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?

Overview

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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Gameplay

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.

Components

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 (64)

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6
Pet Lover
Petroglyph
The Bronze Heart
7
41 of 44 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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8
I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
7
63 of 68 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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6
Canada
Paladin
9
40 of 43 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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5
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
Eminent Domain Fan
9
30 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“A Real Gem ”

Giant monsters. If I could be one, I would. If I could marry one, I definitely would. Unfortunately, I can’t do either of those things, so the next best course of action is to play as a cardboard one in a tabletop game. Duh.

Designed by Richard Garfield (designer behind Magic: The Gathering), King of Tokyo places you in the role of a kaiju fighting other kaiju for control of the city of Tokyo. It’s a fairly straightforward premise, and, luckily, a fairly straightforward game that doesn’t take too long to get the hang of and ends up being a ton of fun.

Everything about the game is endearing, even basic set up. There’s colourful little counters, cute little energy cubes (which my group has taken to calling ENERGONZ), a wonderfully illustrated deck of cards with different abilities, a small board representing Tokyo city and its bay, eight neon green and black dice (that feel light and, well, like toy pieces, BUT IT’S GREAT), and, most importantly, cardboard standees of each monster. This is easily the coolest part of the game. Each monster is obviously referential to the classics, and my group and I have all fought to be able to play as our favourite (mine is Gigazaur, because no ****).

Now, the rules are simple, but by no means does that imply that this is not a game filled with tension and excitement. All it means is that it’s a fantastic option for introducing friends to tabletop gaming and demonstrating for them how fun it can be. To win, a player has to either attain twenty victory points or be the last monster standing. Victory points are earned by either rolling point faces on the dice (in a manner similar to Yahtzee), by using certain cards, or by taking control of Tokyo. However, be careful if you choose to enter the city (or bay, depending on the number of players), because everyone is fighting to be the king, and you’re at your most vulnerable when in the fray. Other kinds of dice rolls allow monsters to attack each other, and when a monster outside of Tokyo decides to get aggressive, there’s only one target–you.

Easily one of the most important aspects of the game is the deck of power cards. This adds a bit more strategy to the game, and the right card can be the difference between life or death. Unfortunately, the tactical side is where the base game falls short. Basically, I’m glad I went ahead and bought the Power Up! expansion as well, because King of Tokyo just doesn’t feel complete without it. See, as cool as the monsters are, in the base game, they’re all essentially identical. There’s nothing that gives a player any reason to choose one over the other besides pure aesthetic preference. The expansion, besides providing a seventh monster, also provides a pivotal addition in the form of Evolution cards–decks of eight cards per each monster that give them unique abilities and, therefore, unique strategies for play. Now what monster you choose influences how you’re going to play. For example, Gigazaur’s deck is built for killing everyone, the Pandakai’s is all about building up a bank of energy cubes, and the King’s is getting and maintaining control of Tokyo. It adds a sorely needed bit of strategy that the base game’s deck alone can’t provide.

But besides that, I have very little to complain about when it comes to this game. The elimination aspect is take-it-or-leave-it, and largely depends on whether you’re okay with that kind of play. My group isn’t, so we adjust it so there are penalties rather than simply making people sit out and watch everyone else have fun. This actually ended up reinforcing how well thought-out the tactical element of the game is. Even if you’ve just been knocked out and have to start all over, playing smart can turn the tide in your favor without having to play a lot of catch-up. King of Tokyo is a great, tightly designed board game that also works well as an introductory (erm, “gateway”) game that has already become a staple in my collection. Because, really, giant monsters. Come on. Come ooooooooon.

 
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7
Miniature Painter
Treasure Chest
I'm Completely Obsessed
9
37 of 40 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)
Rules
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!

 
Player Avatar
5
USA
Book Lover
Video Game Fan
8
34 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“The Lightweight Champ”

Overview
King of Tokyo is a dice-rolling game with a whimsical take on Godzilla-like monster movies for its theme. Being a Richard Garfield creation, it can’t completely escape having cards come into the mix. The cards represent creature powers and events that occur in the struggle to destroy Tokyo.

Setup
The game takes virtually no time to set up. You lay the small board in the middle of the table and have everyone choose a monster. In the base game, they are all functionally identical, so this is a purely cosmetic choice (expansions grant the individual monsters unique powers). They place their monster’s standee in the plastic base and find the corresponding monster dial, setting the hit points to 10 and the victory points to 0. Next, you shuffle the cards and place three face up next to the deck. Finally, you pile the energy cubes within reach of everyone and get ready for dice-chucking mayhem. It’s really that simple, folks!

