Critical Reviews - RAMPAGE!!!, er, I mean, KING OF TOKYO!!!!

Everyone once in a while, you find a game that is so enjoyable, complex enough to give a challenge yet simple enough for anyone to learn, that it captures your excitement; and King of Tokyo is that wondrous find.  From Iello games and designed by someone rather important in gaming history, let’s take a closer look at this hidden gem of a game.

Unfortunately, we had an excellent video that we completely lost for this one due to technical errors, so I apologize in advance as this is a beautiful game and once that really pops with color!
At its heart, King of Tokyo is Yahtzee with cards.  Yes, it really is that simple.  But, consider it competitive Yahtzee with cards where the goal is to destroy each other, while terrorizing the city of Tokyo. 

I was on the fence for a bit about buying this game.  It was designed by Richard Garfield, who some of you may have heard of.  That alone makes some people buy his games, but for me, I have not found anything he’s created or worked on that comes close to the success of Magic The Gathering.  Most recently I played his Kard Kombat game on the iPhone/iPad and thought it was a resounding bomb, so the thought of dropping $40 on something like this wasn’t appealing… but speaking of appealing, there was the artwork, which kept capturing my eyes.

KOT is a beautiful game.  The cards have a very unique art style (by Benjamin Raynal) and are very colorful.  While the main characters are all the same stat wise, their artwork and character tokens are all very unique and colorful as well.  Besides, what’s not to like about a gigantic pink cyborg bunny and Robot Gorillas?
As far as gameplay, it is very simple. Each turn, you will roll 6 black dice and get victory points, energy, attack symbols or healing symbols.  The goal?  To gain 20 Victory Points before anyone else, or, be the last monster standing, with all the others having taken enough damage to destroy them.

Like Yahtzee, you roll the dice, then can keep any you like, and reroll any you don’t like.  If you get 3 of any number, you score that many victory points.  So a roll of three 2’s gets you 2 points.  Each additional number of the same gets you an additional point as well.  So four 2’s will net you 3 total points while five 2’s will get you 4 total points.

Each Energy (Lightning) symbol provides you one energy automatically, which will be used to buy one of the 3 cards in play.  When a card is bought, a new one immediately replaces it.  While that sounds “Deckbuildish” (if that’s a word), it’s not really a deck building game.  Some cards have a “keep” effect where they stay in front of you and you gain the rewards while some have a “discard” effect, where you will purchase them, play them immediately, and reap or wreak any effects.

The first player to roll and keep an attack symbol can enter Tokyo.  Why do you want to be in Tokyo? Simple.  While in Tokyo, each damage you roll deals one damage to ALL the monsters outside of Tokyo.  Think of it like you are chomping on skyscrapers and spitting out metal at them, so to speak.  However, while in Tokyo, all the monsters outside of Tokyo that roll a damage, will damage you.  Now you can, whenever you take damage and are in Tokyo, choose to get out and let the monster who damaged you take your place, and as such, this is the primary decision you’ll be making through the ebb and flow of the game.

Overall, this is a very fun game, and one that can be played by almost any age.  Keep in mind though that it is not highly strategic game, just one with slight strategies sprinkled in, so if you are thinking this is Ascension with Dice, no my friends, it’s not.  However, if you like light deckbuilding games, enjoy Yahtzee like mechanics, or just plain like gigatronic size monsters crushing things, this game is an enjoyable find and even more fun to play.

Final Score from 1 to 10 Crits with 10 being the highest?:

 

References:

Board Game Geek's Page: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/70323/king-of-tokyo

Iello's Web Site (Will need a translator as it's in French): http://www.iello.fr/indec.php/iello

 

 

 

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