‘Smash Up’ game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
Crossovers can be weird and fun—just ask any sitcom from the ‘90s. They are particularly entertaining when you start to tread in the realms of crossing groups that alone could sustain the theme of a whole movie, such as zombie pirates, alien robots, or even dinosaur ninjas.
Smash Up, designed by Paul Peterson and published by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) in 2012, is an area control card game for two to four players. Players choose two different factions to make up their hand, and then play action and minion cards on various bases. Once a base reaches a certain power level, it is scored and players gain points based on how much power was on that base. The first player to reach 15 points wins.
Even though the tongue was firmly planted in cheek with the design and writing of this game, the humour of it by no means diminishes the strategy. Like many point-based games, there are many ways to win other than overpowering your opponents. Your gameplay is very much affected by which factions you choose. Wizards draw cards and play actions, Robots upgrade and multiply, Zombies come back from the dead, Pirates move around from base to base, and so on.
The game does have a few things working against it. The multitude of cards means gameplay can halt while people try to understand what their cards do. The number of modifiers and base scoring requires some math, which can be difficult to keep track of. I suggest grabbing some counters to keep track of flexing power levels and victory points.
Smash Up is definitely for those who like to play “what if…” games. There is enough strategy to keep serious gamers invested and enough humour for casual gamers to have a blast. The four-player limit may keep Smash Up as a game among tight friends or as a sideline in bigger groups.