King of Tokyo - Board Game Box Shot

King of Tokyo

| Published: 2011

A fast-paced easy to learn game that’ll keep you coming back for more. King of Tokyo delivers a monstrously good time!

go to: Who would enjoy this game?


Tokyo has been besieged by monsters! Revel in this theme-heavy game and use your dice to defeat your opponents to be crowned the King of Tokyo!

In King of Tokyo you take on the role of one of six monsters intent on destroying Tokyo, but you don’t share well with others. You have six dice which you’ll roll up to three times each (similar to Yahtzee) that will allow you to attack, refill your life, gain energy, or go for points. When another monster is in Tokyo, you can attack them in an attempt to move into Tokyo. When you’re in Tokyo, you can attack all of your opponents. Of course, what good is being a monster if you can’t have super powers? As the game progresses, you can spend energy to buy power ups to aid in your conquest.

King of Tokyo game in play

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Can you conquer the world (or at least small parts of it) armed with a monster and six dice? Each turn you’ll roll the six dice, setting any number aside and getting two re-rolls of as many dice as you like. The sides of the dice are: heart, lightning bolt, claw, 1, 2, and 3.

King of Tokyo dice

Hearts allow you to gain life (you start with 10 and are eliminated if you hit zero), while lightning bolts give an energy cube that can be used to purchase power up cards. Each claw will damage your opponent(s), and the numbers are worth stars (victory points) if you get three-of-a-kind or better. To win, you’ll either need to amass 20 stars, or be the last monster standing.

Much of the game will revolve around Tokyo. Only one player can be in Tokyo at a time (two if playing with 5-6 players). A monster in Tokyo will damage ALL players outside of Tokyo with each claw die result, while a monster outside of Tokyo will use claws to attack the monster(s) in Tokyo. You gain points for moving into and beginning your turn in Tokyo, but you can’t heal while you’re there. A monster may only leave Tokyo after being damaged, with the attacking player taking their place.

King of Tokyo energy cubes

Energy cubes can be spent to buy cards, three of which are showing at any time. Each card has a cost and shows its effect, which is either immediate (cards reading DISCARD) or ongoing (cards reading KEEP). You may also spend two energy to clear the current cards and see three new cards.

The game is fast paced with players often aiming for different goals as the game goes on. Perhaps you want energy early, or plan to go on the offensive. As claws are thrown around, some rounds will leave players desperately trying to roll hearts, while others may try to fly under the radar while rolling for points. With two victory conditions, every game will play differently.


The first things you’ll notice when playing King of Tokyo are the six large, well detailed monster stand-ups. Made of thick cardboard and standing 3-4 inches tall, they really stand out. Each player also gets a matching, well illustrated monster board with two wheels that track stars and hearts.

King of Tokyo monster stand-ups

King of Tokyo character boards

The dice are oversized with green symbols printed on black. Energy is represented by small green translucent cubes that really fit well with the theme of the game. The deck of Power Up cards (66 total!) really bring the theme of the game together. They’re fun, with whimsical designs that are themselves entertaining to go through. There are some small round cardboard tokens that are used with some of the cards, and a small (8×8 inch) game board that serves as Tokyo.

While the board isn’t strictly needed (it exists to allow the monster(s) in Tokyo a place to stand), it’s a nice addition. I wonder if some of the space could have been used to give a turn summary, but after playing through one turn you’ll have things down anyway. I have heard some people have had trouble with the ink coming off of their dice. For what it’s worth, after dozens of plays with my copy I haven’t seen a problem. There is rumor that future editions will come with engraved dice.

The rulebook is mainly two pages of rules and one page of special information. You’ll be able to learn the game in 5 minutes, and it takes even less time to teach. The game is straightforward enough that you could teach it by talking through your first turn.

Who will enjoy this game?

Family Gamer {yes}
The gameplay is very straightforward and easy to learn. Rolling the dice is fun, even for those who don’t aim to optimize every turn. One potential pitfall is the possibility of player elimination. Normally eliminated players are never out more than 10 minutes, but you may want to avoid the game with children that you know won’t take this well.
Strategy Gamer {maybe}
While not itself a high strategy game, it is a good break for in between games, or when waiting for another game to end.
Casual Gamer {ABSOLUTELY}
Easy to learn, easy to teach, fun to play. King of Tokyo could nearly be the definition of a casual gamer game.
Avid Gamer {yes}
Great fun for the time invested. You don’t need to take it seriously to enjoy the experience.
Power Gamer {maybe}
Power gamers won’t be building game nights around King of Tokyo like casual gamers might, but it’s a fun 30 minute diversion.

King of Tokyo cards

Final Thoughts

King of Tokyo is the perfect filler-game game. It is easy to learn, easy to teach, and a great deal of fun. The game can last anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes.

The theme comes through in every part of the game. This is especially true with the cards, many of which remind me of the old arcade game Rampage. There are several ‘punny’ cards in the deck, such as Herbivore, and Urbavore. One card gives you an “Extra Head”, the “It Has a Child” card brings you back if you are eliminated. Each card is well designed and integrated with theme and mechanics.

It would be nice if the individual monsters had some sort of power that made them play differently, but balancing such a thing would likely be a nightmare; plus, this sounds like a perfect avenue for either expansions or player creativity, house rules anyone? Since writing this review the King of Tokyo: Power Up! expansion has been created. It adds evolution cards that flavor the goals of each monster.

Richard Garfield has taken a dice rolling game with cute monsters and layered in an enjoyable monster brawl. The game works for many different types of gamers, with an attractive look and ‘take-that’ gameplay. The 30-minute play time, easy to grasp rules, and fun theme make it one of the best games of 2011.

