Risks versus Rewards

Last night was my board gaming night, and because our group has gotten slightly large, think eight in total if everyone shows up, we have started splitting the group to play two different games (there aren’t many games out there that comfortably plays eight).  However, the group splitting allows for two smaller games to be played, which opens up the gates to almost everything.  The group I ended up in was playing King of Tokyo, which is a fantastically fun, simple, and quick game (I was very thankful for the quick because I just flew in from the East Coast).

Image credit: http://www.iellogames.com/KingOfTokyo.html
Image credit: http://www.iellogames.com/KingOfTokyo.html

The objective of the game is to score 20 points before any of the other city destroying monsters do.  The most straight forward way to get points is to take Tokyo and stay there as long as you possibly can.  The longer you are able to stay, the more points you get.  There are other ways to get points; by rolling three 1s, 2s, or 3s (which yields 1, 2, and 3 points respectively), or by cards, though those are random.  So, typically, you will try your best to take and stay in Tokyo.

The other results on the dice are claws for attacks, lightning bolts for energy, and hearts for health.  You get a total, not counting abilities from cards, of three rolls to try to get your desired rolls.  You need energy to buy cards, so those are always good to save.  You generally want to keep pairs of numbers, hoping a reroll will get you a third so you can get points.  And attacks allow for, well, attacking.  Each monster starts with 10 health and each claw will take one away.  When you are in Tokyo, your attack dice apply to every monster outside.  However, every monster outside will only attack the one in Tokyo.

So, you need to weigh the risks versus rewards of staying in Tokyo.  I feel that this game explains risks and rewards quite well, and quite simply.  Staying in Tokyo will give you guaranteed points.  However, everyone else wants to get their monster into Tokyo as well, so they are going to keep a lot of their attack dice, hoping to make you yield (once any monster hits you when you are in Tokyo, you can yield Tokyo to them).

It is important to keep in mind that heart dice do not count when you are rolling while in Tokyo, so you need to constantly pay attention to your health and how much damage everyone else is looking to keep.  If you stay in Tokyo too long, you will die and thus are out for the rest of the game.  If you get out too soon, you forfeit points you could have gotten.  So, it is a constant weighing of the risks of staying versus the rewards of staying.  If you are like me, you will stay too long and get killed very quickly in the game.

This, however, brings up another avenue to winning: killing all the other monsters.  This is usually more difficult to do, but if you can manage to get a good combination of powers from the cards, then your damage output will increase dramatically.  This makes eliminating all the other monsters much simpler.  But, it does require you to keep more lightning bolt dice in the beginning and the cards are completely random.  So, do you risk stockpiling energy with the hope that good power cards will be drawn and thus reward you?  Or do you hop into Tokyo and see how long you can survive?

If you haven’t had a chance to play King of Tokyo, you should definitely check it out.  If you know of other fun, simple, and quick games that are similar to King of Tokyo, please leave a comment and/or share on Twitter.


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