Smash Up /// Once A Month Gamer

LazyLady-OAMG-SmashUp.jpg

Smash Up is a fun “shufflebuilding game” that any genre lover will adore! It has a TON of expansions, and, let’s be honest, has been reviewed all over the internet (the original game came out in 2012). However, even though you can find reviews from other bloggers, this one has been on “to review” list for a long time, and it’s number has finally come up! I love this game, and I want to tell you all why.

THEME: Dinosaurs, Fantasy, Zombies, Sci-fi, Monsters, Ninjas, Humor

PUBLISHER:
Alderac Entertainment Group

DESIGNER(S): Paul Peterson

COST: $29.99


“In Smash Up players take two factions, such as pirates, ninja, robots, zombies, and more, and combine their decks into a force to be reckoned with!”

I’ve never seen a game described as a “shufflebuilder” before Smash Up, however the name aptly applies to this game’s mechanics. Each player will choose two factions to build their deck, and shuffle them together. Simple as that. Here’s a look at the factions to choose from (in the original game):

  •  Aliens
  • Dinosaurs
  • Ninjas
  • Pirates
  • Robots
  • Tricksters (Gnomes, Fairies and Goblins!)
  • Wizards
  • Zombies
 Here's a look at all the decks. The base deck at the top.

Here's a look at all the decks. The base deck at the top.

Each faction has its own strengths and weaknesses and no two deck builds work the same. Wizard Pirates will play a very different game than Wizard Robots. During the setup, the players can either choose their two factions or let the fates decided (which is how we like to play). If you play this game regularly with a group that all want to be Ninjas, fear not. You can always buy another core set and combine it with the cards you already have in one box (which has PLENTY of slots for more decks!). This game is one of the more affordable of all the awesome tabletops out there, so building up on it isn’t too harsh on the bank account. 

 This is what you get in the box. There is plenty of room for more decks in that box!!

This is what you get in the box. There is plenty of room for more decks in that box!!

This game is for 2-4 players, and trust me, you can have a great fun game with just two! Mr. LL and I love this game because we can grab it off the shelf when we’re bored and have a not-too-quick/not-too-long game session. While many people claim that because the rulebook is so concise (which it totally is) Smash Up is easy to pick up, if you are playing it for the first time with other players who have never played, there is a small learning curve. It takes a minute to get the hang of the turn flow, but after one game, you’ll have it down. 

 A sample of what a starting hand might look like for someone playing a Robot-Trickster shufflebuild.

A sample of what a starting hand might look like for someone playing a Robot-Trickster shufflebuild.

nce you have your two factions shuffled together, you’ll start with a hand of five cards. Each round you’ll draw two cards, but you cannot have more than ten cards at a time. There will be three “bases” out for everyone to play on, and on your turn, you’ll have the opportunity to play an “Action” card – which can really give you an advantage or mess up your opponents’ strategy – and a “Minion” card which helps you “score the base.” After each player’s turn, all the minions power numbers (in the top left corner of their cards) on each base is added up (your cards and all the other players cards are added up). If the total of minion points is equal to or exceeds the base’s breakpoint number, then that base scores. There are three large numbers on the base cards, and those are the victory points. The player with the most power will get the the first number, second highest gets the second number, third highest gets the third number. Sometimes, a base will have a better score in a spot that isn’t first place, so you have to be crafty with your strategies. After the bases score, or don’t score, you’ll draw your cards and then pass the turn. It goes on like this until a player scores 15 Victory Points and wins the game.

 Players play minions and actions to get ahead and break each Base's breaking point number (in the top left on the Base card).

Players play minions and actions to get ahead and break each Base's breaking point number (in the top left on the Base card).

really enjoy this game. It is full of humor and amazing artwork. I love the integration of all these genres and interests in one game, which makes it really appealing to a wide range of players. Like I said, this game’s price point is one of the lowest out there for a good quality tabletop game – not to mention that it has a great replay value since you can have so many different combinations of decks that won’t play the same each game – so I highly recommend this one to every one. It’s great for casual gamers looking to dip their toe into the world of more indie tabletop games.


Have a suggestion for a board game you’d like to see on this Once A Month Gamer post? Have any questions about this month’s game? Leave a comment down below.