King of Tokyo – 8.3

The Game

King of Tokyo is the second version of the game King of New York. The game is a dice rolling game that involves monsters taking over Tokyo. This is also a game that was introduced by the barbers. I thought it was the strangest game because it was the first introduction to die rolling games. The object of the game is to be last one standing or reach 20 victory points first. Lets get into it. ( I do own the power up and will add a review if people want it)

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The Set Up

The set up is pretty straight forward but seems a bit over whelming because there are a lot of parts. To start, each player take a monster of their choice. Each monster comes with a stand up figure and a monster board. Next you need to place all the game pieces on the table; playing board, tokens, energy cubes, dice and the deck. Be sure to set aside the lime green die, they will be used later on in the game.

Game pieces

lets take a second to go over the pieces and what they mean.

The monster boards are to help you keep track of you life points and victory points. There are two wheels on the board allowing you to count up and count down.

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The Dice have three of the faces showing a number and the other three show symbols. the symbols are as follows. The lightning represents energy cubes, the heart is health points and the hand is attacks.

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The cards

The deck of cards are basically power up cards or level up cards. They allowing you to do extra or avoid certain things during the game giving your monster a leg up. The number in the top corner is the cost of the card (we’ll get to that in a second). On the bottom on the card there is either, keep or discard and then the description of the card. Keep and Discard is exactly what it sounds like. Keep means that you keep the card through out the whole game. The cards ability for a keep usually has an ongoing effect or a triggered effect. Discard cards are used as soon as you purchase them and then immediately discarded. king_of_tokyo_cards-lg

How to play

Each player rolls the set of six die, the player with the most attack icons showing will go first.

With your boards life set you 10 (not 12) and victory points at 0. The first player to go, roles the dice. You can reroll the dice three times and you can keep any one that you want and reroll the rest exactly like Yahtzee. An example of some rolls are; if you roll three of any number you get that number in victory points, 3 3 3 = 3 victory points. If you roll an extra number you get one extra victory point added on, 3 3 3 3 = 4. Any attacks that you keep will attack the monster that is in Tokyo, the player that first rolls an attack will go into tokyo. Hearts that you keep will get you more life, you cannot exceed 10 unless you have a card that allows it. and a lighting bolt will get you one energy cube per lighting bolt. You can use the lighting bolts that you roll to spend on the cards.

Tokyo

Like I said earlier, the first player that rolls an attack goes into Tokyo. When a monster goes into tokyo you gain a victory point and whenever you start your turn in tokyo (meaning if you make it all the way back around to your turn again) then you get two victory points. The final benefit of being in tokyo is that when you keep an attack you attack all monsters outside of tokyo. That right everyone gets the “Ol’one, two”. Now here’s the catch, the double edge sword, the deal with the devil. When players not in tokyo attack, they attack you and you only (unless you are playing with 5-6 players, read rules). Heres the kicker, you cannot heal in tokyo. So if you are low on life you can leave tokyo and the player that attacked you will then go into tokyo.

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Game play continues around the table, you can buy cards at any point during your turn and you don’t have to reroll the dice .

Winning the Game

There is a winner when a player either kills off all the other monsters or a player is the first to reach 20 victory points.

The Review

I thought that King of Tokyo was the strangest game because I had never seen anything in this style of play. As soon as i started play though I could see that this is a game that I could get behind.

Learning curve – 8

The ability to understand this game is a little harder than then some. on the scale of learning and getting ahold of the game its on the lower end of the difficulty scale, but it has its difficulties. The hardest part for people to understand is Tokyo, yes this is what the game is centered on. Tokyo is hard for people to grasp because it takes them a while to understand what their monster is doing by either staying another round or when to leave or when not to go into tokyo. This concept get easier as you play the game. Since the dice roll is exactly like Yahtzee people pick that up right away. The second thing people have a hard time with is the victory points. The first part is trying to remember to give yourself a victory point every time you enter and start a turn in tokyo, but the piece players have a hard time with is getting victory point from the dice. It can get a bit tricky.