Gameplay
Determine the first player by rolling to see who gets the most “claw” results on the dice. Once that’s done, everyone’s turns will follow the same pattern. First, you will roll the six dice. You will choose any number of dice to keep and reroll the rest. You repeat the process for your third and final roll. Once you are done rolling, you look at the results. If you have three numbers of a kind, you get that many points (e.g. three “3″ dice gets you three points, three “2″s gets you two points, etc.) and each additional die with that number is worth one point. Each lightning bolt gives you one energy cube, each claw adds one damage to your attack, and each heart heals a damage (more on all those in a minute). At the end of your turn, you may use any energy cubes to purchase one of the three face up cards or pay two cubes to discard them all and deal three new ones. You can purchase as many cards on a turn as you have cubes to pay for. The effects of these cards range from one-time use boosts to points or healing of damage to permanently adding to the number of dice you can roll to granting permanent powers to your monster. Once you are done buying cards (or choose not to), play passes to the next player.

Remember that board I mentioned in the setup, though? That represents Tokyo. Everyone starts the game outside of Tokyo, and the first player to roll and keep a claw result on a die gets to move into Tokyo. Only one player can be in Tokyo at a time (unless playing with 5 or 6 players, in which case two players can be). A player gets one point for moving into Tokyo, and gets two points for every turn they start in Tokyo. Being in Tokyo sounds pretty great, but there are some risks. When looking at the results of the dice rolls, anyone in Tokyo deals attack damage equal to the number of claws they rolled to EVERY player not in Tokyo. Awesome, right? Well, when calculating attacks, everyone not in Tokyo attacks anyone in Tokyo, so you will often get pretty roughed up, pretty quickly (the more players there are, the more true this becomes). Furthermore, you can’t use any rolled hearts to heal yourself in Tokyo (though card effects can still heal you). If it sounds like you’ll die pretty quickly in Tokyo, you’re probably right, but you can choose to leave Tokyo any time someone attacks you. You still take the damage, but you get out of the hot seat for a bit. Whoever was attacking gets to move into Tokyo as reward for chasing you out.

Play continues like this until there is only one monster left alive or until one player reaches 20 points.

Learning Curve
The learning curve for this game is pretty much as minimal as a game can be. Anyone familiar with dice-rolling games (Yahtzee, Farkle, Zombie Dice, etc.) will pick it up right away, and anyone who isn’t should have no problem picking it up due to the simplicity of it. Even my dad, who has never played anything more complicated that Monopoly, picked it up in less than a turn, and now asks me to bring it anytime there is a family gathering.

Components
The illustrations for the monsters and cards are great. They really establish the theme well, while going over the top in a humorous, family-friendly way. The board, though small, is sturdy. Really, the only complaint I have is with the card quality. After just 5 or 6 playthroughs, the backs of a few cards were already peeling quite a bit. I wasn’t really planning to sleeve them, since this wasn’t a shuffling intensive game or something like a competitive CCG, but I ended up doing so just to prevent further damage. Your mileage may vary with this, though.

Overall Judgment/TL;DR Takeaway
Overall, the game is great, lightweight fun. The simple rules and art style make it great for family game nights, and the competition and (slight) depth offered by the various strategies (hoard energy to buy cards, go all out on attacks, play it safe and let everyone else weaken each other, etc.) also make it a great filler game to play on game night with your gamer friends. It doesn’t revolutionize the dice-rolling genre, but it is extremely well done, incorporates some elements that add a bit of strategy (cards to buy, two paths to victory, etc.), and has a theme that most people can enjoy (c’mon, we’ve all seen Godzilla-type movies that take themselves way too seriously while being kind of a joke to everyone watching). It may not make a great choice for the main course at your next hardcore game night, but it is a great lightweight game that most everyone can enjoy.

 
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6
Brazil
Game Developerz fan
The Gold Heart
7
24 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“Won't blow your mind, but will surely provide some fun”

King of Tokyo is the perfect definition of Casual Game. There’s a little bit of luck, a little bit of interaction, a little bit of strategy, a little bit of everything. Even though KOT doesn’t offer innovative mechanics or mind-blowing interactions, it is really hard to not sympathize with the game.

CONCEPT AND BASIC MECHANICS
King of Tokyo has this awesome theme in which you are a monster trying to rule Tokyo. So people already start having fun during “monster-selection” phase. Each monster has a figure that represents it… and to be honest, these figures are not necessary or relevant to the game, they are just there because they are awesome and everyone loves to play with them.

