Review: Smash Up Strategy Card Game

Smash Up Review

Smash Up is an incredibly fun, strategic, shuffle building card game. The original game is for 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, and lasts about 45 minutes. However, there are a ton of expansions for this game. If you want to check out the original game (and its many expansions), here is a link to Amazon.

Aliens, zombies, and dinosaurs… oh my.

The Goal

The goal of the game is pretty simple. You will pick a team of monsters and minions to destroy bases. Your opponents will also be trying to destroy the same bases. The more bases you destroy, the more Victory Points (VP) you get. The first player to reach 15 VP wins the game.

How the Game is Played

Everyone starts off by picking two factions and combining them into one deck. Once you have your deck made, then the base cards will be put out on the board.

Nothing beats a Triceratops with lasers… unless if it’s a T-Rex with lasers.

You play minion cards on bases. Each minion has a power number on the top left of the card. That number goes towards destroying the base. If your minion has an ability, do what it says. When you play an action card, show your card and do what the card says. Then discard the action, unless if the card says otherwise.

Each player must draw five cards from their deck and then the group must decide who goes first. If your first hand does not have a minion, you may discard, reshuffle, and redraw five new cards. You must stick with your second hand, no matter what. For each of your turns, you may play one minion and/or one action. Unless you have a card that says you can do otherwise, you can only play one action and one minion on your turn. You do not have to play any cards.

Smashing Up Your Deck

First thing you have to do is pick two factions to create one smashed up deck. You can pick two factions you think are cool, like dinosaurs and ninjas. Or if you want to be more strategic, you can pick two factions that you think might go well together. For example, the robots are a very minion heavy deck and the wizards have a lot of actions. These two decks are a great combination when put together.

The Bases

The number of bases in play are equal to the number of people playing, plus 1. So if four people are playing then that means there will be five bases on the board. When it is your turn, you can place cards on any one of the bases in play. All bases have a special ability. These abilities normally happen if something specific happens during the game. This could be when the base is destroyed or when someone plays a specific card on that base.

Each base has a theme that is similar to the factions. So your minions will be “fighting” on alien motherships, graveyards, ninja dojos, pirate ships and so on.

Have your minions fight just about anywhere, from pirate ships to Jurassic forests.

Each base has a breaking point, located at the top left corner. The power of your minions are added to the base, and when the total power number is equal to the breaking point, the base is destroyed. So for example, let’s say there is a base card with a breaking point of 12. Over the course of two turns, you could lay down two minions (one per turn) who both have a power of 6 (both of them added together make 12). That means at the end of your second turn, the base would be destroyed and the points for the base would be divided up.

Dividing Up Points

Each base has a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place point system, located at the center of the card. The player with the greatest power on a base when it is destroyed will get the 1st place points. The player with the 2nd highest power will get the second place points, and so on. However, some bases are weird and won’t actually award first place with the most points. There are even other bases that will only award first place with points, while 2nd and 3rd place get nothing. This just adds to the strategy of the game, and can be fun (or frustrating!) when trying to destroy these different bases.

The Factions

When making your super smashed up deck, you have 8 factions to choose from. You must pick two factions and “smash” them together to create a super awesome combo deck. Each faction has a specific strategy, so choose wisely. Or don’t, and just have fun! The factions are described below:

Aliens: This faction is all about messing around with other players. This deck allows the player to return minions back to a players hand and replace bases that are already in play.

Robots: Robots are a minion heavy deck. Those minions also like to build off of each other and make each other stronger.

Ninjas: The ninjas are stealthy. This deck allows for the player to make a lot of moves at the last second. This is a sneaky, fast, and aggressive deck.

Pirates: Pirates get to wander around the board any where they want. They don’t always go down with the ship, or in this case, they stay on board even when a base is destroyed.

Dinosaurs: This faction is big and powerful! This deck is quick to destroy bases and a lot of the dinosaur minions power up other dino minions, making them even stronger.

Wizards: This deck is very action heavy. This faction allows for a lot of drawing new cards and cycling through your hand. Lots of fun chain reactions for this deck.

Tricksters: It’s in the name really. Made up of gnomes and fairies, this deck likes to play tricks on people. A lot of stealing, preventing other players from doing things, setting traps, etc. Fun to play, annoying to play against.

Zombies: Zombies come back from the dead… I mean, the discard pile. Minions in this deck are hard to keep down, and sometimes there are chain reactions that create hordes of walking dead.


There are several expansions for this game, with lots of cool and interesting monsters and minions: everything from werewolves and vampires to ghosts and bear cavalry… that’s right, I said bear cavalry. The expansions allow for more than 4 people to play at once. I personally have not played with any of the expansions, but I plan on buying some real soon!

My Experience

This is one of my favorite games. There is definitely a lot of strategy that can go into this game, but all you really need to know are the basics of the game in order to play and have fun. This game is great for either casual, fun players or the more intense, strategy players. The combinations are really fun and allow for constant replayability.

Personally, I am a fan of the wizard-robot combo, or the trickster-zombie combo. That being said, I haven’t found a combination I didn’t enjoy playing. The flexibility of each faction allows for you to be creative in how you want to combine your deck, and each smashed up deck is pretty equal. This means that no one is going to have an advantage if they pick two specific factions, which is good. It really just depends on what strategy you like best. If you like playing the “powerhouse” in games, then you probably want to play as the dinosaurs or robots over the ninjas or tricksters. And vice versa if you like to be tricky or sneaky in games.

I think this is one of the best strategy games out there, and would recommend it to just about anyone. So. Much. Fun!

Well, that’s it for now! Keep on gaming, nerds!

With love,

Matt “Donoran” Fuhrmann      

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