King of Tokyo: Power Up!
In my review of the base game, I called “King of Tokyo” a “fun, light dice rolling game”. While there was a luck factor at work, players could minimize or maximize the risk at will, depending on how aggressively they wanted to play. Today, we’ll be taking a brief look at the “Power Up!” expansion, which introduces a few new concepts to help mix up the core gameplay mechanics. I should note right off the bat that this expansion requires the base game to play. Since this is going to be brief, I’ve opted to switch up my regular review format with something a bit more informal.
This expansion comes with one new monster (Pandakai), fifty-six evolution cards, and seven counters. Like the core game, the monster comes with their own cardboard stand and player board. The evolution cards are broken up into sets of eight, with each set associated with a particular monster. To sum these up, they allow players to “evolve” their monster and give it special powers. At the beginning of the game, each player chooses a monster and appropriate monster board (as normal), but also receives their eight card deck of evolution cards, face-down in a stack.
Over the course of the game, players who roll three “heals” or more will be allowed to draw an evolution card from their draw pile. Players can activate these evolution cards immediately, or hold onto them secretly and play them when they wish to. Drawing an evolution card does not replace the heal action…it simply adds to it. Temporary evolutions are carried out immediately when played and are then discarded, whereas the permanent evolutions persist throughout the game like the standard cards do. It’s worth noting that cards in the base set only affect other base set cards. To word that another way, base cards do not affect evolution cards.
The rest of the game plays out as it normally does. A few variants are listed in the rulebook to spice things up, if you want to take things a step further. For example, the active evolution variant allows players to draw an evolution card at the very beginning of the game. Another lets you draw two evolution cards after rolling three heals, pick one, and return the other to the bottom of the deck. Finally, you have a draft variant that mixes all of the evolution cards together (from every monster in that game) with players being dealt eight random cards from this pile. Players can alternatively choose a card from their set of eight and pass them around the table until everyone has selected eight cards.
I honestly think that this expansion is a great idea. It adds a bit of variety to the core game, giving players a reason to care about the monsters they’ve selected. In the core game, each monster was considered equal…they started with the same health, had the same attack power, and etc. Here, players can develop one or two favorites that they prefer to use with each passing game. The draft variant will also allow groups who game regularly to come up with their own prefered monster/evolution card combos. These evolution cards also add an extra strategic element, as players may give up energy dice (to acquire regular cards) so that they can attempt to gain an evolution card. All in all, “King of Tokyo: Power Up!” is a worthy addition to the series, but is a bit overpriced at fifteen to twenty bucks (as of 1/9/14). The core game can be bought for double that price and features five to ten times the number of components. Still, the “Power Up!” expansion is worth getting if you love playing “King of Tokyo” and do so on a regular basis.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can read my review of the base game here: