King of Tokyo is a dice rolling game in which you play as a monster trying to take over Tokyo city. The game was designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: the Gathering. It’s won numerous awards from Board Game Geek, including Best Children’s Game and Best Family Game.
Each turn, you roll six special dice. You may then re-roll any of those dice two more times. Then, you resolve the results of the dice by dealing damage, healing yourself, collecting energy, or earning points. At the end of your turn, you may spend your energy on cards that give you special powers.
The first player to roll a “hit” result enters Tokyo and deals no damage to anyone else. This player is now the king of the hill, and therefore a giant target for every other monster. If anybody else rolls hits, the damage gets funneled directly at the monster in Tokyo and only that monster. After taking any amount of damage, the monster in Tokyo may decide to leave, forcing the attacker to take control of Tokyo.
If you take control of Tokyo and survive in it until it’s your turn again, two exciting things happen. First, you earn two points just for being there at the start of your turn. Second, if you roll any hits while in Tokyo, you damage every other monster at the same time. If a monster drops to zero health, that monster is dead and out of the game.
The first monster to score 20 points, or the last monster standing, wins the game.
Richard Garfield is a genius designer. Like Magic for many of its fans, King of Tokyo is difficult to stop playing. It’s easy to explain and has a great theme for kids. The cards add an enormous amount of replayability because the deck is so large and only three are available at a time. The biggest fun of the game revolves around gaining different cards to create devastating combos.
The biggest drawback is essentially your own luck. If you get slammed with five damage, you’re usually forced to heal as much as your dice allow you to. Even worse, sometimes you roll an unintentional hit and the monster in Tokyo lets you take control. A monster with low health in Tokyo is a delicious morsel for the other players. That said, the lure of a new game with fresh beginnings is impossible to resist in King of Tokyo.
For more information about the game or its designer, click here.