Like the monster figures, all of KOT’s components are of great quality and beautiful.

All you do basically is roll 5 dices and look for a combination that pleases you the most. You may even keep some of the dices and re-roll the rest twice. The possible combinations are scoring victory points, recovering health, getting energy and attacking. That’s the “a little bit of luck” part I was talking about and it feels pretty balanced. Dices won’t frustrate you unless you start gambling a lot, which is quite fair.

Now, whoever gets 20 victory points is automatically the winner, so scoring is important. But you also need to survive the attacks from other players, so attacking back or recovering health can be one of the strategic decisions a player may adopt. Making mistakes is not a big problem in KOT, which allows new players to make decisions, regret them and keep playing without been punished too much like deep and complex games do.

Also, you can use energy to buy special abilities (cards), which is the part that bothers me the most in this game. Good cards seem to be a little bit expensive to me, while cheap cards are not very appealing. There are only a few cards worth buying so if they are not available for purchase on the table, people don’t usually try to get energy very much, which is a shame.

CONCLUSION
Overall is a fun, quick and “relaxing” game (it can be tense but it definitely doesn’t suffer from analysis paralysis). One of the best gateway-filler games out there!

It won’t blow your mind, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have fun.

PROS
- Easy to learn, easy to teach
- Good balance between randomness and strategy
- Fun theme
- Good player interaction

CONS
- Power cards are not very well balanced
- Replay value can be an issue since monsters are basically all the same

 
Player Avatar
9
Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Professional Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
9
117 of 130 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:
-Heart
-Claw
-Lightning Bolt
-1
-2
-3

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!

 
Player Avatar
4
Reviewed My First Game
Private eye
8
54 of 60 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.

 
Player Avatar
5
I play green
10
165 of 184 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.

 
Player Avatar
5
Professional Grader
Miniature Painter
9
52 of 58 gamers found this helpful
““Nuclear waste turned him from a harmless grub into a 350 foot tall monster that attacked Tokyo.” - ”

GAMEPLAY

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.

COMPONENTS

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.

THEME

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.

WHO IS IT FOR?

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.

 
Player Avatar
2
Gave My First Grade
8
44 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“Those games that can be a lot of fun to brought up with the family”

Easy to learn :
King of tokyo is a very easy game to learn, and from 7years old , it s easy to pick up the basic mechanics…. ofcourse i wouldnt expect kids before 10ish years old to really understand all the meanings and plot any big strategy…

Who is this for ? :
So yes , it is a family or casual gamers game ! … I ve played it with people retired , some my age : young adults and some younger … and everytime it was a hit , every time it was enjoyable and fun to play… This game is for occasion when you can kill time and some of your friends are not gamers… this will work , it s easy quick to play.
Now if you are looking for a game you will want to play over and over it is maybe not what you want.

Replay:
it is not a game you will want to play over and over, but it is a game that can be played for a long time on occasions… it has a good replay value due that monsters can change , cards can be different each game and all …
yet after one or 2 times during an evening , you will probably have your share of game of tokyo for the week.

Component :
They are beautiful and well made , a lot of the stuff in it are well polished and even are on extra … like the board is not really that useful yet , it is there and it is nice to have it… Because of the nice art .. overall the theme , immersion is more present.

mechanics:
It is simple mechanics , dice rolling based … Being able to select your dice with 3 rolls kills a little of the randomness and help improve the decision making, but overall the decision you will have are : go in tokyo , get out of tokyo , go for the everyone killed or go for the points … chose my dice , chose my powers on the card available… this allow for some strategy, but be aware than since a major part of this game is dice rolling and picking cards , it is not the most constant/strategic game ever , its still fairly luck based.

those are the actions, you ll always face and like you can see , it is simple , effective , nice , allow some strategies … but yet very simple and can be a little too simple after 2 games, not many ways to win or get to your goal… Overall it s mostly luck based. But fun and quick.

The killing system is well balanced and while it sucks not to play once u are dead…it usually is not a cheap death and since the games are fairly quick .. it is less frustrating …

Conclusions:
This game is good to have in you collection.. it is one of those games that can be a lot of fun and nice to brought up with family and people that are not experienced with games , like munchkin would do …
It is great in what it does, it allows some strategy, yet is random , allows for fun and quick game , with simplicity…
But it will in no case be a game that will quench a thirst for gaming , it feels more like an event than a game.. and it is not a game that people will want to play on regular bases..

 

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