Friday, July 6, 2012

Game Night: King of Tokyo and Castle Panic

Last night at my game group I had the pleasure of enjoying two great games, King of Tokyo and Castle Panic. Both make for night casual gameplay that will be the cause of many cheers, groans and laughs all around.

King of the World
The evening began with King of Tokyo, designed by Richard Garfield of Magic: The Gathering fame and published by IELLO. The game was published in 2011 and quickly sold out. A second printing recently hit store shelves.

The premise of the game is that each player is a monster that is invading Tokyo. In the middle of the table is a small board with space for one monster (two in a 5-6 player game). Players try to occupy Tokyo for as long as possible in order to accumulate points. The game ends when one player earns 20 points or (even better) knocks out all the other monsters from the game.

On each player's turn, they roll six dice. The dice have symbols that can earn players additional points, attack other players, heal or collect energy cubes. The cubes are used to buy special power cards than have a variety of effects such as dealing damage or even gaining a second chance in the game if eliminated. These cards can easily turn the tide of a game if used correctly.

The way attacking works in this game is a great mechanic that keeps the game light and fast. If you are not in Tokyo, you deal damage to whoever is. If you are in the hot seat, then you deal damage to all other players simultaneous. This is a great way to remove a potential source of analysis paralysis as well as ganging up on a player. The game just moves at a nice clip and plays fast enough that you can easily get a couple games in before the night is over. I also enjoy that there are multiple ways to play and win. You can be aggressive and stand your ground in Tokyo for as long as you can, or you can stay in the outskirts and get points through dice and cards.

Is There Anyone Else Up There We Can Talk To?
Next up we played Castle Panic with the Wizard's Tower expansion. Castle Panic was designed by Justin Witt and published by Fireside Games. It is a tower defense style cooperative game. The players are defending a castle against a seemingly endless wave of monsters. The players win if they are able to defeat all the monsters. They lose if the last tower of the castle is destroyed.

The board is divided  into three arcs (red, blue and green) and four rings (swordsman, knights, archers and the forest.) Players have a hand of cards that are primarily made up of attack cards that correspond to one of the specific spaces that a monster can occupy (ie Red Knight.) Playing these cards deals damage to the monsters and eventually kills them. The Wizard's Tower expansion also features a deck of Wizard cards that have more powerful effects.

At the end of each player's turn, they move all the monsters one step closer to the castle and then places new monsters randomly on the board, adding to the oncoming hoard. The expansion also comes with a very dangerous monsters that increase the threat level tremendously.

This was my first time playing this game and I really enjoyed it. It had a nice complexity between Pandemic and Forbidden Island. I  felt that the game had a nice epic feeling to it and on most turns each player did something that felt amazing, especially with the wizard cards.

In our game, we just squeaked out a victory as an Orc was one move away from destroying the final tower before he was struck down by Azriel's Fist. It was a gripping conclusion and very satisfying.

The King Returns
The evening ended with another game of King of Tokyo before we parted ways into the night. Both of these games are a blast to play and great for casual get togethers such as these.

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