Welcome back to another board game review with me, Adam. This week we will be diving into my newest addition to my collection which would be Smash-Up! I had of course first seen the game played at one of Comic Hunters board game days a while ago, and decided to take the leap into purchasing it when I could. The game combines two of my favourite concepts in a board/card game. The ability to use a lot of strategy to crush your opponents, and the ability to add such a random dynamic as simple character selections.
Smash-Up is the kind of game that you play just to have a bundle of fun and laughs. The entire dynamic of the game is one of working against one another, while looking for ways to destroy bases while controlling the most points. Maybe I should explain the rules a bit better.
The game starts by choosing two of the different decks and mixing your cards together. The selection consists of everything from Ninjas, Robots, Dinosaurs, Aliens, and Pirates, just to name a few, and with the expansions of course, you get a much wider selection as well. Once you have your decks chosen (much more dynamic to randomly choose your match ups, also adds the dynamic of being a completely random strategy) you shuffle all of the cards of both together, then draw your starting hand.
The meaning of the game is simple, you play your minion cards to try and score the most points on a base. Each base gives some sort of reward if you are first, second, or third on a base WHEN it is destroyed and scored. Some bases will actually reward second more than first place though, so it does involve strategy when placing minions or playing actions. Action cards allow you to do things like destroy an enemy minion, or double your power on a minion. This can turn you from a second place to a first, while scoring a base that would otherwise not have been possible yet.
The key to victory is being the first person to reach fifteen victory points. Most bases score between to and five points towards your win, so it will take a few bases to win the game of course, which is why I recommend putting aside between thirty and forty five minutes to play each game. Even learning the rules is so basic though that someone picking the game up for the first time will have no issues jumping into a game with very basic instructions. This game is a complete strategy game, with a bit of luck in card draw.
Let’s jump in and see what ratings I have given to my newest edition now!
DESIGN – 8
This is a card game, there is no board or dice or tokens needed, so I am judging this just by the fact of the card art. The box itself is really well designed, with a basic insert that properly holds all of the cards that come with it. It fits them into individual slots for each “class” of cards. They all stand on their sides, and are easy for putting in or taking out. This is actually a good style choice, as most card games haven’t created this type of boxing. There is a lot of empty space, but it fits all of the expansions as well, so bravo to the Smash-Up team. I will say the front art for the box is super catchy, and fun in its design. It is the kind of game that makes you want to pick it up off the shelf and find out what it is about.
The card art itself is beautifully done. The art fits the style of game, being dynamic and the right amount of cartoony. The Dinosaurs with lasers really stand out in the game, but all of the other classes have really well done card art as well. each card is unique, and we spent a lot of time going over the cards at the end of the game so that we could see all of the card art, styles, and characters used in the game. The card art is different then other card games I have played, and honestly it is what made me want to play it so much.
REPLAY VALUE – 10
Smash-Up is one of those games that has a ton of replay value just based on the classic card game style. A simple reshuffle can change the entire game. It of course gets based on the card selection that you get, and the bases you have to battle for. This gives the game a lot of replay value, now this is not even the main reason that this game has a lot of replay though. The main reason is that you can change your classes every game, and the multitude of combinations for classes makes sure that there is always a new aspect to every game. One game you may be a Ninja Robot, and next time you will be a Pirate Samurai, each class having its own special abilities and minions. (I actually preferred the Robot Minions as there was a lot of ways to play multiple minions on one turn.
We played several games, with the same three to four people, and every game not only had a different outcome, but had a completely different way of getting there. This is what I look for in a game, as if you can still have as much fun on the fifth play as you did on the first, you have my vote and my money!
FUN FACTOR – 10
Come on, when I mentioned Zombie Robots how did you not already know this score was coming? This is one of the most fun games I have ever come across, and it is made that way by the silliness. The random choices, and the fact that in a game of random circumstance that still involves a lot of strategy and future planning, makes this a game for every board gamers shelf. With a variety of ways to play, and so many mixtures in the actual game, it is exciting, fun, silly, all while being unforgettable.
I have no negative critiques about the game play itself, as it is by far one the most fun games I have played. There is so much going on at all times, all you have time to do is laugh, and keep playing. The unique smack talk you can come up with is good, which is always a fun addition to any game. There is a few expansions to add more characters into the game as well, which will add even more replay value, and fun to it. No matter what you do though, nothing will ever beat the zombie robots. How can you be undead if you were never technically alive? No one shall ever know!
All in all, I am super excited to play this game, and have added it to my regular rotation. This will be one of the games that we play on every one of my game nights, and will be buying all of the expansions as soon as I can as well. I have never felt more comfortable with a purchase then I am with this one. You need to stop into The Comic Hunter and pick up your copy of Smash-Up to start playing right away.
Next time on A Roll of The Dice, I will be reviewing my newest pick-up, Epic Spell Wars. I look forward to being your guide to everything new, interesting, and nerd related. Please remember to message me in the comments if you have a game recommendation for me to pick up as well, or even just one you want me to review.
Until next time, may the dice roll ever in your favour.