Cameron Hitch
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Don't get me wrong from the title, Smash Up is a hilarious and super fun game that I love, but I have a handful of friends that want a more 'serious' gaming experience. (To be more accurate, they want a game that takes itself more seriously, no one is going to convince me the stuff they play in Magic is any less wacky than that in Smash Up).

The thing I love about Smash Up is how easy it is to get in to. Building your deck literally takes seconds, and each deck plays different. It really satisfies my craving for a customizable card game, without having to spend a bunch of time, or money, building my deck.

I'm wondering if there's anything else out there that feels the same way, a game where I can quickly get my deck together and play with friends. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!
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Nathan Clegg
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Just to clarify, you're looking for something with similar complexity and game weight but a more serious theme?
 
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Chris Talmadge
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Blue Moon Legends has pre-constructed faction decks.
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Michael F
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Sentinels of the Multiverse is a good one for this. Also, any of the Ascension games set up and take down very quickly for a deck builder.
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Ruud
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Star Realms. Fast deckbuilder for two based on Ascension. In this game you buy cards from the center row. Some cards let you get more money to buy more/better cards, offer protection or damage your opponent more. Playing cards of the same color often boosts their effects. Has a space theme and you damage your opponent to 0 life.

Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin. Deckbuilder that plays great with two or three. 4 is a little slow to my tastes. You buy increasingly better cards in order to slay monster cards in a dungeon to get points.

7 Wonders or Among the Stars. Drafting games. Basically take drafting from Magic and makes it a game.
You get a hand of cards, pick one and try to get sets of cards/synergies in 7 wonders, build a space station (optimize the place where you play the cards) in Among the stars.

Star Wars: The Card Game is an LCG. You buy preconfigured expamsions. So no random packs/rarity. Fast playing MTG style game with some neat bluffing and two different sides, one having to attack one leaning backwards to defend. Deckbuilding is reduced to picking basically 10 locations, that each come with a deck of 5/6 other cards.. I think this os the lightest LCG. If you'd be interested in a heavier game you could check out Android: Netrunner .

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Eric Johnson
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There aren't any games currently like Smash-Up...putting two factions togther. I was going to mention Star Realms, so plus one on that.

Have you ever played Libertalia? This might work with your group. The bluffing mechanism can give you the same feeling of fun as you thwart your opponents plans. It's not really the same type of game though.
 
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Tony Go
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The upcoming Warhammer 40,000: Conquest is looking really good.
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Thanee
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If you havn't, you should try some of the games from the Deckbuilding genre.

In those games, customizing the game basically is the game.

Some examples (some have been mentioned above already):

Dominion
Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin
Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
Core Worlds

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Thanee
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Another idea is Summoner Wars, but it only plays 1 vs. 1 (or 2 vs. 2).

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J M
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Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game
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Johannes Hihn
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AceAceBaby wrote:


This.

Or maybe Meuterer / Verräter
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Chad Ackerman
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It doesn't get much better than BattleCON: Devastation of Indines, Pixel Tactics, and Omen: A Reign of War for me!
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Cameron Hitch
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Truth be told, the deckbuilders were some great suggestions. Unfortunately, I love most of them so much I already own many of the varients of Dominion, Ascension, and Thunderstone.

Sentinels, Blue Moon, and BattleCon, however, I do not. Looking them up, all three sound like they have huge potential.

Question on Sentinels though; one of the core members of my group, generally speaking, isn't a fan of co-op games. The ones I try to bring to the table include the Forbidden series, Pandemic, Yggdrasil, and Flashpoint. In each case, he feels the game feels more like a 'puzzle' than a game. I imagine that, as a card game, sentinels probably doesn't fall victim to that the same way Pandemic does, but I figured I'd ask if it feels 'puzzly' to anyone.

Blue Moon just sounds great, I've been needing more fast, 2 player games for those game nights when just one person shows up early.

I've had great luck with Level99 in the past, so for battlecon, it's just a matter of finding it in stock. CSI, my preferred retailer, is sold out.
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Michael F
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I'd say that Sentinels feels more puzzle-y the more you play it. At first you're trying to get used to what characters play like, and you're just going to have to do your best in the role you've been given. Later on though, it becomes a question of how can I get these heroes to interact in such a way to defeat the super villain. It never feels like a puzzle to me, but certain hero combinations, on the surface, are going to seem better than others.

I'm not a fan of Pandemic at all, but Sentinels is in my top 5 of all time.
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Alison Mandible
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Blue Moon is a little *too* dry for me; it mostly feels like slinging numbers instead of doing anything with a theme. But for all that, it's a well-balanced, peculiar, QUICK asymmetric game. And it's very portable; you just need two 30-card decks and three pebbles for the dragons.

I love BattleCON. If you especially like having configuration choices, I recommend the Strikers small-box expansion (and possibly the Armory expansion coming out this winter, but I dunno, haven't played it).

Sentinels Of The Multiverse totally has the same problem, for me, as those other co-ops you named. It feels 'solvable', and moreover it's usually possible for one person to play all the heroes themselves. Polite players will lean back and let other folks make choices, but it doesn't change the feeling that it's a game designed for one person sitting in four chairs.

