03 February 2014

Return of the Boardgame: King of Tokyo


Apologies for the lapse, but here is another game review. This is another one that was played on Tabletop, while I wasn't enamored with one of the guests, the game itself was rather nice and simple mechanics and a lot of random chance, dashed with some strategy.

By Richard Garfield

Published by Iello Games

King of Tokyo is for 2-6 players, ages 8+. It is a quick game to play, a 6 player game can take 30 minutes if people know the game well, and there is little deliberation during the players' turns.

In the box you get the teeny-tiny board, a deck of cards with purchasable upgrades or boosts, 6 plastic bases, 6 very thick card monsters, a control panel for each of the monsters (each control panel has two dials, 0-20 for victory points and 12 to skull for health), about 50 green cubes which are used as currency and eight special dice(6 are black with green symbols, 2 are green with black symbols).

The aim of the game is to either be the last monster standing or to get 20 victory points. How you do this is roll the 6 dice (which can be altered by in-game events) and choose to either keep certain results or re-roll any of the dice a further 2 times. On the dice there is six different symbols; 1, 2, 3, heart, claw and energy. If you roll three of the same number you get that number of points. If you roll a fourth, fifth or sixth number that is the same as the triple, you get a further point, for each one of these numbers.


2,2,2 = 2 victory points.
2,2,2,2= 3 victory points.

The energy provides currency that can be used to purchase cards which give power ups and extra abilities.

The claw does damage, with a couple of caveats, If the player is not in Tokyo, then the monster(s) in Tokyo are the recipients of the attack, and vice versa if the monster in in Tokyo. 

The basic idea is, those monsters in Tokyo only attack those outside Tokyo and those outside Tokyo only attack those in Tokyo.

The heart heals a single point of damage, but only if the Monster is not in Tokyo.

Anatomy of a game turn.

If the person was in Tokyo from the start of their turn they get two victory points.

The person whose turn it is rolls the six dice and chooses to keep or re-roll any of the six. They can even choose to roll dice that they had kept from the previous rolls. But there will only be a maximum of three rolls.

The dice sides are totalled to check the effects. Damage is scored upon the other monsters as mentioned earlier. 
If a monster in Tokyo has been damaged, they have the option to flee Tokyo and the attacking monster takes it's place AND gains a victory point. If a monster in Tokyo flees the attacker MUST take it's place.

After the attacks have been resolved and the monsters may have moved then the player may choose to buy one or more cards if they have the energy to do so. They also have the option to burn the cards and have them replaced for 2 energy.

The game continues until one of two conditions are met. Only one monster is alive or one of the monsters has managed to get 20 victory points.

Good Points

2-6 players from the box and a small set of rules to follow. Changes to this mainly happens via the upgrade cards.

Lovely artwork which is all in a single style. Only a few things that are remotely gruesome, but it is a game about big, stompy monsters...

High quality of the game pieces.

It is able to be tailored to fit the audience. I remove things, or change the victory conditions so that I can play it with my students.

You can't pick on a single person for long as you get rotated in and out of Tokyo pretty quickly.

Bad Points

Some people just don't like it. It can be too abstract for some gaming groups (one of my classes really found it boring)

There is no real difference between the monsters apart from cosmetic. This has been dealt with in the first add on pack.

Killing monsters is not the best tactic. Going for a victory point win is often much safer. This does depend on your gaming group though. Some of the best games we have had in my classes is when people went for killing other players.]

Players can be eliminated before the end of the game. This does lead to some issues in some gaming groups.

Some of the cards are strangely worded. Their effects are not that complex, but the wording on some of the cards could cause some issues.

2 players isn't enough. You need at least three to get a good swing of power going. 4 or more is better.


I really like this game. I have used it with my students who, apart from one class, loved it. The older students liked it better, especially when I was able to join in after getting the first expansion (making it a 7-player game with the Evolution cards).  Playing it with my friends has been good on the whole, but since we only managed a one on one it wasn't as fun. This is really a game to be played with more people. 

Thank you for reading and I apologise about the hiatus. Stuff happened. I didn't get around to typing it up.

Comments are welcome.


English Pillock