Overview: You’re a gigantic monster and, like all gigantic monsters, you want to be the one and only King of Tokyo. A fast-paced press-your-luck romp through the mayhem of classic monster movies like Godzilla and King Kong, this is one of those rare “filler” game that has taken over entire gaming sessions with its quirky fun.
Ages: 6 and up
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Rating: More fun than a barrel of gargantuan cyborg gorillas.
Who Will Like It? Anyone who loves campy monster movies and doesn’t mind it when they spot the zipper.
It’s Tokyo and the monsters, robots, and aliens are all attacking at once! Occasionally, one manages to push its way into the city where it gets pummelled by the others. They do this until one of them reigns supreme.
King of Tokyo doesn’t have a very deep story. It’s like your favorite Godzilla vs… movie, but without the character development or Godzilla Junior. It’s entertaining and it’s fun and that’s all it needs to be.
Are there fancy plastic miniatures? Nope. It doesn’t matter. Each monster has its own colorful cardboard standee. The artwork is amazing and fits the theme perfectly. The board is simple: Tokyo (and Tokyo Bay, for the 5-6 player game). That’s it. You’re either in the city or you’re not.
Then you have your cubes. Big, honkin’ dice that feel good when you throw ’em (and you will throw them a lot) and much smaller, translucent green energy markers. You’ll use those to buy special add-ons for your monsters, in the form of cards with yet more amazing artwork. Want your Cyber Bunny to have two heads? Better save up your energy cubes so you can afford the modification.
You choose a monster. What you choose doesn’t matter, as all of them have the same abilities. On your turn, you grab six dice and roll them. The dice have six symbols: 1, 2, or 3 Points of Destruction, Energy, Healing, and Whack. You get three throws per turn and it’s up to you to choose what to keep and what to re-roll.
Energy gets you the cubes, which allow you to buy special cards. If you’re outside of Tokyo, the Whacks allow you to hit whoever is in Tokyo. If you’re in the city, though, Whacks let you hit everyone else. Every time you enter Tokyo, you get a Point of Destruction. Everytime you start your turn there, you get two. And whenever you’re in the city and you get Whacked, you can choose to abandon Tokyo, which forces the player who Whacked you to enter it.
So you may be tempted to keep all the Whacks you rolled, which can damage the other players and eventually may kill them, but don’t ignore those Points of Destruction! Whenever you roll three of a kind, you’ll get that many number of points. The object of the game is to reach 20 Points of Destruction or to kill the other players, so you’ve got a couple of options.
When we have downtime on board game nights or we’re waiting for someone to show up, we’ll usually break out Zombie Dice or play some Xbox. Not anymore!
I can’t say enough good things about King of Tokyo. It takes less than 30 minutes to play, my five year-old son adored it (and kicked my ass the first time we played), and it’s a rollicking, hilariously good time for up to six people. There’s a huge amount of randomness to the game, but chances are you won’t care.
Wired: Press-your-luck dice mechanic is exciting and fun; artwork fits the zany monster-on-monster action perfectly; quick pace means games don’t last forever
Tired: High amount of randomness (but you’ll have fun anyway)