Who would win in a fight, King Kong or Godzilla? What if an alien, a bunny in a robot suit, a sea monster, and a giant, mechanical dragon joined the fight? The board game King of Tokyo, by the designer of the card game Magic: The Gathering, brings together great movie monsters for a huge battle royal in Tokyo. The game is easy to learn, plays quickly, and is a lot of fun.
Inside the Box
King of Tokyo is like the schoolyard game King of the Hill. One monster will be in Tokyo, or two when five or six are playing, and everyone else will try to beat up that monster. The game is often played until there is only one monster who still has hit points, but the game can also be won by reaching 20 victory points. On your turn you roll six dice, but you can reroll all or some of the dice two more times in hopes of forming sets of points or increasing certain actions. The six die faces are:
The Expansion: Power Up!
Why You Might Like King of Tokyo
– Theme: Classic movie monsters fighting it out in Tokyo is cool, and you don’t have to be a geek to get into it. People usually have fun playing giant monsters beating up on each other.
Why You Might Not Like King of Tokyo
– Luck, again: You might make the right decisions about which die to reroll but still not roll what you need. That randomness may frustrate players who prefer that the best decision-maker wins over those pushing their luck. My initial plays of King of Tokyo soon felt too shallow to scratch my boardgaming itch, and I wished it had a little more depth. – Player elimination: For many gamers, this is a red flag. We like everyone to be in the game until the end. King of Tokyo’s player elimination isn’t devastating because the game plays in less than half an hour. Unless you take too many health risks, you probably won’t be eliminated until later in the game. If you do get knocked out, you might you might spend 10 minutes out of the action, but the game is fun to watch.
– Before the expansion, the game felt too light since the difference between the characters was cosmetic. The Power Up! expansion adds a feeling of greater synergy and focus with the specific monster evolutions while retaining its simplicity. The additional decisions and increased variety feels more satisfying and keep me engaged.
Who will appreciate King of Tokyo?
King of Tokyo is a game you should own. The ability to play with children, nongamers, and gamers makes it versatile. It is a lot of fun, in part because of the theme, but also because the simple decision-making remains interesting. King of Tokyo will never be the star of game night, but it could be the star of your next family get-together or become your children’s new favorite game. If you enjoy this game, consider the expansion; it adds to the game’s flavor (though I would not include it when teaching new players how to play). If you think about value in terms of hours of fun for the price, then King of Tokyo has outstanding value. The expansion may be disappointing considering the components you get for your money, but if you play King of Tokyo often, then the expansion is worth it as well. Richard Garfield and IELLO have created a game that is easy to learn and fun to play, and I think you will enjoy it.
King of Tokyo Second Edition Designer: Richard Garfield Publisher: IELLO Games, 2012 Players: 2-6 Ages: 8+ Play time: 30-45 minutes Mechanic(s): Dice-rolling, Press Your Luck Weight: Medium Light – “You can play well your first time” MSRP: $39.99