Monday, 26 January 2015

Smash Up

Ninjas, and Robots and Aliens, Oh My!

Type: Strategy / Card
Players: 2 to 4
Time to explain to others: About 5 min
Time to play: About 30 minutes, possibly bit more
Difficulty: To play 3/10, Game difficulty 4/10
Portability: Medium (Loads of cards)
Overall: 9/10

There is a question on the minds of Humanity for as long as Man has wondered about the Universe. More than survival, taming energy, the transference of information or the quest for a mate, this question has crossed the ages and remains as important today as it always has been.

Which are better, pirates or ninjas?

Smash Up attempts to solve this, by combining them. You start with a couple of dozen half-decks of cards, and you combine any two to play. So, you might end up playing Zombie Robots, or Pirate Aliens, or Steampunk Dinosaurs. Or Wizard Ninjas. Because, you know, who wouldn't?

The game dynamic is simple, each turn you play a character (here called a minion) and a special card (boost your minions, kill the opponents' minions, recover minion from discard pile, etc). Minions are played onto Bases, mission cards, if you will. Each minion has a power number, as does the Base. When the Bases's power is equalled or exceeded , the Base 'breaks', and it is scored. Whoever has more combined minion power on that base gets 1st prize (and an x amount of victory points), the 2nd highest minion power gets 2nd prize (and y amount of victory points, usually smaller than x, but on a few bases, bigger, making things pretty complicated, as everyone wants to get 2nd prize on these bases), and so on. Whoever reaches a pre-determined number of victory points wins.

The game is pretty simple and incredibly silly. All affiliations play differently, and when you combine them, about 70% of the combinations work well, 20% of them get ridiculously powerful, and 10% of them kinda cancel each other out (e.g. Wizard (some cards allow for special cards to be taken back from discard) and Robots (have fewer special cards)).

Rui's conclusion: Fast, fun and silly. For geeks and newbies. Perhaps not a first tier introduction game, but easy enough to get and play well. A perfect match for aggressive players!

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