King of Tokyo is the game I found the easiest to pick up. It’s tremendously accessible to anyone who isn’t a major enthusiast, and that’s down to its simple mechanics that are supported by streamline tactics.
For those who have not yet tackled another giant beast in Tokyo;
- Every player takes on the role of a huge beast with the goal of being the King of Tokyo.
- The game is played across three zones; outside of Tokyo, Tokyo bay (with 5-6 players) and Downtown Tokyo.
- You can win by gaining 20 victory points (VP) or by being the last one standing.
- Players take turns to roll 6 dice that allow them to either attack whoever is in Tokyo, gain victory points, heal their monster (outside of Tokyo only), or store energy. Players can reroll the dice twice more to get their desired results.
- Energy is effectively the money players use to purchase cards that are either one time uses or constant modifiers. Some are for quick victory points, others allow players to use extra dice.
- Whilst outside of Tokyo, you only attack the players within Tokyo, however when attacking from inside, you attack every monster who is out.
- Being in Tokyo is risky but highly rewarding. You can’t heal but you gain VP every time you start you turn in Tokyo and you can deal massive damage to all your rivals.
- Anytime you take damage in Tokyo you can flee and whoever is in Tokyo bay goes to downtown and the attacking player goes to Tokyo bay. If Tokyo bay isn’t in play, the attacking player goes into downtown.
King of Tokyo is a really great game. That’s my honest opinion. It has its flaws but they’re based more on player choices and tactics than in game issues, for the most part. I have played this game with loads of different people, it’s one that seems to appeal to all parties, the hardcore as a time filler and the reluctant gamers as a full session. Rarely has anyone ever said “Nah, I don’t fancy that!”, usually it’s one of the first suggestions when we ask what’s next!
Much like with Galaxy Trucker this game has no specific full play throughs that stick out in my mind. It’s those fantastic and hilarious moments that build up the positive experience.. and it’s possibly because I have played it so much I don’t remember full play throughs… Because when I do try to think about a game from start to finish, the cracks appear…
Anyway! My experiences! The most distinct moment in my mind is a win for me (which is probably why I remember it!) It’s not often I remember my victories in a positive light, usually I’ve upset everyone around the table and they put a downer on my absolute domination. But this one was good! It was a 4 player game, so no Tokyo Bay, and I was managing badly. Really badly.. I kept stupidly edging my bets and going into Tokyo at every opportunity, hoping to get a full round in there so I could bring the pain. But it wasn’t happening. I’d managed to purchase the card ‘spiked tail’ so I always did at least one damage (if memory serves), so I was desperate to get into Tokyo and roll 6 attacks. However, my friends had started a campaign against me, and I’m not just being paranoid! They were definitely working together to take me out. I probably deserved it but it still wasn’t called for. What was worse was that my partner had purchased both ‘extra head’ cards, meaning she was using 8 dice every turn. She too was trying to get a full run in Tokyo, and chances were that she would have taken everyone out. Setting the scene for my glorious victory a bit more, my friend had the ‘jet pack’ card, meaning instead of taking damage in Tokyo, he could avoid the damage by leaving. Now I hate that card. I think it’s ridiculous! It makes hitting a player more hassle than it’s worth! But I’m going off topic. I had one health left in Tokyo, I’d really played it risky, and it was my partner’s turn. She’d rolled all her dice twice, meaning she had one more reroll available. She rolled and, to my relief, not a single attack. The feel of relief was unbelievable.. until she decided to help herself to another reroll. At this point anarchy set it. I’m certain every group has one person who’ll call out any bending or breaking of the rules like someone’s attempting a murder.. We definitely do. And the innocent act of my partner didn’t help her in the slightest. The group decision was a restart of her turn. I’m fairly certain that some of the group would have gone for banishment had they the choice, but a restart of her turn was a good starting point. At this point I was once again in the firing line.. but something good must have been happening to me as she still managed no attacks. I honestly think that her forgetfulness helped me to no end, as everyone forgot about their health bars being less than 4, and that it was my turn in Tokyo next. I took out all three opponents in one swoop. I assume people were happy I’d won, but all I distinctly remember was the constant question of “How many rerolls!?”
Now the lovely reroll memory has been told and a positive memory is out there… I’ll discuss the ‘cracks’. The cracks aren’t something I’d say to someone in an attempt to deter them from purchasing the game or playing it, as I’ve said, I think it’s a great game! But these are things that are worth noting. The playtime is unpredictable. Normally not an issue with any game, but considering that the game should be a short filler for those more enthusiastic I’ve had games last 20 minutes, I’ve had them last an hour. And it’s not down to the game lasting long; it’s a combination of overpowered cards, dice rolls and a desire to win from those more competitive. Which brings me on to the other issue… the cards. The cards are either outright useless, tactically advantageous or unfair. The useless cards are those that give out VP, and that may be down to the way I’ve always played King of Tokyo; the only true win is to be the last man standing. The tactically advantageous cards are those that give players the edge so long as they’re used correctly, which is how they should be. Being given an extra reroll can be brilliant but is something that can also be used in a ridiculous manner. The unfair cards are those that make it so you have a clear advantage without needing to think, much like jet pack. Knowing you can never be hit whilst in Tokyo removes all risk of entering it, which is one of the key mechanics of the game – risk vs reward.
Again, these issues I’ve mentioned may be completely exclusive to myself and my group, but it’s worth putting out there as part of the whole personal experience.
- The game is simple enough to pick up, but can take a good few play throughs to make proper tactics.
- There are multiple ways to win, meaning you don’t need to be all out attack all the time.
- Some cards can change your play style and make the game more competitive
- Can host up to 6 players, and everyone could be at risk every turn.
- There are no benefits to making allies, making it a 100% competitive game.
- As mentioned, the gameplay time is unpredictable and doesn’t match the pace the game is played.
- As mentioned, some cards are outright useless and some are overpowered enough to basically end the game.
- After a few plays it can feel repetitive.
- The randomness of dice rolls as the main mechanic can become frustrating after a few bad turns.