King of Tokyo
Strategic Depth: Beginner
Setup Time: <5 mins.
Play Time: 15 to 35 mins.
Players: 2-6 (Best with 4 or more)
Mechanics: Player Elimination, Dice Rolling, Press Your Luck, Card Drafting, and Area Control
Production Info: 2011 | IELLO | Richard Garfield
King of Tokyo is a game from Richard Garfield for 2 to 6 players in which you will be able to play as mutant monsters, gigantic robots, or various alien-beings in order to become the one and only King of Tokyo. At the start of each turn, you roll six dice, which show the following six symbols: 1, 2, or 3 Victory Points, Energy, Heal, and Attack. Over three successive throws, choose whether to keep or discard each die in order to win victory points, gain energy, restore health, or attack other players who think Tokyo is their territory. The fiercest player will be crowned King of Tokyo and will end up facing all the other monsters alone!
- The Good -
Easy To Learn
The concept behind King of Tokyo makes it very easy for beginners to learn quickly, which is always a good thing. Being able to draw in non-gamers easily with about 5 minutes of instructions is always a good choice at your game night. I have been able to get my 7-year-old nephew to fall in love with the game along with my parents who are 66. The game's simplicity is one of it's strongest features.
King of Tokyo has a lot of player interaction and is usually a huge centerpiece for players enjoying the game. Many times you are attacking another player or you are being attacked throughout the game and this helps with the playful player interaction. It is a strong component of this game but also doesn't make it overly competitive which really helps provide fun gameplay for a variety of skill levels.
Varied Dice Components
I tend to compare King of Tokyo to Yahtzee on steroids. You get three rolls in the game just like Yahtzee but you have so many more options in King of Tokyo. You can use a claw to hurt an opponent, a lightning bolt (energy) to help towards purchasing power cards, or earn victory points. These varied dice components make the game very enjoyable and there is a fun "press your luck" mechanic as you are typically drawn to chase large amounts of a certain icon type. These hard choices and the feeling of risk makes the game very compelling.
- The Bad -
Lack of Variability with Monsters
The monsters are really fun to look at and play with but unfortunately, they all have the same powers. This was my biggest problem with the game after buying it and playing multiple times. I ended up buying the expansion, which solves this problem for the base game. The decision making with dice is the main strategy with the base game since the monsters all have the same powers. The expansion adds more variety to rolling with 3 heart combo to get power cards for your specific monster, which makes the game more complex.
Many new players like that the game does not take very long but the more you play the more you realize that the game could benefit from longer play. There are a lot of cards with the game that you can buy which is a huge plus but you only get to cycle through a few most games because King of Tokyo plays through so fast. People who have played the game several times tend to all agree that they wished the game duration would be longer to develop more of a strategy.
- Overall -
King of Tokyo is a great introductory game that is fun for all ages! The monster concept draws in both adults and children. Also, everyone loves to roll dice and the concept, like Yahtzee, that you get to roll three times makes it very compelling. This one of the best games out there with a short game set up and duration of thirty minutes or less. IELLO (publisher) has recently released a 2nd edition with improved graphics and has also published multiple expansions that you can find under our Expanding The Game section.
The following summaries are meant to be a high-level reminder of how to play this game. If this is your first time playing, we highly recommend that you read your board game's included rule book which will go into much more depth. You can download a digital PDF copy of the official rules by clicking the button below. There are also a few video tutorials near the bottom of this section to help all you visual learners out as well.
- Setup Overview -
- Each player chooses a Monster and takes the corresponding figure and Monster board.
- Place the Tokyo board at the center of the table
- Shuffle all the cards into one big deck.
- Deal the first three cards face-up on the table next to the Tokyo board. Place the tokens nearby that are designated for the cards.
- Put the black dice at the center of the table. Set the green dice aside (some cards allow you to roll the green dice).
- Form a pile of all the energy cubes.
- 2 to 4 players use only Tokyo City and 5 to 6 players use both Tokyo City and Tokyo Bay.
- Game Play/Player Turns -
The game plays clockwise. Each player rolls 6 black dice and the player who throws the most claws goes first.
1. Roll Dice- On your turn, you can roll the dice up to three times, just like classic Yahtzee.
2. Resolve Dice- You can resolve dice in any order, but you must resolve all of them. This is how you can score victory points, claw other monsters, or heal yourself outside of Tokyo.
