King of Tokyo – Power Up!… The Creatures have Character

Expansion Review

Base Game: King of Tokyo

Players: 2-6

Additional Playtime: 5 mins

Producer: IELLO

Designer:Richard Garfield

I’ll be up front with you on this one. There are few expansions I feel that fix almost every issue that I have with a game. But this expansion just nails it. If King Kong was as successful as this game, he’d never have fallen off that building.

King of Tokyo is fun. It had some issues but all in all it is a simple fast paced slug-fest (probably the best sentence ever) that can be enjoyed by both new and experienced gamers. It’s the sort of game that brings more players to the table. I’ve never felt the words “the more (monsters) the merrier” applied better.

Goof Review King of Tokyo Expansion-3 copy

Gameplay (+3)

I cannot scream this at game developers enough. If you’re going to have unique and interesting characters, MAKE THEM DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Make their abilities as interesting as their design. With the original, I once played a game where we had a lot more people play by using My Little Pony dolls and Lego.

Now, with the inclusion of Evolution cards, which you gain when you roll three hearts, there are so many more tactical decisions to be made. Do you keep the hearts when you don’t need all three but could get an awesome evolution or try for something else? It also gives you an opportunity to gain that little bit extra when you take a turn off to heal. And it means hearts have a purpose again while you’re in Tokyo (you can’t heal there. It’s not the most relaxing of places for a Kaiju). I always play with the variant that you start with an evolution card.

With expansions, a risk that games often run is that they turn simple games into something complicated or that new players cannot learn as easily. But this doesn’t suffer from that problem. It’s still simple enough for people to jump into. Maybe a few younger players don’t need the added cards, but for the most part you won’t have any issues teaching this game expansion and all.

Pros: ++Character powers +More versatility in the dice

Cons: Why wasn’t this in the base game?

Goof Review King of Tokyo Expansion-2 copy

Also…the addition of a giant lucky panda just makes me so happy.

 

 

Theme (+2)

By fixing the character issue with the unique powers, they’ve also fixed a glaring hole in the theme. Part of the reason people like Kaiju movies is all the cool powers these freaks of nature have. But in the base game there is no difference between a giant gorilla and a giant lizard. And that’s just not realistic.

With this expansion – when I play a genius bunny in a cyber suit, I feel like I’m a genius bunny in a cyber suit. When I want to be a Gorilla and eat giant bananas, I can. Rather than feel like cardboard cut-outs (which…you know…they literally are), I feel like the decision of who I play is important and a lot more fun.

Pros: ++Fleshed out monsters

Cons: No seriously, why was this not in the base game?

 

Fear the bunny!

Fear the bunny!

Production (+1)

There is something to be said for the ability to take this expansion so easily out of the base game. The cards don’t mix into the established deck, so there’s no fuss in separating the two. This leaves the game easily accessible to new players who may struggle with so many concepts.

As much as it doesn’t modify the result of the game, it’s worth noting that the card stock and artwork is consistent with the base game. And consistency seems to be something that expansions consistently have a difficult time with.

Pros: +Easy separation

Cons: None

A glimpse at the potential of these creatures

A glimpse at the potential of these creatures

Conclusion

This expansion is fantastic. I’m trying to write more after that but there’s not a whole lot more to say. I think if you bought this expansion at the same time you bought the base game then you wouldn’t look back. I know I haven’t.

King of Tokyo: Power Up! modifies the base game by:

+2

And seriously. If you’re a game designer, please look at King of Tokyo as a lesson worth learning from. Your characters need to be distinguished by more then just a cool look. If it fits the theme, fleshes out your game and makes your game all around more enjoyable, add player powers.

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