I’ve been playing King of Tokyo since the first day it arrived in stock at Snakes & Lattes back in 2012. Joan Moriarity basically put the game in my hands and said something along the lines of “this is YOUR game. You’ll be playing this for a long, long time.” And she was right!
It’s been a full decade since that fateful first experience with Richard Garfield’s monstrous masterpiece, and not a year has gone by without it hitting the table at least a handful of times. And while it’s always been a light-hearted, sentimental hit, I’m not sure I’ve ever named it as one of my absolute favourite games.
However, with its arrival on Board Game Arena, King of Tokyo is making an unexpected challenge to move into my Top 10 Games of All Time. Why, you ask? Let’s break it down to three core reasons.
Swapping expansions in and out of a physical game can sometimes be cumbersome. Personally, I always reset my games so that if the next time I play a particular title with a new player, there is no time wasted picking out elements that might dampen their first experience.
On Board Game Arena, there are many options that can be added or removed with the click of a mouse. The Halloween expansion with its silly costume add-ons is available. A variety of promo monsters are included – Cthulu, Baby Gigazaur, and X-Smash Tree for example. These promo creatures normally cost $10 to $15 Canadian Dollars each, some of which I didn’t actually know existed!
Having the option to add in these extra aspects of the game makes for a fun and flexible game system that’s easy to set up, and requires no extra sorting at the end. A big win!
King of Tokyo was already a super simple game to run through with friends of any experience level, and the BGA implementation of the game is one of the most intuitive game experiences on the entire platform. Many games on Board Game Arena require scrolling to keep track of key elements like what cards I’m holding, which can easily zap away some of the fun.
Fortunately, the King of Tokyo’s interface manages to keep all of the visual information on one screen, and the actual gameplay is also quick and enjoyable. Keeping tabs on your opposing beasties might even be easier than playing at a table, and when the pathway to punchy laughter is so clear, it’s easy to get lost in the fun and almost forget that your friends aren’t sitting around the table.
Sure, the tactile feeling of rolling the dice is lost by playing online, but it’s the rare case where what we’re gaining in exchange in many ways actually feels like an upgrade!
What makes tabletop gaming such a wonderful pastime? For me, it’s the amazing and sometimes electric human experiences shared together. The stories that our games tell, and the roles that we play within those stories.
One of my good gaming friends has been in the hospital in recent weeks, undergoing surgery and a slow recovery, largely in isolation due to the risk of COVID exposure. Being able to maintain our weekly game nights has been a gift for us all, and King of Tokyo has been the game that has produced the most laughter and smiles, with inside jokes and pokes flying around our audio chat.
King of Tokyo has become one of my favourite games. It’s had the slowest climb into my personal Hall of Fame, but it’s there now! And it likely wouldn’t have happened without the availability of this fantastic Board Game Arena version.
So if you haven’t played King of Tokyo, go play it! And if you’re already familiar with the game, go try it on BGA. You won’t be disappointed!