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Subject: King of Tokyo - Review rss

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Game Inglorious
United Kingdom
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This review is based on over a dozen plays of this fast paced dice game.

Published by iello (who I must admit I don't know too much about) and designed by Richard Garfield (who I probably know had some impact on the gaming hobby with a magic card trick and some mad robots), King of Tokyo is a game of monster destruction, where two to six players each play a rampaging monster out to become the top dog by being either the first to reach twenty Victory Points (VP's), or to be the last monster standing.

Players achieve this by taking turns rolling a set of six identical dice, keeping what they want and re-rolling, then having a final re-roll of none, any or all of the dice. Once you've rolled three times the dice are actioned, cards are purchased and play passed to the left. The six faces are as follows:

- attack (claw) causes one damage to any Monster not in your area
- heal (heart) heals one lost life (life is lost to attacks and special card abilities)
- energy (lightning zark!) collect one energy cube (used to buy cards)
- 1 VP
- 2VP
- 3VP

The VP's have to come in a set of three or more to score, otherwise the dice are wasted.

So for example, say my final 'hand' was two claws, one heart, two lightning zarks and a 3VP, I would deal two damage to all monsters at a different location to me, heal one wound, collect two energy cubes and ignore the final 3VP dice. If my result was three hearts and three 2VP's, I would heal three wounds and gain 2 victory points.

There are two locations in the game – either you are in Tokyo, or you are not. All monsters in Tokyo are on the game board (there are two spaces – one called Tokyo, the other called Tokyo Bay for games with five or six players – both are effectively 'Tokyo'. Tokyo Bay is no longer used once enough players are knocked out to bring the remainder to four or less). You get rewarded 1VP for entering Tokyo, and 2VP's for starting your turn there.

When you action your Claw results, those in Tokyo damage everyone who isn't, and those not in Tokyo damage those that are. Its a neat mechanic that means all monsters outside the city are automatically bashing those inside, and those in Tokyo are damaging the losers that are trying to get in!

Monsters record their Life (lost to damage) and VP's on a neat monster boards with numbered dials. They track energy with small green cubes which are spent after the dice rolls to buy special power cards. The cards have abilities ranging from little tricks to help you on your way to victory, through to powerful abilities that players will scramble to get hold of (or bury quickly so no one else can).

As said above, you win by either getting to 20 VP's or by being the last monster standing. Being in Tokyo is obviously an advantage, as you collect victory points every turn in addition to any you roll. When ever a monster in Tokyo is hit, they can choose to take the damage and stay put, or take the damage and Yield their coveted position and retreat, meaning the monster who did the hit must enter Tokyo. This is a very important decision, as heart results do not heal monsters when they are in Tokyo. You are left pushing your luck, especially towards the end game when a couple of extra points at the start of your go could be the difference between defeat and victory – but with only three wounds left is it safe to stay?

What haven't I mentioned yet?

The cards are drawn from a deck of 66, with only three face up cards available for purchase at any time (a player can clean these away and get three more by spending energy cubes). The playing pieces are big oversized cartoon card figures slotted into heavy plastic bases. If you roll more than three VP dice of the same number, you gain bonus VP's. There are two extra green dice gained through purchasing the relevant card. Monsters start with 10 Life, and the dial goes up to 12 (the two extra only available for those with the right cards).

So, that's pretty much what you get and how you play, so what do I think of it?

The Negatives

- the power cubes are quite small. As some of my games have been with kids (age 7 to 10) I think I've been lucky not to lose any!
- the full retail price (£29.99 in the UK) felt a bit expensive for the components in the box. Although they are good, they are not thirty quids worth of goodness.


The Positives

- The whole process of rolling dice to dictate your actions is really good fun, with plenty of randomness with some tactical choices about what to keep and what to re-roll.
- The mechanics work really well - I particularly like the fact that you have to deal damage if you roll claws, even if you'd rather not - many a monster met its demise while staring point blank down the cavernous barrel of this awesome prowling machine*, causing a wound and finding they are entering Tokyo with only a couple of wounds themselves - probably not enough to survive a mildly aggressive turn by another player.

It works equally well with different types of groups - gaming buddies, family & kids have all enjoyed the battle for Tokyo and given it a thumbs up.



In Conclusion

King of Tokyo is an enjoyable game for anyone who loves rolling a bundle of dice and trying to figure out what to do with the results. It's no Dominant Species but it's obviously not trying to be. It does exactly what it sets out to do and captures the feel of these big monster battles really well.


