So lately my gaming has been mostly with Max.  As a result, we have no longer playing the Euro Calvinballs of Carcassonne or Alhambra as much.  Instead, we have been playing one of the following:

Pitchcar, Flash Point Fire Rescue, or King of Tokyo.

Much more below the tag!

With Pitchcar, I think I’ve finally hit my limit in terms of acquiring stuff.  We finally managed to get the last expansion we did not own – the hard-to-get Special Long Straights we’ve long sought after, and the biggest problem with Pitchcar is that the setup is MUCH longer than the actual gaming that takes place.

That said, Max enjoys it, and his building/spatial skills are starting to get creepy good for his age, so I’m still up for this game with him providing I know we have the time for setup, play and disassembly before the next activity.

In the case of Flash Point Fire Rescue, we continue to love love love this game.  We basically play a variant of the family rules – but include the actions of the special cards, and if they get “knocked out/down”, we assume that role is out of the count and pick up another.  It’s not as challenging as the full rules, but it’s still very possible to lose (usually with the house collapsing rather than fire getting to the victims).

Even more exciting is that it has even more expansions coming out – one in 2013 and one in 2014, both of which are currently on Kickstarter and funded about 4-5x over.  The first one is called Extreme Danger, which adds new maps, newer tokens (including a cat that looks like Peanut; whether we will choose to save him after discovering him on the board is a good open question), more hazards, more more more stuff.

The other is Extreme Waters, which involves two new maps – a boat and a submarine on fire!  This one is an added board set to the existing Kickstarter for hitting over a particular pledge level.  We’re excited, but this won’t see our house until October this year.

Those of you who have been to Casa Steelaraza and/or already played the basic game take note – the Kickstarter pledge levels are a great way to get the game and all of those expansions at the same time!

However, the one that’s really got the family’s attention right now is King of Tokyo.  King of Tokyo is essentially a dice game, but it’s also a clever resource collection/dual path to victory game as well.



 the dice for King of Tokyo – numbers are for victory points, lightning for energy, claw for attack, and heart for health


The premise is that you are one of six (seven if you get the added expansion, Power Up!) giant monsters attempting to go into Tokyo.  But you can’t properly destroy Tokyo and get monster cred for doing so with these other guys around!  So there’s a player elimination element to it as well.  You either win by getting 20 victory points (i.e. destroying Tokyo) or by knocking out the other players.



shows the dice, energy cubes, markers, the game board and a couple of monsters (Alienoid and Meka-Dragon!)


power cards and The King! is rampaging in Tokyo!


In rolling the dice, you have your choice of earning victory points, healing, gaining energy, or doing damage.

While IN Tokyo – Monsters can do damage to all other monsters and can also earn victory points every turn they stay in, gain energy, roll victory points (triple numbers of the same number), but they cannot heal damage.

Outside of Tokyo, you can either heal, roll “triple” victory points, gain energy to buy power cards, or beat up the monster currently IN Tokyo and try to encourage the monster to leave Tokyo.



 energy cubes – wish they glowed like this all the time!

Either group of monsters takes three rolls and chooses each die to lock during these rolls.

Dice faces are resolved, and heal points/victory points are resolved using a card-wheel system.



An example of the monster card-wheel, showing victory points and health!


After that, if they want, the monster can then take an amount of energy cubes and buy a power.  If none of the powers are to the monster player’s liking, two cubes can be spent to get a new set of power cards on the table.

The card powers acquired from the energy cubes can be temporary or permanent, and can either affect your health, victory points, or give you a special ability to poison, shrink, or otherwise affect other monsters.



example of power cards and the Alienoid card-wheel


The added expansion adds a seventh monster (PandaKai!) and evolution cards.  The evolution cards are a card set that ONLY your monster can draw from (unlike the other common cards that are bought with energy by any monster), and are achieved whenever three “heart”/heal dice symbols are resolved.  The effects, like the common cards, are either a “use once and discard” or a “keep and continue to use to plague the other players” type of special abilities.



 example of evolution cards


The skinny:  King of Tokyo is pure family fun in a box!  It’s not overly complicated and not overly simplistic either. The levels of resource management in this game are at a great level for Max – varied but not overly difficult, so he can actually plan strategy and decide on the best actions.  Max is a savvy little monster and has beaten myself, Valerie and Uncle Pete more than once at this game.

This is a great family game because it’s fun and goofy.  Big kids (i.e. the non-Max members of Steelaraza and their guests) will be far from bored and want to play this game again and again.

Big thumbs up from the Steelaraza gaming crew!