Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thursday Nerdsday ~ King of Tokyo

Has it really been over a year since the last Thursday Nerdsday post? Nevermind, don't answer that.

I've been busy, you guys.

Well, it's back now and we have a whole bunch of new games that I will be sharing with you in the weeks and months to come.

Up this week, King of Tokyo!

This was actually one of the first purchases we made when we started to get back into playing board games, and was one of the first that we started playing regularly with the kids. The recommended age is 8+, but that age is clearly just a recommendation as our 7 year old is generally the one winning this game every time we play.

He's been playing this one for almost 2 years now, and winning.

Seriously, he and I played 5 rounds yesterday while I was taking pictures for this post. He beat me 4 times in a row. And he told me that I needed to tell you all that.

The game can be a very quick one once you get the rules down and are familiar with playing, averaging about 20-30 minutes. The first time you play it, the game will likely take about 45 minutes or so, depending on how many players you have. The game is meant for anywhere between 2-6 players, though I'd say it is probably the most fun with 4 or more.

Each player chooses a character, then selects the play piece and cardboard tracker for that character. I like to either play as the Giga Zaur or the Kraken. No reason, just my personal preferred monsters. My son almost always plays as The King, which makes sense because he almost always wins. The cardboard tracker has wheels for victory points (stars) and life (hearts).

You begin the game with 0 victory points and 10 hearts (life). The goal is to defeat all other players. To do that, you can either kill everyone (if hearts reach 0, you are dead) or you can acquire 20 victory points.

To begin play, you roll six black dice.  You have three rolls per turn, saving the dice you wish to keep with each roll.

Heart icons heal you one tic on the life wheel. You can only heal when you are not in Tokyo. If you are in Tokyo, you cannot heal, but you do acquire victory points faster.

Paw icons attack other players. All attacks occur only on players in other locations. For example, if you are in Tokyo and roll 3 paws, you attack all players not currently in Tokyo 3 hits.

Lightning bolt icons each earn you one energy gem (the little green cubes...we call them candies, no idea why). Energy gems are used to purchase cards. The cards all vary in terms of cost and the powers they confer. Some must be discarded to be used, others you keep with you.

Numbers (1, 2 or 3) give you victory points. In order to acquire victory points, you must roll 3 of the same number. If you roll three 1's, you earn one victory point. Three 2's equal 2 points. Three 3's equal 3 points. If you roll additional dice of the same number, you earn one additional point over what number is showing (if you have five dice with 3's, you would earn 5 points).

The first player to roll a paw goes to Tokyo without conducting an attack. Just for traveling to Tokyo, you gain one victory point. Only one player can be in Tokyo at a time unless both locations are being used. Each turn began in Tokyo earns you 2 victory points, so being there has its advantages for sure. You cannot heal while in Tokyo, though, so you are quite vulnerable to attacks, especially as the number of players increases. When playing with 5 or 6 players, Tokyo Bay is also used, which complicates the game more.

All attacks are played on players not currently in your location. If you are the monster currently in Tokyo, you attack everyone outside the city. Likewise, all monsters outside of Tokyo attack the one (or two) in Tokyo.

Any attack made by a player outside of Tokyo results in a choice by the person in the city. They can opt to leave Tokyo (necessary to heal), which forces the person attacking them to go to Tokyo. The player who opts to leave during an attack may escape, but must still take the damage dealt before leaving.

The game seems fairly complicated while I'm sitting here writing out the rules, but I promise you that you will get it quickly. My son usually kills me by attacking me while I'm in Tokyo and cannot heal. ( usually works). He never bothers trying to win with victory points, opting to kill his opponents first.

It is a game of mixed strategies for sure, as there are a few ways to win and a few ways to die. You're constantly trying to rack up points, acquire energy gems, attack everyone else and make sure you don't die...all at the same time.

It helps if you develop a signature roar to go along with your monster. I highly recommend that, and this game.


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