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Understandability – 7

King of Tokyo was recently updated with a new look and a few new monsters, because of this the rules have gotten a bit easier to read. Before the update the rules were very cluttered together and it was hard to find a rule if you had a dispute. Now the rules are a bit better as far a scalability goes, but it is still pretty over whelming. The rule book uses a lot of icons to help connect the dots but it makes the rules look cluttered and hard to hard at times. They do have a clarifications portion of their rule book but if a dispute is not settled there it can be hard to find a solution quickly.

Rulebook

Length – 8.5

This game is a great length, it doesn’t feel to long it’s not to quick in regards to the amount of time it take to set up the game. The only time it feels like a long game and you may lose players on this is when you get out, and its worse if you get out early. Most time that I play, when a  player is out they leave most of the time they come back for more but on occasion we lose them for good.

Construction and Durability – 9.5

This game is very well-built. The dice are the pieces that players touch the most and they are constructed of a strong plastic, they have a good weight, they were not over looked. The cards, game board, monster boards and monsters are all great. They are sturdy and a made to last a good long time. It helps a great deal that these pieces don’t have a lot of player interaction so the wear a tear of the pieces is significantly lower. The packaging of the box is a bit cheap and if you dont fit the monsters in just right they will bend or fray because they are only cardboard (Hey! that’s the name of the blog!).

Final Thoughts – 8.5

For anyone looking for a good family game this is it. You can play with no strategy and do just fine or you can use as much stratagy as you want. In the end this is a crowd pleaser and keeps people entertained. Some things to point out that I like about this game is that sometimes its nice to play a game that isn’t so cut throat. Now I know what you’re thinking how can this be, you kill other monsters, because of the nature of the game you have no choice on who you attack. If you are in Tokyo everyone gets it, and if you are out side tokyo the monster inside gets it. So there for not as cutthroat and people wont usually explode for targeting a certain player.

Credits

I am not affiliated with IELLO. I am reviewing this game of my own free will.

I do not own these photos.

 

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Smash Up – 9.6

This game introduced me to games

In the Beginning

This is my very first blog post ever, so let me get you to know me so you know me, you know? Right, I love games, obviously. I’ve been playing games for a few years now, but it feels like I’ve been playing for my whole life. The moment I was introduced to my first game of this type I was absolutely sucked in. Now when I heard that a few of my friends where into games I thought to myself, – ok so you guys get together and play like.. Sorry, na monopoly? No no, my friends these are no ordinary games. This first game that i’m reviewing is the game that started it all. This is the game that turned my brain inside out and made me think in new and obscure ways.

The Game – Smash up

Smash Up is a card shuffling/deck building game designed by Paul Peterson from Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG). The core game consists of 8, 20 card decks called Factions, and a separate deck refered to as the Base Deck. Since the games release, AEG has introduced expansions containing new factions, bases, and some add new game mechanics.

The Set up

Smash Up‘s game play is fairly simple and can be tought to almost any age that’s willing to sit put and listen. The portion of this game that makes it so great is that AEG left the door wide open for a large amount of strategy, which in turn can make the game really complicated.

To set up the game, start by placing a number of the base cards from the base deck to the playing surface, where the number of base cards equal on more than the amount of people playing. The game is built for four players, you can play with more but I don’t recommend it because it makes the turns very, very, long.

Now you select your factions. To do this determine a player to select their cards first. the first person selects only one faction and passes the rest to the following player. This continues untill all players have selected one faction. Once this is complete the remaining factions are then sent back around in reverse starting with the player who selected his first faction last.This continues till all players have to factions.

With the bases out and your factions shuffled together you’re ready to get to it!

How to Play

I would first like to mention that the rules to this game are highly important. I will only be going through a quick run through of how the game is played and won. Here is a link to the PDF version of the Smash Up Rules, and if you have any questions about them please ask me in the comments below!

