When I was a small child my mother introduced me to the king of all monsters, Godzilla. Next to nuclear bombs & tsunamis; Godzilla & the rest of the Kaiju (giant monster) that live inland & under sea are the most destructive forces to hit the country of Japan. To this day I am still not sure how they can rebuild their infrastructure so quickly?

For in the King of Tokyo you are the destructive Kaiju that roam in & out of the capital city of Tokyo, Japan. King of Tokyo was designed by the legendary creator of Magic: the Gathering, Richard Garfield. Published in 2011 by Iello Games for 2-6 players, ages 8 years to adult, & may take thirty to forty-five minutes to play..

In King of Tokyo you will become one of the six giant monsters that are included in the game. Each player will place their monster outside of the game board which has a spot for Tokyo, usable for 2-4 players. And a spot for Tokyo Bay, this spot will be used for the 5-6 player version of the game.

There are sixty-six cards the are also included. These become your upgrades for use throughout the game. They will be shuffled & three will be laid out face-up. At the end of each players turn that player will be able to purchase a card for its energy cost. Each of the cards have an effect that will either be kept to use through the game or to discard with an immediate effect. As one card is purchased then another will replace it.

Eight large dice are also included. Instead of pips on each die there will be a symbol. On the dice you will find the numbers 1-3, a claw symbol, an energy symbol, & a heart symbol. Two of these dice are used for obtaining bonus cards.

Each player will pick their favorite monster token & take the matching monster board. All players will take & spin the dial for victory points, represented by a star, to zero. And their health dial, represented by a heart, will be spun up to nine.

We decide who goes first by rolling the main six dice. The first person to get more claws than any other player will go first. The first player will roll their six dice. After the first roll you are allowed to keep any dice you want to trying to match at least three-of-a-kind in 1s, 2s, or 3s. Then that player may make an additional two re-rolls with the remaining dice to try to gather more numbers or to collect energy to by the bonus upgrade cards.

Gathering the numbers is an important part of the game. If you gather three 1s you get 1 point. If you gather three 2s you will get two points, & if you gather three 3s you will get three points. But if you gather an additional one or more of each number you will gather one additional point for each other number past the original three.

If the first player ends with a claw symbol on a die at the end of their turn then they must go into Tokyo. Once a player takes Tokyo they will get a victory point. Once in Tokyo a player may start doing damage to opponents & taking damage.

If a player is in Tokyo or in the bay & another player damages them they will be allowed to escape that area after they take the damage. Once they leave, the player that inflicts the damage must take their place. The worst part about being in Tokyo is that you can not heal using the dice. You can only heal as long as you are outside of the city & the bay.

There are several ways to win in King of Tokyo. One is to gather twenty victory points or to be the last monster standing. Each time you enter Tokyo or Tokyo Bay a player will get one victory point. When you decide to stay in after taking damage on your turn you will get two victory points. Rolling three or more of a kind of any number on the dice will get you victory points. There are even upgrade cards that will allow you to gain victory points. But staying in to get points is hard to do & is very dangerous. Also as you stay in Tokyo, as you roll claws you will deal that amount of damage to each other monster outside the playing board.

While outside of Tokyo you want to try your hardest to knock out the monster on the board. With help of upgrades & rolling really well this can be done in a few turns. Plus if you were damaged then you can heal by rolling hearts.

I liked this game from day one. It is a lot of fun. I know many a review has been written on this, but it is a game I actually taught my parents how to play. They are in their 60s & not gamers. My mother, who got me into giant monster movies, actually enjoyed this game.

To make this game even better Iello has released a set of promo cards which they give away at most of the big gaming conventions. Iello also give away a promo of the giant Space Penguin to winners of their tournaments.


Iello also has two expansions that add quite a bit to the base game. Power Up! brings in a giant panda & gives each base monster upgrade cards that can be purchased with hearts. And the Halloween expansion which includes a giant pumpkin-headed monster & gives costumes to the base monsters.

Anyone can learn how to play this game. It is super simple & is now available at most big box retailers. Kids love to play this game & will keep their attention as it doesn’t take that long to play. And the art will remind everyone of cartoon monsters.

Good luck on being the last monster standing & game on!

-Christopher Richter
Twitter: @Boardgaming_FTW