability and logic.
What's it all about?
Each player is given a number of property blocks in their colour. A card is drawn from the pack (1 of 5), and these will match up with a land type on the board. For example, flowers on the card will represent the flowers tiles on the board. The player needs to place 3 of his blocks on the board where the card states. Now comes the logic/strategy part - if you can place your blocks next to an existing block, then you have to place it there. This means you need to think carefully when placing the blocks, and you could be forced to play in areas that will give you no extra points. If you can not place next to an existing block, then you have free reign of the board.
Points are gained in many different ways. Different cards are shuffled and a number is selected and displayed next to the board. These show how more points could be earned. One could give 1 point for each block next to a mountain, another will give points for lots of small clumps of blocks, while another could be the largest. The person with the most points wins the game.
On the surface, this looks like a complicated game. It isn't. It can get a little challenging when you have to place blocks where you don't want them to be, but that's also part of the fun. The most complicated part of the game will be the scoring - which isn't that tough compared to other games being scored. This is not suitable for younger children, I think they would get a little too frustrated with the rules. But for everyone else, I highly recommend it.