In recent years, a large focus in board game design has been around modern board games, as opposed to classic ones. Modern games are non conventional, relying very little on chance and heavily on strategy. Classic board games are the opposite, focusing a lot on dice rolls or other random aspects, but can still have a little strategy to them. King of Tokyo is a modern take on a classic formula.
King of Tokyo is a board game by the great Richard Garfield (the creator of Magic: The Gathering and countless other great games). It is for 2-6 players, and it’s great for all ages. King of Tokyo is inspired by classic giant monster or Kaiju movies, like Godzilla, King Kong, Cloverfield—the list goes on. After choosing your desired monster, you set your eyes on Tokyo (as giant monsters often do). The goal of the game is to either gain enough points to take over Tokyo, or defeat all the other monsters by hitting their health down to zero.
King of Tokyo is a very simple and straightforward game, with a lot of similarities to the game Yahtzee. You roll six dice three times and you choose to keep whatever you roll for whatever combination of results that you want. Monsters themselves don’t have differing abilities (at least not until the expansion) so most of the strategy for the game comes from what dice you want to keep on any given turn, but even then it’s very much based on luck.
There isn’t a whole lot of strategy to King of Tokyo, which can be good or bad depending on who you ask. I would argue that the most strategy comes from choosing between attacking players or going for points, because both are win conditions and you can choose which dice you want to keep when you roll. If you have cards that reinforce attacking players, that’s a much more sound strategy than going for points, and vice versa.
However, because the game is as random as it is, it’s actually not difficult to go for both points and damage at the same time. Whoever is currently “In Tokyo” not only earns points every time it’s their turn again, but they also have the ability to attack all other players at once. What really turns the tide of the game is the ability cards. Using the energy that you gain from rolling lightning bolts can be spent on ability cards, which grant you game changing abilities, amplifying damage, earning more points, and even rolling extra dice!
I would say King of Tokyo’s biggest failing is its lack of strategy, but it’s also what makes it inclusive. King of Tokyo is a game simple enough that anyone can enjoy it and have a good time. And there’s nothing wrong with liking games based on chance, lots of games do it. But if you’re looking for a game with more strategy, or depth, King of Tokyo isn’t the best choice.
King of Tokyo is a modern take on a classic formula. It has more depth than a classic board game like Yahtzee or Sorry, but it still flows like a classic board game, so I think it would be easy to think there’s more to this game than there is.
Get this game if:
- You like traditional or classic board games. Ones that focus around dice.
- You like the aesthetic giant monsters fighting over Tokyo.
- You like a game for all ages, one that anyone in the family can play.
Don’t get this game if:
- You don’t like randomness and chance in games.
- You like more depth and strategy when it comes to board games.
King of Tokyo is an excellent fusion of the classic games of old and new modern games. Its a fantastic game for family and friends but a more competitive player might find it to be too random.