I think these is how the cards can be used:

  1. Keep cards can be played only during your turn.
  2. Discard cards are to be played immediately.
  3. Permanent power ups can be played only during your turn.
  4. Temporary power ups can be played at any time.
  5. All cards/power ups can be played in the turn you bought/acquired them (unless stated otherwise).

Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks!

2 Answers 2


The King of Tokyo rules only define two types of cards, Keep and Discard. (Page 2). There is no such thing as Temporary or Permanent cards. Many cards seem to represent power ups of the Monsters, but this isn't a game term.

Card Description

How to play the card is indicated above the description of the effect.

KEEP: Monsters keep these cards for the remainder of the game (sometimes the card will indicate it is discarded under certain circumstances.)

DISCARD: Monsters immediately resolve these then discard them.

As the Card Description indicates, the cards themselves will indicate when they can be played, with the exception of DISCARD cards that are played immediately after being purchased. Unless a card notes otherwise, you may play it and gain its effects immediately.

Permanent/Temporary Evolution cards can be played at any time, barring a timing restriction printed on the card. From the expansion rules (page 2)

Evolutions - Monsters keep their evolutions secret until they want to play them – which can be at any time. There are two kind of Evolutions:

Temporary Evolution: They are discarded after being played.

Permanent Evolution: They stay in play like a Keep card from the base game.

  • The power ups are for the expansion. I will update my question. Sep 27, 2013 at 5:42
  • Thanks for the update. I guess the first sentences of the answer no longer apply. It'd be nice to clean them up :) Sep 30, 2013 at 23:12

My understanding is:

Keep Cards

Come into effect as soon as you buy them and remain in play until you die, unless otherwise stated or some other card removes it (e.g. you sell it using Metamorph, someone buys it off you with Parasitic Tentacles).

When you can use the extra abilities given to you by a card is specific to the card and is generally stated on it. Examples:

  • Eater of the Dead power is usable at any time, so if a player dies when it's not your turn you still gain points.

  • Parasitic Tentacles power can only be used during the phase of your turn where you buy cards.

Discard Cards

Discard cards are played immediately upon buying and the effects are resolved immediately. So for example if you wanted to buy 2 discard cards on your turn you would buy the first card and resolve it, then buy the second card and resolve it.

Buying Cards

Normally you can only buy cards on your turn, however Opportunist allows you to buy cards when it's not your turn. If you use Opportunist to buy a card then that card has immediate effect, you do not wait until your turn to resolve it.

  • Thanks for the answer. I was also wondering about the power ups in the expansion. I will update my question. Sep 27, 2013 at 5:41

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