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King of Tokyo - Review

King of Tokyo box frontWhat's the most dangerous city in the world to live in? There are a lot of factors to consider when weighing the question – crime rates, environmental issues, amount of Swegway Hoverboard owners – but any sensible person will first and foremost consider the number of giant monster attacks in the area. And although New York can claim a fair few, Tokyo easily takes the crown.

In King of Tokyo, the dice game by Magic The Gathering creator and games design maven Richard Garfield, Tokyo's kaiju problem is worse than it's ever been – up to six giant rampaging monsters (ranging from the classic giant apes and lizards to the more esoteric, such as a rabbit in a giant Gundam-style mech suit) are loose in the streets and are duking it out to be crowned the King of Tokyo.

Once the players have selected their kaiju, battle commences! On their turn, a player rolls the six monster dice in order to gain attack other monsters, gain victory points or extra health, or earn energy cubes – currency which can pay for awesome monster upgrades, such as tentacles or wings. An extra head (which allows an extra dice) is an essential accessory for any monster-about-town.

There's a nice risk/reward at the heart of King of Tokyo – and indeed, at the heart of Tokyo itself. Only one monster can be in Tokyo at once, and while you're in there, you're hoovering up victory points and your attacks hit all the other monsters. Sound cushy? Problem is, when you're in Tokyo, everybody else's attacks only hit you. And the kicker? You can't heal in Tokyo.

Any time you’re attacked in Tokyo, you can yield it to whichever monster just clobbered you. So what do you do? Do you duck out and hope you can get some healing done? Or do you stay and cling on, hoping no-one will land the killing blow before you enough victory points to be crowned King of Tokyo? Or do you stay and attempt to murder all your opponents before they can do the same to you?

The mechanics of King of Tokyo are elegant and easy to grasp, and it's a speedy number too – most games will see a monster emerge victorious in around twenty to thirty minutes. It's the ideal warm-up game, something to get the competitive juices flowing and the rivalries for the evening established. King of Tokyo is the perfect royal rumble.

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