Overall the rules are easy to pick up, the cards effects are clear (only a handful have a deeper explanation in the three page rule book) and the dice results are quick to action. The Animé art is colourful and thematic. All in all an excellent game...

Time to play: 20 to 40 minutes per game
Goes well with: A holiday in France (coincidentally)

Components: 9/10 - great bright colours, clear rules & sturdy components. Would have been perfect if it had miniatures rather than thick card stand ups to represent the monsters, but the price would have been outrageous.
Mechanics: 8/10 - very easy to learn, with enough decision making to casue a pause for thought after most rolls. The 'attack everyone who is not in your location rule' is a great mechanic, as is the 'no healing in Tokyo' and 'Yield' rules.
Replay value: 8/10 - it's fast and fun to play. Our quickest game has been just under 20 minutes long and I'm sure there will be quicker. A great filler or best of x.
Theme: 8/10 - a good simple theme that is captured well by the art and text of the cards.

8/10 - monstery joy
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Devon Harmon
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Truly a wonder of nature, this urban predator. Cyber Bunny had many a story to tell, but it was a rare occasion, such as this, that he did.
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Game Inglorious
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* Hats off to you, sir!

________________________________

http://gaminglorious.blogspot.com/2011/06/time-for-quickie.h...

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CanCon, BunnyCon...BorderCon!!!
Australia
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Nice review.

Wow 30 pounds. Our dollar is doing us well at the moment as I have this on pre-order for only $45. Once upon a time if a game cost you 30 pounds it would cost us around $90.
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David Anderson
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Two Time Cancer Survivor - Never Give Up. Never Surrender. -Jason Nesmith from Galaxy Quest (1999 movie)
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I'm really interested in this game. I would mostly play it two player with my wife. Do you think the game will scale well and still be enjoyable with only 2 players?

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Ed Bradley
United Kingdom
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turtleback wrote:

I'm really interested in this game. I would mostly play it two player with my wife. Do you think the game will scale well and still be enjoyable with only 2 players?



It's ok with 2 players but it really shines with more.

When it's just the wife + myself looking for something to play, KoT would be quite far down the list of 2-player options.
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Rob Barrett
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Fwing wrote:
turtleback wrote:

I'm really interested in this game. I would mostly play it two player with my wife. Do you think the game will scale well and still be enjoyable with only 2 players?



It's ok with 2 players but it really shines with more.

When it's just the wife + myself looking for something to play, KoT would be quite far down the list of 2-player options.


Agree, whilst this was fun with two players it is a much better game with three or more.
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Dana R.
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Claremont
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mugtog wrote:
Fwing wrote:
turtleback wrote:

I'm really interested in this game. I would mostly play it two player with my wife. Do you think the game will scale well and still be enjoyable with only 2 players?



It's ok with 2 players but it really shines with more.

When it's just the wife + myself looking for something to play, KoT would be quite far down the list of 2-player options.


Agree, whilst this was fun with two players it is a much better game with three or more.


Same..although when wife and I play 2 player we house rule you only get 1 victory point for starting your turn in Tokyo which we feel makes it a more interesting game.
 
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Buttons McBoomboom
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Say baby...Bravo to the Primus reference! Say baby!!!
I got my eye on this one...thanks for the review - it was like butter drippin' off a hot biscuit.
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Dan Patriss
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This was quite the hit at a local con in NC. Someone managed to have 1 copy at the con and it seemed to ALWAYS be on the table at one time.

It's a decent amount of fun... when played with 5-6. But not quite as much with less then that (IMO).

It's one of those games that's got plenty of strategy but it's more of a grab the dice, roll them and laugh a ton with all the players.

It kinda reminds me of Quarriors!, with that it has some strategy for sure, but it's much more fun to just have and roll the dice and play for the fun of playing a game. Don't take it too serious and you will love it. Try and dissect it too much and you might not.

Great light game that could be a huge party game IMO
 
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Les Cheung
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I really like this game too.

Although it is typical of dice games, what makes it more interesting IMO is the fact that although you always have the same decisions to make, ideally, you want to do all of them and everything makes sense thematically. The "in Tokyo" / "out of Tokyo" wrinkle is also a nice touch as it balances the need for high Health and ability to damage everyone with biding your time and waiting for the right opportunity to strike. This adds tension to the game.

the randomness in the die rolls mimics the old adage perfectly: "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry"

A great thematic filler!

Les
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