Review: “King of New York”

Designer: Richard Garfield

Publisher IELLO, Devir, Egmont Polska, Heidelberger Spieleverlag, HomoLudicus, t edizioni

Players: 2-6 (the more, the better)

Time: 30-45 minutes

Ages: 10+

The monsters that battled for control of Tokyo have crossed the pond and landed in the Big Apple.

King of New York is a spinoff? sequel? new take on the popular board game, King of Tokyo, with some new mechanics, more dice, and cards(!) added to the game. 

The game takes place in  – wait for it! – New York City. You control one 6 monsters, who battle their way through each of NYC’s 5 Boroughs (there’s no difference between the monsters, other than outward appearances). Each monster starts with 0 Fame Points (FPs) and 10 Health Points (HPs). The main object is to get 20 FPs; ways you can earn FPs include: forcing your opponent into Manhattan, destroying certain buildings throughout NYC, drawing certain cards from the Draw Deck.


You have up to 5 different actions that you can take on  your turn, some of them mandatory:

  • Roll! You roll the dice (usually, the 6 black dice; dice explained in the next section); you can keep whatever dice you like and re-roll the rest, up to 2 additional times
  • Resolve! Mandatory step. You collect, and dist out, any effects of the dice roll(s)
  • Move! (Optional, most of the time) You can move to any of the Boroughs, except Manhattan (optional; as long as there are 0 or 1 monsters in that Borough), or you can get forced into Manhattan (mandatory; see the next section)
  • Buy! Optional. If you have collected enough Energy, you can buy cards that give massive boots to your monsters, upgrade your monsters’ offensive stats, give you some really good countermeasures, or even let you win the game, assuming you meet certain conditions.
  • End! End your turn.

Dice and Combat


In the above pic, the symbols are: Star (“Celebrity” – Fame Points); Destruction (used to potentially destroy buildings); Heart (your main ways to restore HP); Attack (the “claw” – deals damage to opponents and/or buildings and/or military units); Energy (“lightning bolt” – you gain 1 Energy Cube per Bolt rolled); and Ouch! (causes enemy units, possibly the entire Military) to F you and your day up).

Depending on the number of players, 1 or 2 players will end up in Manhattan at the of the first player’s first turn. This begins the Battle for New York!

If your monster is in Manhattan, you can only attack monsters outside of Manhattan; the reverse is also true.


For example: if that Mantis (who is currently in the Bronx) was in Manhattan, it could attack the Dino with the small hat (also currently in the Bronx).

You roll 6 of the black dice up to 3 times, keeping dice as you go, until your 3rd roll is over or you stop before the 3rd roll.

Mantis has 7 HPs and 4 FPs. He is attacking the Dragon in Brooklyn (who has 8 HPs and 1 FPs). Mantis rolls 2 Hearts, 1 Ouch!, 1 Energy, and 2 Stars on his first roll. Having less than 3 Stars does nothing; 1 Ouch! can be valuable, and the Hearts are valuable – he keeps the 2 Hearts and the Ouch!. The second roll yields 1 more Ouch!, plus 2 Attack. He keeps the Attacks and extra Ouch!, ending his Roll phase.

You resolve your dice rolls.

His dice totals are: 2 Hearts, 2 Ouch!, and 2 Attack – this heals Mantis to 9 HP, deals 2 Damage to Dragon, and allows any exposed Infantry in Brooklyn (Brooklyn!) to also hit Dragon for 2 Damage (no Infantry are exposed).

You move, if you want to.

Dragon decides to stay in Brooklyn; if Mantis had been attacked by Dragon, he would have the option of leaving Manhattan. This would force Dragon to move into Manhattan, but give him a bonus to HPs and Energy.

If you have enough Energy, you can purchase Cards (the cost is on the top corner of each card).


At the beginning of the game, 3 cards are dealt, face up, on the table. Players can purchase as many cards as they can afford, on their turn, after the dice have been resolved and they have moved. Mantis has 7 Energy Cubes. He buys the “Of Another World” card for 6 Energy, leaving him with 1 Energy. That card lets Mantis use Energy as Hearts, and Hearts as Energy, as long as he has that card – a pretty sweet card! This ends Mantis’s turn.

In addition to other monsters, you now have Building tokens on the board. Each token has a number and symbol, corresponding to the number of Ouch! dice needed to destroy it and the reward for destroying it. In the board picture above, it would take 1 Ouch! to destroy the high-rise (earning a FP) and 2 Ouch! to destroy the Hospital (earning 2 HPs). Be careful – once that building is destroyed, the tile flips over, and it becomes a Military/Infantry unit. Which can attack you, if Ouch! are rolled. Having 3 or 4 Infantry tokens exposed in your Borough is not a good thing.

We had 4 players on Friday night. I was the first to go to Manhattan, in Game #1…. and promptly got my draconic butt handed to me. I was the first person killed. In Game #2, I won a war of attrition that came down to me and J.R.: I had enough energy, and some pretty timely good dice rolls, to survive J.R.’s attacks.

I am not sure what to think of “King of New York”‘s features. I like that there are 5 areas to fight in, and those areas tie in pretty nicely with the Building tokens. I like the new cards that you can purchase – some of those can completely change a game around. However, I’m not a huge fan of those Building/Military tokens… at this moment. It adds an unnecessarily complicated layer to what was a pretty simple ‘base’ game. With that being said, “King of New York” is still a fun, relatively quick game. The dice are equal parts wonderful and sadistic. The cards add some unique twists and turns to the game.

If you enjoyed “King of Tokyo”, give “King of New York” a try. I can’t guarantee that you’ll enjoy everything as much as “Tokyo”, however.

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