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King of Tokyo - Board Game Box Shot

King of Tokyo

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 (86)

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I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
112 of 117 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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Miniature Painter
Stone of the Sun
I'm Completely Obsessed
Novice Advisor
70 of 77 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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United Kingdom
Professional Reviewer
Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Book Lover
79 of 87 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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Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Expert Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
127 of 140 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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76 of 84 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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8 Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012 Bronze Supporter
Advanced Reviewer
75 of 83 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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Pet Lover
Treasure Chest
The Gold Heart
Novice Advisor
65 of 72 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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I play green
174 of 193 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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I play blue
Master Grader
159 of 177 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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Gamer - Level 6
Viscount / Viscountess
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
Went to Gen Con 2012
141 of 157 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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Novice Reviewer
104 of 116 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
61 of 68 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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I Love Playin' Games
Private eye
The Bronze Heart
52 of 58 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Creature Feature”

Well, this is another review of a game I don’t own but a friend does. This seems to be a trend with me lately. Once a month a group of friends meet up at a local gaming store to play Advance Squad Leader. On this particular day though we setup and started to play and we just didn’t have the mindset to play, beside we had made major mistakes in each of our first turns…so we decided to play his recently purchased copy of King of Tokyo that he bought for his upcoming game night. So without any further babble here is my review/thoughts.

Game play:
Game Type – Dice Game
Play Time: 20-45 Minutes
Number of Players: 2-6 (Best 3-4+)
Mechanics – Dice Rolling, Card Drafting, Conflict
Difficulty – Pick-up & Play (Can be learnt in 10 minutes), a pretty good filler game.
Components – Good, thick card board
Release – 2011

Game board
66 cards
6 monster boards
6 monster tokens with plastic stand
8 six-sided dice
50 energy tokens
28 tokens (to mark card effects)
Color Rulebook

Monster Cut-Outs and Stands: Each monster is represented using a large 2D cut out that slots into a loose fitting stand. The artwork is cartoonish, which fits the theme well. I’m not a big fan of the cut out slotted thing, but this works well for this game.

Monster Boards: They Consist Two dials are used to allow players to track their Monster’s health and the number of VPs they have gained as they play the game. The artwork matches with the monster it represents.

Dice: The dice are Large. In all there are 8 dice but only 6 are used each turn unless a Power is acquired to gain additional dice. The regular dice are black with radioactive green symbols…of which there are 6 different symbols on each dice.
The additional 2 dice use the opposite color scheme…black icons on a radioactive green background.

Power Cards: The game comes with 66 Power Cards to enhance your Monster and make it more powerful. Each card features the Energy Cost in the top left corner, at the bottom is listed the type of Power (Keep or Discard) and its effect. In regards to the effect of each card, the symbols for dice icons, VPs, Energy and Health are used instead. This helps in reading each card and knowing what it does.
The cards are thin; I think they could have been thicker. I think over time the wear out.

Energy Cubes: The Energy Cubes are transparent green, kind of neat.

Game Board: The small thick square board simply depicts two circles to represent Tokyo and Tokyo Bay and the artwork that adorns the board shows the city being devastated by fire and flame.

Tokens: Some of the Power Cards have effects that must be tracked, these are used to do that. They have some artwork that links them back to their card, making it easier to know which card they belong to.

Rules and Tray Insert: The rule are in color and easy to follow. The rulebook has examples to help explain game play. The box has a tray insert that function well to hold the game components.

My overview/Thoughts:
I’m not going to hash out detail game play, there are a bunch of other reviews here that do that. What this game brings back is the memories of when I was a kid and every Saturday I watch what was called “Creature Double Feature” on TV. Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra…Anyways I digress. All of the favorites from Anime and Hollywood are here; although their names have been changed I believe to avoid copyright issues. King Kong is now a mechanical Cyborg called The King, Godzilla is now Giga Zaur, there is The Kraken to cover the ocean realm …to name a few.

Basically the game play consists of players controlling a monster and set about trying to destroy more of the city than their opponents and each other. This pretty much sums up the aim for players in King of Tokyo. Enter Tokyo and destroy it to earn VPs and attack the other monsters to either take them out or keep them down long enough to allow you to win. Last monster standing or first to reach 20 VPs is the King of Tokyo!