I'm not sure if that's what your friend means by 'puzzly', but I would hesitate before diving in if you're looking to court a friend who's negative on co-ops generally.
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RocketBlender wrote:
Truth be told, the deckbuilders were some great suggestions. Unfortunately, I love most of them so much I already own many of the varients of Dominion, Ascension, and Thunderstone.


In that case, I would seriously recommend Ascension. It converts players rapidly. Everyone I played it with loved and and reinvigorates the little stale deckbuilding genre by making it versus.
 
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Cameron Hitch
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grasa_total wrote:
Blue Moon is a little *too* dry for me; it mostly feels like slinging numbers instead of doing anything with a theme. But for all that, it's a well-balanced, peculiar, QUICK asymmetric game. And it's very portable; you just need two 30-card decks and three pebbles for the dragons.

I love BattleCON. If you especially like having configuration choices, I recommend the Strikers small-box expansion (and possibly the Armory expansion coming out this winter, but I dunno, haven't played it).

Sentinels Of The Multiverse totally has the same problem, for me, as those other co-ops you named. It feels 'solvable', and moreover it's usually possible for one person to play all the heroes themselves. Polite players will lean back and let other folks make choices, but it doesn't change the feeling that it's a game designed for one person sitting in four chairs.

I'm not sure if that's what your friend means by 'puzzly', but I would hesitate before diving in if you're looking to court a friend who's negative on co-ops generally.


Pretty much exactly what you just described, where a game is 'solvable' and there's always a best move. It leads to a slippery slope; he's not having fun if we're not making the best moves or making mistakes that could be avoided, and I get that, it can be frustrating watching people lose the game for you. Meanwhile everyone else doesn't have fun if there's one player pointing out what everyone should be doing each turn so that we're operating at maximum efficiency. I understand both sides of the problem.
 
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dennis bennett
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Nobody mentioned Battle Line yet?

It uses the same core mechanics of playing cards to locations and conquering them. It doesn't have any of the crazy deckbuilding aspect though.

Otherwise i second Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game as probably one of the games most similar to smash up.

Just checked your list of games you own and like and didn't see any of the famous and popular deckbuilders there.
so another vote from me to give Ascension: Deckbuilding Game, Dominion or Star Realms a try.

If you want to test a free PnP of my own deckbuilding game, check out:
Lords of Grevelheim It has quite a bit of variation with 7 different guilds to choose cards from.
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Skaak
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Horror Leader wrote:
The upcoming Warhammer 40,000: Conquest is looking really good.


Note, though, that like Netrunner, this one is going to require deckbuilding to really get the most enjoyment out of it. The deckbuilding is slightly streamlined (in that you pick a warlord, which starts your deck off with 8 preset cards, and then can only pick cards from that warlord's faction and two others--out of seven) but it's still a lot more decisions than are required for something like Star Wars, which is so streamlined you could reasonably deckbuild right before you play without it taking up too much time.

Add my vote for Star Realms; I still haven't gotten ahold of a physical copy (the reprint is supposed to be coming out soon, though!), but apparently if you buy two sets ($15 each MSRP, so $30 total if you don't buy it discounted somewhere) you can support up to four players. And the digital version I've been playing makes me think this will be an awesome, go-to game for me going forward.
 
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Alison Mandible
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RocketBlender wrote:
It leads to a slippery slope; he's not having fun if we're not making the best moves or making mistakes that could be avoided, and I get that, it can be frustrating watching people lose the game for you. Meanwhile everyone else doesn't have fun if there's one player pointing out what everyone should be doing each turn so that we're operating at maximum efficiency. I understand both sides of the problem.


Hm, yeah. I strongly suspect that playing Sentinels with your friend would be a disaster.

Interestingly, while I associate that dynamic mostly with co-op games, I've seen it happen in a few competitive games, like To Court The King, where there are a few crucial but non-obvious tactical moves that you can't live without. The urge for people who've played before to tell newbies how to play their turn is irresistible. (This is why I won't play TCTK.)
 
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Lane Taylor
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How many players?

Innovation is 2-4. There are two expansions, and each adds an additional player, so up to 6.

I like this one more than 7 Wonders, since it is a lot more interactive. It's a bit harder to learn, too, but it's not a terribly steep learning curve, just learning what some of the nomenclature means.

But, I will say +1 to 7 Wonders, as it fits your criteria.

Also: Glory to Rome
 
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Karl Miller McKimpson
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Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game is very similar to Smash Up in terms of play, but the decisions are much much harder. Best, the base decks play very well by themselves.
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Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game Might work for you. Pretty simple to set up and ridiculously difficult.

I haven't played it myself but I've been watching videos and wanting to buy it for a few weeks now.

I think having the die also adds that bit of randomness that may (or may not) eliminate strict efficiency play.
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Paul DeStefano
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TheDoros wrote:
Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game Might work for you. Pretty simple to set up and ridiculously difficult.


Note that Death Angel is CoOp.
 
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Christy
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+1 Omen: A Reign of War (I think there is some kind of drafting/deckbuilding variant you might like)

+1 BattleCON (War or Devastation)
+1 Summoner Wars
 
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