Table Top Spotlight – iello Games

May 2, 2017

iello games started in 2004 out of Nancy, France, solely as a game and toy distributor. In 2010, after partnering with many game studios, they also became a publisher. Specializing in games that are rich with graphics, beautiful in design, and innovative in gameplay iello games solidified their position around 2012 by creating a U.S. division and releasing what has now become a best selling and award winning game, designed by the famed Magic The Gathering designer, Richard Garfield – King of Tokyo. As a company, iello believes in the ability games have to bring people together. Their goal is to bring the world games that are irresistible, intriguing enough to pick up, and impossible to put down. From children’s and family games, to party and card games, to strategy games of every variety, they strive to provide games of high quality and immense replay ability. Their motto: From our game table to yours, we know games!

King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo

This is the game I mentioned earlier, the multi award winning King of Tokyo! In this game you play mutant monsters, gigantic robots, and strange aliens—all of whom are destroying Tokyo and fighting each other in order to become the one and only King of Tokyo. At the start of each turn, you roll six dice, which show the following six symbols: 1, 2, or 3 Victory Points, Energy, Heal, and Attack. Over three successive throws, (usually called Yahtzee style rolling) you’ll choose whether to keep or discard each die in order to win victory points, gain energy, restore health, or attack other players into understanding that Tokyo is YOUR territory. (Think King of the Hill!) The fiercest player will occupy Tokyo, and earn extra victory points, but that player can’t heal and must face the damage dealt by all the other monsters! Also in the game are special cards purchased with energy that have a permanent or temporary effect, such as the growing of a second head which grants you an additional die, body armor, nova death ray, and more! In order to win the game, you must either destroy Tokyo by accumulating 20 victory points, or be the only surviving monster!

The game has recently had a newer printing that has updated artwork, rules, and a few new monsters. Also, there have been several expansion released that can be purchased separately but still need the base game to play. King of Tokyo: Power Up! – is an expansion that includes a new monster named Pandakai, a giant panda bear, and a set of evolution cards for Pandakai as well as a set of cards for all the monsters from the base game. These cards add a new rule where at the end of a player’s turn, if he has three hearts, they draw one Evolution card and adds it to his hand. A player can reveal and play an Evolution card at any time. Some Evolutions are temporary, allowing a one-time bonus, while others are Permanent. Another expansion that came out was the Halloween set. This added another two monsters, Pumpkin Jack and Boogey Woogey, a set of orange dice, and some new special cards that are costumes.

King of New York

In 2015, Richard Garfield designed a follow-up iello games release called King of New York which introduces lots of new ways to play, while still keeping the core ideas of King of Tokyo. Added in KoNY are buildings to stomp, vengeful military units and units to destroy, six brand new monsters, and added a new symbol on the dice where every roll might mean that your monster feels the OUCH, as military units open fire. Will you grab the spotlight and become a celebrity Superstar? Or will you become the defender of the city, and befriend Lady Liberty? Each of New York’s boroughs has its own charms, but to truly rule the Big Apple, you’ll have to control Manhattan. King of New York also has a Power Up! expansion and all characters in both games are interchangeable. Recently, iello has released the first mini expansion in a line called “monster packs”. The first one released is CTHULHU! If you’re looking for a sure-fire hit of a game that is great for families, non-gamers,  and hardcore gamers alike, you can not go wrong with either of the King series of games!

Family and Strategy games

Most of all of iello games really can fall into these two categories, and it is where the company shines the most. They have games for all ages too! In Monster Chase, (video below) a cooperative memory game for players 3 to 7 years old, monsters creep out from under the bed and try to surround it. Each monster is only afraid of one toy that will banish it to the closet among the ten that are available to be found. If the players successfully send all the monsters to the closet before they can close the circle around the bed, they win! Otherwise, the monsters are declared victorious.

Oceanos, a fantastic game for 8 to 12 years old, it is a game of underwater exploration where each player pilots her own submarine trying to spot the most underwater species and the largest coral reef, sending scuba-divers after forgotten treasures, collecting precious crystals to upgrade their ship and to escape the fearsome Kraken’s gaze! The Big Book of Madness is a challenging co-operative game, great for players 12 and up, in which the players are magic students who must act as a team to turn all the pages of the book, then shut it by defeating the terrible monsters they’ve just freed. Each player has their own element deck that they build during the game and use for several purposes, such as learning or casting a spell, adding a new element to their deck, destroy or healing a curse. Spells allow you to support your playmates, improve your deck, draw cards, etc. — but the monsters from the book fight back. Each comes with terrible curses that are triggered every turn unless you dispel them in time. They will make you discard elements, add madness cards to your deck, or lose spells! If you manage to turn six pages and defeat all of the monsters, you win the game!

Biblios is a game that involves a good deal of strategic planning, some bluffing, and a little bit of luck. The rules are easy to understand, but you have to play it a few times to develop a playing strategy. It plays differently from 2-4 players, but each game is equally fun and challenging. In the game, you are an abbot of a medieval monastery competing with other abbots to amass the greatest library of sacred books. To do so, you need to have both the workers and resources to run a well-functioning scriptorium. To acquire workers and resources, you use a limited supply of donated gold. In addition, you must be on good terms with the powerful bishop, who can help you in your quest. The object of the game is to score the most Victory Points. You win Victory Points by winning any of the 5 categories: Illuminators, Scribes, Manuscripts, Scrolls, and Supplies. You win a category by having the highest total number of workers (Scribes, Illuminators) or resources (Manuscripts, Scrolls, Supplies) in that category.


Monster Chase – A fun family game for ages 3 to 7

Other games

From Party games like Dungeon Fighter (A cooperative dexterity game where you’re traversing a dungeon and defeating the creatures by chucking dice in various ways onto a large target on the table.) to war games like Heroes of Normandie (A fast-paced, strategic, 2 player, WWII combat game inspired by Hollywood movies.), you’ll find a title for just about every age range, gameplay style, complexity level, and theme. Like games with a ton of miniatures? Try Guardians’ Chronicles, an epic semi-cooperative board game that plays out the story of the conflict between the superheroes of the Liberty Patrol and their archenemy, the evil Doktor Skarov!

Don’t think the company is slowing down. They have a myriad of expansions and releases coming in 2017 including expansions to their popular “theme park” building game Steam Park, a new strategy fighting game, Arena: for the Gods, and what I feel is one of the most anticipated games coming in 2017 from any company, Mountains of Madness! Inspired by the popular novel At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft,  this game is a new crazy creation from the super hot designer Rob Daviau, with illustrations from the one of the greatest board game artist, Miguel Coimbra. Players are all on a plane and have to cooperate to reach the top of the Mountain and then escape safely, but the Mountain has more than one trick up its ghastly sleeve. In horror, you realize that the higher you fly, the crazier your teammates become! Each step you take, the leader must gather the necessary equipment from all other players to keep on flying. Quick and clear communication is the key – but how will you stick together when your team starts developing weirder and weirder behavior? We’ll have to wait until quarter 4 of 2017 to find out!

Games from the “Tales & Games” series

To see all the games mentioned, plus their large slate of other titles, head over to iello games website. Have you played any of iello games titles? What are some of your favorites? Please comment below.

You can hear plenty more about board games and table top games over on What The Geek?! Podcast. (Specifically on The Board Game Leftovers podcast and The Big and Little Meeple podcast)