WBG Score: 7.5
Player Count: 2-4
Published by: The Op
Rule book here
Smash Up was first released in 2012. Designer Paul Peterson made the first “Shufflebuilding” game with the idea of bringing beloved characters from multiple different universes, and smashing them together in one box of fun. Robots, Dinosaurs, Pirates, and Aliens. All your childhood favourites. It was a huge success but screamed out for some IP's to be pasted on it. This has since happened... a lot. Marvel being a particular favourite of mine. Who wouldn't want to see Spiderman and The Sinister Six team up in a battle against a team from S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra?
Well, the latest edition fixes one glaring previous omission. Disney! Let's get it to the table to see how it plays.
Well, first up there are two main things to say about this edition of Smash Up. First, there are some new awesome components that make the game run a little smoother and increase the table presence. We now have cards and tokens to hold the bases. Whereas before you just put the base cards down on the table. And second, the characters they have chosen for this box are all big hitters. There are no duds! Looking at you Bolt!
Smash Up is so simple to get to the table, this is one of its real joys. Simply place base cards down on the table, set to the the number of players plus one. Then have each player chose two decks of different characters, one in turn, and then shuffle them up into one combined deck. Each player will then draw five cards, ensuring they have at least one character, if not, shuffle up and re-draw. That's it, you are ready to play.
In this version you have the below base mats where you need to place the P and B tokens on the bases break point and the zero. The P will then move through the numbers as characters are added to it to show the current power level.
How to Play
On your turn, players can play one character card, one action card, one of each, or do nothing. But generally speaking, if you have them, you will play one of each. Characters are placed on bases to add their power to your teams collective strength there. When the collective power of all players at once base supersedes the bases break point, that base will score. In the case of The Power Strip above, the player with the most power there will score four points, the player with the second most will get two points, and so on. Character cards will offer their own unique power or action too, simply follow the text on the card.
Playing action cards offers multiple opportunities to increase your own teams power, attack another teams character, or manipulate the characters position at various bases. There are multiple fun and game changing things you can do with these cards.
Each base will have it's own ruleset too which will either come into affect when characters are added to it, at the start of your turn if you have characters there, or when that base scores. The bases are varied and offer multiple additional ways to manipulate your scoring opportunities in the game.
Once all bases that have hit the break point have been scored, you will draw two cards and add them to your hand. It will then be the next players turn. The game will continue, turn-by-turn, until one player has scored 15 or more points.
How Does It Look
The obvious draw in this game is the Disney theme and characters. All the art on the cards is lifted directly from the movies, so everything just looks so good. It's a real joy for fans of the films to recreate their favourite moments with these beloved characters. It feels lovingly crafted too. The actions link with the characters and images chosen. Everything just fits and works so well.
Some may have preferred original art, but I enjoy this style. If you like the films, and love the characters, you will like this art. It feels "official" and credible to me when I see a game like this use the film art. I can see how in other games it would appear lazy. But it works for me here.
The character dividers are gorgeous too. They are big, thick, and beautifully made. However, I am unsure how they work with the insert. I cannot seem to find a way to make them fit into the box in a useful or meaningful way? But they look great! And give a nice piece of back story for each set of cards.
I am a big fan of The Lion King deck. Everything works so smoothly. Like the whole game, this deck works beautifully with the theme of the movie. The circle of life is in full effect with cards coming in and out of action to your benefit. Mufasa is a powerful card to play, but like in the film, when he is out of the picture, he can still help Simba from beyond the grave.
If you are a fan of the Smash Up series, this is worth looking at for the base mats alone! If you are a collector of this series, this will be a no brainer. If you love Disney, I cannot see anyway this will not bring you a lot of joy. The only real question is if you have not yet bought into the Smash Up universe and are not a Disney fan. If that is the case but you are looking at giving it a try, should this be the first Smash Up you buy? I would check out all of sets and see which theme/IP interests you the most.
The real joy of course with Smash Up is being able to mix-and-match sets. So, for me. This was an instant must have. I love being able to bring Elsa and Simba to the table in a battle against The Sinister Six and some Robots. In what other world other than table top board games could this happen Olaf fight an Alien horde?
Smash Up is a real favourite of mine. The card interplay is so clever. Games are so fast and fun, and I am always left wanting to try another combination. Having more characters and decks to use is all I want with this series of games. I welcome the Disney edition with open arms. But seriously, no Micky?