So, on Saturday night, we sat down and played King of Tokyo.

The box says 8 and up, 2-6 players, 30 minutes. It seems to me that if the child is old enough to play Yahtzee, s/he is old enough to play this. The sweet spot of players is probably 4-5 (we played with 4). 30 minutes seems long by about 10 minutes (then again, I was pretty sure that we only went around the table 3-4 times per game… Dman explained to me that, no, we went around 7 or 8 so my time sense may be off a bit). It’s a simple game to just pick up and play. We spent only a moment with the instructions before we started rolling our dice… I’d say that it’s simple enough for me to break it down for you here:

You are a monster in Tokyo Bay (monsters include a giant ape, a giant lizard, a giant mechabunny… you’ll recognize the archetypes). You have 10 hit points. You have 0 Destruction points.

Everybody rolls the six (identical six-sided) dice that come with the game and the person who rolls the highest number of Whack!s moves ahead to Tokyo…. everyone else remains outside in the Bay. And the game then starts.

Each die has six faces with the following: 1, 2, 3, Lightning Bolt, Whack! (a paw print), or a Heart. Each person rolls the dice 3 times, keeping whatever dice s/he would like to keep after each roll. You get destruction points by rolling triples of the numbers (and quads or quints or sexts are worth 1 or 2 or 3 additional points, respectively), you get energy by rolling the lightning bolts (energy can be used to buy cards), you heal points of damage you’ve taken by rolling hearts (unless you’re in Tokyo), and you do damage by rolling a Whack! (If you’re in Tokyo, you do damage to everyone else… if you’re everyone else, you only do damage to the monster in Tokyo. Watch out, however. If you do damage to the monster in Tokyo and that player cedes the city, *YOU* will find yourself in Tokyo! You get 1 destruction point by taking Tokyo and 2 destruction points if you’re holding Tokyo at the start of your turn.)

The cards contain stuff as simple as a one-time buy of Destruction Points to additional powers to attacks on your fellow players. (Those of you who are fans of the movies the game is based upon will be tickled by each of these cards… you’ll recognize each event. “The National Guard!” “Tanks!” “Extra Head!”)

You win by either being the last monster standing or by being the first to get to 20 Destruction points.

That’s pretty much it. You’re ready to play. It’s family friendly, it’s quick, it’s fun, it has enough strategy for the hardcore gamers in the group while is light and fluffy enough for the casual gamers who may show up. Most importantly, there is plenty of space for smack talk. This was a fun, fun, fun game. You should introduce your group (or kids!) to it.

So that’s my recommendation for you this week.


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com


  1. If I had a complaint, it’d be that each monster is functionally identical. There is no difference between playing the Kraken or playing the Alienoid and you’d think that there would be… that said, there’s no saying that this monster is a gamebreaker while that one sucks. It’s a matter of taste. I’m sure we’ll come up with alternate rules eventually that say that this monster also gets an energy when they roll trip 1s or something while that monster starts with 12 hit points and this other one begins with 3 energy or something.

  2. It is a fun game and a very nice filler game because of hoe fast it is and the number of players it supports. I agree that the monster need to feel unique to make the game better.

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