Jonathan Brodeur
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When I bought this game, I enjoyed all the bright colors, the awesome monsters, cool powerups and bulky dice.

BUT..

After a few games, my interest went down drastically. Especially for 5-6 players games. Something was utterly wrong and I didn't know what to do to fix it.

I came in the forums over here for suggestions and tried many different ideas.

After a few tries, my group and I agreed on the absolute best rules to balance the game when there is more than 3 players AND to make it more fun!

Here we go :

1st) Drafting
We added a drafting phase at the beginning of the game (much like 7 Wonders). Draw 5 cards, keep 1, give the remaining cards to the player on your left. From the 4 cards you received by the player on your right, keep 1. And so on.

The selected cards are not activated but you can buy them later in the game if you can afford them. Add these 5 cards to the 3 already in the middle and NOW there is a decent selection of powerups!

This variant avoids the "stucked with bad powerups" we always ended up with in regular rules.

2nd) Buy phase
Powerups can be bought before rolling dice or right after the last roll but not while you roll the dice. (maybe this was already in the rules, I'm not sure anymore because I stopped looking in this poorly written rules book)

3rd) Energy in tokyo
When you go in Tokyo, forget all about stars. Now you get 1 energy cube each time an opponent begins his turn while you are in Tokyo (also applies if this is the turn of the other monster in Tokyo for 5-6 players games).

This simple rule change is the one that solved it all for us. NOW you get a valid reason to stay 1 more turn in there even if you have only 4hp left!

Why? Well.. Imagine you really want to buy that 7 energy card at the beginning of your turn but you have only 5 cubes. Get in tokyo, get hit a few times for the next 2 players' turns and get out when you achieved your objective, knowing you might be near dead but at least you'll be able to buy that super-powerful card you want so much.

4th) Bigger trackers
I printed a bigger health and fame tracker. No more hard to tell health points or fame stars! My choice may not be the best because I can imagine fancy cardboard trackers (similar to Red Dragon Inn) but mine looks like that :






Results?
People WANT to stay in Tokyo more than ever and we end up getting cutthroats games because life is getting low for the most ambitious monsters. In normal rules, each game repetitive : got in tokyo? No problem, I'll go out as soon as I get a hit...

More powerups are used in the game. Let's face it, this game is all about powerups! In normal games, we used to get 2-3 cheap cards or 1-2 great ones in an average game! Now, all monsters have their chance for the big powerups! The games get tense and we look at each others' powers in fear and jealousy.

Best of all, I am now enjoying this game more than ever! Two months ago, this game was already old.. It was requested only as a cheap filler before dinner or before we called it a night and honestly, the game wasn't exciting! Now it is much more fun for everyone around the table and it shows by the amount of requests I get for the game.
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Andrew McGrath
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Thanks! I recently got this and am beginning to feel it losing its luster. Your variants might extend the life of this game for me!
 
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Stefan Lopuszanski
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Volt26 wrote:

2nd) Buy phase
Powerups can be bought before rolling dice or right after the last roll but not while you roll the dice. (maybe this was already in the rules, I'm not sure anymore because I stopped looking in this poorly written rules book)


I think the actual rules state that you buy cards after you roll dice, don't see a problem with this variant or the drafting one (more cards are good, although some card combinations could be pretty strong if only you have the option of buying it). We've tried 4 cards instead of 3 just to open it up a bit more, but our group isn't usually a fan of house rules.

Volt26 wrote:

3rd) Energy in tokyo
When you go in Tokyo, forget all about stars. Now you get 1 energy cube each time an opponent begins his turn while you are in Tokyo (also applies if this is the turn of the other monster in Tokyo for 5-6 players games).

This simple rule change is the one that solved it all for us. NOW you get a valid reason to stay 1 more turn in there even if you have only 4hp left!

Why? Well.. Imagine you really want to buy that 7 energy card at the beginning of your turn but you have only 5 cubes. Get in tokyo, get hit a few times for the next 2 players' turns and get out when you achieved your objective, knowing you might be near dead but at least you'll be able to buy that super-powerful card you want so much.


