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King of Tokyo: Dark Edition

Duke it out for control of Tokyo, in a special collector's edition of this excellent dice game that features an all new aesthetic and component upgrade.

Published by IELLO, King of Tokyo is a fun push-your-luck dice game of fighting monsters. Well-worth playing in its own right, how does the Dark Edition fare?

Gameplay

Each player chooses a monster and takes the matching monster board and cardboard figure. On your monster board you set the health dial to ten and the power dial to zero. All the power cards are shuffled and three drawn to form the display, while the rest make up the draw deck. The Tokyo city board is set in the middle of the table.

On your turn, you start by rolling six dice. You may reroll up to two times, choosing to reroll as many dice as you wish. If you set aside a die after the first roll, you can still choose to reroll it after the second. You then resolve your rolls.

Dice can roll one, two, or three. They can also roll a heart, a claw, or an energy bolt. For each claw you resolve, you attack each monster not at your location for one point of damage. There are essentially two locations in the game: in Tokyo or outside of it. If your monster is in Tokyo, then your attack will hit every monster who is not. If your monster is not in Tokyo, it will hit the monster that is. When a monster is hit while in Tokyo, it takes the damage, and then may choose to leave the city. If any monster ever reaches zero hit points, it is eliminated from the game.

Each energy bolt you resolve earns you one energy token. If you are not in Tokyo, each heart you resolve heals you for one point of damage. Finally, if you roll three of the same number, you earn victory points equal to the number, plus one point for each additional matching number you rolled. For example, if you roll three two’s, you earn two points.

This edition also contains a wickedness tracker. If you roll three one’s, you earn two wickedness points and move your token up the wickedness tracker. If you roll three two’s, you earn one wickedness point. There are three points in the wickedness tracker that once you reach them, you search through the stack of wickedness tiles associated with that point on the tracker and may select one to keep. These give you special abilities such as giving you an extra reroll or making power cards cheaper.

After you have finished resolving your dice, if there is no monster in Tokyo, you must place your monster there. You earn one point when you enter Tokyo and you earn two points if you start your turn in Tokyo. Next, you may spend energy tokens to buy power cards. These offer special abilities such as healing or increasing the damage you deal. It is now the next player’s turn.

The winner of the game is whoever reaches twenty points first, or whichever monster is left standing if all other players are eliminated.

King of Tokyo: Dark Edition Components

Review

King of Tokyo is a great push-your-luck dice game, with a really fun theme that brings its elements together nicely. How long do you spend in Tokyo taking swipes at people but also getting all the hits in return? Which power cards do you want? Which dice do you choose to reroll? There are lots of player choices as well as player interactions spread throughout the whole game.

The game does have player elimination, but this is mostly caused by staying in Tokyo too long. Choosing how long to stay in the city is a lot of fun, since you’re never going to be quite sure how much the next player will hit you for. Forcing an opponent to retreat out of Tokyo is also extremely satisfying.

It’s nice to play a dice game where there are no bad rolls. There’s nothing the dice can turn up that will actually hurt the active player. This ensures you never feel like you’ve wasted your turn and even with the worst roll you’re bound to get something out of it, even if it wasn’t what you were hoping for.

Wickedness points and abilities are new for Dark Edition, and it is a nice touch to have something that makes rolling one’s and two’s a bit more rewarding. However, if you already own the regular edition of King of Tokyo, whether or not to upgrade is really going to come down to the new artwork aesthetic. It does suggest a new variant for making it a better two-player game, but at the end of the day the original game is already the king.

The Dark Edition admittedly looks really good. Despite the name, the game still looks really fun, which is what you want with the light gameplay, rather than leaning into a grim darkness. The components themselves are also all excellent quality, particularly the dice which are a really cool smoky grey color and great to roll. There’s no question that the Dark Edition is beautifully put together.

If you already love King of Tokyo or are interested in trying it, the Dark Edition is worth it for the visuals alone, while the wickedness abilities do add a little something to the gameplay. If you don’t like the game, there’s nothing here that’s really going to change your mind, but it remains one of our favorite push-your-luck dice games.

Pros: New artwork and component quality, new wickedness abilities

Cons: Doesn’t bring a whole lot that's new to the game in terms of mechanics

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.