What do giant rampaging monsters and Yahtzee have in common?  They are both an integral part of King of Tokyo, a silly and fun dice game.

Designed by Richard Garfield (who created Magic: The Gathering), King of Tokyo has the players taking on the sort of monsters who can be seen in Japanese monster movies wearing big rubber suits.  Each player chooses a monster (the monsters have no unique benefits -- at least in the core set -- so the selection is based on fun more than strategy) and gets the monster's matching card.  Victory goes to the player who reaches 20 victory points first or who reduces the other monsters to zero health.

Each turn, a player rolls the six special 6-sided dice.  After the first roll the player decides which dice to keep, then rolls the rest.  After the second roll the player once again decides which dice to keep, and rolls the remaining dice one last time.  A player getting three of the same number gets that many victory points (three ones give one point, three twos give two points, three threes give three points) with any additional matching dice giving an extra point.  Each heart rolled heals the player of one life point.  Energy results give energy cubes, which can be used to buy cards (which do everything from give extra dice to take away other players' victory points to doing more damage).  Three cards are always shown, and when one is bought it is immediately replaced.  A player can also spend two energy cubes to discard all three cards and place three more.
But would a giant monster game be without attacks?  When Tokyo is empty (at the start of the game), the first player to roll an attack becomes... King!  Of!  Tokyo!  This is both a blessing and a curse.  When a player becomes King of Tokyo, they immediately get a victory point.   If a player starts their turn as the
King of Tokyo, they get two victory points.  And when the King of Tokyo attacks, they deal the damage to every other player.  But it's not easy being King (of Tokyo): Every other player's attack hits the King of Tokyo, and the King of Tokyo can't heal by rolling hearts.  The King of Tokyo can withdraw from Tokyo after being attacked, and the player who attacked them becomes the new King of Tokyo.

King of Tokyo is easy to learn, easy to play, and tremendous fun.  The game is very quick, with the different monsters jumping in and out of Tokyo almost constantly.  Players gamble with every roll of the dice (Go for points?  Heal up?  Get energy to buy that card you really want?  Maul an opponent?) and it's as frustrating to miss a combo by one die as it is glorious to make the roll you needed.  The cards' artwork has a goofy feel to them, and while some card combinations work well, there's no one strategy that guarantees victory.  King of Tokyo is a terrific game to teach little kids, and it's also a blast for adults to play.

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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