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Smash Up: Awesome Level 9000» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Ghost-trusters rss

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Alfred Spangler
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It seems like my luck is up and down with ghosts. I WANT to like them. What - besides the obvious like keeping a small hand - advice do masters of Smash Up have?
 
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Here's something I wrote for another thread but I don't mind reposting it here

_______________________________
Ghosts are not a bad faction but they are one of the harder ones to play. The notion that people somehow don't get that the Ghosts have cards that "power up" when they have a low hand size is rather silly as that is pretty much the MO of Ghosts. Their description would have you think that you want to perpetually be at 1 or 2 cards cause somehow having a low hand size makes them the Hulk. I believe that a misunderstanding of this description is actually what causes them to crash and burn

This description makes people think that they should always play every single card in their hand that they can regardless of how useful playing the card actually is and keep themselves at almost no hand size. We had people playing like this when they first got Ghosts and that almost always ended in disaster. Basically good cards were wasted and the Ghosts could get no momentum. I only remember 1 player winning with ghosts playing like that but it was in a 4 player game with a newbie sitting on his right and almost every turn he was able to revive his Spectre, break a base in first or second and he drew exceptionally well considering he usually had only 3-4 cards in his hand each turn but could almost always play them.

Now something very important about Ghosts is they do NOT want to perpetually be at 0-2 cards in hand. Ghosts have 2 specialties 1 being cards that power up when they have few cards in hand and the other being cards that yield a benefit when cards are discarded from their hand. Further although Ghosts might have some cards that want 0-2 cards in hand pretty much no other faction likes having a small hand size so keeping your hand small hurts your linked faction. In fact the notion that Ghosts always want to have a small hand size is easily disproven by the Seance action card (If you have 0-2 cards in hand draw till you have 5 cards in hand).

I find that getting your hand to 0-2 cards is all about timing. Consider the following two minions

A.

6 Power; no ability

B.

3 Power; Talent: This minion get's +3 power until the end of your turn.

Which minion is superior? Some people might instantly say A is superior. 6 power all the time better than 6 power some of the time right? Other people will say well not necessarily. Anyone who has played smash up knows that once a base gets close to it's breaking limit whoever ultimately smashes it will try (and often succeed) to manipulate things so they get first place. A minion with 3 power and an optional +3 power makes it harder for your opponents to smash the base on their turn than one with a base power of 6.

This is sorta what I found to be true especially with the Hauntings and Door to the Beyond. I could play Hauntings on an earlier turn and then optionally turn “On” their extra power when the timing was just right so I could use it to smash the base but my opponent’s could not take advantage of it during their turns to smash the base instead.

You can almost think of going to 2 or less cards as a switch rather than a detriment. Likewise you can divide the ghosts cards into into general 3 categories.

1. Those which “power up” when you turn the switch on.

Hauntingx2, Spectre, Door to the Beyond, Seance, Shady Deal, Make Contact

2. Those who are in charge of Flicking the switch

Spiritx3, The Dead Rise, Ghostly Arrivalx2, and to a lesser Degree Ghostsx4

3. Other

Incorporealx2, Across the Divide

During my successful ventures with Ghosts I drew cards like normal and didn’t worry about always having a small hand size. The more cards I had the more options I had with both my Ghosts and the linked faction. I played my minions on bases like normal however I always tried to hold onto at least 1 Spirit minion or The Dead Rise action card and any Ghostly arrivals I had. These cards allow you to dump a lot of cards from your hand at once and are perfect for switching on all your Ghostly abilities. The Ghost minion can to a lesser extent help you switch on your abilities but for the most part this is really just a discard of opportunity and I mostly just played them as 2 power minions without discarding.

Ghosts are all about combos and timing. They have a lot of cards which are extremely strong with a small hand size but if the timing is wrong there is no reason to keep your hand small. Rather you should save your good cards and play your minions like normal waiting for just the right time to strike.

Bonus Comment: In regards to Make Contact (only playable as your last card steal a minion) I posted this elsewhere first but I feel it should be repeated here. Make Contact is a pretty cool card that has ruined several Ghost players who send themselves on a Suicide mission trying to play it. Do NOT go out of your way to try to play Make Contact unless you have a plan. Make Contact is a card that scares people and the second you play it people will be trying to get rid of it.

