King of Tokyo
As demand for all things nerdy has skyrocketed, tabletop and card games with complex strategies but easy learning curves—such as The Settlers of Catan and Munchkin—have started popping up at Target and Walmart. Though you won’t find King of Tokyo on the shelves of big-box stores, it’s worth hunting down at your local game or comic shop. Taking control of Tokyo-destroying monsters, players win by earning Victory Points or being the last monster standing. A turn consists of rolling and re-rolling die to create combinations—think Yahtzee or Farkle—that deal damage to other players, heal, or allow the player to collect Energy Cubes (currency) or Victory Points. Creator Richard Garfield (Magic: The Gathering) balances King of Tokyo’s rules and gameplay mechanics in a sweet spot between Candy Land and Dungeons & Dragons. Bare-bones combat, health, currency, and card-effect systems add complexity and strategy to the game while remaining approachable to players who may be unfamiliar with such mechanics. The pace is a nice middle ground for new and veteran players alike, and the roll of the die, card effects, and special buffs for controlling Tokyo keep things unpredictable and exciting. While you’re at the comic shop, pick up the game’s two expansions—it’ll save you a trip back after you’re hooked on becoming King.