My mother always told me when I was teen that nothing good happens after dark. I can’t image what she was talking about. In the newly revamped classic, King of Tokyo: Dark Edition, the giant monsters have returned yet again to wreck dice-rolling havoc in the street of Tokyo. This time they’re doing it at night … in the dark. So the question remains: Can anything good happen after dark?
KING OF TOKYO: DARK EDITION
by Author Name
In King of Tokyo: Dark Edition, players choose one of six, villainous, over-grown creatures to duke it out for sole supremacy of Tokyo. They do this through a series of dice rolls, bonuses, card plays and sheer grit. Be the first player to achieve 20 victory points or be the last monster standing to be crowned King of Tokyo.
For those not familiar with the decade-old classic, each player’s turn consists of a series of actions. The player rolls 6 dice collecting combinations to score victory points, damage your opponent, heal your injuries or obtain energy used to purchase power cards. Once those have been resolved the player may choose to “enter Tokyo” via the city or “the bay” as well as purchase power cards if they have the means. Living it up in Tokyo has its perks, but can also be your downfall.
The most common way to do damage to an opponent is by rolling the smash symbol of the die. You may then “smash” all opponents not in the same area as you (Tokyo vs not Tokyo – vice-versa) decreasing their limited number of life points. Don’t get too cocky because in this game what goes around comes around. You can also roll hearts (health), energy (spendable) or numbers (paired together give you victory points).
The power cards deck consists of 66 unique actions that can give you a boost as you wreck your way through the game. All cards offer some form of benefit while others have unfortunate side-effects. Choosing to spend your energy wisely is a must. With so many power cards available, replayability takes a step up as you’re likely to play multiple games before seeing the same cards twice.
One of the new features in this version is the wickedness track where you earn Wickedness Tiles by rolling sets of ones and twos. This acts almost like a mini-expansion to the standard game. Race up the wickedness track to equip your monster with even more dastardly abilities. It is pretty satisfying beating your opponents to a spot on the wickedness track and having free reign to choose the best tile ability for you.
A DIAMOND IN THE RUBBLE
All that game play nonsense aside, the real star of King of Tokyo: Dark Edition is the production quality. The artwork and components are just too cool. Paul Mafoyon’s Sin City-esq styled artwork gives the game an agressive edge that shines on the table. Each power card almost feels like it’s own mini movie exploding with even more bizarre creatures, ray gun toting robots and endless explosions. All 66, brilliantly crafted illustrations ooze style and theme. The energy components feel like something from a deluxe upgrade while the new tokens and wickedness track markers are top notch. The splashes of neon green and yellow highlighted with perfectly placed glossy, spot colors make it worth your hard-earned cash alone.
SO WHAT’S THE FINAL VERDICT?
King of Tokyo: Dark Edition at its heart is a gateway game. It’s quick, easy to teach and is accessible for a variety of ages. Those are all huge positives under any circumstance. The game is truly a blast and only got better as the player count increased. There is a lot of luck with the dice, but there are plenty of different strategic routes to travel down. Should I spend one more turn in Tokyo? Do I target victory points or should I just enjoy smashing my opponents? All equally enjoyable I might add. I played games with people age 5 to 65 and they all had a great time. When a game ended and my eight-year-old daughter immediately started resetting the game I knew we’d found a winner.
Along with the new additions and neverending deck of Power Cards, it feels like IELLO has squeezed everything it possibly could from the game. It also feels like a game that could potentially grow on you with the right group of friends and a dozen or so plays under your belt. Simply for the production genius alone (and my daughter’s newfound passion for giant monsters), I’m certainly willing to keep this one around and coming back to the table.
Game Play 4/5