King of Tokyo: Power Up Review
King of Tokyo is spectacular at being an accessible and strategically-light dice game that virtually anyone can play and enjoy. However, that focus on casual play makes it a tougher sell for seasoned gamers looking for something deeper. King of Tokyo: Power Up aims to address that with a set of new cards that change how the game is played. Also, it comes with a Kung-Fu panda, and who doesn’t like pandas?
Pandakai is a nice-looking character that fits the feel of the game. He does not, however, expand support for the game up to seven players. I guess you could play it with seven if you wanted to, though it would probably drag with that many people involved. This new character alone doesn’t really do much to change the game.
The real meat of this expansion are the Evolution cards. With these, each player is given a unique set of cards specifically designed for their character that start out face-down. When a player roll three hearts, they flip an Evolution card that provides that player with a temporary or permanent bonus. As the Cyber Bunny, I got a temporary bonus that let me double the amount of energy I gained on that turn. Meanwhile, Pandakai can get a permanent bonus that allows him to use the reverse side of dice after they’ve been rolled.
These Evolution cards provide boosts in a similar way that the regular cards would, but the way in which they’re triggered makes all of the difference. Rolling three hearts is something you’d strive for anyway when you get hit, so it’s a great bonus to get on top of your healing. Even if you’re in Tokyo, where hearts can’t be used to heal, three hearts can be used to trigger an Evolution. Besides giving players more options, it also helps differentiate each character by giving each player a unique set of tools to play with. By default, Evolution cards are designed to be played as a set for specific characters. However, you can mix them up in any way you like for added variety.
The moment-to-moment action is slowed a bit due to the extra thinking required to manage Evolution cards, but I think the trade-off is well worth it. By adding the Power Up expansion to King of Tokyo, the game gets an extra layer of complexity that veteran gamers will appreciate. This may not be as dramatic of an update as King of New York, but it’s a great way of building on your existing King of Tokyo set without breaking the bank for a new game.