King of Tokyo is a monster slugfest for up to six players, with a classic Yahtzee style dice-rolling heart. Players will try to be the first to 20 victory points, or alternatively to be the last monster standing. If your health reaches zero, you’re out of the game.
Each player chooses a monster, and takes the special dial board that tracks their health and victory points. There is a board, but it’s function is merely to show which monster is in Tokyo at any given time. There are a big stack of cards that give special powers, and crucially, six big black chunky dice with fluorescent green symbols and numbers on.
On a players turn, they roll the six dice. They can choose to keep as many as they want, and get two subsequent re-rolls of any they don’t want to keep – then the dice are evaluated for points and more.
Each dice has a number 1, 2 and 3: if you manage to get three of a kind, you score that many victory points. The other three sides feature lightning bolts, claws and hearts. Each lightening bolt allows you to collect energy cubes – these are used to buy cards which give you special powers and points.
Each claw deals one damage – if you’re in Tokyo, that damage is dealt to all the other monsters. If you’re outside, you only hurt the monster in Tokyo. Each heart heals you by one point – but not if you’re in Tokyo; only the monsters outside can heal. You get a point for entering Tokyo, and the reason to stay is that you get 2 victory points every time you start your turn there.
So essentially you’re pushing your luck – can you survive another whole round in Tokyo, with everyone pounding you, to score some victory points and deal big damage to all your foes, without dying? You can choose to leave only when attacked, and the monster who attacked you will then take your place.
King of Tokyo is an elegant evolution of classic dice-rolling action – vibrantly produced and bound to appeal to kids and grown-ups who enjoy giant monsters knocking chunks out of each other.
Hugely simple and rather silly, what saves King of Tokyo from dull dice-rolling repetition is the cards, which give the game a bit of variety. It’s not a game I suggest playing but as it’s light and brief not one I object to either.
King of Tokyo is a lot of fun – with the right crowd. In my family that really means me and the nephews; none of my three daughters really took to it, but I’m sure there are lots of girls who would love it. It sort of demands an aggressive stance – if all players roll simply for victory points and energy, and eschew the claws, the game can lose a bit of punch, and outstay its welcome.
Lots of take that, and player elimination to boot. I suppose one player could quietly amass victory points without dealing too much damage, but they'd probably find themselves the target of many many giant monster claws.
Not too much down time - you'll be interested in what each of your opponents is rolling, even if you're not in Tokyo.
No big maths, and the handy dial cards help you keep track of victory and health points.
Lots of re-playability from the special cards, and games can play out in several different ways. Big fans might want to check out the sister game King of New York.