I think this game would be great for a family or a filler game for a game night. I can see my kids enjoying this, since I got them into watching the old Monster movies of my hay day. Anyway I hope you enjoyed this short review and thoughts of King of Tokyo.

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Professional Grader
Miniature Painter
59 of 66 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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58 of 65 gamers found this helpful
“A fantastic quick game”

In King of Tokyo each player takes on the role of a giant monster, which are represented by wonderful little monster cut-outs, fighting to take control of Tokyo. Players take turns rolling dice to fight, gain energy, heal or score those ever important victory points needed to gain victory.

As the game goes on players can spend energy to purchase powerful game-changing cards. These evolve their monster granting it powers such an extra head, which allows the player to roll an extra dice every turn.

Play goes back and forth between players fighting over Tokyo until either all other players are eliminated or someone reaches 20 victory points.

Really nice components
Good re-playability
Easily accessible
Can be played fairly quickly
Not much set-up

Player elimination, which isn’t too bad considering how long it takes to play
Winning by victory points isn’t always satisfying
Can be slow to start as nobody wants to take Tokyo in the first few rounds

King of Tokyo can be a great game for introducing people to the hobby or a great filler game for between games as it is quick to play, easy to learn and incredibly fun once you get started

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US Army Service
I play green
57 of 64 gamers found this helpful
“One of the best Pick Up and Deliver Games.”

King of Tokyo is perhaps the best example of a pick up and deliver game. Meaning that it is extremely easy to explain the rules and how the game works with minimal effort.

Each player chooses a monster. The goal is to either be the last monster standing or the first one to 20 victory points. You get victory points either by being in Tokyo and/or getting at least 3 of the same number on the dice, each addition number of that type adds an additional point. You get 3 rolls of the dice choosing to keep results from each roll. Going to gloss over the rest as the rule book for this is only 3-4 pages long with lots of easy to follow diagrams and pictures.

This is a game that I have been able to play with hardcore games to being able to be played with my friends children who are 7 and 9 years old. Everyone seems to be able to understand the game quite well.

The power up expansion and the Halloween expansion did not ruin the game with any power creep at all, so that puts a lot of trust that the company won’t cause an unbalance to the game in the future.

-Very easy to explain and get into the game
-Extreme replay value
-Works as a party game, transition game, etc.

-Though the components are really good, the character dials are really flimsy and wear out really fast. The dice are a bit too big for children to be able to roll them all at once. The energy cubes for the game are a choking hazard for your little children so be careful there.
-As with any super aggresive gamer/poor loser gamer they will most likely take this game way too much to heart, so don’t play with them.

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Went to Gen Con 2012
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
41 of 46 gamers found this helpful
“King of the Games”

King of Tokyo is a dice game. The dice ae large, solid and just plain fun to roll. The game takes about 30-35 minutes to play, and it just the best filler game you have every played.

The fun starts when you get to select you monster. Will you be the giant ape? The killer bunny? If you are playing with just the base set there is no difference in how each monster plays. Players take turns rolling the six base dice and matching up symbols to gain different effects.

You can attack other monsters, heal damage that’s been done to you, gather energy (which is used to buy cards) or score victory points. You get three throws of the dice in a turn and can keep whichever dice suit your needs. In order to win the game you must be either the last man standing or collect 20 victory points. Each monster only has 10 hit points, but you can heal as long as you are not in Tokyo. There is a very definite element of a push-your-luck game to this game.

At the start of the game whoever rolls the most “paws” (icon on the dice) gets to enter Tokyo. While you are in Tokyo you earn two victory points each round you stay in the city. Your goal while in Tokyo is to roll as much damage as possible which is passed on to the monsters outside of Tokyo. If you are in Tokyo you damage all monsters outside of Tokyo. There is a small problem with staying inside Tokyo. Your monster can not heal. I have seen many games lost by the player who think “I will stay one more round in Tokyo and then leave.” Someone rolls 4 or 5 points of damage, and they are knocked out of the game

Monsters outside of Tokyo can hit the monster in Tokyo, heal, or purchase cards that can assist you in winning. These cards are purchased through the use of lighting bolt icons on the dice.

