Designer: Richard Garfield
Date Released: 2011
Number of Players: 2-6
Age Range: 8 and up
Setup Time: less than 5 minutes
Play Time: less than 30 minutes
You play as mutated monsters, colossal robots, and weird aliens. Each creature goes on a rampage to see who can be the King of Tokyo.
King of Tokyo borrows a lot from the classic playground game King of the Mountain. You gain control of Tokyo if you damage another player while the city remains void of an opponent. The first person to twenty victory points wins the game, and if you have control of Tokyo, you gain bonus victory points at the start of your turn. It pays to be King of Tokyo.
You begin each turn by rolling six dice. Each die face has a lightning bolt, a claw, a heart, or a number printed on it. You have to roll three of the same kind of number to gain that many victory points, you take one energy cube—which you use as currency for cards—for each lightning bolt you keep, a claw deals one damage to an opponent (all creatures have 10 hit points unless a card says otherwise), and a heart lets you heal one damage. But you can’t heal by means of the die when you’re in Tokyo. Thankfully, some cards let you heal.
You can reroll each die or some dice twice. Your position on the board dictates which die rolls you’ll keep. If you’re in Tokyo, you won’t want to keep any hearts—they’re worthless. If you’re outside Tokyo and half dead, you may want to roll as many hearts as you can. But if you’re healthy and smell blood dripping from Tokyo, you may want to go for the kill, keeping as many claws as possible.
King of Tokyo doesn’t take long to play—thirty minutes of gameplay is very generous—but it’s a fun thematic game. Too much of the game depends on luck to where the only strategy you’ll find is when you should conquer Tokyo, and when should you stay out of Tokyo and heal.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a quick, easy and fun thematic game, it doesn’t get better than King of Tokyo. If you’re looking for a game with more strategy or sustenance, you may want to look elsewhere.