Friday, August 31, 2012

Every 100 Games - King of Tokyo

My 3,300 logged game played, was King of Tokyo, a game designed by Richard Garfield the designer of Magic: The Gathering. Below you'll find my thoughts on the game and the recommendations I have for who might enjoy or not enjoy this dice game of monsters destroying one another.

I have the second version of the game, which comes with great big chunky engraved dice. Eight of them to be exact. These dice aren't your monopoly sized polyhedrals (I always wanted to use that word), instead they are the kind of dice that shake the table when you roll them across its surface. Okay, well maybe they don't shake the table, but they are big enough and loud enough when rolled that I actually built a dice tray to roll them in. The game also comes with dozens of cards that make your monsters vary from game to game. The cards are of very good quality. There are also 6 monster cut-outs, including The King and The Kraken (my personal favorite). Finally each player gets their own monster card with score dials and there is a center board that is Tokyo. The art, is absolutely great, with a cartoon style that is very enjoyable.

Game Play
Imagine Yahtzee...but with monsters! That's exactly how I explain this game. Just like in Yahtzee you roll up to three times and try to get the best combo of dice for your purposes. The dice have scoring sides (1s, 2s, & 3s), claws for damaging other monsters, lightning bolts for getting energy (the currency in the game), and hearts to heal your monster. Your goal is to score 20 points before everyone else or damage everyone else so their monsters die! Each time you move into Tokyo you get a point and every turn you start in Tokyo you get 2 points, but there is a downside, which is no healing while in Tokyo! So go in at your own risk. The game usually takes between 15-45 minutes, according to how many players you have in the game.

My Thoughts
King of Tokyo is just an absolute blast! It will without a doubt be in my Top 10 New To Me games from 2012 and I can even see it breaking into my Top 25 Games of All Time. I think the best part of it, I know this sounds weird, is that it is just fun! I know its difficult to say what fun is, but this game is it for me. It plays very quick, has a ton of cards that make each game especially different, since different combos bring different possibilities. There are enough cards that I'm still surprised when a new comes up, even after 20+ plays. Though people keep saying there isn't strategy in the game, I'm not completely sure about that. I do feel better players will win more often than not, I was even able to win something like 6 games in a row there, which I think it came from knowing the game better than my opponents. This isn't extremely deep though like Macao or The Castles of Burgundy or even Kingsburg. It is though more thoughtful than the classic dice game Yahtzee.

This is where I try to recommend or not recommend this game to different type of players, so here we go.
The CCG Player - I've taught this to several friends, who enjoy CCGs, and they've all really enjoyed it. I think there is something about the quick play, the variety the cards provide, and their quick grasp of what the cards do and understanding how to use them.
The Pure Eurogamer - Look elsewhere. King of Tokyo, though it has been popular with much of my group, the few that seem cool on it are the ones that love number crunching and spreadsheet punching with no luck. You'll not find that in King of Tokyo.
The Non-Gamer - I've had great success with this with my family and friends who are not deep into games. I think it has to do with the very familiar Yahtzee feel of the game, which most people know already before you sit down. I also think it has to do with a theme they understand and find intriguing, since many people have watched or are at least aware of the genre of movies this game is based on.
My Wife - For some reason, my wife isn't an absolute huge fan of this game. So if you are her, I'd suggest you not buy it. Instead try before you buy.

*Every 100 Games Series - Back in March of 2006 I began tracking each session of the various board and card games I play. I soon got the idea to write a review on every 100th game I played, one because I like writing reviews, and two because it is interesting to see what game I review next.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Every 100 Games Series - Lost Cities

I've gotten a bit behind on my Every 100 Games Review, but my 3,200th game played was Lost Cities. I first played Lost Cities several years ago, I'm thinking around 2007, when Krista and I were waiting for another game to end so we could get in. Now I own it, so here is the breakdown of the game.

The Stuff
Lost Cities comes with a board, which for game play purposes isn't really required, but it is nice to have. On the board you'll be placing discarded cards of five different colors, numbered 1-10. Each color also has 3 Hand Shake cards which are multipliers for scoring. These cards are nice big tarot sized cards, the art it nice, and everything is of good quality and fits in a small square box. You really can't go to wrong with the stuff.

Game Play
On your turn you play a card and draw a card. That's it. So the game itself if very simple to actually play. When you play a card, you must either play a card to one of the five expeditions (colors) in front of you and the card numbers must always increase, so multipliers must be first, then the 1, 2, 3, 4...okay you get the idea. You can skip numbers, but you can't ever go back below the last one that was played on your expedition. You then draw a card, either from the draw pile or one of the face up discard piles on the board. The round ends when the draw pile is empty. Each player then adds up their points on each expedition, minus the -20 that if started expeditions have, and the player with the most points after 3 rounds wins.

My Thoughts
Well, to say I love Lost Cities wouldn't be truthful, but I can say that I like it. There is plenty of luck in the game, but plenty of strategy as well. A big part of the game, at least in my mind, is playing chicken with your opponent. You try to hold out as long as you can with discarding a card they want, since once they've played a blue 4 you know they cannot play a blue 3. You can also, if you're willing to take a hit yourself, try and get that high valued card in order to stop them from getting it and thus getting negative points for that color expedition.

When I first played this game, I thought it was all right, but my wife really enjoyed the game. A few years went by and when I won a gift certificate to Thoughthammer, I asked her what game she'd like to buy and this was her choice. So she liked it enough to purchase it. Now that we've owned it and played it more, I've found I have gotten better at the game, so it does reward extended play and understanding the game more.

My Recommendations
I'm going to try a new section on these Every 100 Games reviews, the recommendation section. Where I make recommendations on specific types of people to buy and not buy this game.

The Gamer -  I'd say this is a play before you buy title. It's a two player game, it's fast, it doesn't see hardly any play at game days.
The Couple - This is a buy for the couple who wants to play games together. It isn't too mean, it plays quick, and if one of the spouses isn't much of a gamer, it is simple enough. Though the math can get a bit daunting for some people.
The Rummy Player - This is the guy that enjoys 500 rummy and collecting sets. This is the one that will enjoy this game. Numbers don't bother this player and theme doesn't either, so I'd suggest if your mom or dad or cousin enjoys playing rummy with you that they'd also like this game.
The Attacker - If you are looking for confrontation, dice rolling, screams and yells of your vanquished opponent, then this isn't the game for you. Just move along.
The Donkey - Are you kidding me? Donkey's don't play games. This one or another.