A to Z 2015 : KING OF NEW YORK

Our next game is one I had the opportunity to play once some friends returned from Gen Con 2014. Since then, I have played it maybe a dozen times. So far it seems that everyone who's played the game has enjoyed it.

While it's predecessor may be deemed a Gateway game, I hesitate to say that this qualifies. Things got a tad more complicated once the monsters ventured to The States in...

The behemoths have come to New York to settle their scores and determine which is the granddaddy monster of them all! I feel that King of New York is a great example of game that made a lot of beneficial changes and just enough additional mechanics to give the a fresh feel to a theme presented in King of Tokyo. While the original is still a great game, especially for newer gamers, this iteration adds more meat and curves it just slightly out of the Gateway game realm, in my opinion.

It retains everything that made King of Tokyo extremely fun and trimmed some of the fat, while simultaneously giving players more bang for their buck.

I'll go over how the game is played, and you can see if it sounds like your cup of tea.

Once players have selected their characters, setting their Victory Points (Stars) to 0 and their Life Points (Hearts) to 10, and the proper setup is complete you are ready to determine the Starting Player.

Above is a look at the board state of a game roughly a few turns in, but to begin, each player will take turns rolling all 8 dice available. The player who rolls the most attack (claws) wins and is the first player. From there on out, only the black dice are used unless special circumstances require otherwise. The Starting Player chooses which borough of New York (aside from Manhattan) to place his character in and this action is continued clockwise until everyone is on the board. Once everyone is placed, the Starting Player begins their turn.

NOTE: Only two monsters are allowed in a single borough at any given time.

You can refer to the picture above for a visual aid as I dissect a turn.

King of New York has a turn broken down into a handful of steps: Earnings/Roll/Resolve/Move/Buy.

The Earnings Step won't apply to the first round for anyone, but will thereafter. Essentially, being in Manhattan at the start of your turn grants a bonus of Victory Points and Energy. The amount of which varies depending on how deep into the borough you are.

After the Earnings Step the active player rolls the 6 black dice. A player may keep and/or re-roll any dice up to an additional two times. They can stop whenever they want to resolve them, but once a player stops or runs out of re-rolls, ALL of the dice are resolved. The dice can be resolved in any order, however once you resolve one type you must resolve all of that type. I suppose knowing what the different types of dice results are will help some.

Each side of a die is marked with a different icon/symbol: Energy (lightning bolt)/Attack (claw)/Heal (heart)/Destruction (building)/Celebrity/Fame (star)/Ouch! (skull).

For every Energy rolled and resolved you will collect a green energy cube. These cubes are used to buy cards.

Each Attack resolved equals one damage dealt to other monsters. Who it hits depends on where you are on the board. If you are outside Manhattan it deals the damage solely to the monster, if any, in Manhattan. If you are in Manhattan, however, it deals that amount of damage to every other players outside of Manhattan!

NOTE: A player in Manhattan receiving damage has the option to move out of Manhattan and into one of the surrounding boroughs occupied by 1 or less monsters. If this happens, the player who dealt the damage must enter the Lower Manhattan. Players always receive 1 Victory Point when entering Manhattan.

Each Heal resolved equals 1 Life Point you recover (up to a max of 10 unless an ability states otherwise). It's important to know that you cannot gain Life Points by resolving Heal rolls while you are in Manhattan (this is denoted on the gameboard too). The only way to recover life while in Manhattan is by destroying buildings and/or military.

Every Destruction roll resolved represents the amount of damage you can do to a building and/or military tile. These tiles are marked with a number indicating their durability. So a building (blue) or military (red) tile with a durability of 2 would need at least two Destruction rolls resolved to destroy. There will also be other symbols like hearts (Life Points), stars (Victory Points), or lightning bolts (Energy) on the tiles, which will be the rewards gained once destroying it.

NOTE: All tiles start on the building side and are stacked in 3 piles of 3 tiles per borough. Once a building is destroyed it is flipped over to represent the military being called in. Military tiles cannot be destroyed on the turn they are revealed, but when you do destroy one it's placed in front of you. Be mindful of how much military is preset in your borough, because if you (or potentially another player) have to resolve Ouch! dice, you could take lots of damage!

Celebrity rolls are basically pointless unless you have the special Superstar Goal card, which is placed in the play area (along with the Statue of Liberty Goal card) during the game's setup. To obtain the Superstar card you must resolve at least 3 Celebrity rolls. If you do, you obtain the Superstar Goal card from the play area (or steal it from another player if they have it) and gain 1 Victory Point and an additional 1 Victory Point for each Celebrity roll resolved beyond the 3 it took to acquire the card that turn. As long as you have the Superstar card in your possession, each Celebrity roll resolved will gain you 1 Victory Point!

Finally we have the Ouch! rolls. Usually these are the rolls you want to avoid (although you could acquire the Statue of Liberty Goal card). Different things occur when different amounts of Ouch! rolls are resolved.  If one is resolved, the military in your borough attacks only you, dealing one damage per unit present. If two are resolved, the military in your borough attack all monsters in the borough, dealing one damage per unit present. If three Ouch! rolls are resolved then the military is activated in ALL of the borough, attacking each monster within it, dealing one damage per unit.

NOTE: Resolving 3 Ouch! rolls also let's a player acquire the Statue of Liberty Goal card, which grants 3 Victory Points! But if you lose the card, you also lose those 3 Victory Points...

The Move Step comes after a player has resolved all of his dice. They may move to any borough as long as there aren't already two monsters present. There are a few exceptions to this rule. If Manhattan is empty on your Move Step, then you must enter Lower Manhattan. Or, if you are already in Manhattan, you must move further into the borough, if possible.

Once a play has moved, he has the option to purchase cards during the Buy Step. There are 3 cards revealed from the start of the game. Each card has a cost in Energy to acquire, which is listed in the upper left corner. Once a card is bought, it is replaced with the top card of the deck, so there are always three cards available. A player may spend 2 Energy to discard all of the available cards and reveal three new cards. This can be done as many times as they want.

NOTE: There are two types of cards (technically three if including the Goal cards): Keep and Discard. Keep cards you place in front of you and they remain in effect until otherwise indicated. Discard cards are one time use effects that are resolved immediately and then discarded.

Finally, the player ends their turn once they are done with the Buy Step. Play then passes clockwise.

The players duke it out until either one of them has 20 Victory Points at the end of their turn or are the last monster standing!

I know that looks like a lot, but most of it was describing what each dice symbol does. Once you play a round you will find it's pretty intuitive and easy. The trickiest part is resolving dice rolls in the best order and knowing when to leave Manhattan (a soft Press Your Luck element).

Full Review Forthcoming

Have you ever played King of New York? If so, what was your opinion? Did you enjoy it? Have you ever played King of Tokyo? If playing both, which do you prefer? Are there certain element/mechanics you like in one over the other?