I first played King of Tokyo around 5 years ago around a Sramble’s house and remembered the ease and quick fire fun it brought, so when I was browsing a nerdshop for Warhammer and I spotted KoT on the shelf I thought I’d treat myself.
Set up: 2 minutes
Rules to Learn: Very Easy
Game Length: 20-40 minutes
Overview: 4.5 Barrys
The objective is to be the last monster standing in a 2-6 way battle royale. Each monster is a recognisable off-brand imitation Kaiju with The King being King Kong, Mechadragon being Mecha-Godzilla and so on.
I always pick the Giant Penguin, because penguins rock.
I read the rules in 5 minutes, if that. The rules are simple and apart from having to repeatedly explain to my sister-in-law what the dice means, everybody gets it. You can be up and running within 5 minutes of introducing a friend to the game meaning this is a great game to breakout at parties, especially since the short game time allows multiple games.
The objectives are simple, roll dice yahtzee style to achieve an outcome. 5 dice, with 1-3 points, money, attacks, and health and you can reroll your dice in any combination you see fit up to three times trying to achieve a specific goal.
To win the game you do this by killing all the other players, or amassing 20 points. The missus and mother-in-law would always go for points, me and the 9 year olds would always go for killing the enemy. The mother-in-law almost always won. Rolling 3 3s will give you 3 points, 3 1s 1 point. 4 1s would be 2 (4 3s gives 4).
To aide your game you can buy power cards from a deck of 50ish. These range from the sublime to the terrible, and can be as useless as spend 7 Crystals to get 8. Or buy an extra dice. My strategy was always buy the passive buffs, as you’re sure to win long term. The missus always bought points. And would usually beat me. You can also pay 2 crystals to discard the 3 available cards, do you can block your opponent who has been saving up to buy that auto-win card and hope the next three drawn cards are useless.
The rules are not complex, but there is enough scope beyond dumb luck to winning.
Slightly disappointingly the monster models you play with are cardboard cutouts, but they do the job. Can’t really complain about them as they look good and are reinforced cardboard so stand up to my big bear paws as well as sticky fingered 9 year-olds. But over time they will start to fall apart.
The energy Crystal’s that serve as money are a little bit small and can easily be lost, however you’re very unlikely to ever be short of them as games doesn’t last long enough for people to horde enough of them for it to be a problem.
There are currently 6 expansions to KoT each adding new flavours of gameplay and monsters. These tend to be a little cheaper than the core game at around £10-15 a go. These additions are welcome and will add a decent chunk to the strategy and gameplay but aren’t necessary unless you plays a lot. You can also buy monster packs which is just a new character that you can use. There are no special rules for each character, so you are paying for a skin effectively. However with a low price it isn’t such a problem.
At the time of writing, KoT is still in print so expect to pay £25 for a copy brand new. Or a little less on the second hand market. A
I love King of Tokyo, I have probably played it 30 times in the last year alone, the kids can pick it up quickly and friends and family are able to play and win. It is rare for a game to be this balanced that anyone can win, and still feel fair. You can team up with a mate, but it comes down to your dice and your strategy. Sitting quietly amasing points rather than big dick energy swinging your monkey paws around trying to win with violence is the strongest strategy, but your big dick energy should pick up on these untrustworthy players!
KoT is better with 3 or more, and I would argue that 4 players is the optimum number before it feel chaotic. 2-player mode is a little lacking.