Website design By BotEap.comRichard Garfield is the famous designer of the most popular collectible card game (CCG) of all time, “Magic the Gathering”. Other than that, he has been successful in designing games like “Android: Netrunner”, “The Great Dalmuti” and “Roborally”. In 2011, he came up with the idea for a fun dice game called “King of Tokyo”. I have tested it and found it truly remarkable for its category. Read on to find out why!

Website design By BotEap.comDo board games fit into categories? Goal, of course! There are games for the whole family to enjoy called “Family Games”, games with a strong strategic element called “Strategy Games” and many more (see our home page catalog for a list of available categories and for Of course, most games fall into more than one category “King of Tokyo” could well be described as a family game, but also as a party game, a theme game, and a dice game.

Website design By BotEap.comIn “King of Tokyo” you take on the role of ferocious giant monsters who set out to destroy Tokyo, or rather to be the only kings of Tokyo. It reminds you of the B-movies of the 50s, where giant monsters were all the rage and I don’t mean just King.

Website design By BotEap.comKong or Godzilla but all the other movies with amazing titles like “Attack of the Crab Monsters” or “He Came From Under the Sea”. There are six different monsters to choose from, each with their own cardboard miniature. Other than appearance, all monsters behave the same, there are no special abilities for each (however, this fact is changed through an expansion). The monsters have funny and intimidating names like Gigazaur, Kraken, The King, MekaDragon, CyberBunny. Kids are sure to love them and pick a favorite by appearance or name!

Website design By BotEap.comAll monsters have a corresponding monster board that is mainly used to record the monster’s life points and victory points. All monsters start with a life total of 10 and zero Victory Points. The object of the game is to score 20 victory points or be the last monster standing. Hit points are very important because when you get to zero, guess what! You are dead! Yes, there is player elimination in this game, but you know how it works… winner takes all and that makes sense in this particular game! You cannot pretend to be a ferocious monster and leave your rivals alive. Tokyo can only have one king.

Website design By BotEap.comNow for the story: these giant monsters appeared out of… out of nowhere! and he decided out of the blue to attack Tokyo. Don’t ask me why, I guess they found it quite exotic (the Fukushima nuclear disaster hasn’t happened yet or maybe these monsters caused it, through their battles). So, Tokyo is. The monsters are on a rampage and are destroying everything in their path.

Website design By BotEap.comThe game has a small orthogonal board, which represents the city of Tokyo divided into two distinct locations: “Tokyo City” and “Tokyo Bay”. “Tokyo Bay” is used only in a 5 or 6 player game. In general, monsters are in or outside of Tokyo (Tokyo City or Tokyo Bay). Only one monster can be in Tokyo. The others are outside of Tokyo. When a monster is outside of Tokyo, it can heal itself, attack the monster in Tokyo, gain energy or gain victory points. Each of these can be achieved by rolling the correct combination of dice. Once in Tokyo, monsters cannot be healed, but they gain 2 free victory points at the start of their round. Still They can gain energy.

Website design By BotEap.comEnergy is used to buy special cards that help you in various ways, for example to gain victory points, heal or damage opponents.

Website design By BotEap.comAt the beginning of the game, each player chooses a monster and takes his figure and monster board, setting life points to 10 and victory points to 0. At the beginning, there is no one in Tokyo. The cards are shuffled and placed in a pile face down. The first three cards of the deck are revealed and placed near the board. These can be purchased by all players and cost in energy cubes.

Website design By BotEap.comEach player in his turn rolls the 6 dice of the game that have the following effects:

  • when a triple 1, 2 or 3 is thrown, the player gets that many victory points, that is, with a triple 2 he gets 2 points. Each additional roll of the same number awards an extra VP.
  • when “thunder” is thrown, the player gains an energy cube for each
  • when a “paw” is thrown, the player deals damage to other players based on their location. The damage means the loss of life points. A player outside of Tokyo, rolling the dice, deals damage to the monster in Tokyo. If his is in Tokyo, he deals damage to every player outside of Tokyo. At the beginning of the game, when there is no one in Tokyo, the first player to roll a paw moves in Tokyo. When a player in Tokyo takes damage, they can choose to leave Tokyo (usually to heal up) and the player who dealt damage takes their place.
  • when a “heart” is thrown, players are healed for that many hit points (max 10)
Website design By BotEap.comWhen rolling the dice, players can choose to keep as many dice as they want and re-roll the rest two more times. The dice saved on the first replay can be rerolled later or saved again. After rolling the dice and resolving their effects, the player whose turn it is, can choose to buy one of the three cards shown or pay two energy cubes to discard these cards and discover three new ones that they can buy in the same turn. That is a typical round of the game. In a 5 or 6 player game, “Tokyo Bay” is also used. Whenever a player outside of Tokyo deals damage, he must take control of “Tokyo City” or “Tokyo Bay” if either is unoccupied. Players outside of Tokyo deal damage to players in “Tokyo City” and “Tokyo Bay” and vice versa. “Tokyo Bay” has the same advantages and disadvantages as “Tokyo City”. But enough of the rules! Let’s get to the actual review:

Website design By BotEap.comComponents:

Website design By BotEap.comBoard: It is relatively small made of thin cardboard and represents an imaginary Tokyo under attack. It seems to adequately serve its purpose, although it would feel a bit better if it were made of a sturdier material.