I personally think the key to success is by buying quality cards that assist you in winning. But I almost never win so….

The great thing about the game is that even if you never win like me, you have so much fun playing that you immediately want to play again.

If you think the game sounds like fun, be sure to purchase the expansion set. In the base set each character is the same. The expansion allows each character to have special abilities.

I guess the best endorsement I can say is that our family is already planning to play the game over Thanksgiving. And we are all going to play until “fill in family member’s name” wins.

Well I know one thing, that big ape isn’t taking down my Killer Bunny again, not this time.

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41 of 46 gamers found this helpful
“You can't not have fun with this.”


I first heard about King of Tokyo in a Dice Tower video. I thought it sounded neat, but it was nothing I had to have. Then I saw it again on an episode of TableTop, and they made it look so fun. I had to have it immediately! “Don’t care how I want it noooooow!” Normally I order my games online, but I left my apartment within minutes of watching TableTop and headed to my FLGS. Of course, they didn’t have it. I went to another game store – same story. I think I went to 5 or 6 stores around Austin before I finally saw it on a dusty, old shelf at a hobby store. Rejoice! In that moment, I was the king of the world or – you know – of Tokyo.

After all that, I couldn’t find anyone to play it with that day or the next. So it goes. But I finally did find people to play. A lot of people over the next few months. I spread the word of The King far and wide. I converted many skeptics into believers, and then went on to bathe those believers in the righteous fire of my Mecha Dragon’s nova breath. And they always came back for more.


What’s in the box is nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done. The monsters are no more than cardboard cutouts on plastic stands. The scoreboards have spinning dials which can sometimes get knocked out of position if you aren’t careful. The game board itself is small and hardly even necessary to play the game. The 6-sided dice are nice and custom-tailored for the game – depicting claws, hearts, and lightning bolts as well as numbers. But they are HUGE! And I have big hands. The ability cards are normal sized, which I love. I hate small cards… *Cough, cough, Timeline, cough, Ticket to Ride, cough.* The artwork of KoT (we’re calling it that now) is very cartoony but fits the tone of the game perfectly.


The goal of KoT is to either be the first to score 20 victory points, or to be the last monster standing. The main mechanic of the game is very similar to Yahtzee. On your turn you roll 6 dice, keep the ones you want, and reroll up to 2 times. After your third roll, you are stuck with the dice you have. The dice will allow you to attack, heal, gain energy, or score points. If you are out of Tokyo you attack the monster in Tokyo. If you are in Tokyo you attack EVERY OTHER MONSTER. However, you CANNOT use your dice to heal in Tokyo. The monster in Tokyo can leave when they are attacked and the attacker MUST go in. Energy can be stored over several turns and spent to buy either one-time or ongoing abilities.

PSA – You can and WILL get knocked out of this game! So mind your lil’ guy’s health. I’ve seen the King roll 5 attacks in a turn and kill every other monster at once, thus winning instantly.

KoT moves at a quick pace. Even with 6 players I don’t feel like it drags much. Most games are done in 30 minutes or less. Domino’s anyone? This game gets people pumped and the energy is something akin to a ***** table in Vegas. Temporary alliances form to take down the leading monster. The table explodes in raucous cheers when someone gets that last claw they need to kill said leader on their third roll. And everyone boos when someone wins by scoring 20 points, which is decidedly the less awesome way to win.


KoT was designed by Richard Garfield, who to most nerds is probably better known for creating Magic: The Gathering (and Netrunner!). In terms of design, KoT is far, far simpler than either Magic or Netrunner. It doesn’t have nearly the depth or learning curve involved with those games. And where winning those games leans more toward skill, winning KoT definitely leans more toward luck. It is after all a game where you are primarily just rolling dice.