Not sure about this one. So you get energy for EACH opponent? That means in a 5 player game you'd rack up 4 energy and 2 stars? Or just 4 energy? Seems like a LOT of energy -- especially for cards like Wings (one of the most broke cards imo) that let you dodge attacks for a couple of energy. I mean, this would give the first player a HUGE advantage. Why wouldn't the first person who gets in want to stay the entire round in Tokyo? Extremely unlikely that they will be killed by 1 time around the table and that energy bonus would snowball them to an easy victory.
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Jonathan Brodeur
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Stexe wrote:
Volt26 wrote:


[q="Volt26"]
3rd) Energy in tokyo
When you go in Tokyo, forget all about stars. Now you get 1 energy cube each time an opponent begins his turn while you are in Tokyo (also applies if this is the turn of the other monster in Tokyo for 5-6 players games).

This simple rule change is the one that solved it all for us. NOW you get a valid reason to stay 1 more turn in there even if you have only 4hp left!

Why? Well.. Imagine you really want to buy that 7 energy card at the beginning of your turn but you have only 5 cubes. Get in tokyo, get hit a few times for the next 2 players' turns and get out when you achieved your objective, knowing you might be near dead but at least you'll be able to buy that super-powerful card you want so much.


Not sure about this one. So you get energy for EACH opponent? That means in a 5 player game you'd rack up 4 energy and 2 stars? Or just 4 energy? Seems like a LOT of energy -- especially for cards like Wings (one of the most broke cards imo) that let you dodge attacks for a couple of energy. I mean, this would give the first player a HUGE advantage. Why wouldn't the first person who gets in want to stay the entire round in Tokyo? Extremely unlikely that they will be killed by 1 time around the table and that energy bonus would snowball them to an easy victory.


We were worried about that too. But in the end, nothing overpowered happened from this house rule, just more fun for everyone! Players WANTED to hurt the king of Tokyo and whoever was in Tokyo wanted to stay there as much as possible (even if some of us stretched this wish too far and died from it)

This is 1 energy cube when your opponent starts. In a 4 player game, it means you would get a total of 3 cubes if you can stay in Tokyo for a full round.

If you compare this to the original rules, you would've got 3 stars for the same accomplishment. 3 stars CAN be more valuable than 3 energy cubes. But 3 cubes can let you buy powerups or stars, depending on your strategy.

I'm not King of Tokyo's Pope or anything like that. I won't claim our sum of variants make this game completely balanced (but hey, was it balanced anyways?). It certainly makes it more fun though!
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Georg D.
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So you have less victorypoints in your game - do you still have games ending with 20vp? Or do all your wins are last monster standing?
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Ien C.
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Thanks for sharing your variant and experiences.

Two questions:

1. Do you still get the initial 2 stars for entering Tokyo?

2. Would you recommend this for players new to the game or only after several plays?
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Steffen Eichenberg
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Volt26 wrote:
1st) Drafting
We added a drafting phase at the beginning of the game (much like 7 Wonders). Draw 5 cards, keep 1, give the remaining cards to the player on your left. From the 4 cards you received by the player on your right, keep 1. And so on.

The selected cards are not activated but you can buy them later in the game if you can afford them. Add these 5 cards to the 3 already in the middle and NOW there is a decent selection of powerups!


I am not shure that i understand the drafting rule. Here ist my interpretation:

- each player draws 5 cards.
- after the 7 Wonders style of drafting, everyone has a 5 card private marketplace only he/she can buy from.

Is that correct?

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Jonathan Brodeur
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Fluxx wrote:
So you have less victorypoints in your game - do you still have games ending with 20vp? Or do all your wins are last monster standing?


Actually and surprinsingly enough, victory points are more important now than they were before because players try to win with cards that give vp!

But I may try to mix and match some other variants if I don't see enough games won with vp.
 
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Jonathan Brodeur
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ghopper21 wrote:
Thanks for sharing your variant and experiences.

Two questions:

1. Do you still get the initial 2 stars for entering Tokyo?

2. Would you recommend this for players new to the game or only after several plays?


1. Well, in original rules I believe we get 1 star for entering in Tokyo. So far, we removed this rules from our variant. But I may try it again if I notice a decrease of interest into winning with victory points. Since we do our variant, people wanting to win with stars greatly increased so I doubt I will need to play with this rule but.. We'll see!