To start, draw five cards, the turn starts with the person who woke up first this morning. during your turn you can play one “free” minion and one “free” action (shown below). Each minion has a power, in the case of the mimic below its power is zero and these are played on bases. Actions do not have a power and can be played on bases on minions or simply played (to effect play) then discarded. Players draw two cards at the end of each turn. Bases also have what appear to be a power, this is the bases break point. As minions get played on bases, the minions power total up to the breakpoint of the base, everyone’s minions total together to break the base. Once the base is broken and the current player has finished playing both free cards and any other cards allowed, then the base enters a scoring phase. The player with the most power towards the breakpoint is awarded first place, second place is awarded to the player with the second most power and so on. Before the base scores ( before victory points are awarded), players can play any of their cards that read before a base scores. this allows plays to change the order in which the victory point are awarded. If a player is able to change the power toward the base to be less the the bases breakpoint the base will still score.

 

Mimic .    StasisField

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Winning The Game

As you have probably figured out, victory points and the hot commodity in this game, the player to reach 15 victory points first wins the game, but keep an eye out on other players victory points because if two players simultaneously reach 15 victory points the game will proceed untill a player has the most victory points.

The Review  

Smash Up is the game that brought me into this crazy world of bizarre games. I was amazed how many different games I’ve experienced with just the core set of cards (now imagine having all the expansions at your fingertips). Not once have I been able to play the same game twice. This is what puts Smash Up and games with open-ended strategy strides ahead of the rest.

Learning curve

The great thing about Smash Up is that you can make it as hard or as easy as you want it to be. As soon as you are able to get through the rule book. It’s a fairly simple game with an awesome opportunity to master it.

Understandability

Like I mentioned before the rules are the most important portion of the game. This can prove to be one of the more difficult parts of the game. You must read the rules very carefully. If you are one of those gamers that run through the rules saying, “Blah, Blah, Blah” for a majority of them, then you best hand this off to a friend who is far more patient. Now don’t get me wrong, the rules are written very well and very clear, but because of the nature of the game it leaves a few open end and “up for interpretation” situations. An example of a rule that my friends and I had a hard time with is, the notation that reads, “at the end of the turn” vs “at the end of your turn”. For starters, we thought the difference between the two was “the turn” meant once all players have gone,  and we thought “your turn” was when you drew two cards. We eventually figured out that a turn begins when a players starts and ends when he or she draws two cards. So both notions mean the same thing in most cases except for if I am allowed to play a card out of turn. If the card says “the turn” the effects last till the current player picks up two cards. If the card says “your turn” the effects last till you pick up two cards ending your turn. Long story short.. PAY ATTTENTION TO THE RULE BOOK.

Length

Game length vary based on number of players. Most games I play last 45 minuets.

Construction & Durability

The cards are well made, and durable. I would go as far as saying they have the same quality as nice cards at a casino. Although if they are handled quite a bit you will notice wear and tear. After only a few months of owning the game a few cards began to separate in the corners. I placed all my cards in card sleeves and they do a fine job. AEG’s customer service is pretty top-notch though, and if you were to accidentally tear a card they would most likely send a replacement.

The box (especially the Big Geeky Box) is very well constructed and will last quite a long time. As you fill up the big geeky box be sure to pick up the box with two hands. If the box has all of the expansions filled into the rows and someone picks up the box with one hand, it could tear the dividers away from the wall of the box.

Final Thoughts

I love Smash Up, I’ve been playing this game for almost a year and a half now and can’t say that I’ve completely mastered it. I still have so much to learn and discover about different combos, including how my cards interact with my opponents cards.

Taking into consideration everything that was looked over, including the attention that needs to be paid to the rules, and the condtruction of the cards and boxes I give this game a 9.6 out of 10.

Being this is my first blog post I would love any and all feedback to help improve this review or my review process in general. Thanks and comment below!

Credits

Pictures were taken directly from AEG website. These photos belong to AEG I am not claiming them as my own.

I am not affiliated with Alderec Entertainment Group (AEG). I am reviewing this game of my own free will.