Author: Andy Warta
Editor: Renee Rose-Perry

User Reviews (83)

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I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
88 of 93 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Glad I Gave It a Second Chance”

King of Tokyo was the second game in my library. I made the decision to make it one of my first purchases due to its awesome artwork, custom dice and novel game play (yes, it’s similar to Yahtzee, but creative in all the areas where Yahtzee is bland). While I played this game several times in the first weeks, as my library grew it got shelved. But King of Tokyo has been finding its way to my table again in the last month, and with around 30 plays to date I have formed some opinions:

Observed Set-Up and Play Time
There is almost nothing to getting this game set up, whether on initial open or repeat plays. Throw a few cardboard monsters on plastic stands, shuffle a deck of cards and go. My first play went flawlessly after 10 minutes of reading the rulebook… it was the same as being taught by an old pro. After 2 games you could throw the rulebook away, as you won’t need to reference it again. I have had a few 4+ player games go over an hour, but in general most games wrap up in around a half-hour. 2-player games can take 15 minutes.

My Learning Curve and Teach Time
Teach time is too insignificant to mention… so I won’t mention it, I’ll explicitly state it: “this symbol (claw) is attack; this one (heart) is heal; this one (lightning) is energy; these (numbers) are victory points… you need 20 to win, and you get the indicated number of points if you roll 3 like numbers. You can only attack monsters that AREN’T where you are, and nobody starts in Tokyo. The first person to roll the claw symbol takes Tokyo and the damage can begin. Energy buys you these power-ups (cards). You can’t heal in Tokyo. And go!” It is literally that simple. Being a dice game, there is not much strategy to it. As far as I can tell, the best strategy is “stay nimble… adapt with your rolls”. This makes the learning curve very small. However, I could be missing something… I’m probably no better or worse at it than I was during game 1.

Group Sizes and Dynamics
This is where King of Tokyo thrives or fails. The reason this was shelved after a month was that I was playing 2- and 3-player games… as a 3-player game, it kind of sucks… as a 2-player game, I detest it. Since I didn’t have 3 other people to play with, I just quit playing. But as my gaming circle has grown and I can now pull off 4 or 5 player games on a weekly basis, I gave this another shot… and it is a hoot. I’ve played it with younger(ish) friends and they dig it… I’ve played it with my parents, and it’s become one of the few board games they’re always willing to play. My mom won on her first play. I can’t believe I’m admitting this.

Objectionable Material
The monsters only attack each other, and these attacks are left to your imagination. I would say that means the material isn’t objectionable… it’s the player’s mind that may be. There is nothing graphic on any of the cards and the monsters are cartoonish. This will almost definitely be one of the first games I teach to my son… I would think he’ll be able to handle it by 5 or so.

Comparable Titles
Thematically, the closest cousin to King of Tokyo would be Smash Up. It’s another monsters vs. monsters attack fest, but without the dice (boo!). I was really excited to try Smash Up 6 months ago, but my initial negative experience with King of Tokyo put that on the backburner. I will probably re-prioritize it now. Another similar title is Quarriors… it shares the dice-and-monsters motif, but adds a wizard/summoning element. Quarriors will be my next purchase.

Overall, the King of Tokyo experience is highly tied to the size of the group playing it. If this game had only 2- or 3-player options, I would rate it a 5. But when you can get 5 people into it, you’d be hard pressed to find a more enjoyable board game. Since we all have the ability to play 2- and 3-player games with greater frequency than larger games, my overall rating falls in the middle.

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70 of 77 gamers found this helpful
“I Play To Kill!”

King of Tokyo is a fun little casual game with a good amount of depth. In this game, you are trying to be the King of Tokyo by either getting 20 stars first, or killing all the other monsters. While there is a victory condition, the game is best played light-heartedly, perhaps even with a little role-playing thrown in.

In King of Tokyo, each player starts off outside of Tokyo, and they take turns rolling 6 dies. Each players get 1 roll, then 2 re-rolls (such that they can re-roll any or all of the dies they rolled on the first roll) for a total of 3 rolls. Getting 3 or more of the numbers scores you some stars (and additional benefits if you get certain upgrade cards), the claws allow you to deal 1 damage per claw to all monsters either inside or outside Tokyo (depending on where you are), the lightning gives you the in game currency Energy, while the heart heals you (but only when you’re outside of Tokyo). After resolving your rolls, you have an opportunity to buy upgrade cards.

Of course, not being able to heal in Tokyo must entail that there is some sort of benefit for staying in there. Well there is: you get 1 star for entering Tokyo and an additional 2 stars per turn that you start in Tokyo.

The game is simply to teach, but there is a surprising amount of depth. The upgrade cards can change the game significantly (and some of them combo very well with each other), while having 2 re-rolls mean if you are low on health and rolling for hearts exclusively, it’s very unlikely for you to not get a single one (although it is of course possible). Which means while there are significant elements of luck, it is more of a game of risk management. You are constantly managing your energy, stars while avoiding the depletion of your hearts.

The above paragraph, however, likely completely misses the point of the game. This game is meant to be fun, and if your idea of fun is only to win, then perhaps you can carefully plan out your moves. However, for most, the fun will likely come in trying to roll 4 attack claws so you can finish off 2 monsters, even if you only have 4 hearts left yourself and are taking a huge risk! The great thing about this game is it offers something for everyone. You can play to win, or you can play to laugh. And the game is easy enough to teach, and the game lasts short enough that almost everyone can easily learn and play it at any time.

In conclusion, I highly recommend King of Tokyo to almost everyone since there is a little bit of everything for everyone in this game.

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Critic - Level 5
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Marquis / Marchioness
123 of 136 gamers found this helpful
“Richard Garfield's new classic for all ages!”

King of Tokyo has quickly become one of my favorite games of the last year. With easy to learn rules, and simple gameplay, it can be picked up quickly and enjoyed by gamers of all ages. While the youngest gamers may have trouble with some of the text, they can still enjoy the game with the help of adults.

You take control of a monster that is attempting to attack Tokyo. Unfortunately, as games like this go, other monsters have gotten the same idea, at the same time. You’ll spend the game attacking the monster(s) in Tokyo when you’re on the outside, and attacking the other players from within Tokyo. This is accomplished by rolling dice with gameplay that will seem familiar to those that have played Yahtzee. Thankfully, there is a lot more to the game than Yahtzee, with a fun theme and colorful characters.

