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Subject: Less Bases = Quicker gameplay? rss

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David Scheele
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Hi there.

See... I want to like Smash Up. But everyone I always talked to that liked it pitched it like a 45 minute game with quick take that and all round fun.

But nearly all rounds of smash up i ever played bogged down HORRIBLY and the game went on for 1 1/2 and sometimes even 2 hours. People reading their cards, reading the bases, reading every monster out there, trying to fomrmulate a strategy with their limited actions.... That takes much much time and bogs everything down incredibly. Even with people who know the game.
For what the game gives me, it is simply too clunky imo.

Would reducing the amount of bases help? I thought about reducing the amount for a 4 player game from 5 to 3. Would that break everything? It would be much more confined and vicious, only three base abilities to keep in mind and bases would blow up way quicker.

Any thoughts on that or ideas how to remedy my problems with the game?
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Wim D
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Maybe you should play it with different people.

I play the game with 2 groups of people.

1 group is made up of people who are used to playing trading card games and living card games, as well as boardgames that can take up hours.
With that group, Smash up generally takes 1,5 to 2 hours.

The other group is my wife and my niece. They don't play TCG or LCG and play more light games. With them, Smash up takes about 45 minutes.


An example to show the difference:
The Super Spies card The spy who ditched me tells people to discard a minion (from their hand) or reveal their hand to show that they have no minion.
When this happens with my wife and niece, they just look at the cards to see if there is a minion. When this happens with my TCG/LCG friends, they read every action in your hand thoroughly, check the cards on the table to see how those actions could influence the board position, read the cards in your hand again, and try to memorise all of them for future reference.
Note that since the card says "reveal", you have to show them to everyone, not just the Super Spies player, so each of them goes through those same motions. If more than one player has to reveal their hand, this is again multiplied.
So playing The spy who ditched me when I play with my wife, generally takes a few seconds. Playing it when I play with the TCG/LCG group, takes up to 10 minutes.

I don't say one way is better than the other. But you seem to dislike the one way, so maybe you can try the other way.

When Smash Up was released, the designers said they game was made with the idea that it was a bunch of kids who threw all the things they liked on a pile and that's the game.
When players play it, they should feel like a bunch of kids who just have fun with things they think is cool, like pirates and ninjas.
That's the play style they have in mind when they advertised it would take 45 minutes to play the game.
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David Scheele
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But nearly everyone I play with is a gamer. I have not seen one player yet who didn't think out every possible strategy availble, taking up to 5 minutes... They simply can't "disconnect", and neither can I. I try to play quickly, but I also want a bit of strategy in it.

And I think by reducing the bases I can reduce the analysis paralysis of my fellow players without sacrificing tactical thinking.
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Victor Aldridge
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Yes, Dave, reducing the number of bases may not increase the speed of the game play, but should decrease the length of the game. Not only are there less choices when placing a minion, but that means the minions are more compressed and will reach the breakpoint that much quicker, causing points to score and the game to escalate. I generally encourage using a "Players - 1" bases method rather than the "Players + 1" that the rules list.
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Edward Bolme
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I've always advocated a flat 3 bases, regardless of the number of players.
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Kyle A
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4 player smash up can easily take over an hour. Sometimes I am ok with that. Other times I am not. I have found that when we randomly pick our factions is when the gameplay is slogged down due to analyzing every card combination.

Do you ever draft your factions and play tournament style? If you haven't, I would highly suggest it. Otherwise you could always decrease the victory point win condition.

I will also note that with fewer bases in play they generally wont stay out that long (they get scored quicker), and this is pretty damaging to some factions, Ants being one of them.

If your gameplay is slogged down due to AP...that's when we start throwing +1 counters at the active player.

As another alternative, Team Smash Up with 4 players is quite fun, and generally plays quicker since you are trying to help another person as well.
 
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Andrew Kapish
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If you want to actually enjoy playing Smash Up, I suggest only playing the game with 2 or 3 players.
I can't imagine myself willing to play another competitive 4-player game of SU ever again. However, I think that the aforementioned team variant could work well and I'm itching to give it a try!
alexankh wrote:
Team Smash Up with 4 players is quite fun, and generally plays quicker since you are trying to help another person as well.
 
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Moose Detective
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Is it a moose that became a detective ? Or a detective who searches for moose?
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I have never adjusted the base count for Smash Up. But I can't see how it would help. Sure you focus all the minions on fewer bases, but you also focus all the removal and minion damage on fewer bases too. Plus, you can't even plan to sneak attack the "extra" base while your opponents all focus on the same 1 or 2. Plus as stated, less bases kills the factions that depend on moving minions from base to base and certain other cards like King Rex who can sometimes be buffed just right to take a base in one turn. DON'T DO IT.

