Game Buzz: Smash Up

As GenCon comes ever closer, there’s a ton of games on my radar.  Since this year will be my first time going to the con, I’m making a list of games I want to check out.  Including:

image by BGG user AEGTodd

Smash Up was designed by Paul Peterson, and is being released by AEG.  The game is for 2-4 players aged 12 and up, and takes 45 minutes to play.  It’s a so called “shufllebuilding” game, where you shuffle together two separate factions, and use them as your army to smash bases.  Factions include Aliens, Dinosaurs, Ninjas, Pirates, Robots, Tricksters, Wizards, and Zombies.  This means you may end up with Robot Dinosaurs, or Ninja Zombies, or Alien Wizards, or Pirate Tricksters.  Etc.  Quick math here – 28 possible combinations.  And probably infinite opportunities for expansion.

The game comes with 160 faction cards (20 cards per faction) and 16 base cards.  You shuffle your chosen factions together to make a 40-card deck, then shuffle the bases to create a base deck.  One base per player plus one is drawn and placed face up in the center.  Each player draws five cards, which you can redraw if you have no minions in your first hand.

On your turn, you activate start of turn abilities, play cards, check for scoring, draw two cards, and perform end of turn actions.  To play cards, you may either play one minion, play one action, or one of each.  Minions are played next to bases, following card instructions.  Action cards are performed by playing a card, doing what it says, then discarding it (unless it has an ongoing ability).  After playing cards, check to see if any bases are ready to score (if the total power of all minions equals or exceeds the base’s breakpoint).  After scoring, check to see if anyone has 15 or more points.  If so, the game is over and the player with the most points wins (keep playing until there is a winner).  If not, draw two cards and play proceeds to the left.

That’s all there is to it, really.  The real appeal for me here is the mashup concept.  It seems to be a thing these days, to mash together different concepts – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Cowboys and Aliens.  So why not make a game about it?  I have no idea how this game will play without seeing the cards.  But I really want to try out a Zombie Dinosaur.  Or a Pirate Ninja.  Or a Robot Wizard.  This is a case where I think the theme is drawing me in more than the gameplay, which seems fairly simple and card driven.  I doubt there’s much opportunity for strategy.  And, from first glance, I think the 12+ age range is a tad high.  If all you’re doing is playing cards to cause as much damage as possible, I bet 8-year-olds would eat this up.  At any rate, this game is definitely on my demo list for GenCon.  Thanks for reading!

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