Year Published: 2011
Playtime: 30 minutes
One Sentence synopsis: RRRAAAAWRRRRR…monsters.
King of Tokyo is a fast-paced board/dice game where players each take on the role of a very large monster bent on either ruling Tokyo and getting 20 victory points to win, or simply bashing in the faces of all the rival monsters until they’re the last one left standing. Each round players take turns rolling a set of dice in order to gain attack points to hurt other monsters, regain lost health, gain victory points, or to acquire energy which can be spent on special abilities or events. Players can re-roll as many dice as they’d like two times after their initial roll, allowing you to tweak your strategy each turn based on how your initial roll panned out. After resolving dice rolls players then also get a chance to use any energy they’ve accrued from previous turns to purchase mutations, events, and other abilities out of a common set of cards. These cards can grant immediate bonuses like victory points, or might provide the player a persistent ability like increased damage or alternative ways to heal.
The game is well-balanced for the most part, and victories by knockout or from points are equally viable options. However, victory point wins usually come from a combination of cards and dice rolls, rather than from staying in Tokyo. This is due to the combat mechanics of the game, which apply damage from people outside of Tokyo to the 1-2 people in Tokyo, and vice-versa. In a game with 5 or more players this makes it extremely difficult to actually stay in Tokyo until your next turn to collect victory points without dying or being forced out due to incoming damage.
The rules for the game are very simple and decently laid out in the rulebook, and new players easily catch on after 1-2 rounds of play. Strategy is fairly limited, and usually amounts to determining whether you’re going to go for victory by KO or victory from points, to which cards you’re going to buy, and to managing your health. The lack of many substantive choices during the game is somewhat corrected in the Power-Up expansion which adds unique mutations available for each monster, making monster selection at the beginning of the game more than an aesthetic choice like it is in the core game.
COG Takeaway: A great, quick monster game that is easy to pick up and play as either a filler, or as an introductory game for people just getting into the hobby. Best played with 4-6 people, and with the Power-Up Expansion.
Have you played King of Tokyo? What are your thoughts on the game?