Tabletop Game: King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo is a 2012 board game by Richard Garfield. You are a giant monster rampaging through Tokyo, and so are up to five friends. Rolling dice to determine the majority of your actions, the game is best described as a sort of bizarre lovechild of Yahtzee and Pokémon, soaked in a huge vat of kaiju tropes.

On each turn, you roll six dice a maximum of three times. (Like Yahtzee, you may keep rolls that you liked and reroll the remaining dice.) From these rolls you can gain points, deal damage to other monsters, heal damage inflicted by your opponents, or gather energy—the game's currency for buying special cards that make your monster more of a threat. Energy can also be spent for a few other gameplay actions. There is also the element of Tokyo—the game's board and special location. At most given times, a monster is occupying Tokyo—a risky position that can be very rewarding. You cannot heal while in Tokyo, and other players' attacks are automatically directed at you, but you gain points every turn you occupy Tokyo, and deal damage, when you attack, to everyone but you. When you choose to leave Tokyo (and you will want to, in order to heal) the last person to attack you is forced to then occupy it in your stead.

The game is won in one of two ways: You either win 20 points, or are the last monster standing.

An expansion to King of Tokyo, Power Up!, was released in summer 2013. It adds one new monster to the available options, Pandakai, and introduces evolution cards—monster-specific abilities unlocked with certain dice rolls that serve to make you even more ludicrously powerful. The advantages offered by the evolution cards show the start of tailoring certain monsters more towards certain strategies, rather than making the monster choices arbitrary a la the vanilla game.


King of Tokyo contains examples of:

  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever
  • Behemoth Battle: The game is all about kaiju battling each other.
  • Colbert Bump: It's probably not a coincidence that the expansion came out just a couple months after the game was featured on Wil Wheaton's Tabletop.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
    • Most of the monsters available. Gigazaur and The King are fairly obvious expies of Godzilla and King Kong, respectively, while The Kraken has a striking resemblance to Cthulhu (especially the mutations it gets in the Power Up! expansion). Meka Dragon could possibly be a nod to MechaGodzilla. Even Cyber Bunny has the forehead-chevron usually indicative of a Gundam.
    • In addition, Pandakai from the Power Up! expansion seems to be at least a wink and a nod to both Po of Kung Fu Panda and the Pandaren from World of Warcraft.
    • A Halloween expansion has Pumpkin Jack and Boogey Woogey.
  • LEGO Genetics: Want to make The King a winged monkey? You can. Give Gigazaur giant, power-sapping tentacles? Slap 'em on. Mutating your monster even further is one of the primary game mechanics.
  • Humongous Mecha: Cyber Bunny is an ordinary-sized bunny piloting one.
  • Just for Pun: This game loves puns. For example, the "urbavore" card, which shows a monster devouring a building.
    • Half the evolution cards in Power Up! seem to run on this. Fully 7 of Pandakai's 8 cards are puns.
  • Kill 'em All: One of the ways to win. You can even kill all the monsters if someone's dumb enough to drop a bomb (which damages everyone) when they don't have the HP to survive it.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The "Even Bigger!" card.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: A possibility. One of the cards is "It has a child!"
  • My Defense Need Not Protect Me Forever: The entire reason there are two ways to win. Monsters can become so powerful that their damage to each other either keeps negating or heals more quickly than can be dished out...but there are still always ways to win points.
  • Power at a Price: Taking over Tokyo means you'll gain more victory points each turn and also allows you to hit everybody outside Tokyo when you attack. It also prevents you from healing normally, and also means that everybody outside Tokyo will target you every time they attack.
  • Purposely Overpowered: You're giant monsters. You're supposed to all be powerful as all get-out.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Points are heavily implied to be a gauge of how much general chaos and destruction your monster is causing. Many of the cards that can redeemed for points are structures, like "skyscraper" or "gas refinery," implying that you destroyed said structures.
  • Tanks for Nothing: Subverted. You gain 4 VP from them and discard them afterwards, implying that you stomped them. You also take 3 damage, which means that the tanks did score a good hit on you.
  • The Tokyo Fireball: Poor, poor Tokyo.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Gigazaur and Meka Dragon.