2. No. I would let them play the original rules first because the game is already a success anyways and a great getaway game! My group had a blast with the original rules. After 10 games we found some weaknesses in the rules but that's after we had a good grasp of the original rules.
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Jonathan Brodeur
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scameronde wrote:
Volt26 wrote:
1st) Drafting
We added a drafting phase at the beginning of the game (much like 7 Wonders). Draw 5 cards, keep 1, give the remaining cards to the player on your left. From the 4 cards you received by the player on your right, keep 1. And so on.

The selected cards are not activated but you can buy them later in the game if you can afford them. Add these 5 cards to the 3 already in the middle and NOW there is a decent selection of powerups!


I am not shure that i understand the drafting rule. Here ist my interpretation:

- each player draws 5 cards.
- after the 7 Wonders style of drafting, everyone has a 5 card private marketplace only he/she can buy from.

Is that correct?



My 7 wonders example was bad.. I apologize. It looks like Agricola's drafting mode. As I said, you draw 5 cards and keep 1. You give the 4 remaining cards to the player on your left. You receive the 4 remaining cards from the player on your right. Rinse and repeat until the last card is received.

What it means is : you know a fraction of the cards your opponents have in hand. Each player had a 1st choice, 2nd, 3rd and 4th (5th card isn't really a choice anyways). It kills overpowered hands by forcing players to pick 1 card at a time and let the other players have their share of what remains!

There's still some luck, but we didn't want to turn King of Tokyo into a dry game either!
 
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Steffen Eichenberg
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On the next occasion we will try the drafting and the energy variant.

Thank you for sharing!
 
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Moe45673
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I think the "one cube each time a new opponent begins his turn while you're in Tokyo" is huge. By late games, we have players constantly swapping back and forth in a Monopoly style never-ending battle to heal and attack. Also, cubes are hard to come by, it feels like there are too many choices with the dice rolling.

Hopefully, this doesn't make early entry into Tokyo overpowered. Maybe we'll keep the 3 card original rule
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Jonathan Brodeur
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Moe45673 wrote:
I think the "one cube each time a new opponent begins his turn while you're in Tokyo" is huge. By late games, we have players constantly swapping back and forth in a Monopoly style never-ending battle to heal and attack. Also, cubes are hard to come by, it feels like there are too many choices with the dice rolling.

Hopefully, this doesn't make early entry into Tokyo overpowered. Maybe we'll keep the 3 card original rule


This is the beauty of variants. You pick whatever suits you the most..

I hope you'll enjoy this game as much as we do!
 
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Brad McKenzie
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I love the drafting variant, and the energy addition sounds interesting - can't wait until I can get people together for another game!

I think I would modify your energy modification slightly, with the regular gaining of stars for arriving and staying in Tokyo, and the earning of an energy cube for staying while others smack away at you.

I also wonder if a 5-card draft is too many. If each person was dealt 4 cards and was allowed to keep 3 after the draft (discarding the final card a la 7 Wonders), I wonder if it would keep the deck draw more relevant.

Either way, thanks a bunch for your great ideas!
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Stefan Lopuszanski
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bradandmary wrote:
I love the drafting variant, and the energy addition sounds interesting - can't wait until I can get people together for another game!

I think I would modify your energy modification slightly, with the regular gaining of stars for arriving and staying in Tokyo, and the earning of an energy cube for staying while others smack away at you.

I also wonder if a 5-card draft is too many. If each person was dealt 4 cards and was allowed to keep 3 after the draft (discarding the final card a la 7 Wonders), I wonder if it would keep the deck draw more relevant.

Either way, thanks a bunch for your great ideas!


Yeah, I think 5 is a lot. I'd think maybe 4 total (5 cards and 1 discard) or even just the 3 + 3 available to everyone. Or maybe you can buy cards that opponents have but you pay them the energy or pay 2 energy to "wipe" their cards -- could result in some interesting dynamics, although it would add more politics to the game that tends to avoid them.

Wonder if there will be official variants in the expansion. Really hope there are!
 
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Fernando Robert Yu
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How about earning BOTH cubes and energy when entering and staying in tokyo? Gives the players multiple avenues to win while in Tokyo..the value is the same as printed (ie 1 to enter, 2 to stay in).... Makes Tokyo and Tokyo Bay really worth it.
 
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Moe45673
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Yeah, I agree. Keep the points and add the energy cubes once per turn (but not your own) everytime a new player starts their turn and you're in Tokyo.

