It can be difficult to find a game for up to six players that isn’t a “party” game like We Didn’t Play Test This At All or Cards Against Humanity or more serious, like Elder Sign or Citadels.
Even more challenging is to find a game that is also good with fewer than the maximum players. Is the game as fun with three players as it is with six? Or is the game meant to be played with a full group?
King of Tokyo is a fun game for three to six players. It is light hearted but not completely silly. It’s become a go to game for us during Board Games and Burger Night, especially before the entire pack arrives.
The premise of the game is simple : giant monsters are attacking Tokyo. You win if YOUR giant monster gains 20 victory points or is the last monster standing.
Players roll six dice (usually). One side of each die has a 1, 2, or 3 on it. The other sides have a monster paw, a heart, or a lightning bolt.
The numbers are victory points. You must get a three of a kind to earn VPs. A three of a kind earns you face value. Meaning, three ones equals one VP. Three threes equals three VPs. This makes no sense to me given the equal probability of rolling a 1, 2, or 3. If you roll more than a three of a kind you add one VP for each additional die. Four ones equals two points.
The monster paw allows you to damage other monsters. If you are outside of Tokyo you deal damage equal to the number of paws rolled to all monsters INSIDE of Tokyo. If you are inside Tokyo, you deal damage to all monsters OUTSIDE of Tokyo. Monsters start with ten life. You die at zero.
Hearts heal one point of damage, but only if you’re outside of Tokyo.
Lightning bolts are energy, and you use energy to buy event cards.
Roll six dice. You may keep or reroll as many as you’d like.
Optional : Roll a second time, keeping or rerolling as many as you’d like, even those you rerolled already.
Optional : Roll a third time. You must keep all the dice you’ve rolled.
Resolve all dice. You may buy cards after rolling. If you rolled monster paws you must damage other monsters. If you damage a monster in Tokyo, they may leave Tokyo. If so, you must enter Tokyo. Gain one victory point for entering Tokyo.
If you survive an entire round in Tokyo (all players take a turn) gain two victory points.
Cards allow you to gain victory points, gain abilities, deal damage to monsters, and heal.
That’s about it – King of Tokyo can be taught to someone in less than five minutes. It is a lot of fun an has pretty decent replay value. The monsters are cute, and since they all have the same statistics you can pick the one that looks the coolest to you.
At $32, King of Tokyo is kind of expensive. I would never pay the $45 retail price. Even more ridiculous is the $20 expansion pack. I know people love pandas, but I am not shelling out $20 for one.
Despite the high price compared to other games of equivalent “size” or complexity, we still love King of Tokyo. It’s just the right amount of fun and depth for our Sunday night groups.