How many other card games let you play Zombie Wizards against Alien Dinosaurs?
A few days ago I had the pleasure of hanging out with some of the guys from Legendary Realms and playing a few card games with them. These guys are quickly becoming my go-to group for board and card gaming sessions as the bulk of my Dorky friends are more interested in role playing games. Not that my buddies don’t like the occasional Small World, Munchkin, or Ascension but 9 times out of 10 they’ll get grumpy at the idea and instead ask if anyone wants to do a Pathfinder one-shot adventure for the next 4 hours.
So after having heard a handful of people talking about Smash Up Game, I was definitely intrigued but no one I knew had a copy and I’m not one to really buy a game before I’ve at least tried it out once. Then on Friday as I was hanging around the Legendary Realms store with a handful of people complaining about Marvel vs. DC, crappy origins, stupid weaknesses, and the amount of time comic book universes have been destroyed for a retcon… someone mentioned Smash Up. One of the guys happened to have an open copy in his car so we decided to give it a go.
What makes this game truly interesting is the card combinations. There are a handful of factions like Wizards, Robots, Dinosaurs, Tricksters, Ninjas and so on that each have different play styles. To create your own personal deck, you choose two of these factions (either purposefully or as a blind pick) and then combine them. Every factions has a facet of gameplay that they are best at such as Wizards having crazy card drawing abilities, Dinosaurs buffing minion strength, Robots having multiple minion card plays, and Zombies letting you play cards from your discard pile for free.
I wound up with a deck composed of Robots and Tricksters. My opening hand was awful and it took me a while to see how the two worked best together. Even once I figured out what I should be doing, I never had enough cards for it. You see, Robots very often have minion cards that let you play even more robots on your turn and Tricksters have a lot of abilities that allow you to shut down other players or kill off their minions. Since you only draw up to 2 cards at the end of a turn, I was at a horrible disadvantage from using minion abilities to their fullest and then needing to wait 3 more turns before I had the cards to try again. Turns out the two good card drawing action cards I had were stuck at the lower third of my deck so I couldn’t cycle effectively.
In the end I came in a close second place. It was mainly from sheer dumb luck… shutting down the Plant Dinosaurs player was smart but helped the Alien Wizards player a little too much and then on one of the later turns the Zombie Ninjas player missed a smart combo so I was able to squeeze ahead of him by one point. But ultimately the Alien Wizards won out in a deft stroke of card drawing madness.
I’m looking forward to eventually trying the game with the Cthulhu expansion since I’m a secret Cthulhu Cultist and Elder Gods make everything better. Cthulhu is the bacon of gaming after all.
Smash Up on Geek & Sundry‘s Tabletop
Since this a Monday, It’s time for a video. Having recently played Smash Up, I learned that the Geek & Sundry show Tabletop had recently done an episode devoted to the card game. So take a look as Wil Wheaton, Cara Santa Maria, Rich Sommer and Jen Timms play Smash Up.
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Have you played Smash Up yet? What did you think of it and what deck combinations have you tried out so far? Or, if you haven’t played it yet, what do you think about it after having watched Tabletop? We’d love to hear your thoughts on Smash Up or any recent card and board games you may have played recently that you think I should try out. Don’t forget, you can also email us at CaffeinatedNeutral@gmail.com, follow us via email or RSS, and like our facebook page as well. Thanks for coming and we hope to see you again soon.