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Subject: A Bit of a Novel rss

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Ed Anderson
United States
Utah
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I saw Smash Up at my local gaming store (Board Game Revolution) and I simply had to try it out. Simply looking at this game made me want to smash something. Maybe it’s the guy in me, but something about wizards, zombies, aliens, robots, wizards, and leprechauns fighting each other just got my blood pumping. The artwork looked fantastic and the gameplay looked more or less pretty simple. After all, how complex can you get when there is nothing but a handful of cards. You begin the game by all players selecting two different factions. For example, I was wizard leprechauns the first time I played, and I believe my sister was Robot Ninjas? Pretty clever. from there you lay out cards that are called bases in the center of the table. Your goal is to acquire these bases by placing minions on them. Once a certain number of minions is on a base it gets scored and points are given accordingly. On your turn you are given a variety of options from placing a minion of your own, to destroying another player’s minion. At the end of the game the player with the most points wins. I thought it was a pretty clever game and I enjoyed it more than the rest of the group I was playing with, but I can’t manage to give it more than 3 dice for a few reasons.

Cons

1.) Reading! – As you can gather from the title that I gave the page, there was more reading to this game than I cared for. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading, but when the game is going on forever because people have to pick up every card and read it about 5 times before they feel comfortable proceeding, it is a little painful. The game is similar to Domion in the sense that if you have a lot of cards that work together you turn can be complex and you can play a lot of cards. Unfortunately, this game is a lot more wordy and tedious. Because Dominion exists I am inclined to think that there is a better way to play this game.

2.) Speed – maybe that was just because of the reading,but there was something about the game that just seemed to drag on. I imagine smash up as being this face paced game of blowing people’s minions to smithereens and putting your own guys in their place, but somehow it was so incredibly slow. Maybe it was the group, but it was painful for me. I have since talked to some people and they say that the more you play it the faster it gets and the reading becomes far less.

3.) Kibun – The range of people that I would play this game with is pretty narrow. I have a lot of gaming friends and I didn’t feel ready to introduce this one to any of them. I feel like the people it appeals to are very narrow and you may have to fall into a group of people that has nothing else to play so they get really good and really fast at playing smash-up in order to get to the point where you are fast and efficient at this game.

Pros

1.) Art – Really enjoyable art on the cards and box. It fits the light-hearted yet brutal nature of the game and the theme seems to be spot on. I got a thrill out of being a mixture of wizards and leprechauns and was excited to try different combinations. For me, the game was enjoyable to look at and a trophy to have on the shelf.

2.) Variety – Because of the ability to change your character combinations as well as the different bases and what they do, there is plenty of opportunity for variety from game to game. The game doesn’t get repetitive too quickly and there is always a variety of ways you can go about winning. You wont master this game the first time you play it.

3.) Expansion Potential – I don’t normally count this as a pro because in my mind, if a game needs expansions then it was mission something in the beginning. However, this game seems as though it was made for expanding rather than expansions for it. Adding new base packs, new factions of warriors, etc. is a great opportunity to keep this game interesting. I like the idea of a game growing and exploring not necessarily to change the gameplay, but just to enhance it and give it more juice.

Overall the game is worth a go. I wouldn’t just go out and buy it because it is an attractive looking game. Give it a try, and play a couple times with the same people so that you can get a good feel of what gameplay might actually look like when everyone is playing at a similar rate. The game has good real-world applicable skills in the fact that you learn to reason through complicated situations and make sacrifices for the overall good. Allocating your resources and giving attention to important, but achievable goals is an important side note. Interesting game to say the least. If you have a chance check out Board Game Revolution. Their online prices are amazing and they have an awesome game rental system.

This review originally appeared on www.thelistofboardgames.com
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Victor Aldridge
United States
Terre Haute
Indiana
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Nice read. Your friends are right - gameplay gets quicker as you get more familiar with the cards. One thing I do to drastically decrease the overall game length is to use 1 base LESS than there are players, instead of 1 base MORE. This forces people to concentrate minions more and bases score quicker. That's my one primary issue for the game - that long period of time for new players before the first base scores and the game suddenly gets exciting.
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John Curtis
United States
Andrews
Texas
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You do need to play with the same group two or three times so that everyone will "get" the game about the same time. But once everyone has played a couple of times, the game play is actually pretty fast (compared to some games we play).

And the combinations are awesome... especially when you add in the expansions!
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Oliver Paul
Iceland
Reykjavik
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I'll echo your worries about the game dragging, not just because needing to read the cards, but also because the players often have to recalculate minion versus base strength every single player turn.

After 10 plays (most with the same group), I don't really want to play it again, ever. It outstays its welcome by about half, and it's the kind of game that really needs to be fast and furious.
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Mark Langston
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lonadar wrote:
Nice read. Your friends are right - gameplay gets quicker as you get more familiar with the cards. One thing I do to drastically decrease the overall game length is to use 1 base LESS than there are players, instead of 1 base MORE. This forces people to concentrate minions more and bases score quicker. That's my one primary issue for the game - that long period of time for new players before the first base scores and the game suddenly gets exciting.


I use this house rule for bases as well, and the game is MUCH more enjoyable. It's tight in all the places a game like this SHOULD be.
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Bryan Stout
United States
Annandale
Virginia
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I love Boardgame Revolution! I drop by every time I visit family in Provo or Orem UT. Getting online prices at a FLGS is quite rare.

Ed's and Oliver's reactions are very common, and I guess it's the way the game hypes itself. SU is light-hearted, but it is not meant to be fast and furious. The fun and delight of Smash Up is in the clever ways the different factions and their cards combine. When nearly every card has its own rules, and they are supposed to interact in interesting ways, it simply cannot be a fast and furious game.

It definitely should not be slow and ponderous either, though. Part of the secret of enjoying SU from the first experience is: first, have a correct understanding of the type of game it should be; second, encourage people not to strive for mastery at first. Just expect the first time or three to be learning experiences: play quickly and enjoy what happens, whether you're at the giving or receiving end of it.
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