As the game goes on, you’ll collect energy, which can be used to buy power-up cards that do a great job of carrying the theme of the game. To win, you either need to be the last monster standing, or the first to gain 20 stars (victory points).

Game Play

On your turn, you will roll 6 dice, each identical with 6 different faces showing:
-Lightning Bolt

You can save any or all of the dice on the face they are showing, and re-roll the rest. You have three total rolls, after which, you get benefits based on your rolls.

Hearts give extra life (you can have up to 10 life, which is the starting value). Lightning Bolts give an energy cube which can be spent to buy power-up cards. Three of the same number (three 1s, 2s, or 3s) give that many points (three 1s give 1 point, three 3s give 3 points). You get an extra point for each extra die of a set.

Claws are where the main interaction of the game come in. If you are standing outside of Tokyo (only one player can be in Tokyo at a time (two if 5-6 players) you do one damage to the player(s) in Tokyo for each claw. If you are in Tokyo, you’ll do 1 damage to each player outside of Tokyo. If a player damaged in this way chooses to leave Tokyo (or there are no players currently in Tokyo), the attacking player must move in.

Moving into Tokyo gives 1 star. Starting your turn in Tokyo gives 2 stars. The game continues until a player gets 20 stars, or only one player is still alive.

After resolving the dice, you can buy power-up cards if you have enough energy cubes. There are three out a time, of differing powers and costs. You can also spend 2 cubes to clear the row and see 3 new cards. Some cards will be kept, others have an immediate effect and are discarded. These cards tend to have a big effect on the game, and add a lot of variability to the game.

My Thoughts

As I stated at the top, I’ve really come to enjoy this game. It’s simple, yet addictive. It can play quite quickly (I’ve had a 6-player game end in 10 minutes, though 30 minutes is probably a better average). While there is player elimination possible, the quick play time lessens concerns. The game tends to be more fun to observe than most games, which also helps.

The six characters are quite colorful, though they don’t have any different abilities. (One could imagine this is a likely avenue for an expansion, assuming six player powers can be balanced). The components are sturdy, though not really necessary. The Tokyo board serves to keep track of the player(s) in Tokyo, but has no other major purpose. The characters representing the players are quite impressive and really help the theme of giant monsters attacking Tokyo.

I think the theme is one of the things that really makes King of Tokyo stand out (and this is said by someone that normally doesn’t care for theme in a game). This is best shown by the power-up cards that are brilliantly illustrated and named (my personal favorites being a Herbivore and an Urbavore. The cards really remind me of the old arcade and Nintendo classic Rampage. There are far more cards than you can get through in a few games, keeping multiple plays fresh.

It’s not a strategic brainburner, but it’s great for quick play between games, or to start or end a gaming session. King of Tokyo shows what a family game can be, taking a well-known mechanic (Yahtzee) and breathing into it new life. If you’re looking for a great family game that is easy to play, with a push your luck element and excellent theme implementation and multiple paths to victory, I highly recommend giving King of Tokyo a try!

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United Kingdom
Professional Reviewer
Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Book Lover
75 of 83 gamers found this helpful
“Monster Filler Thriller”

Being a city planner in Tokyo must be a thankless task. After all, every few months, the city and its infrastructure gets stomped, disintegrated with blasts of radioactive breath, pulverised with claws and tails, and otherwise converted from town planner’s big dream of city life into dusty piles of rubble. The culprits are Kaiju – big monsters, of which Godzilla is the most famous. Of course, all this is beneath of the notice of the monsters – well, they are big monsters – as King of Tokyo proves.

This is a light dice and resource management game in which between two and six Kaiju battle each other to be the one and only “King of Tokyo.” They include a big ape – “The King”, a giant humanoid crab – “Kraken”, a large lizard – “Gigazaur”, a colossal alien robot – “Alienoid”, an ernormous draconic robot – “Meka Dragon”, and a lapine “Cyber-Bunny”. Suitable for players aged eight and up, the game is quick to teach, looks good, and plays in half an hour or so.

Designed by Richard Garfield – the designer of Magic the Gathering and RoboRally – and published by Iello Games, King of Tokyo consists of a card and a standee for each of the Kaiju; a set of eight custom dice; sixty-six Power Cards; a pile of Power Cubes; plus a board and the rulebook. The latter represents the city of Tokyo and is marked with two spaces, one labelled Tokyo City, the other Tokyo Bay. The space labelled Tokyo Bay only comes into play when there are five or more players. The Kaiju boards are marked with two dials, one for Victory Points, the other for the Kaiju’s Health. The Power Cards grant a Kaiju special powers or bonuses, some of which are discarded after use, whilst others are permanent. Sample permanent powers include Fire Breathing” which lets a Kaiju blast his neighbours with fire each time he inflicts damage, whilst “Giant Brain” allows a Kaiju to reroll the dice four times instead of three. Sample discard powers include “Frenzy” which lets a Kaiju take another turn immediately after his current one, whilst he gains two Victory Points and heals three damage taken with “Nuclear Power Station.” Each Power Card has a cost which is paid in Power Cubes. Some of these Power Cards possess corresponding tokens indicating their use.

At the heart of the game are the dice. There are six of these, in black marked with a lurid green with the numbers one through three, plus a heart, a lightning bolt, and a claw. In addition to these six standard dice, there are another two dice, these in lurid green, but marked in black with the same numbers and symbols. These green dice become available when a Kaiju purchases certain cards.

On his turn a Kaiju rolls the six standard dice. He can roll each die a further two times if he does not like the result, but must keep the rolls after that. For every set of three of the same number, a Kaiju gains Victory Points – more if he rolls sets with more of the same number of them. For each Claw rolled, a Kaiju inflicts a point of Damage; for each Heart rolled he heals a point of his Health; and for each Lightning Bolt, he gains a Power Cube. Power Cubes can be spent to purchase Power Cards.

