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King of Tokyo: Origins: It’s a Monster Mash!

King of Tokyo Origins board game
King of Tokyo: Origins, published by IELLO

King of Tokyo: Origins, a board game about massive monsters battling it out on the streets of Tokyo, published by IELLO, is a brand new Target-exclusive entry into the King of Tokyo line of products.

Designed by Richard Garfield, the King of Tokyo: Origins board game expands the current roster of Monsters to play with in the universe by four, has a simplified board, and brand new Power cards to slam onto your opponents.

So, let’s watch for flying cards and broken fire hydrants as we dive into King of Tokyo: Origins!

King of Tokyo: Origins Gameplay

The important thing to note about the King of Tokyo: Origins board game is that it plays exactly the same as King of Tokyo. This version is primarily to introduce the game at a lower, more accessible price point in Target (exclusive for its first year in circulation), as well as bring four new Monsters into the fold. There is also a game board with only the singular Tokyo location, meaning that it’s designed to play with its advertised max player count of four.

The core gameplay loop is similar to Yahtzee: roll the dice three times, setting aside specific dice that you wish to spare from being rerolled with the rest. Here’s the breakdown of the iconography:

  • Claws: deal a point of damage. If you’re in Tokyo it is dealt to all others, otherwise it is dealt to the monster in Tokyo
  • Hearts: If you aren’t in Tokyo, heal one point of damage.
  • Lightning Bolt: Gain an energy cube which you can use to buy cards at the end of your turn
  • Numbers: If you roll at least three of a kind of a number, gain that many victory points. For each additional instance of that number beyond 3, gain an extra point.

If a monster damages someone in Tokyo, they have the option to yield Tokyo to that monster. Holding Tokyo at the beginning of your turn gives 2 points, so depending on how the other turns are going, holding out can be worthwhile in some occasions.

Being the last monster standing or reaching 20 victory points marks you as the winner!

Staking Our C.L.A.I.M. on King of Tokyo: Origins!

King of Tokyo IconComponents

Taking a look at the components for the King of Tokyo: Origins board game, the intent is to keep this iteration completely compatible with other versions of the game. For example, if you already have the original base game or maybe the Monster Box, getting King of Tokyo: Origins would be mainly for the new colorway green and yellow dice, the new Monsters, and the new Powers.

The board is only good for up to four players, as there is no ‘Tokyo Bay’ location that can be used with 6 players, but that doesn’t really impact your ability to play the game with 6 if you happen to pick up some of the numerous promo Monsters floating around out there. Then just designate a spot on the board or put down a coaster or something and you are off to the races.

And the dice are absolutely gorgeous; engraved with a wonderful heft, these are a must-have for dice enthusiasts. I’m not even-exaggerating with how much I love rolling these dice.

King of Tokyo Origins board game

King of Tokyo IconLuck

The King of Tokyo: Origins board game has a lot of luck since it follows the Yahtzee convention. At the same time, however, you do have to be careful about the timing of your attacks and moving into Tokyo. Being in Tokyo is dangerous, especially with more Monsters in the game. You’ll be tanking hits all for the measly prize of 2 points versus 1 point for just trying to take it back next turn. Patience is the name of the game here.

Power Cards also play a huge role in your strategy. I like to push those cards early and hopefully get a good ‘Keep’ card that’ll be in effect for the whole game. You can also watch for ‘Discard’ cards that dish out a specific amount of damage, because if you time it right you can knock out another Monster unexpectedly.

It’s almost always better to heal up and charge your energy to live and fight another day. Don’t sleep on earning points from dice, either; focusing on that can definitely be worthwhile, even if it puts a target on your back. It’s those errant damage dice that could mess up your strategy if you roll them with low health.

King of Tokyo IconAesthetics

Everything gels perfectly together between this version of King of Tokyo: Origins and the other versions, so before long you won’t know what Monsters go in which box. Unless you look at the box, I suppose. Checking out the card on the Powers cards is definitely worth your while; there are plenty of little nods to kaiju movies that you’ll notice if you’re a fan of the genre.

Let’s take that a step further and talk about the new Monster designs! I have a soft spot for Cosmic Joe, who is like a buffed out Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. Mechamster is also a very good portmanteau for a Monster that wants to make you feel the repetition of that cursed wheel. All in all, these new monsters are quite fun in their design, even if they don’t offer any different mechanical benefits. We’re keeping things approachable, remember?

King of Tokyo Icon Interest

King of Tokyo: Origins is a riot of dice-chucking fun that will appeal to anybody. It is super approachable, especially if you compare it to Yahtzee, and you can be up and running in ten minutes with a new group of players. It really is that simple.

There’s also the collectible element of wanting to gather up all of the different Monsters and play with them. In fact, leading up to this review we’ve been conducting a 19-Monster tournament to see who comes out on top! You can find the first video of that series over here on TikTok. I won’t spoil anything, I promise!

King of Tokyo IconMood

You can’t go into a board game like King of Tokyo: Origins with expectations of some kind of grindy, strategic affair. It’s competitive dice-rolling at its absolute best, and it is a super chill game that fits solidly into any game night with little-to-no stress involved. It’s also a great family game that many kids can easily grasp, setting up their own battles and expanding their imaginations accordingly.

One of my favorite things to do – much to my friends’ chagrin – is to pretend I’m some sort of arena announcer and hyper-embellish everything that’s going on. Lean into the absurdity of the kaiju/Monster genre, and have fun with it! After all, games are meant to be fun, and King of Tokyo: Origins delivers that in droves.

King of Tokyo Origins board game

King of Tokyo: Origins: MOAR MONSTERS!

I had never played any King of Tokyo game before King of Tokyo: Origins, thinking that its simplistic gameplay wouldn’t really appeal to me. I was absurdly incorrect on that. Dice games bring the opportunity to push your luck in exciting ways that can lead to heartbreak or ultimate triumph!

King of Tokyo: Origins is a perfect entry point into the King of Tokyo series, and for that we are awarding this game with the Nerds on Earth Seal of Awesomeness Award! Just don’t be surprised when you pick up Origins and suddenly you have 20+ Monsters because you must have all the content! I hereby am exempt from blame.

You can pick up a copy of King of Tokyo: Origins exclusively from Target starting on its release on February 18th. After a year the exclusivity drops and you can likely find it elsewhere, like your FLGS!

[Disclaimer: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of King of Tokyo: Origins, the Monster Box, Halloween box, and the other various Monster Packs and promos (Anubis, Cthulhu, Cybertooth, King Kong, Baby Gigasaur) from Flat River Group in exchange for an honest review.]

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