Smash Up takes time because of 3 reasons. Slow readers, unfamiliarity with the game, certain matchups and Analysis Paralysis play style.

The first 2 can both only be dealt with by playing more. And more. And more. "Familiar" with the game doesn't mean "readily aware of every card and interaction" especially with all the expansions. I've had Smash Up from the beginning. And I'm "familiar" with it, but at this point there's definitely some factions I've only played once, or possibly even not at all. Now imagine that even if I played a faction 15 times, I probably still haven't played it against every other faction and there's still interactions I haven't seen.

Now there are factions that are more straight-forward. Some decks have more minions and less actions. Some decks just do damage or just sit on bases. Others have you drawing and shuffling constantly or sifting through discard piles or making more choices. Those decks will take longer. Interactions between two of those decks will take longer. This is no different than other games having "basic" and "Expert" versions.

As for AP, it takes a while when my gf and I play our 2 player games too. But for some reason, we don't treat Smash Up any different than any other game that takes us 150%-200% of the box time. If we play 4 hour Arkham in 6-8 hours and a 60 minute game in 90-120 minutes. Why would we be shocked by a "45" minute Smash Up taking 60-90 minutes? But that's on US, not the game.

There is only one solution to AP, play faster. Enforce a time limit per turn, yell at yourselves, set a time limit for the entire game (you can disguise this by setting the time to eat dinner or watch a movie or play another game), whichever.

TLDR: Just ignore the time printed on the box. Stop looking at those listed times if they're going to bother you so much. With all games, but especially Smash Up, there's too many variables to make that number accurates. And if you like the basics of the game but feel your opponents take too long, tell them and work something out!
 
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Riley Crowder
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While it wont speed up the reading speed of players, I do find 3 bases does smooth out the game at all levels of players. It also forces people to be competitive over the limited territory that is available.
 
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Yuno Kross
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Kansas City
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They way I play 2-4 player games is always...ALWAYS with 3 bases. it speeds up 4 player games and helps make 2 player games feel right.
 
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Fernando Robert Yu
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My houserule is to play with the number of bases = player count, but with a minimum of 3 bases. I usually play this with just 3 people though and I find 3 bases is about right.
 
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David Scheele
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Thanks everybody for the feedback

I'm gonna try with 3 bases from now on, for any playercount. It gives of a "Knifefight in a phonebooth" feel and seems to speed up the game massively
 
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Christian Villarreal
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I find myself 'thinking on other players turns' a lot more in this game than any other game I have. There is so much that can happen between your turns that it is almost impossible to formulate your next turn the moment your current one is over.

I read my cards on everybody's turn in order to make my own turns go faster. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.

The issue I face is my friends DONT do this. So games tend to go on quite a bit longer because they don't start thinking again until their own turns.

As far as bases, never tried the 3 house rule. The game never seemed to drag THAT much with 4 bases for 3 players to me, though one base always seemed to be neglected because the other 3 were so tasty to utilize.
 
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Chris Gallo
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I think I am going to try this:
2 Players: 3 Bases (+1)
3 Players: 3 Bases (=)
4 Players: 4 Bases (=)
5 Players: 4 Bases (-1)

These look like they'll keep the games going quick. Especially if we have to play a five players game.
 
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Ryan R

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fuzzyfoot wrote:
The issue I face is my friends DONT do this. So games tend to go on quite a bit longer because they don't start thinking again until their own turns.

This complaint is so common on BGG that I'm honestly shocked that I don't see huge piles of chess timers for sale at every FLGS.

After losing a few turns to the timer, your friends would learn to get their thinking done ahead of time.
 
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Jake Ritter

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This is how we play in my group.
 
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Johny D
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Fenderbass124 wrote:
I think I am going to try this:
2 Players: 3 Bases (+1)
3 Players: 3 Bases (=)
4 Players: 4 Bases (=)
5 Players: 4 Bases (-1)

These look like they'll keep the games going quick. Especially if we have to play a five players game.


This is how we play the games at home. Also this is the way games are played at the 2 local tournaments (no 5p games)
 
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corum irsei
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Krychek wrote:
After losing a few turns to the timer, your friends would learn to get their thinking done ahead of time.
What they'll actually learn is to refuse playing Smash Up...
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David Scheele
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jhaelen wrote:
Krychek wrote:
After losing a few turns to the timer, your friends would learn to get their thinking done ahead of time.
What they'll actually learn is to refuse playing Smash Up...


This.
Forcing speedplay into this would be a better deterent than setting the game on fire.
 
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Christian Nierensieb
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Please set the game on fire devil
 
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