Sunday, April 6, 2014

Game Review: King of Tokyo Power Up! Expansion

So a few weeks ago I was raving about how great King of Tokyo by iello Games is and its gotta make you wonder what could they possibly do to make it better?  Maybe add something to make the monsters play a little bit differently to add a little flavor to the whole thing?  That my friends is just what Power Up! does.

What's In The Box?
Since Power Up! is just an expansion it comes in a small box of its own.  Cracking it open you'll find the rules (inside the box this time) and a new monster, giving players yet another option in the game (It should be noted that the game still caps out at six players but having a little variety is always a good thing). Even so, the best part of Power Up! is still in the box; the evolution cards... but more on them soon.  Rounding things out are some handy tokens to track a few new special rules and of course a tray liner to keep it all nice and neat.

How Does This Change The Game?
The basic game of King of Tokyo gives you control of a giant monster seeking to dominate Tokyo which is awesome.  The only thing missing is a little bit of pizzazz to make the monsters more individual which is where the evolution cards come into play.

Each of the monsters in the game (including the newly added Pandakai) is given their own set of eight evolution cards in this expansion.  What makes these really cool is all of them are different but each are really in keeping with the individual monster's theme.  For example, the King has the cards Alpha Male and Simian Scamper while Gigazaur has Tail Sweep and Heat Vision.  These all give you minor tweaks to how your monster plays but really adds a nice flavor to each monster.  Sure Cyber Bunny is cool by himself but add on a Lupine Power Blade and an Electric Carrot and he just gets that much better!

To balance things out, the monsters don't start with all their evolution cards.  Instead players need to earn them by rolling at least three hearts on their turn.  These hearts don't need to be used to heal so you can even evolve while you are in Tokyo which is a nice little feature.  Drawing a card also doesn't replace healing so you don't have to agonize about whether you should keep yourself in the game or try to get a little stronger.

There are also a few variants listed in the rules; active evolution (which lets players start with a random evolution from their deck), controlled evolution (which lets players draw two and keep one as they evolve), and evolution draft (which adds a random drafting element to the evolutions). Our personal favorite is to shuffle all the evolutions together, deal out eight to each player and then everyone starts with the top evolution.  This does reduce the amount of theme that the cards bring to the specific monsters but it adds a really fun mechanic to the game and really helps keep it fresh every time we play

How Does It Measure Up?
Personally I think that this expansion really is a must have addition.  King of Tokyo by itself is a lot of fun but adding in the Evolution cards just takes the game to a new level and also might be part of the reason we play it so much. Using the Evolutions keeps the game fresh as it gives all the monsters enough of a tweak to really keep you on your toes and the amount of replay that it adds to the basic considering its cost makes this expansion invaluable.  Then there is the Halloween expansion... but more on that later.  Until next time...

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