In some of the early ghost games I witness (either as or against the ghosts) people with Make Contact would go out of their way to try and reduce their hands to near zero just so they could play the card... and then usually the card would be destroyed/discarded before their next turn started.

Most of the time when someone has Make Contact people are thinking "Man I'm going to take of an awesome minion with an awesome power and it's going to be awesome!!!!!". This has almost always backfired cause if you happen to get lucky enough for the timing to work out usually someone is waiting with a counter card. It took a few plays before it dawned on me. Make Contact is not a super card. It is a very good and unusual card but not one that you should expect to turn the game around once in play.

In my last game I used it very carefully. In this game I had a 3 power Haunting sitting on a base that was about to break. I don't remember the exact play but I basically played a Spirit and discarded all my cards except 1 (Haunting 6 power) and than "Made Contact" with the strongest minion of the player who was in the lead allowing me to win the base. Using it like this basically made is it a "destroy any enemy minion + buff your own minion" supercard Hybrid.

Make Contact is not an easy card to use. It's not like Terraforming, Full Sail or Hidden Ninja who's presence basally is like a super trump. It is a very unique card which requires careful consideration and good planning.


Addressing this real quickly (ok not really)

wodan46 wrote:


So the ghost teamups in summary are:

Excellent=Zombie, Robots, Steampunk

Good=Wizards, Tricksters, Plants

Mediocre=Bears, Dinosaurs

Bad=Ninja, Pirates, Aliens


What lillumultipass means is your characterization of Steampunk being on the same level as Zombie and Robots is off. Just because Steampunk can take cards back from the discard pile does not put them on the same level as Robots who can play out their hand faster than any other faction and Zombies who in addition to being able to take cards back from the discard pile have cards that are stronger while in the discard pile. There are some combos with Steampunk but mostly they involve the Mechanic which isn’t really enough to label them as an “excellent” combo. This is how I would Categorize the team ups.

Excellent=Zombie, Robots, Wizards

Good= Plants, Aliens,

Mediocre=Bears, Tricksters, Steampunk,

Not Ideal=Ninja, Pirates, Dinosaurs

Note: No matter what combo you get you should be able to win. Getting a good combo is nice but playing your cards well (and a pinch of luck) is most important.

Reasons:

Excellent

Zombies: As explained above not only are Zombies fantastic at recovering cards from their discard pile but they have cards that are actually stronger in their discard pile then out of it.

Robots: We play our hand out really fast. Plus we can draw a lot of cards making us great at setting up combos.

Wizards: Whenever I hear someone say Wizard Ghosts are bad because Wizards go against the Ghosts play style always laugh. Wizards are the best faction in the game at setting their linked faction up for combos and they want nothing more than to be linked with a faction with a lot of Combos to be set up. Ghosts have a lot of very powerful combos but the hard part is setting them up. Further with the right cards Ghosts have no problem dumping a lot of cards from their hand at once and with the Wizards assisting them getting the right cards is not only easier but the Wizards too are very good at dumping cards and can help them. An added Bonus is that the Ghosts can make the Archmage Incorporeal, making it much harder to get rid of one of the strongest Ongoing ability in the game.

Good

Plants: Like Wizards Plants draw a lot of cards which make them good for setting up combos however they are not quite as good at dumping cards from their hands as Wizards are since they can only play extra minions. Fortunately the Ghosts are good at dumping cards. Sprouts have some nice choices since they can turn into Water Lilies or Haunting’s if the timing is Wrong or Spirits if the timing is right. The Venus Man Trap can find the Ghost minion which while not great it does assist with timing. Lastly Accross the Divide-> Blossom is a neat 2 turn combo

Aliens: Some of you more seasoned player’s might be confused as to why I listed Aliens as a “Good” combo. They don’t draw well and they have limited “play cards” cards plus they want to hold onto their Invaders till it is safe to play them making them less good at setting up and playing out the combos that Ghosts want. Well everyone here seems to be forgetting something. It’s not all about the Ghosts. Aliens might not be the best faction at assisting the Ghosts but how are the Ghosts at assisting the Aliens? Well the aliens want to play their Invader as many times as they can and they want to protect their invader do the Ghosts help with that? You bet they do. Zombie Invader is terrifying and Ghostly Invader may be just as scary if not moreso. Ghostly Arrival, The Dead Rise, Across the Divide and even Incorporeal, the Ghosts have many ways to help the Aliens Play the Invader more often and even recover him from the great beyond. In return the Aliens do not have a ton to offer but they can Terraform a base into the Homeworld or even the Haunted House depending on the situation.

