So, dear readers, let’s begin with some friendly debate…

Zombies or Aliens?

Dinosaurs or Tricksters?

Ninjas or Pirates? (hint: it’s totally ninjas)


Sounds like those lovably cheesy Sci Fi Channel movies, right? In Smash Up, a competitive “shuffle building” game designed by Paul Peterson published by AEG games, eight factions join forces in an epic struggle to finally answer some of mankind’s oldest questions, “Who would win in a fight? Wizards or Robots?”

Players begin the game by choosing two of the eight twenty-card faction decks and shuffling them together forming a potential game-winning combination. After this, the deck of base cards is shuffled and laid out, one per player plus an additional base. In a four player game, you’ll have five bases to fight for at the start of the game.

Players take turns playing minion cards on bases and/or playing action cards that will help them to do so or provide some other benefit. Each base has a printed number on the top left known as the break point and each minion has both an ability printed in the text box and a power number in the top left corner. As minions gather on bases, the total power increases and once it reaches or exceeds the break point, the base “breaks” and is scored. Think of it like fighting over piñata. Except with robots and wizards.

The player with the highest total minion power receives the left number on the base card in victory points, second place gets the middle and third gets the right. Fourth place gets a pat on the back for trying. Minions and actions are then discarded and the base is replaced with a new one.


What’s exciting about Smash Up, other than the eight-way, epic battle royale occurring across a universe of locations, is that each faction is unique and if I had to use a CCG term, flavorful. In the games that I’ve played, I’ve seen Tenacious Z and Walkers rise out of the graveyard of the discard pile en mass to take bases. I’ve played the Ninja’s Shinobi who has the especially sneaky ability to intervene right before scoring to push my power just enough to score second place. Recently, in a final turn where the game came down to a duel over the seemingly boring Jungle Oasis, a friend representing Robo-Dinos placed a Hoverbot, allowing him to reveal the top card of his deck and play it IF it was a minion. The bot came down on that stretch of sand and saltwater and revealed King Rex, a seven-power badass that won him the game. The tension and excitement in that last play was incredible.

And presumably, King Rex took a nice vacation on his newly acquired oasis after that.

As for components, Smash Up contains 160 cards, 20 for each of its 8 factions, 16 base cards and an easy to follow rulebook. The cards themselves feel durable enough to stay unsleeved. I would still recommend keeping liquids at bay when you’ve got the game laid out. Card art is pleasing to the eye and fun to look at. Full credit goes to the artists for some of the coolest looking Dinosaurs, Ninjas and Zombies that I’ve ever seen.


The base game comes with a plastic tray enough to hold the standard factions and room for eight additional factions. AEG has released the first expansion, the literally titled Awesome Level 9000 with four additional factions as well as a set of reprinted bases and cardboard victory points. The base game supports 2-4 players and with the four additional factions, it’s technically possible to play up to 6 players. A second expansion, the appropriately titled Obligatory Cthulu Set, has been announced for release this September.

All in all, I’ve had a great time playing this game with my friends, several of them being bloggers on Rising Tsunday. Once you have a grasp of the rules, you’ll find the game plays rather quickly, it’s probably possible to finish a 4 player game in 30-40 min.  If you want to play an easy to learn, fast and exciting card game with amazing crossovers, then I recommend Smash Up.