How a Kaiju inflicts Damage on his fellow Kaiju is where King of Tokyo gets interesting. A Kaiju outside of Tokyo can attack and inflict Damage on the Kaiju who is in Tokyo, but the Kaiju who is in Tokyo can attack and inflict Damage on the Kaiju who are not in Tokyo. Thus the Kaiju who is in Tokyo is likely to be attacked again and again – and worse, he cannot heal himself through the use of dice. So what then, is the advantage of remaining in Tokyo? A Kaiju gains Victory Points by being in Tokyo, but he can leave any time that he takes Damage, his attacker taking his place in Tokyo.

King of Tokyo is won either by amassing twenty Victory Points or being the last Kaiju standing.

Essentially, King of Tokyo is especially luck based, and at first glance appears to involve very little in the way of tactics or decision making. True, there is little in the way of a tactical element to the game – does a Kaiju attack or not? The game does involve more in the way of decision making though, and it all comes down to the dice rolls and whether or not a Kaiju can roll the symbols on the dice that he wants, or as the game proceeds… needs. During the opening stage of the game, a Kaiju will want to inflict as many Claws as he can to inflict as much Damage as possible on his fellow Kaiju, to gain as many Victory Points as possible, and to gain sufficient Power Cubes to gain those all-important Power Cards. As the game progresses and a Kaiju suffers Damage, then he will want to roll Hearts in order to regain Health. Of course, this is what a Kaiju might want to roll on the dice, what he actually rolls and decides to keep is another matter…

King of Tokyo is a simple, throwaway filler of a game. It is easy to learn and play, and it is a fun family game with an obviously joyous love of its theme that shines through in its components and “beat ‘em up” style of play. As much as will enjoy that theme, more serious gamers will quickly become aware of the game’s flaws. First, as much as it is a game designed for between two and six kaiju, it plays poorly with two and it really only plays well when there are four or more involved. Second, the game always comes down to a battle between two Kaiju as it is a knock-out game. Once a Kaiju has been knocked out, he cannot re-join the game and so has to wait for the game to end with nothing to do except cheer for one Kaiju or another. Third, the powers on the Power Cards are far from balanced, and since this is a luck-based game, getting the right combination of Power Cards can make a Kaiju nigh unstoppable…

Ultimately, whether you like King of Tokyo comes down to whether or not you like the theme enough to compensate for the luck factor. If so, then the game is fun, it is easy to teach, and a joyously silly filler thriller.

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Miniature Painter
Mask of Agamemnon
I'm Completely Obsessed
Novice Advisor
65 of 72 gamers found this helpful
“It is good to be king”

My husband picked up King of Tokyo and its expansions at Christmas and it didn’t take long for this little game to quickly become a favorite of ours. Easy to learn and easy to play, this game makes it into the rotation quite often. So here’s what I loved, and those things that I didn’t…
What I liked
1. Theme: The monsters-attacking-Tokyo theme is pretty fun and enjoyable and it is carried out nicely throughout the game. From the dice (a creature claw for attacking and a heart for healing as possible outcomes) to the monster cardboard cutouts to the Tokyo burning tiny game board, to the awesome powers you can purchase with your (adorable) energy cubes… The theme in King of Tokyo is well executed. Furthermore, the expansions available for the game add subsequent powers and enhance the theme further (but we’ll save that for a future review).
2. Components: This is a game where I feel like I am getting my money’s worth. King of Tokyo includes:
1 tiny Tokyo board
6 monster boards; 6 monster cardboard figures with plastic stands
66 cards
Numerous energy cubes
8 dice (6 black, 2 green)
Normally, I would be disappointed that the game doesn’t include actual, plastic miniatures that I can paint, but for this game and given its price, I feel like the cardboard figures works well and it appropriate. And I really love the tiny energy cubes (although the dice could stand to be a little smaller, as I find it is hard to fit them all in my hand.)
3. Fun: I really dig the overall approach of the game. There is certainly a Yahtzee quality, where you are rolling dice to get the best results. Multiple numbers will give you victory points, energy will let you collect these uber-tiny green cubes that allow you to buy cards with special abilities, claws allow you to hit the other monsters, and hearts let you heal (as long as you aren’t in Tokyo). The theme of the game makes this more than just a straightforward game of Yahtzee where you are trying to get the best role. This game is easy to play and so much fun that I’m always willing to bring it to the table.
What isn’t the greatest
1. 2-Player Dynamic- This to me is where I feel like the game can get a bit old. I play two player games more often than anything else and with this game, there is a bit of a disadvantage when you don’t have other monsters to direct your attacks to – your opponent never changes. Perhaps managing multiple monsters would improve the game play, but I have yet to try that.
2. The board design – While I like that the board was kept small for this game, it seems odd to me that there isn’t room for the monsters who aren’t in Tokyo to stand. Tokyo Bay, the section outside of Tokyo, is actually only intended to be used when there are 5-6 players, but I think there should really be more of an area on the board for the monsters that haven’t entered the city to be residing.
Final Verdict
We find this game to be very enjoyable and it is now a regular at our table. This is a fun little game that we play whenever we want a monster-beating, city-crushing, energy-absorbing good time!

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I play green
171 of 190 gamers found this helpful
“An outstanding riot of fun”

I’ve only owned King of Tokyo for a week, but I’ve already played it TEN times with a wide variety of friends. I even got my girlfriend to play (and enjoy!) two games. This almost never happens.

The first print run of King of Tokyo sold out very quickly, and for good reason. This is a Richard Garfield (i.e. Magic: The Gathering) design and for me it absolutely lives up to the hype. I’ll walk you through this in gentle monster steps.

The components are top notch and outstanding. Big, hefty six-sided dice with the symbols notched into the sides (not stamped on, like the first edition). Beautiful, awesome cut outs for each monster, as well as super nifty, thick score/health trackers with the little dials. Beautiful cards with outstanding art. Even the box is nice, with a mold that holds all the pieces and cards so that noting flies around. This is how great games should look!

The game is ridiculously easy to learn. Essentially, the game is King of the Hill. The first player to 20 points, or the last player standing, wins. On each turn you roll a set of 6 dice 3 times. You ultimately take what you roll the third time. On your turn you’ll smack your opponents, heal, score points, or earn energy cubes, which you will spend on cards. Cards are either one-time use (i.e. gain 5 points, take Tokyo, heal for 2 points) or permanent additions that give you interesting abilities (do extra damage, reduce the number of dice an opponent rolls, change a die roll, etc.).

