King of Tokyo

Richard Garfield’s King of Tokyo –
published by Iello Games

We went looking for a new game and these are the criteria we gave the staff at
our FLGS, Kapow Games in Lethbridge, AB.

1) Fast – under one hour.
2) Fun – decent chances for any skill level to win.
3) Enjoyable by kids as young as seven through adults.
4) Expandable, in case we have friends over.

After discussing how some of the other games that they have suggested went
over, they pointed us right at King of Tokyo. “You get to play a movie monster
smashing Tokyo!” was about all it took to get us interested, and sure enough it
went over like a ton of bricks.

King of Tokyo is a intended for 2-6 players/monsters, ages 8 and up. They claim
30+ minutes on the box and we found that about right for 2-3 player games, with
4+ player games going about 45min without too much rule searching.

On the topic of rules, if you took out the excellent artwork, the entire rules
would fit on a single letter sized sheet of paper and we had them learned with
some pre-reading and a single game. Well written, and easy to pick up…which
is to be expected from someone with as much game design experience as Richard
Garfield of Magic and Vampire fame. Several gameplay examples are included at
the appropriate places, and there are additional card clarifications on the
back of the rules.

The game moves smoothly, with each monster attempting to either be the last
monster standing, or to have caused enough destruction to earn 20 Victory
Points. Each turn you roll dice to cause damage to other monsters, heal
yourself, accumulate energy to purchase cards, or straight up score Victory
Points. The cards give you various advantages (or penalties to your opponents),
with more powerful cards costing more energy. Each card has advantages and
disadvantages depending on your master plan for the destruction of Tokyo.

The monsters are dual sided heavy card with plastic stands, and the artwork is
fabulous. Cartoony enough for Saturday morning without being a ‘kids game’.
Each monster comes with a card and a matching score/health tracker, so no need
to use dice/etc to keep track of those. The cards are playing card quality with
more of the same excellent artwork, and I found them especially easy to
shuffle. The fit and finish of all the components is similarly top notch.

If I had to come up with one low point, and this is fairly minor, I would say
that the game board could have been a little larger. Just big enough to have an
area for the cards to sit would have made this a 10/10 instead of the 9.5 I’m
giving it.

Now I’m looking forward to the two expansions – Power Up and Halloween

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