3. Enter Tokyo- The first player to enter is the one who resolves any amount of claws at the end of their turn.
4. Buy Power Cards- You now may buy one or more of the three face-up cards. To buy a Power card, spend as many as the cost indicated at the top of the card.
5. End of Turn- Certain power cards effects activate the end of a player's turn.
- Victory Points: If a triple 1, 2, or 3 is rolled, that player scores that many Victory Points. Each additional roll of that type is worth an extra Victory Point.
- Energy: Each lightning bolt die allows the monster to take an energy cube. There is no need to roll triples like with Victory Points. The great part of the energy cubes is that they can be saved from turn to turn.
- Attack: Each claw symbol results in a point of damage dealt to monsters who are NOT in the same place as you. Each damage results in the loss of one life (heart). If a monster loses its last life they are out of the game.
- Heal: Each heart symbol allows the monster to heal one lost life from their own monster card. A monster can't go about 10 hearts unless with a power card.
- Winning -
The winner is the person whose monster who reaches 20 victory points or is the last survivor is crowned King of Tokyo!
- Tie Breakers -
If you reach 20 victory points and reach zero hearts (which is your life) in the same turn because of a Power card, you are eliminated. You must survive your turn to win. If all Monsters are eliminated at the same time then everyone loses!
- Great Instructional Videos -
Here's a few helpful instructional videos you or your group can watch to learn how to play this game visually.
How does a player enter Tokyo?
The player who resolves their dice with at least one claw will enter Tokyo first. Claws do not cause damage to other players when first entering Tokyo or Tokyo Bay in 5 or 6 players.
Can you heal yourself with hearts inside of Tokyo or Tokyo Bay?
No, it is the only place that you cannot heal yourself and makes a balance to the game.
How does a player leave Tokyo or Tokyo Bay?
A player would have to yield or die and can only leave after they are attacked with claws. They cannot leave until after someone attacks and that player immediately goes into Tokyo.
What is the difference between "keep" and "discard" cards?
When you buy a Discard card, its effect happens immediately. You can't save it for later. The keep cards can be saved until you use it. Some keep cards you discard after one use and others stay throughout the entire game.
Hearts can heal monster's so is there a limit that is allowed for each monster?
Yes, monster's can't go above 10 hearts unless a specific card allows it.
How do attacks work if you are inside Tokyo?
If you are in Tokyo, you deal damage to all monsters who are not in Tokyo and when you are outside Tokyo you only attack the monster inside Tokyo.
Alpha Monster: Only gain 1 victory point when you successful roll claws and do damage. You do not get any points for card effects that cause damage.
Death From Above: You are considered in Tokyo if you are in Tokyo City or Tokyo Bay. So you can’t use this ability to get 2 victory points if you are already inside Tokyo. This card forces a monster out of Tokyo (even if there is an open Tokyo space). If both Tokyo spaces are occupied, you choose who to kick out.
Fire breathing: If the monster you are attacking is also your neighbor (seated directly to your left or right) and you hit them with at least 1 claw die, then they take 1 additional point of damage.
Frenzy: You take another turn immediately. This means your current turn ends with no more card purchases or resolution, and you go to step 1 of a new turn.
Rooting For The Underdog: At the end of your turn, if you have the fewest VP’s you gain one. This card only works if you have the absolute lowest VP’s if tied with someone else it doesn’t apply.
Spiked Tail: you only add +1 damage when you cause damage with claw dice. You do not get to add +1 damage for other card effects.
Stretchy: You can spend 2 energy to change one of your dice to any result. You can do this a many times as you like per turn as long as you can pay the cost. This card can be used to affect the dice results of other cards (Like camouflage) as long as you can pay the cost for each die you want to affect.
Wings: Spend 2 energies to negate damage to you for a turn. You can activate this card at any time during an opponents turn, as long as you have the energy to spend.
BUY THIS GAME
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Highest Price: $179.92 (Jan 14, 2012)
Lowest Price: $17.39 (Aug 07, 2015)
Average Price: $65.06
*According to CamelCamelCamel.com (03/27/2018)
Expanding The Game
Below are various expansions to the King of Tokyo board game. Click on the images to learn more about what is offered in each expansion game.
If you like how this board game plays, you'll definitely want to check out these great games which play similar.