Game Review: King Kong Monster Pack (for King of Tokyo/New York)

What else can be said about King of Tokyo?

It was created by Richard Garfield and published by iello Games. It’s won countless awards since its release in 2011. It has multiple expansions that add gameplay depth through additional power cards for each monster (Power Up!) and overall silliness by being able to equip Halloween costume cards to your monster (Halloween). It even had a fully fleshed out sequel, King of New York. King of Tokyo sees the table every single family game night for us. We either start the night off with it, or play it to wrap things up. The kids love it. I love it. It fits our family perfectly at this stage in our lives.

From left to right: Baby Godzilla (girl), Mothra, King Kong, Godzilla, Baby Godzilla (boy)

For me, I love King of Tokyo because I’m a giant monster enthusiast. As you’ll see in more reviews I write. I’m a Godzila fanatic. This was a picture of my family a few years ago at the Wizard World Cleveland comic convention. While Godzilla and his colorful cast of co-stars from Toho are near and dear to my heart, I also branch out. I love Ultraman, Power Rangers, Gamera, Cloverfield, Pacific Rim, and the list goes on. Personally, I never quite liked King Kong as much as the others. I know it may be blasphemous, but I still haven’t seen the latest Skull Island movie. I liked the giant monster/robot/kaiju battles that other series offered, but King Kong just didn’t give me those battles. Sure, he fought some dinosaurs here or there… but he never had a knockdown, drag out, showdown with an enemy the way Godzilla did. (This is not counting the Toho King Kong movies where he fought Mechanikong and had lightning punch abilities to battle Godzilla in their showdown in 1962. Let’s be honest, those King Kong movies are a bit odd, since it was Toho using the rights to a character that they didn’t create.)

Then, about 2 years ago, I decided to pick up the original King Kong (1933) on DVD. I hadn’t actually seen the movie since I was about 9 or 10 years old. I was instantly swept up in the adequate acting (which early Godzilla films are hit-and-miss with) and the special effects. I’m absolutely fascinated with old special effects. Seeing what they used claymation, physical props, and early green screen for is incredible. I love seeing what they decided “Yeah… that’s good enough” on to make it in to the final edited version of the movie. I have a small dream of making my own giant monster movie using the same special effect resources that were used 70-80 years ago, someday. But I digress…

TL;DR: I like giant monsters.

 

I did gain some new appreciation for Kong after rewatching the original movie, and I plan on getting the rest of his movies for my giant monster movie collection. Now, with this newfound affection for King Kong, I decided to pull the trigger on purchasing the King Kong Monster Pack for King of Tokyo and King of New York. My oldest son (his nickname is Roo and he’s 5 years old) loves giant monster stuff about as much as I do, and loves playing King of Tokyo as well. So, he helped me with the unboxing of this Monster Pack HERE.

So, after playing a game with King Kong, and the rules for Tokyo Tower, what do I think?

We played a 3-player game, and DID NOT use the Power Up cards. I wish the Protected/Captured Beauty card was always in play and not dependent on a Power Up card. You could always ‘house rule’ that King Kong starts with the Protected Beauty. I think the addition of that mechanic is a great feature, and shows incredible understanding of both the source material of Kong’s story and how to incorporate that seamlessly in to game play.

Tokyo Tower (and the Empire State Building) introduce a fun new mechanic and win condition by collecting all 3 pieces. The kids and I were excited to try and roll for the parts of Tokyo Tower, but soon found it to be just a bit too difficult. You have to already be in Tokyo, then roll four “1” faces to claim a piece of the tower. Our game ended without any of us claiming any pieces. I think that slight disappointment of not utilizing the Tower was partially our own fault. We were excited to use this new mechanic as a focal point and a win condition. In reality, I think it is there purely to mitigate bad rolls full of “1”s. When looking at it in that light, I can appreciate it a lot more.

I think this Monster Pack is a fantastic addition to the King of Tokyo game. It provides a new win condition that acts as a way to reward you when you get cursed with bad rolls. It brings a new mechanic with the Protected/Captured Beauty card that’s just dripping with flavor for fans of King Kong. Additionally, if you own King of New York, King Kong can be used in both games, giving you a little more bang for your buck. And, maybe most importantly for me, it shows iello that players would be willing to purchase other licensed characters to add to the game. So, the powers that be at iello Games, if you’re listening I’d happily purchase Godzilla, Ultraman, or Pacific Rim character packs for King of Tokyo.

The King Kong Monster Pack isn’t going to make you like King of Tokyo if you didn’t enjoy it before. It adds some subtle changes and new mechanics that fans of the character will recognize as thematic. But you don’t need to have any prior knowledge of Kong to enjoy these new features. If you enjoy King of Tokyo, this Monster Pack adds to the fun.

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