Mediocre

Bears and Tricksters: Both these factions have potential to play more minions which helps but only two cards each and no help with dumping actions. Neither is good at drawing meaning they cannot assist in setting up a combo plus a lot of their minions have “built in defense” making Incorporeal less effective.

Steampunk: Although Steampunk can recover cards this does not make them particularly good with Ghosts. True you might find a combo or two where you discard a card and take it back with Mechanic but more likely, if it’s a good card, you will play that card for it’s effect and take it back later to use again. Steampunk has limited card drawing and their only card which lets them play extra from hand first puts a card back into their hand so overall there is not too much these two factions can do for each other. It’s just that Steampunk can “lessen” the blow of maybe needing to give up something good.

Not Ideal

Ninja, Pirates, Dinosaurs: These 3 factions have no card drawing and little to no ability to play extra cards.

Ninjas: Specialize in killing lone strong minions which is no help to the Ghosts. They also want to hold their Shinobi’s in hand which works against Ghosts.

Pirates: Specialize in killing multiple weak minions which is still no help to the Ghosts. Moving Minions around is nice but not helpful for dumping hands. There is one silver lining to this combo. Incorporeal is actually very good with Pirates since First Mates are almost always targeted first and an Incorporeal First Mate is probably the hardest minion in the game to get rid of. Similarly the Pirate King is targeted a lot also so being able to protect him is very nice.

Dinos are the only faction with 0 potential to draw or play extra cards though the Ghosts can help them with this. Nothing else really to note about them.

I will repeat that winning Smash up does not hinge on getting a perfect combo but rather reacting to the situation and not wasting good cards at pointless times. If you get Ghost Ninja's this does not mean you will lose. While it might be nice to have a faction that can assist the Ghosts more the Ghosts are plenty self sufficient as is. You just need to play them right.
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Alfred Spangler
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Hey, that's awesome, thanks!
 
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Bryan Stout
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Wonderful analysis, allstar!

Could you do a similar effort for the Innsmouth faction? That's the one that has me most baffled in understanding how to use well.
 
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I never mind writing up a thesis on factions as long as someone is reading them. I'd do one of every faction if I thought people were interested enough in it. I actually worry sometimes that people see a block of text and get turned away from reading it. I'm really interested in other people's opinions on the matter and hopefully I'm able to gain some insight I may have missed or overlooked from them which is why I like doing them. However I also want to make sure my points are clear, supported and non-ambiguous hence the thesis.

I would do one for Innsmouth except for the fact that I haven't actually received my copy of the game yet. This is mostly due to the fact that when I ordered it I had them send it to the wrong state (Ooops modest). Fortunately I had plans to see the people who ended up recieving it so I should have it by tomorrow

I haven't seen all the cards posted online yet so I have been unable to start really forming strategies for any of the Cthulhu factions
 
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Barliman wrote:
Wonderful analysis, allstar!

Could you do a similar effort for the Innsmouth faction? That's the one that has me most baffled in understanding how to use well. :)


Okay I have my copy but it might be a while till I actually get a chance to play it. Do you want me to do a pre-play analysis?
 
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Bryan Stout
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If you wish. In the appropriate forum of course.
 
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Alfred Spangler
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I'd also love to see one on Tricksters. That faction is routinely everyone's least favorite with every group I play with!
 
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I might get a chance to play tonight or tomorrow so I'll put off the pre-game write-up.

Tricksters, however, are one of my favorite factions so I have no problem doing one for them.

Oh and if I do get a chance to play with Insomouthians tonight are their any requests on who I should partner with (non-cthullu factions)
 
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Ryan Post
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Ghosts are by far my favorite faction, and I couldn't have said it better myself than what allstar said. He clearly gets the game and faction. Well done.

Ghost/Wizard is my favorite to play, because Zombie is overpowered and Wizard is usually always available with a draft in my group.

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