King of Tokyo (A Game Tuesday Review)

It’s Tuesday.  Time for something about games.

I thought I’d go ahead and review a great new kaiju-themed game from iello (yeah, I don’t think it’s capitalized).  It’s called King of Tokyo and if you’re looking for a fun, fast game with a neat theme, you could do a lot worse.

Anyone who knows me knows there are two things I love.  Kaiju stories and tabletop games.  And when those two things combine, it’s usually enough to put a smile on my face.  I own several kaiju-themed board games already.  Monsterpocalypse remains a favorite (though sadly, a movie deal has put the breaks on the actual game, which is very disappointing), and I own both Monsters Menace America and its inspirational predecessor Monsters Ravage America.  But King of Tokyo is my first monster-themed dice game, and it’s a great little game.

Each player takes the role of a giant monster out to become undisputed King of Tokyo by either gaining 20 victory points or being the last monster standing.  It’s a game for 2 to 6 players, and plays in about 30 minutes.  Actually, it prob only takes 30 minutes if you play with the full 6 players.  So far, most of my games have been 2 player affairs, and games take 15 minutes at the most.  My 3 player games took perhaps 20 minutes.

This is a dice game, and the basics of game play will be familiar to anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the idea.  You roll 6 large special dice and go for combos.  Depending on what you end up with, you can score victory points, heal your monster, gain energy, or attack other monsters.  It is a very simple system and doesn’t take five minutes to explain.  This is a game that everyone can be playing within minutes, and even if you aren’t a kaiju fan, it’s solid enough that it shouldn’t matter.  It certainly doesn’t wear out its welcome, and you’ll be likely to want to play again after the first time.

But the game’s simplicity is deceptive.  For a light game, there are plenty of decisions to be made.  One of the best elements to me is the monster cards that you purchase with energy.  These weird mutations can change the game in various ways.  Perhaps your monster will grow an extra head (and get to roll an extra die every turn because of it) or develop the deadly acid attack (inflicting extra damage every turn).  There are also great targets of opportunity to score extra victory points, provided you have the energy to topple a skyscraper or eat an apartment building.

But the big choice is found in claiming Tokyo itself.  A monster in Tokyo is a target for every other monster in the game, but he’s also able to dish out damage to all the other monsters in the game.  As the game progresses, monsters will fight over Tokyo in a battle royale, a constant back and forth.

Production on the game is top-notch.  I’ve heard some reports of faulty components, but mine were all in great condition.  In a game like this, presentation goes a long way, and the art and card descriptions are just wonderful.  The stand up monster figures are bright and cartoony and very evocative, and the health / victory point tracker is a cool little device.  My only complaint would be about the dice themselves, which will probably wear out over time faster than normal dice.  But ordinary six-sided dice could easily be substituted if required.

The bottom line is this is a fun, furious, giant monster-themed slugfest that has tremendous appeal if you love kaiju.  And even if you don’t, it’s still a cool game that is a perfect quick game with enough strategy to keep you interested and enough luck to keep it unpredictable.

My recommendation:  Buy it.

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One Comment

  1. Posted September 16, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Hey Alex, check out this cool duck I found!

    OK so it has nothing to do with King of Tokyo, but for me it does. See I found the duck, thought of you, then thought “Hey, I need to tell Alex about this duck,” and then came to your blog. But I figured it’d be bad form to just randomly post a link to a duck so I decided to read your King of Tokyo blog entry since you mentioned it Wed. So I read it. Good review, and I echo your sentiments if anyone else reads my comment: buy it; it’s a fun game!


One Trackback

  1. By Mind Sieve 9/19/11 « Gloria Oliver on September 19, 2011 at 7:06 am

    […] Lee Martinez shares his review of the kaiju themed dice game called King of Tokyo.  Sounds rather […]

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