The result, is that the choices of the players, the randomness of the dice, and the abilities of the cards (which will take MANY plays to see everything) make for a game that’s full of luck, laughs, and variety.

The game is fun with 2-6 players and plays in about 20-45 minutes. Some games are incredibly tense back and forth matches. Other games end quickly when a player has a mega good turn. The game really changes based on the number of players, but I’ve yet to find a variant that wasn’t fun.

There is one downside, which is that some of the cards can lead to a little interpretation. The rules don’t explain every single card in the game, so in some cases you’ll just need to use your best judgement. I will say, that after 10 games with a lot of hardcore people, we’ve always quickly agreed upon an interpretation that was fair and consistent. But, some people may not care for this.

The other issue is that there is player elimination. Typically, I avoid games with player elimination. However, King of Tokyo is so fun and by the time players get eliminated the game is about to end. You won’t be sitting idly for 20 minutes.

I think the brilliance of King of Tokyo is that it’s a brutal take that game of probability. However, all information is always available. You always know what 3 cards can be bought, what your opponents have, and what their chances are on their turn. You’re never surprised by a really cheap card that undermines all of your work.

I love this game. It’s just outstanding and I’m so glad there is a second edition. If you enjoy dice, beautiful components, and well-crafted experiences, this is a good game to consider.

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8 Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012 Bronze Supporter
Advanced Reviewer
71 of 79 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Finish Him!!!”

What a great game. I could not be happier with this addition to my collection. I heard a lot of good things about the game and it has generously lived up. While the game is not deep with strategy, you will find great depths of fun and laughs. Just brace yourself for the pounding!

Game play is very easy. Each player gets their own monster whose sole purpose is to destroy Tokyo. Through dice rolls you gain energy to upgrade your monster, heal your monster, launch them into an attack, or score victory points. On your turn you roll the die and keep what you want after three rolls. If you score a set of numbers, 1, 2, or 3, then you score those victory points. The six sided die allow for each outcome to develop equally.

You score through the rolling of the die to create sets of numbers, but also entering Tokyo and completing a round in Tokyo. But victory points are not the only way to win the game. You can also smash all your opponents into oblivion! Each monster has 10 life points for you to attack and to heal yourself.

The components are done wonderfully and the design used on the pieces and cards is equally great. I was very impressed with the turn wheel that keeps your score. It was put together to withstand a beating. Some have complained about the dice, but mine are embossed so I have not had any problems. I believe earlier copies had the icons simply printed onto the die. It seems that they have rectified this.

The great thing about this game is that it can be played in any setting. We use it as a filler or time killer waiting for others to arrive or as a wrap up for the night after some heavy games, but it is also great with people who don’t game at all such as in family gatherings. Sure you can’t really sock your Uncle Frank in the face, but you can send your Cyber Bunny to take care of you light work!

The one knock on the game is that it is too short! While correctly designed to be so, it is a shame that this much fun cannot continue longer. I guess we’ll just have to play it again!

Some have also noted that they game should include unique powers for each of the monsters but I disagree. That would take away from the aspect of building energy and purchasing cards to upgrade your monster.

Overall, this is a great game. Normally I would prefer a game with more depth and strategy, but the fun that this quick game provides makes it a great addition to your collection. You may not rack your brain formulating your next move, but when was the last time you laughed this much over Squares of the Melancholy Mediterranean Trader? Lighten up for 20 minutes, you’ll be glad you did.

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I play blue
Master Grader
157 of 175 gamers found this helpful
“It's Good to be the King (of Tokyo)”

King of Tokyo is an excellent, light, dice-rolling game of pushing your luck that is fun for all ages.

In it, you play a monster competing with up to five other monsters for control of Tokyo. The first monster to kill off the others or reach twenty victory points wins the game.

On your turn you roll six dice three times keeping the results you want along the way (in other words it is Yahtzee). At the conclusion of the three rolls you take the actions the dice you kept (and ended up with) demand. Sets of numbers (either ones, twos, or threes) give you points, lightening bolts give you “money” to spend, hearts allow you to heal, and claws attack your opponents.

Two crucial elements are moving in and out of Tokyo with the claw attacks. When in Tokyo you are able to damage all other monsters at the same time but their attacks all damage you (and you are not allowed to heal). Thereby, you have to jump in and out strategically to stay alive. Also, as you accumulate the lightening bolt points/”money” you have to decide what special abilities and events to purchase. Only three are available at any one time and some are very powerful such as giving you an extra head (an extra dice), various abilities that allow you to do more damage or absorb more, and ways to score more points.

As already noted, the first monster to score 20 points or to eliminate all the other monsters (the far more common outcome in my experience) wins.


The components are excellent. The artwork is fantastic on the cards and for the monster boards. The Tokyo board is small and some people don’t like that the monsters are cardboard stands but I think they look just fine on the table. The dice are big and satisfying to roll. The cubes that mark the lightening point money are adequate as are the tokens that mark some of the cards abilities. The number of ability cards you receive is extensive and this is crucial in offering lots of replayablity.


King of Tokyo could be considered tough to rate because if compared to all other games it is pretty light and simple. It isn’t going to scratch your itch for a brain-burning marathon of difficult decisions and strategy. However, if you judge it on its own goals, it more than deserves high or even perfect marks. Bottom line the game is just fun and provides plenty of laughs for people of all ages. The cards and abilities provide lots of replayability and you will find yourself constantly calling for “just one more game.” This is a great, quick, and fun game of dice rolling, trash talking, and pushing your luck that belongs on most gamers’ shelves.

Richard Garfield is part of game design royalty and with King of Tokyo he has produced a prince of a game.

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Z-Man Games fan
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
AEG fan
Went to Gen Con 2012
139 of 155 gamers found this helpful
“Why King of Tokyo works.”

