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Subject: 20X Reviews #8 - King of Tokyo After 20 Plays rss

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Peter Barringer
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Check out a Geeklist containing all my other reviews here: 20X Reviews - A Geeklist


Time to 20 Plays: 11 Months

How to Play: Players roll a set of six gorgeous custom dice and re-roll unwanted die results twice. The dice allow players to score victory points, attack other monsters, heal themselves, and accrue energy cubes that can be used to buy power-up cards. At pretty much all times, one monster (or two if you’re playing with 5-6 players) maintains control of Tokyo. Monsters in Tokyo gain victory points for going in and staying in, and they can attack all other monsters while controlling the city. However, the king of Tokyo cannot heal, and all monsters attack him/her. King of Tokyo offers two paths to victory: kill all other monsters or reach 20 victory points. Pacifists and warmongers can follow their desired paths and share an equal chance at victory in this mayhem-filled thrill ride!

I've played it so much because:
1. The game’s mechanics are simple and effective. I value games that are easy to teach but have enough weight to support numerous plays. The Yahtzee-like mechanic of dice re-rolling is tight, and the power-up cards completely change the gameplay. It’s a new game each time because the cards significantly alter players’ strategy.
2. It hits the sweet spot of 30-45 minutes. I placed King of Tokyo at the top of my Top 10 Double Date Games because my wife and I have played it with so many other couples, both gamers and non-gamers. You can get anyone to buy into a 30-minute game.
3. The graphics are awesome. Big, chunky, custom black/lime green dice? Ridiculous, over-the-top monsters? Sign me up!
4. It’s versatile. I play with my high school students frequently. I also play with family, friends, and more hardcore gamers. With most groups, it’s a feature game. With my heavier game groups, it’s a quick filler between other games.

I'd play it more if:
1. the power-up cards were better balanced. Sometimes I feel like one player gets a card that breaks the game. Other players can spend two energy cubes to reset the power cards on their turn, but it’s not always possible to stop a game-breaking card in time.
2. King of New York had been an expansion rather than a standalone game. I played King of New York with a heavier game group for the first time last night. It was a bit meatier and felt like less of a filler among our other games like Galaxy Trucker. I understand the reasoning behind releasing KONY as a separate game, but it’d be nice to have both options in the same box without spending so much.

Rating:

Overall: I love King of Tokyo. It’s a 9.5 for me and my number four overall game behind Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, and The Game. It’s, in my opinion, the best gateway game. People talk about King of Tokyo months after playing it. They love the goofy characters, the custom dice, and the fun power ups. There's enough strategy and novelty to keep gamers interested, too. As of 12/30/16, I’ve played 27 times in the 11 months I’ve owned the game.
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Jay M
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Re: 20X Reviews - King of Tokyo
I know it's considered "light," but I love this game. I think the critical feature is the ability to win two ways. The game is never out of reach, victory is never secure, and both victory conditions make for an exciting finish. If you have a big VP lead, it's a nail biter to see if you can survive.

And the cards make all sorts of things possible. A player realizes a tailor-made strategy (on the fly) for a card and goes for it. How will the other players react?

I think it's underrated as a really great, great game.
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Peter Bakija
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Re: 20X Reviews - King of Tokyo
z10n x wrote:
1. the power-up cards were better balanced. Sometimes I feel like one player gets a card that breaks the game. Other players can spend two energy cubes to reset the power cards on their turn, but it’s not always possible to stop a game-breaking card in time.


Having just picked this game up, and played it a few times (and find it very entertaining; silly, quick, enough going on to make it more interesting than just rolling a handful of dice), what power-ups do you feel are particularly overpowered?
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Peter Barringer
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Re: 20X Reviews - King of Tokyo
Just as one example, there's a card that costs only 5 energy and allows players to purchase cards from other players. Someone purchased that card in a recent game, and we couldn't do anything to counteract it.

I don't think the cards are inherently unbalanced, but sometimes a combination really breaks the game. Still fun regardless!
 
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Mike Gallo
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Re: 20X Reviews - King of Tokyo
z10n x wrote:
Just as one example, there's a card that costs only 5 energy and allows players to purchase cards from other players. Someone purchased that card in a recent game, and we couldn't do anything to counteract it.


Did you remember to give the player who had the card being purchased the energy for the card? The player who no longer has the card now has a bunch of energy that they can buy new cards with.
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Peter Barringer
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Re: 20X Reviews - King of Tokyo
Necr0mancer wrote:
z10n x wrote:
Just as one example, there's a card that costs only 5 energy and allows players to purchase cards from other players. Someone purchased that card in a recent game, and we couldn't do anything to counteract it.


Did you remember to give the player who had the card being purchased the energy for the card? The player who no longer has the card now has a bunch of energy that they can buy new cards with.


Yeah, we did. You're right; it does help. But any good card we bought after that was just as susceptible. Really, it didn't benefit the person who had the card I mentioned. She didn't have time to use all her new cards. It instead benefited the one player who was rolling full out for victory points. We lost the ability to deal her extra damage, and that allowed her to win.
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Peter Bakija
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Re: 20X Reviews - King of Tokyo
z10n x wrote:
Yeah, we did. You're right; it does help. But any good card we bought after that was just as susceptible. Really, it didn't benefit the person who had the card I mentioned. She didn't have time to use all her new cards. It instead benefited the one player who was rolling full out for victory points. We lost the ability to deal her extra damage, and that allowed her to win.


Sometimes, well, things go awry :-)

The Parasitic Tentacles card is certainly handy, but, well, expensive--you gotta buy the cards away, and then get more energy to use it again, and the person who gets parasite-ed then can just buy something new with their newly found pile of energy. I mean, yeah, it is a drag to have your favorite card stolen, but, well, in the end, it is mostly a zero sum.

Most of the power cards seem completely reasonable, for my money. I'm yet to see one that seems particularly over the top; granted, I've only played the most recent edition, and it seems like a few cards were tweaked a bit. Wings (spend 2 energy to take no damage this turn) seems the card most likely to seem overpowered, but if someone is sitting on Tokyo with wings, the rest of the table can run them out of energy very quickly with 1 point attacks.
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Peter Barringer
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Re: 20X Reviews - King of Tokyo
I've read that they balanced costs on some of the power cards in the second edition. I play the first edition most of the time, but I'm not sure how much re-balancing they did. Ultimately, any brokenness like I described is overshadowed by an incredible game.
 
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