Shuffle Up and Take Over The World
Have you ever wondered who would win in a fight if aliens battled ninjas? Or what would happen if creepy zombies battled laser-augmented dinosaurs? Me neither—that’s lame. But what about if the Aliens and Ninjas teamed up to beat the Zombies and the Dinosaurs? And what about if there were also a team of Robots and Leprechauns in the mix? Now you’ve got me interested.
Smash Up! is based on a simple concept: choose two faction decks (pirates, wizards, robots, etc), shuffle them together, and see who wins. Behind that simple concept there must have been ridiculous amounts of playtesting, because each faction is meticulously well-balanced in and of itself. Some combinations end up weaker than others, and there’s always the luck of the draw to contend with, but half the fun is trying all of the wacky combinations. Dinosaurs and Ninjas together? Oh yeah!
- Decisions: 4/5. Like Dominion, it all comes down to the cards you draw. The game is won by breaking bases, most of which have a special power, and if you don’t get what you need when you need it, it’s easy to be left behind. But there’s always a chance for a comeback—or at least for a little revenge mayhem if not!
- Artwork: 5/5. The cards in Smash Up! are beautifully illustrated, and the design makes the various distinctions in the game easy to understand (and easy to separate once play is over). If all you have is the core set, I recommend having a set of poker chips on hand for counting points. But most of the expansions come with point counters, which is all the more reason to pick up a few!
- Replayability: 5/5. As of this writing, I have picked up three expansions, which has exponentially increased the amount of total possible faction combinations (some of which are hilarious). They have also added some new bases into the mix (which are the main need in the core set). So yeah, this makes for an endless amount of variety.
- Awesomeness: 5/5. The concept alone scores a five out of five, and the execution is essentially flawless. I’m not sure how a game this well-balanced is possible, but apparently Paul Peterson knows something I don’t. Thank goodness!
TOTAL SCORE: 19/20
Bottom line: If you’re a geek or a geek wannabe, Smash Up! will be right up your alley. Obviously the theme of using minions to break bases and take over the world won’t appeal to everyone, but for those who can rally behind the concept, there’s plenty of mayhem to go around. May the best Smash-Up win!