Richard Garfield will forever be known as the man who invented Magic: The Gathering . It is a collectable card game (CCG) from 1993 that is considered the grandfather of all other CCG’s and still widely played today. People have spent tens-of-thousands of dollars building their decks and collection (a few weeks ago I sat next to someone who had over $100,000 worth of Magic cards with them). Garfield is also the creator of another CCG called Netrunner that is making a resurgence with the newly published Android: Netrunner. But Garfield also has ventured outside of CCG’s before with games like Pecking Order and Roborally. So is King of Tokyo another successful venture outside of CCG’s? Yes!

King of Tokyo is game where monsters fight to be “king-of-the-hill” in Tokyo. Players control a monster that they use to score glory points and inflect damage on other players’ monsters. The first monster to 20 glory points or the last monster left alive wins the game.
The theme is captivating but it has been done before. There was Avalon Hill’s Monsters Ravage America (1998) and its remake Monsters Menace America (2005) in which players control a monster they seek to keep alive the longest. More recently there was miniatures game called Monsterpocalypse where players control monsters that try to kill each other and destroy the city.
But King of Tokyo wins on more than just theme. Ultimately, I think its greatness comes from the sweet spot it hits for gamers of all types. It has a cool theme, great artwork, is easy to learn and to teach, a little strategy, the right amount of luck, plays quickly and is very fun. I know strategy and power gamers that love the game. It is a perfect warm up or filler game. And it is great for when your head is spinning from a 3+ hour heavy game like Die Macher or Roads & Boats.

On a players turn they roll a set of six die up to three times. The six sides of each die are 1, 2, 3, a claw, a lightning bolt and a heart. The numbers represent glory points but must be rolled in sets of three, with each additional matching number adding one glory (example: If you roll two 2’s that is worth zero glory points, if you roll three 2’s that is worth two glory points, and if you roll four 2’s that is worth three glory points). A claw either attacks (causes one damage to) the monster(s) inside Tokyo, if you are outside of Tokyo, or attacks everyone outside of Tokyo, if you are in Tokyo. The lightning bolt gives you power cubes which can be spent to purchase cards to give your monster special powers. The heart heals your monster one life point outside of Tokyo but does nothing inside of Tokyo. Player have a total of three rolls in which they can choose to reroll any amount of die each turn. The dice are passed clockwise after the current player has resolved their turn.

That is it. Simple. But the strategy comes from when and what to reroll, when to enter and when to leave Tokyo, and what cards to purchase and use. I have not played this game with anyone who does not like it. The game varies in play length from 10 to 30 minutes.

This game is great for:
• Players who like to have fun.
• New players. You do not need a lot of experience to play this game.
• Players looking for a filler game.
• All types: Family, Casual, Social, Avid, and some Strategy and Power Gamers.

This game probably won’t work for:
• Someone looking for a long, heavy strategy game.
• People who can’t take direct conflict. Other monsters are going to attack your monster with the goal of killing it. This is not a peaceful, multi-player-solitaire farming game.
• Gamers who often complain about luck. This game does use dice and people often equate that to luck. This game has less luck than Yahtzee but there is a strong component of luck.
• Power or strategy gamers who can’t stand dice.

Notes and acquisition
This game retails for $45 but can be found in online retailers for around $30. It has had issues with being out of stock but is currently widely available. When looking for a copy, make sure you get the 2nd edition which has engraved dice rather than the painted dice (which are pictured above and can wear off with frequent play). There is also an expansion that will be coming soon called King of Tokyo: Power Up!. It gives specific variable powers (in the form of cards) to each monster that add another level of strategy to the game.

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Pet Lover
Treasure Chest
The Gold Heart
61 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“KAIJU! bless you..”

Cardboard paper monsters fighting other cardboard paper monsters while collecting energy for power-ups and rolling dice Yahtzee style. Come on now, what’s not to love about that. In King of Tokyo, you are one of the Kaiju (strange creature) monsters trying to gain enough victory to rule over Tokyo. But it’s not as simple as sitting on top of the Tokyo Tower and beating your chest like a cyber-ape named King… oh no, not at all because all the other Kaiju want to be just like you or better still take your place. So while you are trying to roll damage to them they are trying to take away your health and force you out so they can go in.

The rules are simple and require little much but a quick read through and you are ready to go. In the vain of gateway games such as ticket to ride this has a super easy set up and takes even less time. About 30 mins a game, less if it’s a two player one (which we’ve played two games in 30 mins), and it’s easy to jump right in and have fun. Sound effects not included people but you are missing out if you don’t make your own.

Each die contains the numbers 1-3 to indicate potential victory points, a claw to represent damage, a lightening bolt to represent energy, and a heart to indicate healing. 3 numbers of one kind equal that many victory points (ie: 3 3 3 = 3 victory, 1 1 1 = 1, 2 2 2 = 2) each additional one of the same number as your set counts as one more (ie: therefore 3 3 3 3 = 4 points, 2 2 2 2 2 = 4 points, 1 1 1 1 = 2 points etc) You get your initial roll, then two re-rolls to try and come up with the best combo to get yourself the most points or other things you need at the time. Energy allows you to buy power ups with various abilities like an extra head which would give you and extra die to roll, Bonus! Damage does.. well just that, damage to whoever is in Tokyo or if it’s you Damage to all those outside who oppose you. Also if nobody is in Tokyo that damage allows you to walk right in. Hearts are for healing but they only do you good outside of Tokyo, that’s right the downside of being in Tokyo climbing those buildings and being the big bad is well… you can’t heal and if you lose all your hearts you are eliminated, but don’t worry you can concede and force your attacker in before that happens.

Final thoughts:
Monsterous fun for the whole family, heh see what I did there? Anyways really it’s a great time packed into a light little dice rolling and card drafting game.
What I like: The theme, the basic play and the easy to follow rules makes this one that can be taught to anyone.
What I don’t like:In a two-player game it’s really hard to get cards that will help you out, we have a house rule for that I’ll add in that section in a moment. Also the dice scuff up easy and if you spill any liquids on the tokens for certain power ups they can split apart seeing as it’s just cardboard and unsealed at that.
Who this is ultimately for: Family, Friends, Casual to Avid games will adore this one. I’ve yet to see it not go over well.
Who this is ultimately not for: Anyone suffering from Papyrophobia, Tetraphobia, or fear of dices. But seriously if they have any of those they likely aren’t reading this review to begin with.

