This sentence that you are reading right now – yes, this exact one – is the survivor of many, many fallen brothers. There have been about nineteen others that I have written to begin this review, but each, once reread, needed to die. The problem? That I’m trying to review King of New York without reviewing King of Tokyo – its predecessor and the reason that’s so hard to do, is that I LOVE King of Tokyo. As a man who, for the last three years, has evangelised boardgames’ divine power, King of Tokyo has been the box I’ve opened most.
For the uninitiated: In King of Tokyo, you play a massive monster intent on the destruction of – yep, you guessed it – Tokyo. Giant Apes, Massive Nuclear Lizards, Cybernetically enhanced Rabbits – bizarre, B-movie leviathans coronated by either a) being the last monster alive or b) being first to 20 points. It’s comic book beautiful, they’ve nailed the theming, and – not to be underrated – can be taught to most semi-intelligent people in about ten minutes. A game packed with nail-biting moments, killing sprees, monstrous new abilities and screaming, table banging, air-punching fun. Like I said, I love it.
So, news that Richard Garfield was producing a new version set in New York genuinely excited me. Trust me, I’m as surprised as you that a 35 year old man can be juiced about the release of a boardgame, but I really have been. And now it’s here. Squee!
So, let’s start with what’s the same. You still play as one of six massive monsters. Rob (B9’s big brother), Drakonis (Power Rangers baddy), Mantis (Zorak on steroids), Sherrif (T-Rex in a cowboy hat. Obviously.) Captain Fish (A fish in a bowl, on a gigantic body. Obviously.) or Kong (Massive Gorilla styled by Daft Punk). Having decided which monster you want to be, you take the cardboard figure and the corresponding ‘Monster board’, which helps you keep track of your points and health, thus doing away with anything as old fashioned as ‘a bit of paper and a pencil’.