#Boardgame #FamilyFriday – When the King of the House isn’t the King of Tokyo (IELLO, 2012)

DESIGNER RICHARD GARFIELD MADE HIS NAME with Magic: The Gathering. I personally never got into the Magic craze; indeed, I have a bit of a hatred for Magic since The Great Magic Extinction Event very nearly caused the death of wargames and RPGs in America. But hobby gaming survived and Richard Garfield went on to make other games. Games like King of Tokyo (IELLO, 2012). That game won the Golden Geek Award in 2012 for Best Family Game, Best Party Game, and Best Children’s Game. Even today, eight years after its initial release, BoardGameGeek ranks King of Tokyo as the #48 Family Game and #261 overall. If I use BGG rankings for my collection it is the 21st-highest ranked game in my collection; easily the top 5%!

I had two reasons for playing King of Tokyo. First, I needed to work off my challenge. Second, I wanted to reintroduce the RockyMountainNavy Boys to the game as it is a good candidate for the Neighborhood Gaming Gang. King of Tokyo can play up to six making it a good game for rainy days in the basement for the NGG.

Let me state for the record here that King of Tokyo is not as highly rated by me as it is on BGG. I rate the game a solid 7 but that places it amongst the top 53% of my collection. It’s not that the game is bad; it just feels forced. I mean, the mechanics of King of Tokyo are fine. Roll dice (push your luck). Spend dice to gain VP or power, attack, or heal (dice pool). Beat up other monsters (conflict). Take Tokyo, leave Tokyo (area control). Buy cards for special power ups (hand management). King of Tokyo certainly captures the theme of monsters stomping Tokyo. The artwork is cute, the components top grade. On the downside, there is a very real possibility of player elimination in King of Tokyo. Thankfully, even if one is eliminated the game is short enough that you won’t have to sit by long before the others finish play. At the end of the day, King of Tokyo feels more like a series of individual races to 20 VP. Player interaction is all confrontational and almost exclusively though attacks. That doesn’t really bother me (remember, I am a wargamer first) but I don’t know if this game was first released today if the “modern” sensibilities of the larger BGG community would be as accepting of the game today as it was back then. Then again, it is still highly ranked. Go figure.

I can see King of Tokyo as a good game for the Neighborhood Gaming Gang. I recommended to the RMN Boys that they should use this game with the NGG but they were ambivalent about the idea. At six players maybe I need to keep this one for the inevitable Neighborhood Gaming Night. I really can’t see any other chances for this game to hit the table.

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