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Subject: King of Havana (Tournament) rss

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Andy Allardyce
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The Setting:

My family just returned from a wonderful week at an all-inclusive resort in Cuba. Trust me, there's nothing like a vacation at the beach to maximize relaxation and rejuvenation. Among the many highlights of our trip was a King of Tokyo Tournament we created for ourselves. (Not to worry, we also found plenty of time to enjoy the sun, surf, bars and buffets).

There were four of us. Dad (me), Mom, and our two sons (Ry & Gar).

The idea was to determine which monster would be crowned the ultimate King of Tokyo. That's right, our tourney was more focused on determining which "Monster" would win - and less focused on which "Human" would win. Ry took to the concept right away, Gar needed a little more convincing, and Mom generally goes along with anything as long as it doesn't take too long or become too complicated.

The Set-Up

The tournament consists of 4 Qualifying Matches, with each Human playing a different Monster, chosen at random. The winning Monster of each Qualifying Match advances to the Final. Humans stay with their Monsters (ie. if you win one QM, you play that Monster in the Final - if you win multiple QM, you get to choose which Monster to keep - if you don't win any QM, well, you get whatever's left).

The Monster who wins the Final Match claims the Cuban National Championship title!
(See, only 5 games needed - plenty of time for the beach).

The problem was, we had 17 available Monsters (6 base King of Tokyo, 1 KT Power-Up, 2 KT Halloween, 6 base King of New York, 1 KNY Power-Up, and 1 KT/KNY Monster Pack), and only needed 16 for the tournament. We always play with Evolutions, so Cyber Kitty and Space Penguin had to sit this one out since the 2nd Edition KT Power-Up isn't out yet.

Yes, yes - that means I've purchased both the 1st and 2nd Editions of KT, plus KNY / Power-Up (just for the extra Monsters). What can I say - I'm a big fan of the series. Once the 2nd Edition KT is released, I'll pass my 1st Edition to a friend who needs something to amuse her sister's kids when they come over to visit. (I'll be keeping Cyber Bunny and Kraken for myself - I'm not that crazy.)

So back to the 17/16 problem. How to decide which Monster couldn't participate? Do we pick favorites? If so, Captain Fish, Kong & Sheriff were definitely on the chopping block as far as I'm concerned. Ry thought we should eliminate Cthulhu, because he was the 17th released, but I didn't agree because .. well, it's Cthulhu. Gar suggested that Kraken be eliminated since he's no longer a current Monster, but he wouldn't accept the same argument regarding his precious Cyber Bunny. Mom smiled faintly while thinking her secret Mom thoughts, but didn't offer an opinion. We finally decided on a purely random selection, with everyone agreeing to honor the result even if their favorite Monster was auto-eliminated.

We used an app where you input a list of names, and it selects them one by one - kind of like picking names out of a hat. So the four Humans gathered round a table where the 17 Monster standees has been assembled. As the app revealed each name, the respective standee was moved off to the side, representing that Monster's inclusion in the tournament. The tension grew as each Monster was selected, and the "unpicked" group of Monsters slowly dwindled. A small cheer was often heard whenever the name of someone's favorite Monster appeared on the screen.

Finally, there were only two Monsters remaining - Rob & Pumpkin Jack. The general feeling was that we really only needed 1 of the Halloween Monsters in the tournament, and a chant of "Rob, Rob, Rob" filled the room. When Rob was confirmed as the final contestant, there was much high-fiving and a sense of rightness with the world. Once the excitement finally subsided, Pumpkin Jack was solemnly placed beside Cyber Kitty and Space Penguin in the spectator's gallery.

Oh yeah, one final thing before we get started on the actual games - a word about Power Cards. We used as many of them as we could - the new (2nd Edition) cards, the 1st Edition promo cards, costumes from the Halloween expansion, plus any KNY cards that could easily be integrated into KT.

I know, I know. That means our deck contained Power Cards with 3 different backings. How crazy is that, huh? I know not everyone could handle this kind of chaos. Some people would argue that such a thing would totally ruin the game. For others, the very idea of mixing card backs would make their heads explode. But dammit, we didn't care. Not one little bit. We were rebels, and we were on vacation!

Alienoid (Dad) - Meka Dragon (Mom) - Gigazaur (Ry) - Cyber Bunny (Gar)

There was a time when Gar really, really liked the Cyber Bunny, and refused to play the game unless he could be that carrot-infused dynamo. Those days may be gone, but Gar's smile was ear-to-ear when the gods of randomness gifted him with Cyber Bunny as his first Monster. Too bad it didn't help him win the game.

Meka Dragon got off to an early start, quickly Evolving and acquiring a Power Card. A battle of claws between Meka Dragon and Cyber Bunny left both of them in a severely weakened state, so that when Gigazaur entered Tokyo and rolled strong, they were both killed instantly. Alienoid wasn't much better off, having been reduced to a single heart, but managed to regain most of his health back after a couple of lucky rolls. For some reason Gigazaur had lost the ability to attack, and had to flee Tokyo in order to heal up himself. Alienoid never left Tokyo, and quickly collected the Victory Points needed to win while a frustrated Gigazaur looked on in dismay.