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Novice Reviewer
102 of 114 gamers found this helpful
“Richard Garfield champions Fun, as he should.”

The game

The game has been described more than enough by others, so I will leave it at:
You’re a B-movie monster trying to be King of the Hill, the Hill in this case being Tokyo. You roll dice, yatzee style, to either wreak havoc on Tokyo or on your opponents. Do this till you get to 20 VPs, destroy all other monsters or die.


What I have seen from the iello games so far is that their production value is excellent, with King of Tokyo being no different. The graphic design gets you knee deep in theme. The lightness of the game is reflected in the artwork, cartoony and dynamic.
Dice feel heavy in your hand, like a crumbled office building in your monstrous hands.


It’s hard to follow a certain strategy. It’s more tactical in that respect. You can generally try to go for straight up points or bashing your opponents, but the current situation (on the board, you health status and dice results) will often give you a limited palet of viable options. This makes turns go quick around the table.
Choices are light but significant. Besides deciding which dice to reroll, also picking a mutation card for your monster is often a nice tactical or strategic choice.

Richard Garfield

King of Tokyo is another lesson on how games should be approached. Taking the simple yatzee mechanism and turning it into a game that gets so much emotion across the table is a showcasing of dr. Garfield’s excellence. He simply knows how fun works.


I’ve played this game with casual gamers, hardcore and non-gamers. It was a blast each time. The simplicity gets you started right away. There are enough choices to keep you interested and the possibility of getting eliminated keeps you involved (or sitting on the sidelines for a while, wishing you had not been so reckless).
In short, this is the perfect game to start or end a gamenight with. Perfect also to get your non-gamer friends to join in the fun. It could even get your family in law to see why you are into this weird hobby of ours.
Not to be taken too seriously, it never pretends you should, it will be a great addition to your collection.

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Reviewed My First Game
Private eye
59 of 66 gamers found this helpful
“Great game for all types and ages; Just get at least 3 Players...”

Bottom Line Up Front: “King of Tokyo” is a great family game. I’d like to give it an 8.5 but obviously we deal in whole numbers here. I rarely give 9s. I’ve never considered any game a 10. An 8 is a very strong “go and buy it” from me. I’ve recently played this a lot with 3 to 4 players and we are all, young and old, really enjoying it. I have not played as much with 5-6 players, but it looks dependable for larger groups if a little longer on the clock. I am concerned about two player games; this can just become Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots out of the gate without worrying about multiple parties.

COMPONENTS: I’m very satisfied here; this website provides pictures and inventory so I’ll move to impressions and notes.

You’ll see two complaints surface when you look at reviews: 1) Etched vs. painted dice. I believe early editions had painted symbols on the dice which could rub off. I believe subsequent editions where etched as well. Mine are etched. I believe that problem is now resolved. 2) The monsters are represented by cardboard cutouts (not miniatures). These cardboard stands have great color art that syncs nicely with the game. The only thing you do with these is place them on the board (a single space board at that) to signify that you are the one “in” Tokyo. I buy games with great miniatures that I know people will not play with me just to have and possibly paint the miniatures. I am fine with the oversized cardboard cut-outs and have no desire to sub any kind of miniature/toy for them.

Reflecting on the components now, I realize this game could have been reduced to a FFG “Hey, that’s my penguin” size box. The cards and dice remain. The board and figures can be reduced to single penny-sized token which you could pass around to the player “In Tokyo”. The nice cardboard “player cards: which contain two wheels to keep track of hearts (health) and stars (victory points) could be removed/reduced. To be clear, I am entirely appreciative of the grand overproduction. The theme is persistent. My family never forgets this is a “big Godzilla monster” game. The theme doesn’t evaporate when the box top is removed.

GAMEPLAY: This is the type of game where new players will have a firm grasp after one or two turns. With some good decisions and maybe some luck, one can be competitive immediately. It is good to have games like this.

The dice have 3 symbol sides and 3 sides are numbered (1-3). The claw symbol attacks, a heart will heal and lightning bolts to gain energy (used as “money”/resources). Each turn players roll the dice, and may re-roll any dice twice to get what they’d like. A player will roll the six black dice on their turn in order to determine what their actions are. They are allowed two re-rolls of any of dice after deciding which dice to keep. The re-roll mitigates, but doesn’t remove luck. It certainly gives a larger “sample size”. If you need one occurrence of a single outcome, you theoretically could have 18 separate 1 in 6 chances to get it. If you don’t, that’s awesomely bad luck; a critical miss scenario. But, of course, you can’t get everything you want from dice…

There are two ways to win. Last monster standing after all other players have “hearts” reduced to zero (yes, a player can be eliminated), or compile/acquire 20 “stars”. I like having two different “races” going on to determine the winner. For an elimination winner, at some point it ends up with two monsters going one-on-one for the crown. The right power up cards will serve you well at this time. But a drawback is that a 2 player game starts this way. You never really focus on the build up phase. It’s all damage to the other player and the healing of your own creature.

The “lightning” die result gives you energy (represented by translucent green cubes). You use these to purchase cards (three are face up/available at a time). Some cards are permanent and can be used each turn. Some are a one-time deal. They offer all the exceptions, modifiers, and intrigue you’d expect. The more players you have, the more important cards become. Players don’t want to get locked into a one on one slugfest, attriting to the benefit of the other player(s). Players then save up, wait for opportunities, and power up their characters. At times the upgrades can introduce what some degree of imbalance. Some upgrades can really dominate a situation and run away with the game. I can live with this as usually multiple players had a chance to get these power ups, or others that would balance the effects. I can’t fault another player because my attempt at a quick kill did not succeed and their commitment to powering up gave them a decisive advantage.