That’s not to say that there is no skill involved. You do have to know when to go into Tokyo and when to stay away. This is tied to learning the balance between scoring points, dealing damage, healing, and gaining energy. Rolling 6 dice is like shooting a shotgun, but you aren’t shooting blind. You get to aim what direction to shoot by choosing which dice to keep between rerolls. I win frequently enough to know that it can’t just be all luck. cool

As far as balance, KoT isn’t perfect. Some ability cards are extremely powerful while some are next to useless. If a really powerful card is in the ability pool, it often turns into a race of who-can-roll-the-requisite-energy-first. If it isn’t you, you are at the very real disadvantage of not having the overpowered ability as well as wasting a turn or two saving energy, and there may only be crap cards left in the pool. This is, however, balanced somewhat by the rule that a player can clear the ability pool for 2 energy. If you know you aren’t going to be the one to buy something overpowered, you should consider doing this defensively. There does exist a nice balance between the two victory conditions. In my experience, it seems there is close to a 50/50 split between which way games end. This gives players options of how to proceed with the game. If you can’t afford to play aggressively, sit back and score some points!


So if you can’t tell by now, I – and most people I have shown this game to – really, REALLY like King of Tokyo. It has become one of the staples of my core gaming group. And in fact, most members of my group have bought the game for themselves. You should too! I give it an A+.

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Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Greater Than Games fan
The Gold Heart
71 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“It's like Yahtzee, except you're trying to kill each other.”

In King of Tokyo, players each choose a monster and the battle for Tokyo begins. On a player’s turn, they roll 6 dice. They can choose any dice they would like to keep and then have two opportunities to reroll the remaining dice. The dice are custom dice that have 6 different faces.

3 of the faces have the numbers 1, 2, and 3 on them. If players roll at least 3 of a kind of a given number, they get that many victory points (i.e. if you roll three 2’s, you score 2 points). Additionally, if you roll more than 3 of a number, you score an additional point for each extra die (i.e. if you roll four 2’s, you score 3 points, if you roll five 2’s, you score 4 points).

One of the faces has a lightning bolt symbol. When players roll this, they collect one energy cube per lightning bolt symbol. Energy cubes are used to buy cards that give players special abilities. Another face shows a claw symbol. This side is used for attacking other monsters. If a player is in Tokyo, they attack all players not in Tokyo. If a player is not in Tokyo, they attack the monster who is in Tokyo. When the monster in Tokyo is attacked, he can choose to yield Tokyo to the monster who attacked him. The final face is a heart symbol. This is used to heal the damage from attacks. Each player starts with 10 hearts, which they quickly start losing. A player cannot heal if they are in Tokyo.

When a player enters Tokyo, they gain a victory point. If a player remains in Tokyo for an entire round, they gain 2 victory points at the beginning of their turn. The winner is the first player to 20 victory points or the last monster standing.

Sounds simple, right? Well that’s cause it is. The mechanics of this game are really easy to teach and learn, so what makes it worthwhile? While aside from the quick playtime and the ease in bringing this game to the table, the simple answer is: the cards. The cards help add flavor to the game both from a thematic point of view and a mechanical perspective. The cards could simply say something like “Roll and Extra Die each turn” or “All other players lose 5 VP” and this would add enough variety to keep the game interesting after multiple plays. However, the developers went above and beyond and added thematic text and graphics to the cards. The graphics are well done and add to the B-movie feeling of the game.

Pros: Quick playtime, easy to learn and teach, fun for all ages and experience levels, great artwork and theme, cards add variety and replayability

Cons: High cost for a short game, very confrontational, players can be eliminated

Verdict: King of Tokyo is a game that is easy to get wrapped up in without taking it too seriously. Even though you’re just rolling dice and buying cards, it’s easy to feel like you’re duking it out with big bad monsters. For those who aren’t fans of confrontation or player elimination, this may not be your first choice, but if those things don’t bother you, this is a solid choice for gamers of all backgrounds. The cards are really what make this game shine as they add both flavor and variety that makes each game fresh and help add to the “just one more game” feeling. This is a game you will be playing a lot more than just one more game of.

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Book Lover
Video Game Fan
48 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“The Lightweight Champ”

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.

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!

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.

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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