Saggyhead is “smash clawing” her way around like the veritable King of Tokyo in this fast playing, action packed game from IELLO and Coiledspring Games!
Designer: Richard Garfield
Publisher: IELLO , Coiledspring Games
Artist: Paul Mafayon
Player Count: 2-6 players
Play time 30 mins
King of Tokyo is a take that dice battle of fearsome monsters set in an abstracted Tokyo. During this game, you are rolling six dice to gain hearts for health, lightning bolt currency, attacking other monsters with smash claws and gaining victory and wickedness points. You must collect three dice showing the same number in order to gain the points, so using rerolls wisely is important.
This version is the limited production Dark Edition. It has in my honest opinion more striking artwork although I do have to say I do still rate the original bright coloured graphics. It also has an additional wickedness track which makes rolling 1’s and 2’s more powerful as you get the victory points but also are able to move up the wickedness track which will allow you to get some awesome super power tiles which give an ongoing ability. This asymmetry can make players suddenly much more dangerous in terms of either how easy they are to kill or how quickly they get points.
My initial thoughts upon opening the box were wow these components look good. The standees are made of thick cardboard and are big enough to have a monster-esque feel on the board. The play board is simple in its design with just two the Tokyo city area, characters are either in Tokyo or out. The wickedness tokens are thick plastic and all have their own spot in the insert. The dice are frosted heavy acrylic and look cool as well as rolling well. I needed to use a dice tray as they felt like they were heavy enough to mark the table. I don’t think they are, I am simply a worrier.
Yahtzee but turned up to 11
Have you ever played Yahtzee? If you have ever known the joy of throwing a perfect yahtzee on your final turn, then you will know there is luck involved but also significant skill in the art of rerolls. King of Tokyo takes the simplicity of Yahtzee style dice chucking and turns the thematic fun up to 11. You each take on the role of a monster and try to smash your opponents into oblivion whilst also bagging yourself a bunch of sweet victory points. Most importantly whilst staying alive.
King of Tokyo has a graphic novel style artwork that really fits with the vibe of the game. The graphic style is striking and kind of moody looking, but most importantly it is super functional. It is easy to read the text on the cards, and each character has its own colour which helps with determining which wickedness counter is whose.
Why Do I Love This Game?
It has a huge audience, I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy a quick blast of KoT. The fun factor here is incredibly high, and the replayability factor is high too. My major love for this game though comes from the fact that it is a way to bring new gamers into the hobby. The exclamations of delight when realizing that not all games are roll and move games of attrition. It brings me real joy, and so I attribute this to the game that helps me most in this endeavor.
Making New Gamers
There is something utterly magical about introducing someone to their first “modern” board game. The excitement on their faces when they see how unbelievably cool looking the game components are, and also how much more about them they have than your typical snakes and ladders or monopoly. I got to experience that recently, when I introduced two of my friends to King of Tokyo Dark Edition. They came round for some food and a general catch up, we had previously played a bunch of Monopoly Deal with these friends and this was a hit, but I was sure I could maximize on them being willing and try something new.
I have long said that I thought that King of Tokyo would be my go-to gateway game. But I had never had a totally fresh person to try it out on. For me, the important thing about a gateway game is that it is short, there is no runaway winner and there is a strong chance that the newbies will win. Luckily, I got a chance to test out my theory and wow was it a hit. First play was a slower learning game where we narrated each turn and explored getting points and wickedness points and collecting cards. There were a few take that moves used to prevent a winner happening too early but it was generally pretty amicable and won by the first to 20 points rather than last monster standing.
What is not to love?
Our copy of King of Tokyo has been played an absolute bunch by us and has been lent out to friends for a few months of non stop playing during lockdown too. Most of the components have survived this beating pretty well, the cards are starting to look a bit worn on the edges, the stack is definitely not as pretty as it once was, but this does not affect play.
There is player elimination in this game which generally I steer away from. However, I have found that the game is generally over very quickly once players get eliminated. The game becomes more frantic and now the safety of being outside of Tokyo is taken away for one player. This is likely enough to finish off another player in a turn or two. So in this case I don’t feel like the player elimination is a bad thing. It seems to be well balanced.
Want to have a game that is good for adults and kids alike? Do you want something that is mechanically easy to pick up and still packs a bunch of fun in? Do you enjoy short and snappy turns and a smattering of lady luck wrecking your jam or creating a sweet symphony? Do you want to entice friends into the world of modern board gaming? If you answered yes to any of these then please pick up a copy of King of Tokyo, you really will not be disappointed. It is also possible to “try before you buy” on BGA. Can’t say fairer than that!
- The components are awesome. Utterly brilliant
- Playing the game is a bunch of fun, there is excitement in trying to push your luck and get those smash claws and fear in holding out in Tokyo that bit longer for some points
- It says age 8 plus years, we did have success with playing this with a six year old, I think that it is just great dice chucking fun
- Got a basis in a typical parlour game so easy to introduce to new gamers
- Possibly my go-to gateway game for everyone now
- Some of the cards seem a little OP
- There is player elimination although the games are generally pretty short and there is a lot of trash talking to distract you from this