SUMMARY: I hate to use the term “filler” game. For me, to get my family and friends to play a single “filler” game is to have a full night of gaming. I envy those who are able to play games for hours on end where King of Tokyo is merely an interlude. Nonetheless, whether you’re a power gamer and want this to serve as a snack between space-strategy marathons, or you’re a family gamer looking to fill a night with interactive fun, this should serve you very well.

You’ll like it if…
…You want a game up to 6 people can immediately jump into and compete the first time.
…You can relax and have fun.
…You don’t mind rolling dice.
…The terms “Kaiju” or “Creature Double Feature” mean something to you.

But you’ll have to live with…
…Player elimination.
…A less than complete 2-Player experience.

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50 of 56 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“It's Good To Be King”

King of Tokyo is a gem. It’s one of those rare “Gateway Games” that you can sit down with someone who is not a gamer and within 10 minutes, they will be having a blast. It’s also a perfect family game. Show me an 8-year-old who doesn’t want to be Mecha Dragon or Cyber Bunny. And it’s designed by Richard Garfield who brought us Magic the Gathering and Netrunner, so seasoned gamers are guaranteed a good time.

The beauty of this game lies in its simplicity. Some people may not like the dice-rolling mechanic, but even with the randomness of the rolls, there are many different strategies to pick from during your turn. The key is to not be married to your strategy going in, otherwise you’ll get hosed. Being able to modulate your strategy several times during the game gives King high marks for replay value.

The game is easy to learn– roll dice, punch your opponents, heal yourself, get points, collect energy. It sounds pretty dull, but the artwork and the abilities you can buy with the energy cubes you collect make the game exciting. Those abilities can quickly turn the tables and make life miserable for the other monsters. I have several favorites, but the Jetpack that allows you to cede Tokyo without taking damage has saved my skin in two different games.

Have I mentioned the game is fun? It’s a lot of fun. Everyone I’ve played it with (conservatively, I’d say I’ve played this with 20 people) has enjoyed it. Everyone gets into it, there’s lots of smack-talking, and always a giant “AWWWW!!” when someone buys the upgrade everyone wants. It’s also a quick game. Even with six players, it’s unlikely to go one hour. Great for kids (and grownups) with short attention spans.

If I had one complaint, it would be that the components could be a little better. Everybody loves the Kryptonite-colored energy cubes, but the cardboard characters are starting to show some wear. Then again, we’ve played the **** out of this game.

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Smash Up Fan
42 of 47 gamers found this helpful
“Brought monster fun to our house”

It took me a while to pick this game up but I finally bit the bullet and I am glad I did.

Initial Playthrough
The first time I played this game it was just me and my daughter who is 12. It took only a few turns to get the idea of what we were trying to do. You can be King of Tokyo a couple of different ways:

1) Gain enough victory points (20)
2) Kill off the competition

For each turn you:
1) Roll the dice
2) Resolve the dice. Resolving dice can lead to dealing damage, healing, scoring victory points, or earning energy depending on your roll.
3) Spend energy to buy power ups (Extra Head is my favorite so far)

I believe my my daughter beat me with victory points in this initial trial game (but I was going easy on her).

Second Playthrough
Once we had the rules down, it was time to play with the rest of the family. I have another daughter (11) and my wife who entertain my board gaming addiction. I have to say, the game is better with 4 players than 2. I have not yet played with 5 or 6 but imagine it only gets better with players.

In this second game, my 12 year old continued to deal out more damage than any of us could take and to add insult to injury, she took us as pets as each one of us fell. Needless to say King of Tokyo has a family favorite.

The components are fine, nothing too exciting but it gives you a creature to play with and everything is very functional. Would be cooler to see miniatures of the monsters maybe.

Instructions / Learning Curve
The instructions are clear and to the point. It will not take you hours to learn the nuances of this game, which for family gaming is a big plus.

Gameplay is fairly quick, games last an average of 20-30 minutes and never get boring. There are a few different strategies to winning this this game so you have to watch everybody.

We have only played the game about 5 times but it is the goto game for our family right now. The nature of the game is fun (I mean monsters destroying Tokyo and each other, what’s not to love). We joke about who is King based on who won the last game.

Final Thoughts
King of Tokyo is just plain ol’e fun. It is great for a family with kids anywhere from 8 on up. If you are a serious gamer always looking for depth and details, this one is probably not for you but I would recommend to anyone else.

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Professional Grader
Miniature Painter
57 of 64 gamers found this helpful
““Nuclear waste turned him from a harmless grub into a 350 foot tall monster that attacked Tokyo.” - ”


Players take on the role of giant monsters set on rampaging through Tokyo and bashing each other. Each turn the players roll 6 dice Yahtzee style with 2 re-rolls to build energy, attack other players, score victory points, and heal. The objective of the games is to build up 20 victory points or destroy all of the other monsters. Buying power cards with stored energy brings in victory points, augments your dice rolls, or interferes with other players. Stomping into Tokyo builds your victory points but it makes you the center of attention. The game board consists of only the single space (two for 5 to 6 player games) which creates the dramatic tension of the game mechanic. One of the great decisions mid-game after there are fewer players is whether to hold the middle. Games move quickly form turn to turn and none of my games has taken longer than 30 minutes to finish making it possible to play several times or as a filler while waiting for other people to show.


The art style is fun and evocative. Monster stands are of thick card and all the images have strong colors. I would have like to see miniatures for the monsters but that isn’t really the point of the game. The box insert is just right for the existing components in the box but there is already one expansion so I don’t think it will fit.


Giant monsters attack Tokyo. Simple, easy to understand and fun. Monsters are easy to recognize and mimic many trademarked monsters from movies through the decades. The power cards are all over the map from destroying building for victory points to getting an extra head for more dice rolling.


KoT is easy to bring out with a broad range of players. Young kids can enjoy this game. There is some reading involved but if the adults are keeping the game moving kids as young as 6 should have fun. The game is for 2 to 6 players and can get pretty wild with a full group. Because the game is short (20 to 30 minutes) and the rules are basic, it can be played with anyone passingly interested in sitting down. Monster noises encouraged.


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