AEG (Alderac Entertainment Group – makers of Thunderstone, Legend of the Five Rings, Nightfall, and other game-y products) recently released the rules for Smash Up, a card game designed by Paul Peterson, so I figured I would take a look to see what the game entails.
The first thing that jumped out at me reading the rules to Smash Up was the art, which all looks suitably colorful and fun. The art sets the tone that this is a game that isn’t to be taken too seriously, and the designs of the minions you see in the rulebook, like the War Raptor and Zapbot are spot on. I dig it.
Still, fun art doesn’t do a lot without rules. So what is Smash up all about? Well, the game comes with decks for eight different factions (Aliens, Dinosaurs, Ninjas, Pirates, Robots, Tricksters, Wizards, and Zombies) and each player selects two decks and combines them (hence ‘Smash Up’). Predictably, then, the game can support up to four players (it can support 2 to 4, to be precise, although that could be expanded – and likely more chaotic – by adding additional sets), although it looks like a game that will be better with more players. The goal of Smash Up is to be the first player to get to 15 Victory Points. You get Victory Points by having the highest value of Minions on a Base (Think: A location, like the pirate island of Tortuga) once it reaches its ‘Breakpoint’ (So if a base has a Breakpoint of 18, you score it once it has a total of 18 points of Minions on it). It’s a nice looking rule set, is very well written, and seems crystal clear (Of course, it’s always impossible to say for sure without playing the game).
Smash Up looks like it will appeal a lot to people that like high chaos with some strategy, easy rules, and a fun theme. The Board Game Geek entry lists it at 45 minutes, and that sounds about right based on what I’ve read and the length I would want from a game of this nature. The game looks like it is slated for an August release, and there is also an iPad iteration forthcoming from Playdek. No MSRP has been announced yet at this point. Check out the rules yourself for a complete rundown of how Smash Up plays. If you want to read some of the designer’s thoughts on making the game, you can get a really good read right over here.