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Published on May 5th, 2013 | by Colin


Cardcore Gamer: Hail to the King, baby.


If you’ve read my three previous wordguffs, then you’ll hopefully be indoctrinated ready to hear more about some actual games. Don’t worry, I’m going to start things off nice and easy with a game about colossal, cardboard monsters trashing Tokyo City and a big, chunky handful of dice. In classic game terms, this is Yahtzee zapped with a super-science embiggening ray; Join me to find out who is the real King of Tokyo!

Designed by Richard Garfield of Magic:The Gathering and Netrunner card game fame, King of Tokyo is a lovely little game of luck and smashy-smashy monsterism in which you and your (current) friends try to rack up points by barging into Tokyo and park your gigantic monster buttocks there for as long as possible, or die trying. The latter scenario will happen rather a lot, as while the dice you roll every turn will provide positive things such as energy, health or more victory points, they can also roll nasty, scratchy claws which, if ignored, can shred you into confettizilla rather quickly.

With only 6 health left, The King is dead.

See, the problem is that while you’re chilling out, eating tanks and corner shops in Tokyo, your attacks will hit everyone on the outside, but their attacks will only hit you. And they outnumber you and you have a maximum of 10 health and they roll six dice each.

It’s ok, there’s no shame in running away to save your scaly, slimy or armoured hide, sometimes a “tactical retreat” can be advantageous, especially if the person who attacked you is low on health, because when you choose to run away, they have to enter Tokyo in your stead and, more crucially, in Tokyo those lovely little hearts that come up on the dice do not heal you. You may be a ten-story chicken, but you just tossed them into an entire abused-capital-city of hurt! As I mentioned earlier, the whim of the dice may provide you with more than just violence and health, you can roll three-of-a-kind numbers to score some extra points, and store up energy to buy nifty new mutations and cause addition chaos:

The 2013 Kraken comes with the following options:

The 2013 Kraken comes with the following options:

The cards in King of Tokyo offer a plethora of fun ways to up your Kaiju status, be it stylish armour plates, psychic powers, or apocalyptically bad breath, you can always find something to get your (extra) head in the game and offer a lot of necessary variety to each play through. The way the cards mix things up is crucial, because King of Tokyo is, at heart, a very simple and random game of push-your-luck risk management. Were it a longer, or more complex beast, this might become a problem, but It’s a 20 minute filler which never fails to raise smiles around the table every time I introduce it to new people. It’s easy to teach, attractive and on the right side of competitive; well produced, nicely themed, consistently entertaining and a great, inexpensive way in to board gaming for new players.

You can see my full video review of King of Tokyo right here.

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