16 December 2015
Create your own combination of cult characters in this fast-paced card game
AEG | Card game | £24.99 | 2-4 players | 45 minutes | www.alderac.com
Everyone loves ninjas, right? Of course, goes without saying. What about dinosaurs? Clever girl, they’re definitely brilliant. Robots? Sure, why not. Hang on, did we mention pirates? They’re probably even more popular than ninjas. But what about a pirate dinosaur or a zombie ninja? Surely that would cause a geek explosion? Well, you’re right and Paul Peterson’s Smash Up explores that concept with truly stunning (and ridiculous) results.
In Smash Up players choose from two factions, e.g. dinosaurs, pirates or ninjas, and combine them into one super faction like alien zombies or robot wizards. The players then scrap it out to take control of different bases and the first to 15 points is the winner. Each turn you can play an action card (giving you fairly simple instructions like ‘draw two cards’) and a minion card. The minion cards are characters based on the various factions like the Armor Stego or alien overlord, who are then used to attack the enemy bases.
The factions all play very differently and, as you would expect the Ninja minions have sneaky abilities, while the dinosaurs are strong but a little bit stupid. Likewise they all have different action cards too and learning how to use those in key moments is a vital part of the game, e.g. there are some action cards that will force opposing players to return minions to their hand, potentially allowing you to take over a base instead and bag the points.
Like so many great games what Smash Up does so well is lure people in with the silly theme of pirate robots and then sucker punch them with an in-depth game full of strategy. Plus, it’s great experimenting with different factions and ninja dinosaurs really do play differently to zombie wizards, so there’s plenty of incentive for repeat plays. Finally, since first being released in 2012, there are now numerous expansions to add to the experience, including the Obligatory Cthulu pack.
Sometimes we may include links to online retailers, from which we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links do not influence editorial coverage and will only be used when covering relevant products.