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Review: King of Tokyo

Review: King of Tokyo


Stop at nothing to become the King of Tokyo… but that’s when the real trouble begins for you!


Title: King of Tokyo
Designer: Richard Garfield
Publisher: IELLO
Players: 2 – 6
Play Time: >30 minutes
Setup Time: <5 minutes
Difficulty Rating: 5
The first board game I got this year and I knew nothing about it other than you get to be a monster and rampage through Tokyo. Now anyone who listened to the first episode of the Arcade’s new podcast ‘PodCade’ will know that I’m hardly the biggest Godzilla fan (as fascinated by his anatomy as I might be) but the opportunity to stomp my way through the streets of fleeing of civilians, flattening buildings as I go was a little too hard to resist.
Whether you’re a fan of gigantic monsters because of the Granddaddy of these guys or you’re a Power Rangers fanatic, hell it might be because you spent your childhood wanting to be a Powerpuff Girl (perfectly acceptable!), why you have a fondness for brutal beasts or mega mechs, King of Tokyo is everything you need to live out your fantasy!
First things first – King of Tokyo is a very easy game to grasp! You are a monster vying for control of Tokyo city against other monsters/players. As a board gamer I learn a game by playing it and consulting the rules as I go, not exactly the best method but it works with the only downside being the games usually take a little longer than usual; I’d come to accept that as fact until I unboxed King of Tokyo and sat down to play it. Within the first two turns the core concept and rules were understood and we were all playing without the rulebook to consult.
As I said above each player controls a monster, at the start of the game they will receive a replica piece and score card: to win the game your monster will either have to earn the most victory points (I’ll get back to this in a minute) or defeat all other monsters by reducing their health to zero. Players take turns rolling six dice, each marked with different symbols from numbers to heart, bolts and claws.
Numbers – a triple 1, 2 and 3 will offer players victory points for the amount shown (triple 1 = 1 Victory Point) and each additional number rolled will offer an extra point (1, 1, 1, + 1 = 2 Victory Points).
Hearts – these are used to heal your monster after they take damage but are of no use to the monster occupying Tokyo city.
Bolts – accumulated enough of these and you’ll have enough currency to buy special power up cards.
Claws – each one of these counts as a damage token against your enemies
Victory points are the most direct way of winning, you can earn these points by taking Tokyo and maintaining your hold over it or by rolling certain combinations of dice. Certain cards from the power-up deck also afford you Victory Points but usually at a great cost or by taking damage in exchange for the points. As well as the game board and the score cards/player stands, there is also a deck of cards – these cards will allow you to do anything from grow an extra head, fly, breathe fire, heal and even steal cards from other players. Whether you’re in need of a permanent new body part or need a quick heal, you will need to spend energy cubes (earned from rolling Bolt dice) to purchase the cards that are revealed face up on the gaming area.
As I said at the beginning, learning of King of Tokyo couldn’t be more straight forward and with two ways to win the game, it really couldn’t be easier to understand but that doesn’t make it an easy game to win! In fact in the month or so I’ve owned the game and the various groups I’ve played with I’ve only won (oh this pains me to say it) once! This isn’t just a game where you hack at the other players and sit in Tokyo city till you win – for all it’s simplicity it requires some serious thought and strategy, staying in Tokyo might earn you VP but it also means every other player wants you dead.
Chancing your luck (stupid Alan always rolls triples because of a gypsy curse, which should be considered cheating!) and hoping on each turn you’ll roll the perfect triple score and earn VP that way is a gamble and certainly takes the most time (unless of course you’re Alan!). Buying cards and turning them against your opponents during combat rolls (my strategy) only works if you are fast about taking them down!
One thing every game has in common (Not just me losing) is that it will rarely last over 30 minutes, in fact I don’t think I’ve played longer than 25 minutes per game. King of Tokyo is fast, frantic and furious and you’ll have to think just as fast if you fancy keeping control of the city and beat the living daylights out of your fellow rampagers.It’s certainly not the most serious game I’ve every played and while it does require some thinking on your part, you won’t have to tax your brain muscles that much but that doesn’t stop King of Tokyo from being one of the most fun games I’ve ever played.

[easyreview cat1title=”The Arcade Verdict” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”9″]

If you want to pick up your own copy of King of Tokyo then the Arcade recommends you check out BoardGamer.ie