Wednesday, May 29, 2013

King of Tokyo...A Smashing Good Time!

King of Tokyo has been out for a while now.  There's even an expansion.  I've played quite a few times now, and I completely understand why this game keeps flying off the shelves.

For those of you that don't know, King of Tokyo is a simple, fast paced game for 2-6 people in which players take control of a monster and battle other monsters for control of Tokyo.

When I teach the game, I tell people it's like Yahtzee, but I don't like Yahtzee and I love this game.  How is it like Yahtzee?  Well, you have six dice that you are trying to roll for sets, and you are allowed to roll the dice three times on your turn.

That's pretty much where the similarities end.

In KoT, the first player to reach twenty victory points, or the last monster standing, will be crowned the King of Tokyo and the games winner.  Monsters earn VP by rolling at least three of a kind of 1's, 2's, 3's on the dice, buy entering or starting your turn in Tokyo, or buy purchasing VP from the market.

Collecting sets of numbers not really your thing?  Well then, maybe you'd be better suited to go for the knock out victory.  Instead of collecting VP and rolling for numbers, you'll be keeping all the claws you can in the hopes of damaging your opponents.  Each monster starts with ten hit points...reduce that to zero, and it's so long King Kong.

Now, I know what you're thinking.  Six dice, ten hit points, should only take a couple of rounds to knock the scales off of Gigazaur (who is clearly not Godzilla...clearly).  Well, not exactly.  See, all the while your fists of fury pound away at your opponents, they could have the good fortune to roll hearts, healing themselves the whole time.  Then where will you be?

Unless, of course, they're in Tokyo.

Oh, did I forget to mention that you can't heal while your sitting there, racking up the VP in Tokyo?  Well, I'll mention it now.  You can't heal while your in Tokyo.

No problem, you say, I'll just use my claw dice to injure the weakest person.  After all, they can't all roll hearts.  Well, maybe that will work for you.  But good luck with that, you're going to need it.  See, the way attacking works is that the monster inside Tokyo attacks all the monsters not in Tokyo, while all the monsters not in Tokyo attack the one that is.  Which means, in a four player game, assuming no one has died, there is going to be a three against one battle all the time.

I know, I know, why would you ever go into Tokyo?  Well, that's how you earn VP, remember it's a race to twenty.  As I mentioned earlier, you get one VP for going in Tokyo, and two for starting your turn there, which means if your able to take and hold Tokyo for one game round you earn three VP.  Your almost there!

Yeah, you're thinking, but I'm going to die.  No, see, that's the thing.  Suppose The King (not King Kong) is in Tokyo and Gigazaur (not Godzilla) decides to unleash his scaley, clawy, fury on the King.  Well, the King then gets to decide whether or not he is going to stay in Tokyo, or relinquish his crown.  On the outside, he can heal, but he's going to have to give Giga those much desired VP.

Choices choices.  Like what to buy.  Segue...

So on the dice there are 1's, 2's, and 3's you can collect sets of for VP.  There are claws which hurt your opponents. There are hearts which heal you, unless you're in Tokyo.  And there are lightning bolts.  What are lightning bolts?  They're money.  Well, energy.  See, every time you keep a lightning bolt you get a little green cube which you can use to buy things in the market at the end of your turn.

The market is three face up cards.  All the cards have a price, energy cubes, and a power, ranging from extra damage, extra VP, extra healing, even earning extra money.

But here's the cool thing.  That seven energy cube power that is super powerful is staring you in the face, but it's the end of your turn, and you don't have enough cubes to buy it.  The guy to your left has six energy cubes, meaning if he rolls even a single lightning bolt it's his and your monster may as well sink back to the undersea volcano he came from.  All is lost!  Or is it?

It's not...

See, instead of buying something from the market, you can pay two energy cubes to wipe the slate clean.  All three cards in the market are taken away, put in the discard pile, and replaced with new cards from the market deck.  Now you may be able to afford something else terrific.  Or not.  See, it's random replacement so what comes out may be just as good or bad as what was there before.  But maybe it's just as good or bad in a different way, a way that helps you and not Captain Energy Cube to your left.  At least he doesn't have a rocket pack...

Rolling dice, buying powers, kicking tail and taking names, all in about 25 minutes...not bad.

Should you get King of Tokyo?  Only if you love fun.  Or even like fun a little bit.  Even if you hate fun...yes. Yes, you should buy King of Tokyo.

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