Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Smash Up

Smash Up
Designed by Paul Peterson

What do Pirates, Aliens, Robots, Tricksters, Ninjas, Dinosaurs, Wizards, and Zombies have in common? They are all used in this simplistic battle for power in the card game "Smash Up." A big SHOUT OUT to AEG for making this review possible by sending an advanced copy of the game. Smash Up was scheduled for an August release, but since then the game has been pushed back to a September release, so keep your eyes open. To me Smash Up feels like a simpler version of Killer Bunnies with a pleasant added variety to the type of cards. The game is very easy to learn and play and the games go by really quickly (so you can play again with a different mash up of types). The game is made for 2 to 4 players and with all the different species or types, the game has tremendous replay value.

The game includes 8 different categories with 20 cards in each. Players choose 2 different categories and shuffle them together creating their playing deck for the game. This can be done by taking turns choosing a type or another fun way I think is to actually take a card from each category and shuffle them up dealing out 2 cards to each player randomizing each players deck. Either way, each different combination will have its pros and cons and your strategy will have to adapt.

After the decks have been shuffled, different base cards are dealt out onto the table and the mayhem begins. Each player can play 1 minion (these are cards with characters of power and usually have some special ability associated with them) to a base and/or 1 action card (these allow to enhance your own minions or hurt others etc.). You then "score" any base on which the sum of all the minions' power (yours along with other players' minions) is equal to or greater than what is on the base. Players then score victory points according to their power ranking compared to the others. A new base is then drawn and placed. The player then draws 2 cards (discard down to 10 at the end of your turn). Simple as that! The game ends when someone scores at least 15 victory points and the winner is the one player with the most.

I really like the simple play to the game. You can introduce the game to 3 entirely new people and have the game going in 5 minutes. The game of course has a bit of luck on the draw of cards and you are greatly affected by the other players constantly. The different types of cards and combos make the theme crazy and fun. My only negative feedback on the game is that the game requires a pen/pencil and some paper to keep track of score. I would have loved some simple method included in the game to keep track of the victory points. All in all, a great little card game. Who would have imagined ninjas teaming up with dinosaurs or pirates combining with aliens or zombies and robots (now that's a scary thought)...and that is How Lou Sees It.

1 comment:

  1. To clarify a bit concerning my comparison to Killer Bunnies:

    Smash Up consists of a lot less card types (i.e. Killer Bunnies you have the Bunnies, the money cards, the weapon cards, the special cards, the very special cards, and the carrot cards etc.) and it doesn't have any additional components either (i.e. Killer Bunnies with the water and cabbage, the market, and the dice). Smash Up is straight up cards with simply 3 types: Minion, Action, and Base. In this way, Smash Up is a "simpler version" as described prior.

    Even though the game Smash Up indeed feels like a "bidding game," it also shares the "take-that" feel of Killer Bunnies. The Minions have different abilities such as to remove an opponents Minion when played or move them to a different base. The action cards can remove/destroy opponent Minions or weaken them.

    One further comparison between the two is the actual rules (ease of play) and game time. Killer Bunnies will take a while to explain all of the rules, and there are so many cards and things going on that it is a little overwhelming to a beginner player in my opinion. Rules have to be checked on certain cards etc. Smash Up provides very simple rules that are very easy to understand for someone just being introduced to the game. You won't have to check back in the rule book for different cards. Quick set up and play. As far as game time goes, I appreciate Smash Up and its use of points to determine the game end. Some games can end up a bit shorter or longer, but it is generally pretty quick and won't drag on. Killer Bunnies on the other hand can drag out for a long time. Don't get me wrong, Killer Bunnies is a great game and it is pretty hilarious, but the huge variation in length is not my favorite.

    I apologize, because I do realize now that the statement taken just as written is probably not a really good explanation or comparison. I hope that this has helped clarify my meaning a bit. I will try and be more descriptive in my future reviews.