Tuesday, 7 January 2014

King of Tokyo

My friend Nimo told me that he had heard that "this game was good" - heeding his advice, I bought the game and the rest is history.

Prepare for an epic Kaiju (怪獣, kaijū) showdown in Japan.



Name: King of Tokyo (2011)

Publisher: Iello

Players: 2 to 6. The Power Up! Expansion allows for an extra player. There is also a Halloween expansion that adds two extra players. But you wouldn't exactly want there to be too many players, as the game would take a LONG time to finish.

Age: 8+

Time to play: Box says 30+ minutes, but it can take longer.

Price Range (AUD)$44.50 to $70 depending on where you go and whether you buy locally or get it shipped. $44.50 to $50 including shipping is the best price you will probably find.

Is it reasonably priced? Not exactly, I think $30-$35 would have been more reasonable but that's an unrealistic price.

Availability: Quite widely available. Can be found online.

Genres
  • Player Elimination
  • Dice Rolling (Yahtzee-resembling)
  • Push your luck
  • Allusion/Tribute to Japanese "Godzilla" type movies
  • Family Game of sorts..

Andre Lim's Rating and Brief Summary:

7.1* out of 10. (Good - See my Rating Scale)

This is quite a good (but frankly not great) game with a mix of mild strategy and dice-rolling. I think it makes for a cool family game and can be thought of as a party game but not everyone will like it because of the long time between turns, the action involved and the factor of player elimination.

Players basically choose a Japanese monster and aim to be the last one standing OR the first monster to score 20 Victory points. Each of the victory methods has its own strategy. The former is obviously moe aggressive and risky (as you may be the subject of attacks too); whilst the latter will take a longer period of time but is more controlled and steady.

There are various powers and upgrades that can be purchased - but to earn "income" you must roll the right symbols on the dice. The dice are ued for everything - scoring points, attacking other players, healing or earning income (energy cubes) to buy upgrades.

The real downside of this game is the time it takes between turns and the player elimination. People can take a long time on their turn and when they choose to make decisions. This aspect of the game I feel is not very fun and creates what I would call a "spectator effect" where only 1 person is essentially playing. See Banana Matcho and La Boca for different examples of this effect.

*July, August 2014 and January 2015: Revised down from 7.8 after consideration - the player elimination and long time between turns bothers me, especially when playing this game with the maximum number of people. Don't get me wrong: it still is a rather good game but the game just doesn't quite make it to "great" when played with lots of people.

The Good:
  • Re-rolling dice is inherently thrilling to many people
  • Somewhat easy to explain
  • Has a video game feel, which may appeal to some
  • The idea of upgrading your character with powerful abilities is quite appealing
  • Probably better played with a group of vocal and outspoken friends

The Bad:
  • Player elimination - those eliminated often have nothing to do unless they are good sports and stay to watch
  • When there are lots of people playing, you often have to wait a long time before it's your turn again.
  • Perhaps little accountability when monitoring your victory points and life points; some people may not like this
  • Some people may not like fiddling around with their victory and life points
  • Some people may feel that this game is directed towards action-seeking people (I've even had someone suggest that the game is male-oriented! But from my experience I don't think that's necessarily the case).

What makes this game fun? 

The game gives you plenty of options for dice rolling and is fun if you're the sort of person who likes taking people on in direct confrontations and building up your character.









--- This concludes the basic overview of the game.
If you are interested in reading about the components & rules to the game, please read on ---









"Rules" & Components

Everyone picks a monster and starts off with 0 Stars (Victory Points) and 10 Health Points



The first player to EITHER kill all other monsters (reduce their life points to 0) OR reach 20 Stars wins.



Symbols on Dice

On your turn, you are given 6 dice, and here are all the possible symbols.

1's 2's and 3's: Help you score victory points but only if three or more of the same number are rolled (sometimes called the "Triple Rule"). This rule about rolling triples only applies to numbers and NOT the other symbols.

Hearts: Help you heal up to a maximum of 10 hearts, unless a special card lets you heal more. 1 heart = 1 health. You don't need to roll triples.

Lightning Bolts (Energy): Are the currency of the game and help you buy cards that give your character special abilities and powers (see below). 1 Lightning Symbol = 1 Energy. You don't need to roll triples. At the end of your turn you take energy cubes that correspond to the number of lightning symbols you rolled.

Claws/Paws: Help you attack other players. 1 claw represents one damage, 2 claws represent 2 damage etc. You don't need to roll triples.


Rules regarding Numbers: Triples are required to score points of "numbered" sides



For example, in the above situation, if this is your final roll, you will score 3 points for having triple 3. The double 2's are not enough to score points and the single 1 also will not help you score points. 

So if you rolled a triple 2, you would get 2 points. Triple 1 gives you 1 point.




For every additional three on top of your triple, you score 1 extra point. So if this above was your final roll, you would score 3 + 1 = 4 points. Of course you would also get 1 Energy and be able to attack for 1 damage. 


Rules regarding Lightning Bolts: Lightning bolts give you energy cubes

Just to give you an idea, energy cubes look like this: 




At the end of your turn you can buy something from the shop if you have enough energy cubes.



If this was my final roll I would receive 4 energy cubes. 

So in this example above, at the end of my turn I can buy something from the shop that costs 4 lightning (the cost of purchasing each card is stated on the top left corner of each card). I can't buy Acid Attack as that costs 6 energy. I can buy Healing Ray or Armour Plating though. 

When you buy a card, a new one is drawn such that only 3 cards are ever visible on the table. I believe you can buy as many cards as you want.

You can pay two energy cubes to refresh all 3 cards and draw new ones.



Rules on Rolling (Yahtzee style)

You can roll your dice 3 times in total. You can choose to keep anything you like or discard anything you like, it's up to you.

For example..



If the above was my first roll...




I could choose to keep my two lightning and re-roll the rest. Or I could choose to RE-ROLL EVERYTHING if I wanted to.

Here, I chose to keep the two lightning and re-rolled the other 4 dice. 



This was the result of my second roll. I got 3 lightnings and a pair of 2's and a lone 3.

So for my final roll, I can choose to keep the 3 lightning and re-roll the other 3 dice OR, as I said above, I can choose to re-roll the whole thing again. 

I won't show the last roll, but that's essentially the rules on rolling.

Extra dice

The game also comes with these two opposite coloured dice which are used if a card gives you the ability to roll more dice, such as Extra Head (cost: 7 energy cubes)




Rules on Occupying Tokyo



At the beginning of the game, no one is in Tokyo.

The first player to roll the Paw/Attack icon on their final roll enters Tokyo

Entering Tokyo has these advantages:
  • You gain 1 Victory Point for entering Tokyo
  • You gain 2 Victory Points if, at the start of your turn, you are still in Tokyo (ie. everyone else has had their turn and when it's your turn you're still alive and in Tokyo)
  • You can attack everyone when you're in Tokyo. So if you roll 3 Paw symbols on your final roll, you damage everyone for 3.

But being in Tokyo has disadvantages:
  • You CANNOT heal
  • EVERYONE, on their turn, can attack you. So if anyone else on the table rolls a paw icon on their final roll, it damages you.
So the only way you can be attacked if you are outside Tokyo is if the person currently inside Tokyo attacks.

Leaving/Yielding Tokyo

You can choose to leave Tokyo only if someone attacks you. 

When someone attacks you, you must let them know that you yield Tokyo immediately. The person who attacks you then replaces you immediately and they go into Tokyo (hence that person who attacked you also gets a Victory Point for entering Tokyo).





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