Cthulhu (Dad) - Mega Shark (Mom) - Pandakai (Ry) - Draconis (Gar)

Cthulhu's first couple of turns netted him lots of energy, which was used to purchase multiple Power Cards. It seemed like he was on track for an easy win, but overconfidence and too long a stay in Tokyo resulted in a shockingly early exit from the game. Mega Shark had quietly been collecting Victory Points, and therefore didn't have too far to go when she entered Tokyo, especially after buying a Power Card that added to her VP total. Pandakai and Draconis didn't offer up much of a challenge, and Mega Shark coasted in for the win on Victory Points.

Boogie Woogie (Dad) - Mantis (Mom) - Kraken (Ry) - Sheriff (Gar)

Sheriff got an early Evolution that allowed him to injure neighbors when he rolled claws, which put immediate pressure on everyone else. The extra hits weighed heavily, especially after the T-Rex got himself some particularly good rolls. Boogie Woogie managed to kill Kraken, but was himself killed the following turn by Sheriff. Mantis was rolling lots of "4 of a kind" and had therefore acquired a small clique of Cultists - which were traded in for hearts and boosted her health to 6. Sheriff went in for the kill, and rolled 5 claws on his first attempt - but he just couldn't get that final claw to end the game. Mantis was confident, only needing two claws to put Sheriff in the ground, but after three attempts she only managed to get a single claw. Sheriff then squashed the bug with barely any effort. Very exciting game.

Rob (Dad) - Kong (Mom) - Captain Fish (Ry) - King (Gar)

If you've been paying attention so far (Heaven knows why), you will have seen that Dad, Mom & Gar all won a QM. Only Ry remains without a victory. As a father, I sincerely hoped my son would win this last QM game because it keeps everything nice & equal and it will make him feel good about himself. However, as a participant in this magnificent tournament of tournaments, it is my sacred duty to support my assigned Monster to the best of my ability - and if my family is torn asunder as a result - well, then so be it!

Captain Fish started out very aggressively, entering Tokyo quickly and raining claws down on everyone else. The apes (King and Kong) seemed to have some sort of personal grudge against each other, and basically ensured that neither one would survive Captain Fish's relentless attacks. Rob pretended to be a coffee maker, sitting off by himself, quietly healing and gaining Victory Points. Eventually, Captain Fish had to vacate Tokyo to heal, allowing Rob to start piling on the points. The Fish tried to resume his attack, but his claws had dried up, allowing Rob to win on Victory Points.

Final Game
Rob (Dad) - Mega Shark (Mom) - Alienoid (Ry) - Sheriff (Gar)

So Dad had won two QM games (heh heh). That meant I could choose either Alienoid or Rob for the Final Match, and Ry would get my cast off Monster. I chose Rob for myself, because wouldn't it be a great Hollywood style ending if the Monster who had just squeaked his way into the tournament ended up winning the whole thing? And besides, the earlier chant of "Rob Rob Rob" still echoed in my head.

Sadly, the Final Match was somewhat anti-climactic. One of the three Power Cards available for purchase was the KNY "Overload" card, which you can acquire for free (giving you 4 energy right away, although it's harder to receive more energy later in the game.) So on his first turn, Alienoid focused on rolling energy. He then acquired the Overload card, and with all this energy at his disposal - he immediately purchased the Universal Soldier Power Card, allowing him to switch hearts for claws and vice versa. That pretty well sealed the game right there.

Alienoid initially focused on rolling hearts (or clawhearts), gaining multiple Evolutions and hordes of Cultists. Even Mega Shark, who was rolling 2 extra dice (Extra Head plus own Evolution) couldn't do him much damage. Rob and Sheriff barely even seemed to be in the game. When Alienoid took Tokyo, he cruised to the win on Victory Points. Not a single Monster was killed. A rather blah way to end the tournament, but we all agreed that overall, it had been a fun activity.


In the end, we were all satisfied with something. Dad was happy he had won more games than anyone else, while Ry was happy he had won the Final Match. Gar was happy he had played both Cyber Bunny & Draconis (his two favorite Monsters), and Mom was glad it was over.

We are considering removing the Overload card from future games, to prevent a Monster from acquiring an overwhelming advantage on the very first turn again.

It was the first time we had used Cultists. We all agreed they were a good addition to the game. We were a bit disappointed that so many games are won on Victory Points, when it's so much more satisfying to beat up the other Monsters. I think there needs to be some mechanism to hinder a Monster from gaining VPs so easily, because once someone gets a bit of momentum behind them, it's incredibly difficult to stop them.

We liked the tournament format, and will likely do it again. As more Monsters are acquired, we might try to develop a different method of elimination (when Cyber Kitty, Space Penguin, King Kong and (hopefully) Rozy Pony, Iron Rook, and Kookie join the group, do we really want the app to auto-eliminate 6 Monsters?) Dunno. Will have to think about it.

But most importantly, we should all bow before Alienoid, who was declared the winner of the first ever Cuban National King of Tokyo Championship.

Good for him.
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You can take my game… when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the board!
Re: King of Havana
That was a highly enjoyable read! My favorite lines:

"Mom smiled faintly while thinking her secret Mom thoughts,"

"We were rebels, and we were on vacation!"

"and Mom was glad it was over."
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