Game Buzz: King of Tokyo

I was never a Magic player. I remember it from my youth, seeing people playing it at lunch time and thinking it was kind of silly. I didn’t realize what a huge deal it was, how this little card game launched the collectible card game industry. It was so influential that even today, games still get compared to it. The best part of the story, I think, is the legend that Richard Garfield only designed Magic: The Gathering to earn enough capital to produce RoboRally (which I have played and really enjoy).

King of Tokyo - image by BGG user kherubim

Now Garfield is coming out with a new game.  King of Tokyo is being produced by French publisher IELLO.  It’s for 2-6 players ages 8 and up, and should take around 30 minutes.  In the game, each player controls a different monster that is threatening Tokyo.  Your object is simple: become the King of Tokyo by acquiring more destruction points than your opponents.

In the game, you get a board that shows Tokyo.  There are 66 cards in the game that can give you extra benefits.  There are 28 different counters: 3 smoke, 1 mimic, 12 shrink, and 12 poison.  There are eight six-sided dice, six black and two green.  There are six monster boards, one for each monster in the game: Kraken, Gigazaur, Cyber Bunny, Alienoid, Meka Dragon, and The King/Kong (the rules refer to this robotic monkey as both of these, so I’m not sure which one is correct).  The six monsters will be represented by cardboard figures in little plastic stands.  There are also a bunch of energy cubes in the game.  No kidding, that’s what it says in the rules.  A bunch of energy cubes.  Exactly how many cubes are in a bunch?

Each player gets a monster at the start of the game.  These are kept next to your monster board.  At the beginning, no monsters will be on the board.  There are two sections of the board – Tokyo City and Tokyo Bay.  The Bay portion will only be used if you have 5 or 6 players.  You’ll set your life points to 10 and your VPs to 0.  The cards get shuffled, and three are turned face up, available for purchase.

A game turn looks like this: you roll, you resolve, you possibly buy cards, and you end your turn.  First, take all six black dice and…well…roll them.  This game uses the Yahtzee mechanic of giving you two opportunities to reroll (also used in many other games like Roll Through the Ages).  You can keep some and roll again, and you can reroll any dice you kept the first time.

There are six different symbols on each die.  Three of the sides are numbered 1, 2, and 3.  There’s also a lightning bolt, a hand, and a heart.  Once you’re done rolling, you resolve your roll.  If you rolled triple ones, twos, or threes, you get VPs equal to the face value (so one point with ones, two with twos, and three with threes).  For every bolt you roll, you can take one energy cube.  For each heart you roll, you can heal one life point (no more than ten).  If you roll a hand, you can attack.  If you’re outside of Tokyo, you attack the monster(s) inside Tokyo; if you are inside Tokyo, you attack all monsters that are outside of Tokyo.  Attacks give one point of damage.  The first player to roll a hand gets to take control of Tokyo by placing their monster figure inside – they don’t deal damage.  As the game goes on, you can choose to give Tokyo to a monster that has just damaged you.  Being in Tokyo has some advantages – you get one point when you take it, and you get two when you start a turn in Tokyo.  You also are the target of everyone’s attacks, and you can’t use heart rolls to heal.

After resolving the dice, you can buy cards.  You do this by spending energy cubes.  You can also spend two energy cubes to discard the face up cards and draw three new ones.  You can keep buying as long as you have cubes, and you don’t have to buy anything.  Once done, it’s the next player’s turn.

If you ever hit zero life points, you’re dead and out.  Whoever gets to 20 VPs first (or the last one standing) wins.

I’ve been interested in this game for a while, and now that I’ve read the rules, I’m a bit disappointed.  I was imagining something a little more in depth.  As it is, it’s pretty much Yahtzee with some combat.  I’m sure the cards will add some more variety to the game, but there’s not much more than dice rolling here.  The board seems useless – you could just put your monster in the middle of a circle, or on a card.  I have no idea the size of the game.  It’s probably fairly small.  I think that maybe I just had something bigger in mind.

I’m sure this is a perfectly fine super light filler, but I don’t know how interested I am in seeking it out.  As always, I’ll play if it’s there, but this is a definite TRY FIRST for me.  Thanks for reading!

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