The monsters are back in Japan, wreaking havoc and attempting to rule over the country’s capital. Power Up!, the King of Tokyo expansion, adds new powers for your kaiju and includes a new monster to add to the battle royale. Grab your favorite monster and get ready to chuck those damage-yielding dice!
How to Play
Before we look at the expansion, let’s quickly review the base game rules (or check out our review of the base game here). Players choose a monster and matching player board, then take turns rolling dice and scoring selected icons. There are two ways to win in King of Tokyo: either by being the first to earn 20 victory points or by being the last monster standing.
On your turn you’ll roll the dice up to three times, re-rolling any or all of the dice. You’ll then choose one icon to score on your turn: sets of 1s, 2s, or 3s score victory points, lightning bolts earn energy cubes, hearts earn health points, and claws cause damage to the player in Tokyo.
Energy cubes allow you to buy cards from a community stock. These cards have a range of powers, either one-time or ongoing.
When you’re in Tokyo, you play by slightly different rules. You can’t heal while in Tokyo, but if you score claws, then you deal damage to all other players. Of course, this means everybody is beating up on you, but don’t worry: at the end of each turn you have the option of yielding your spot to the next monster.
What’s New In Power Up!
The Power Up! expansion includes a new monster and player board (Pandakai), eight Evolution cards for all base game monsters, including the two in the first edition, Cyber Bunny and Kraken. During setup, each player takes their eight Evolution cards, draws two and keeps one. These evolutions represent special powers and abilities for their monster only.
Players may choose to play their Evolution card at any time, including on another player’s turn, if allowed by the card text. Like the cards gained from trading in energy cubes, the Evolution cards are either one-time or ongoing abilities. Players begin the game with one Evolution card in their hand, which they may play during their turn. They may play the card at any time during their turn.
To earn more Evolution cards, the player must roll at least three hearts. They’ll heal three health points as normal, but they’ll also draw two cards from their Evolution deck, keeping one and discarding the other.
In the Mutant Evolutions variant, mix all of the Evolution cards together and randomly deal them out to each player. Players then draft one card and pass the rest to their left and repeat until everyone has eight cards.
Long Live the King
Power Up! doesn’t change King of Tokyo significantly; it’s still a gateway game, but I liked how the Evolution cards added a bit more strategy and replayability. It will appeal to more seasoned gamers who like asymmetric abilities, since in the base game everyone was basically controlling the same character, albeit with different artwork. Not until they’ve exchanged some energy cubes for a few cards did the game start to change, as players begin to use their abilities or try to roll specific combinations to trigger the abilities.
With the Power Up! expansion the game starts with this asymmetrical experience. Players now have different powers from the beginning and can earn more as the game progresses, in addition to the community cards from the base game. More decisions are available to each player every turn; they can focus on particular icons to match their cards and they must decide when to use any one-time powers.
For example, Pandakai could use the Bear Necessities, which allows them to lose one victory point in exchange for two energy cubes and two health. If you’re close to the 20 points but low on health, do you risk it?
Likewise, Alienoid can spend one energy cube to gain one health, while the King can gain an extra victory point when causing damage to another monster. With eight Evolution cards per character, everyone has a lot more options during game play.
I wouldn’t hesitate to include this expansion when playing with players new to the game. And for those with earlier editions of the base game, the new Power Up! cards are compatible with any version. The artwork is different, but it’s similar enough to the original that it won’t spoil your playing experience.
Bottom line: if you’re a fan of King of Tokyo, then this is a must-have expansion.
iSlaytheDragon would like to thank Iello for providing a review copy of King of Tokyo: Power Up.