Website design By BotEap.comCards: Very well designed with a cartoonish feel and a complete structure. Nothing more to wish for.

Website design By BotEap.comCounters: Made of cardboard, nothing special about them.

Website design By BotEap.comEnergy Cubes: Nice transparent green cubes.

Website design By BotEap.comDice: Original dice made especially for this game. I liked its size and weight, as well as the futuristic black and green design. Their weight makes rolling them a very pleasant experience. Thumbs up!

Website design By BotEap.comMonster Boards: Nice and practical, they represent the player’s monster in action and have life and VP counters.
Monsters: intimidating, creepy or just plain funny, each character is unique. The miniatures are made of cardboard and that seems to be fine. However, after seeing Krosmaster Arena, I began to wish for more realistic 3D miniatures for every game that uses them. In King of Tokyo, the monsters are somewhat static, which means they don’t actually move except when entering or leaving Tokyo, so while monsters painted with plastic would look better, they would be of no practical use and would increase the cost of the game significantly. This type of game has to be kept at a family price otherwise you will lose your main target group.

Website design By BotEap.comIn general, all the components of King of Tokyo are satisfactory. There’s nothing grand about them, but also no particular flow. 7/10

Website design By BotEap.comHow to play:

Website design By BotEap.comI had a great time playing King of Tokyo, although I’m not a big fan of dice games. As in all craps games, luck plays an important role, which is also true in this game. However, there are some factors that reduce the amount of luck in the game, such as the chance to reroll the dice, keeping as many dice as you want, and the ability to buy cards that affect gameplay in various ways. Also, you can choose to leave Tokyo every time you take damage, so there’s some decision making and control over gameplay that mitigates the sense of randomness. Choosing which dice to keep and which to reroll is of crucial importance. You must know when it is time to heal or when it is time to attack, where you should put your focus in each particular situation.

Website design By BotEap.comThe presence of cards in the game makes it much more interesting, although the actual impact of the cards in the game is not that great. Let’s just say they add spice to the game, giving it a few twists which are of course welcome and giving the game that little touch of strategy which adds to the overall feel and makes the game richer.

Website design By BotEap.comSomething that often annoys people is removing players because it’s kind of ugly when someone gets kicked out of the game and sticks around to watch the rest. In this particular game, elimination isn’t that annoying because the games don’t last long for the eliminated players to get bored. Also, the removal seems tied to the theme of the game. We are talking about giant monsters fighting each other, so they should show no mercy about it! I haven’t played with 5-6 players yet, but it seems that the game becomes even more interesting with the “Tokyo Bay” area activated.

Website design By BotEap.comMonster characters should have special abilities that set them apart from each other and further tie the theme of the game to the gameplay. This is fixed via “King of Tokyo: Power Up!” expansion, but I think it should be included in the base game from the start.

Website design By BotEap.comIn conclusion, I think King of Tokyo is a well balanced game with quite simple but very satisfying gameplay. 8/10

Website design By BotEap.comLearning curve:

Website design By BotEap.comThe rules of the game are not super simple, nor complicated. There is an ideal balance in the game between simplicity and depth. New players will get acquainted by playing their first game and after that everything about the rules will be clear. 8/10

Website design By BotEap.comTheme:

Website design By BotEap.comKing of Tokyo is a very thematic game. You are supposed to take on the role of monsters, and you really see the monsters. You are also supposed to fight them and that is represented by a loss of hit points. If I were to be more realistic, maybe monsters could be gradually destroyed by losing, say, a leg or a hand. Such an approach would make the fights more realistic, but the designer here went the traditional way. You also see Tokyo on the board, although you don’t really feel like it’s being destroyed. 7/10

Website design By BotEap.comreplayability:

Website design By BotEap.comOne of King of Tokyo’s strongest assets is replayability. No two games can be the same and that is guaranteed by the presence of dice and the cards that are shuffled and appear in a random order. I never get bored playing a game of King of Tokyo, and in fact, I could play many games in a row, fighting to win and testing my dice. 9/10

Website design By BotEap.comFun:

Website design By BotEap.comThis game is a lot of fun, even if you’re not a big fan of dice games. You can taunt your friends through it, beat their butts, curse your bad luck with the dice, and of course, get a chance to become the only King of Tokyo! Kids are guaranteed to have fun with it, especially kids who will embrace the theme and enjoy the look of monsters, even maybe come up with distinctive voices for each monster when they attack and in this way add to the theme like kids do. Big kids can do that too! 9/10

Website design By BotEap.comAdvantages:

  • Great fun for all ages
  • easy rules
Website design By BotEap.comCons:

  • elimination of players
Website design By BotEap.comRecommended for: casual gamers

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