A to Z Gaming: King of Tokyo

We battled as kaiju trying to be the lone monster standing in King of Tokyo, the next game in our A-Z game shelf play-through.

Basic Info: King of Tokyo
Players: 2-6
Time: 30 Minutes
Designers: Richard Garfield
Artists: Gabriel Butik, Romain Gaschet, Jonathan Silvestre, Igor Polouchine, Benjamin Raynal, Jean-Baptiste Reynaud, Régis Torres, and Anthony Wolff
Publisher: IELLO

King of Tokyo is a dice game where players take on the role of monsters, giant robots and aliens all attacking each other and Tokyo. Players roll dice on their turn to deal punches, heal themselves, buy special powers, and gain points. The first player to 20 points OR the last player standing wins.

King of Tokyo is set up with the board showing Tokyo and the Bay of Tokyo (only used in the 5-6 player game) in the middle of the table. The deck of special powers is shuffled and a market of 3 laid out. The spare light green dice and special power chits are set aside to come out if needed. Each player choses a character standee and the a matching player board.

On their turn, the player rolls the 6 dark green dice, optionally re-rolling any or all up to twice. The dice faces have a claw, which delivers damage to all monsters in the location where the active player is not; a heart, which allows the active monster to heal up one damage point if they are not in Tokyo; a lightening bolt, which gives the player an energy cube; and the numbers 1-3, which will grant the player points, but only if three or more matching numbers come up.

The first player in the game to roll (and keep) a punch places their standee in Tokyo. (The second places theirs in the Bay of Tokyo in a 5 or 6 player game.) When a player moves onto the board, they receive a point. And each time their turn stars with their standee on the board, they receive an additional 2 points.

Players can optionally spend their energy cubes on the special power cards. Some of the cards activate immediately and are discarded, others are activated when the player choses and are discarded, and yet others have ongoing powers.

Players whose character is in Tokyo or the Bay of Tokyo deliver punches/damage to everyone who is not on the board. Those who are not on the board deliver punches and damage to everyone on the board. When a player on the board takes damage, they have the option of leaving their position. If they do, the player who dealt the damage enters.

If a character ever goes to zero health, they are out of the game. A winner is declared either when one player reaches 20 points or when all other players are out of the game.

We picked up this game several years ago after watching the Tabletop play through. It looked like a game and theme that we and our friends would enjoy.

It is a fun, light dice throwing game. I love the art on the different kaiju – especially the killer bunny. The game is mostly about luck – you are at the mercy of your die rolls. Though, the additional powers allow you to mitigate some of the bad dice rolls, if you’re able to get the energy to buy them.

The player elimination can be a bit annoying, especially in the 5-6 player game. On the other hand, each game is fairly short, which makes it a quick, silly game to break the mood after a long, contentious game on game night.

How is it as a 2-player game? King of Tokyo is okay as a 2-player game, but because you are battling others to be the best monster, it is far more fun with a group of 4 or 5.

How about the art and component quality? I really like the art on the characters and the cards — there are a lot of fun details if you take the time to look closely. The custom dice are fun to roll and the icons are clear. The player boards are quite nice — there are two dials for your health and points that are easy to turn but not so easy that you accidentally change them. Overall great art and components. Plus the box insert holds everything neatly in place.

Will this stay in my collection? As much as we have enjoyed this game, it has been over two years since we got it to the table. Sadly, I think this one will find a new life with a new owner soon.

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