I also think starting your hand with 2-3 randomly dealt cards (assuming they're all "keep" cards) would already make the game that much more exciting. Heck, randomly dealing out properties to each player before the game is one of the best Monopoly variants out there
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The change we just started playing with was this:

At the beginning of the game each player is dealt five cards. They may keep any of them worth up to a total of up to 7 energy and discard the rest.

It makes each monster feel different and gets a bunch of awesome powers in the game right from the start. And in practice it doesn't overpower any one player no matter the combinations that come out.
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Jonathan Brodeur
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I like this idea!
 
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Sheldon Morris
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donsheldon wrote:
The change we just started playing with was this:

At the beginning of the game each player is dealt five cards. They may keep any of them worth up to a total of up to 7 energy and discard the rest.

It makes each monster feel different and gets a bunch of awesome powers in the game right from the start. And in practice it doesn't overpower any one player no matter the combinations that come out.

This sounds very interesting. We'll definitely give this a few tries.
 
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Bob Flaherty
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I like the draw five cards, keep up to 7 energy worth as a start. I will have to try that next time. We played with the option of either 1 energy or 2 points when you are in Tokyo. Interestingly, most of us took the one energy.

Great game, and some of these variants mix it up just enough to keep it different.
 
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Georg D.
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If you get one energy per player while standing in tokyo, how do you handle wings? I already think it overpowered with actual rules. But if you get your energy more easily I uppose it will be the absolut gamewinner.
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Stefan Lopuszanski
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Fluxx wrote:
If you get one energy per player while standing in tokyo, how do you handle wings? I already think it overpowered with actual rules. But if you get your energy more easily I uppose it will be the absolut gamewinner.


Exactly my problem with the variant (read my thoughts above). Some cards that use energy to power up would just be obscenely strong.

I do like the initial drafting variant and will try that the next time I play King of Tokyo. Also, maybe have it where everyone has a few energy to start with to buy cards.
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Bob Flaherty
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In playing with the variant, it doesn't turn out to be an issue. If you are in Tokyo, you only get one energy every turn. To power wings, you need two, so at best you can only use it every other opponent while in Tokyo. If you focus on taking energy while rolling dice to activate longer, you aren't adding victory points or using attacks to harm the monsters in Tokyo to further your victory. In a three player game, starting with zero energy you need to roll three lightning bolts to negate any attacks that come your way. This leaves you three more dice to either roll for victory or attacks. Good luck getting the right combo each time. With more players it is even more difficult. People outside of Toyko should work for VPs or energy with one or two attacks (will you take the one hit or use the two energy) to either drain the energy or health of the king.

In the limited games we have played this way, we found that taking the energy doesn't pose such a problem. It does as the OP suggested, gets more powers into play - which are the funnest part of the game. I had wings in one of those games, but didn't get it till mid game and couldn't hold long enough in Tokyo to be effective. I did win, only because I killed everyone with a bombing strike. I had 4 life everyone else had three or less. In most games, Wings doesn't even come into play.
 
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Stefan Lopuszanski
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YellowLab wrote:
In playing with the variant, it doesn't turn out to be an issue. If you are in Tokyo, you only get one energy every turn. To power wings, you need two, so at best you can only use it every other opponent while in Tokyo. If you focus on taking energy while rolling dice to activate longer, you aren't adding victory points or using attacks to harm the monsters in Tokyo to further your victory. In a three player game, starting with zero energy you need to roll three lightning bolts to negate any attacks that come your way. This leaves you three more dice to either roll for victory or attacks. Good luck getting the right combo each time. With more players it is even more difficult. People outside of Toyko should work for VPs or energy with one or two attacks (will you take the one hit or use the two energy) to either drain the energy or health of the king.

In the limited games we have played this way, we found that taking the energy doesn't pose such a problem. It does as the OP suggested, gets more powers into play - which are the funnest part of the game. I had wings in one of those games, but didn't get it till mid game and couldn't hold long enough in Tokyo to be effective. I did win, only because I killed everyone with a bombing strike. I had 4 life everyone else had three or less. In most games, Wings doesn't even come into play.


You only need to use Wings when you're getting hit by a big attack, not every single time someone attacks you. Plus, you can leave Tokyo when someone hits you for 1 or 2 damage and then heal it back up and then some. The sheer versatility of Wings with nearly unlimited energy would be insane. Play a game where you get Wings in your first few cards and see if it isn't absurd.
 
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