Review – King of New York

Posted on by Jesta

A dice rolling, monster fighting game.

Title: King of New York

Year Published: 2014

Designer: Richard Garfield

Publisher: IELLO

Players: 2-6

Game Time: ~40 Mins

Set-up Time: >5 Mins

Ages: 8+

Theme: Monsters

Mechanic: Dice Rolling

How to win: Score 20 points or be the last monster standing.

Game Description

There’s always something happening in the city that never sleeps. Maybe it’s the lights, maybe it’s the energy, or maybe it’s the giant monsters trying to demolish the place!

Set Up & Game Play

Put the two special cards aside, shuffle the deck, turn 3 cards over. These are the cards available for purchase from the beginning of the game. The two special cards need to be earned! More on them later…

King of New York Card Layout

Each player takes a monster and matching player board. (Don’t take Rob, he’s mine :)) Set your life to 10 and points to 0.

King of New York Rob

My real name is Rob, not Jesta… I know, I’m disappointed too!

Shuffle the buildings into piles of 3 and put 3 piles in each borough of New York. That’s 9 tiles in 3 stacks per borough… Space is tight so keep them neat!

Each player rolls the dice, the player with the most ‘Attack’ rolls goes first. Then starting with the first player, take turns putting your monster in any borough except Manhattan. You may not have more than 2 monster in a borough so spread out a bit.

King of New York Start Player Roll

Game Play

At the beginning of your turn, you gain the bonus printed on the board if you’re in Manhattan.

King Of New York Manhattan Bonus

If you’re lucky enough to be in Upper Manhattan at the start of your turn, you gain 2 points and 2 energy.

Roll the Dice up to 3 times, keeping as many dice as you like between rolls, Yahtzee style. Any dice you keep can be re-rolled later if you change your mind.

Attack symbols let you deal damage. If you’re in Manhattan, you deal 1 point of damage for each symbol rolled to all Monsters outside of Manhattan. If you’re outside Manhattan, you deal 1 point of damage for each symbol rolled to all Monsters in Manhattan.

King of New York Damage Roll

This player just so happened to roll 6 attacks just as I needed to take a picture, all the right way up too. How Convenient.

So, if you’re in deal out, if you’re out deal in… easy right?

At this point, if you’re in Manhattan and you take damage you can choose to yield by moving your Monster into any other borough. (Keeping the 2 monsters per borough rule).

Heal lets you regain health. You gain 1 point of health per symbol rolled but you cannot heal this way if you’re in Manhattan.

King of New York Health Roll

Another suspiciously convenient roll…

Energy – Take that many energy cubes… that’s it. You can use these to buy things later.

King of New York Energy Roll

3 Energy…

Destruction – Deal 1 point of damage to a building or unit. You can destroy as many tiles within your borough as you can and if you have to kill a building or unit if you are able to.

King of New York Destroy Building

One Damage is enough to flatten that Warehouse.

If you destroy something, gain points, health or energy depending on the item destroyed. Then, flip over destroyed buildings to their Unit side.

King of New York Flipped Tile

The Warehouse has turned into a Jeep! A wild Hospital appears.

If you destroy a Unit, put it in front of you. You can’t destroy a unit the same turn you flip it over from a building.

King of New York Destroy Unit

Ouch – Rolling one gives you 1 point of damage per unit in your borough.
Rolling 2 causes each unit to deal 1 point of damage to all monsters in your borough.
Rolling 3 causes each unit in New York to attack each monster in their respective borough.
Rolling 3+ also gives you the Statue of Liberty card.

King of New York Unit Damage

Ouch! The Jeep fights back!

Celebrity – Roll 3 to take the Superstar card. Then, gain a point plus 1 point for each symbol you rolled over 3.

King of New York Superstar Card

I always feel I need the Superstar card. I don’t know what it is, that makes me feel like this…

Move – You MUST move into Manhattan if its empty. If Manhattan is taken, either stay still or move to another borough if you want. (Again, only 2 monsters per borough Max.)

King of New York Rob in Manhattan

Rob Moves into Lower Manhattan. This picture was taken from a Helicopter, hence the blurriness…

If you’re in Manhattan, move up one space, you don’t move if you’re already in Upper Manhattan.

Buy Cards
Buy any number of cards from the 3 available, or pay 2 energy to discard them and reveal 3 new ones.

End your Turn
Resolve End of Turn effects and pass dice to the left

End Game

If you are the last Monster standing, or have 20+ points at the end of your turn, you win!

Round Up

As a fan of King of Tokyo this was an instant buy for me.  They took the same base game and added more to it, increasing the learning difficulty and moving it further away from a gateway game…

Now, It’s still not overly complicated and it can still be used as a gateway, but the rules for Buildings and Units and much more complicated than the 1,2 and 3 dice in Tokyo.

Games can be quicker with Units dealing damage to Monsters on top of Monsters dealing damage to each other. If you’re unlucky you can take massive amounts of damage in one turn…

But, this does solve the issue that King of Tokyo can have where players go for healing over and over to stay in the game, extending it’s play time. With Units dealing you damage and the Monster in Manhattan getting better and better rewards each round, the game constantly works towards a finish.

Of course, the worst part now is having to pick between Rob, and my beloved Cyber Bunny 🙂

King of New York Rob and Cyber Bunny


A very fun yet fairly simple to play game. More complex than King of Tokyo and more fun to play with gamers.

I give it 7/10

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