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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 29 March 2016
If you derive great joy from burning friendships with Munchkin and The Resistance - Try adding this one to the melee. This beauty caught my eye with its simple premise: Combine 2 classic antagonists and try to out-conquer your opponents. Why ask if ninjas are better than pirates... when you can have both? Face them off against a legion of zombie aliens, who probe your butt as they eat your brains... then see how you fare!

The real joy of the game comes from the level of strategic depth it boasts. Alderac does a superb job of providing a really distinct playstyle for all 8 factions. The aliens mess with their opponents and disrupt their plans, whilst the pirates hop around bases and pick off stragglers. The Tricksters make it difficult for others to get a foothold, whilst the dinosaurs are... well... what else would you expect for dinosaurs with laser cannons? They wreck bases. Big time.

Where you combine factions (and your opponents will also have their own wily combinations) is truly where the fun lies. It's a far cry from the variety other games give you which tends to be different starting points or characters with different abilities. Here: Right off the bat, each game has a really unique feel to it. You have to suss out the best combination of your cards to counter the combinations you'll come up against. Many cards beautifully synergise between the factions - often leading those one-in-a-blue-moon killer combos where everything just happened to be in the right place. Even the bases in play can alter the outcome. It really challenges you to constantly adapt - as the next game will be considerably different. Not something many games can boast

Considering its strategic depth, the rules are deceptively easy and quick to pick up. It generally takes a few moves to get the gist, and the rest is just the occasional clarification on what a certain card can/can't do (normally when someone's trying to be extra sneaky). Once rolling, games can last anywhere from 30 mins to an hour-half (or 4 hours if someone's playing wizards and is trying to work out how to play as many cards as possible)

In a really nice twist, the game also balanced so that one player can't just steamroll to victory. Once a base falls, all of the minions (and actions) on it head to the players' discard piles. Whilst it seems odd at first: It means you can't just win on a single, lucky victory. You need to keep creating lots of little wins and stay on top of things, as the game can very easily be snatched from you. As such, it really lends itself to dazzling comebacks and nail-biting finales that come down to the last base, which tends to let everyone feel more involved and enjoy themselves a lot more

Being the core game, this is obviously the best starting point to dip your feet into the world of Smash Up. And if you love it and want more, you're in luck: The box comes with enough room for 9 additional factions! Nice!
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on 22 November 2012
Comicbook style pugilism is at the heart of Smash Up, which is termed a "shufflebuilding" game.

The premise is simple, 2-4 players choose two of eight faction decks comprised of about 20 cards, shuffle them together and then off you go. The decks themselves represent entities such as "Pirates", "Wizards", "Dinosaurs" etc, each having a particular style or effect, with the replay value coming from the fact that there are a number of different possibilities, meaning that each time you play, you'll need to calibrate your strategy and tactics according to the faction's strengths and weaknesses.

Each deck is made up of minions and actions and you can play one of each per turn. In general minions will have a power value (up to 7) and have a unique ability that they can use at certain points of the game. Actions are usually one off events, although some factions have events that can be ongoing throughout the game.

The purpose of the game is to win 15 victory points - these can be won by laying minion cards at "bases, of which 4 are always present. Each base has what is termed a "breakpoint" and the first player to lay enough minions at a base to match that value is deemed to have won the points. However, points are also given to players who come 2nd and 3rd as well. Furthermore, some bases give more points to 2nd place than 1st place. Smash Up is essentially a bidding game, but one where you can find your bids removed or reduced significantly, just as you can affect other players too. Those who don't like direct confrontation may do well to avoid this game.

Smash Up's flavour and longevity comes from the unique abilities that each faction has and the combinations that you can make with mixing them up. For example, Dinosaurs are very powerful but lack subtlety. Compare them with the Ninjas, who rely on stealth and illusion or the Zombies, who just keep on returning from the grave to haunt you again and again. Although it looks like a simple game, there is actually a fair amount of deep strategy involved, especially as you can find that putting all your eggs in one basket to secure a base can often be wiped out in an instant (damn you Pirates!). The various abilities that the action and minion cards are fun to use too.

This is a fast game that shouldn't take more than one game or a few turns to properly grasp, and once you've got going, should take 30-45 minutes to play at the most. It has enormous potential for expansion and at the time of writing the manufacturers have announced plans for up to 22 more factions, which they've helpfully catered for by providing enough capacity in the box you get with the game. My only misgiving with it is that at first it's quite a slow game and it takes a while for things to really heat up. New players in my experience are a little unsure of the mechanism and strategy, especially if they're unfamiliar with a faction's weaknesses and strengths. However, as a fun, fast "filler" game it's recommended.
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on 3 January 2016
My Husband is a great fan of Strategic card games, but with most you end up spending a small fortune on boosters to get the ones you want so he ends up playing all the online ones instead. I wanted to get him something we could play together on Christmas Day whilst we waited for family and liked the sound of this as it was complete decks(expansions are optional but not necessary) it sounded just like something we'd both enjoy and we did! it has been played every other day or so since then and we've had tonnes of fun combining factions and working out what works well together and what doesn't. I expect to be buying expansions now and again in the future as it is definitely a game we will be coming back to when we have some time together and has been fun enough to spend more cash on in the future
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on 21 January 2014
Bought for a teenager who has played card games in the past - quick to pick up, although it rewards strategic play. Seems to meto be a game that improves with the number of players increasing as there's more scope for backstabbing :)
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on 22 November 2013
First saw this game on Table Top (You Tube with Will Weaton). It's great fun and very easy to explain to new players. Mixing the decks really adds a good amount of re-playability.
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on 15 July 2015
Lots of box, not many cards - room to store all the expansions. Box has nice texture and the art is excellent. Cards are fun, moderate text interpretation and of a reasonable quality.

Ideal with 4 players.
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on 12 November 2014
I saw this on a program called table top online and it looked fun.
A good game but I would recommend 3 or more players
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on 10 September 2013
This game is brilliant in two ways, firstly its super easy to pick up and play. Secondly, the more people you have playing the more tactical and interesting the game becomes..

It doesnt take too long to play and the fact you can choose to mash two random factions together gives it fantastic replay value.
If you haven't tried it yet, get it and give it a go! I bought it, introduced my friends to it and now its one of our games of choice.

Will be buying the expansion to it soon too!
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on 9 August 2015
A great game that has become a group favorite among friends. The first few goes were a little slow as each factions cards can do different things, but you get past this quickly. Well worth adding a few of the expansions to it as well as the box leaves space for more and there are so many you can pick and choose to your preference.
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on 2 March 2015
This is the card game for card gamers. Quick, fun. Quite light, but I love the variation when changing factions. The lack of VP chips, and the bare minimum factions in the base set annoy me, but you're probably gonna buy the expansion anyway, right?
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