Home > Games > The Enchantress is pretty but I don’t think she’s as good as the Walker

The Enchantress is pretty but I don’t think she’s as good as the Walker

October 28, 2013

Smash Up is a card game that, over the last year or so, seems to have carved quite a niche as a comparatively quick and light card game of smacking your opponents with strange card combinations. The idea is that each player picks two decks of cards, each representing a faction much loved by geeks, like dinosaurs, pirates or ninjas, and shuffles them together in order to do battle in an entirely trivial war with the other players. And so you can have Ninja Robots versus Zombie Pirates if you like.

Miss B looks smug about the chaos being caused by her Zombie Wizard hordes.

Miss B looks smug about the chaos being caused by her Zombie Wizard hordes.

Some combinations are better than others, but to be honest I haven’t yet played the game enough to have got my head around the best options. I’m sure that will come soon enough.

What is important, however, is that this purchase was made at Eclectic Games in Reading, where Miss B spotted the ludicrously silly box and pretty much decided straight away that she wanted it.  Yup, she chose it and this is where her taste is heading.  Whatever happened to Sleeping Queens?!

The rules are pretty simple. You play up to one action and one minion each turn; minions get played on bases; when enough power points (from minions) are stacked on a base, the base breaks and people score victory points. Well, that’s the basics, but most cards have some effect which twists stuff around a bit (or a lot), so it can be possible to play several minions and actions.

I like this game, and it very much looks like Miss B does too.  However there are a couple of drawbacks.  The first is common to many card games where the cards are text-heavy and have assorted weird effects: basically, until you know the game well, an enormous amount of your turn can be spent staring at your cards and wondering which could combo with the other stuff you have available, and with Miss B this can add quite a bit of time to a play.  In our second game, Miss B was playing with Zombie Wizards, which is a pretty epic combination which often allows you to do an awful lot of stuff each turn, which made for a pretty long game as she figured out what to do.  That said, she was figuring most of it out herself and playing some pretty decent combos from time to time.

This problem will, of course, reduce with time and more plays as we both get used to what is on the cards and in the decks.

My second issue is possibly a bigger one, and is basically the amount of calculation required to see if a base breaks.  Most of a time this isn’t a big deal: your minions add up to 12 power, mine to 7, the break point of the base is 18, so boom!  Once in a while, though, you get situations where you have Armoured Stegs (which have higher power on other players’ turns) and War Raptors (tougher when teamed up with other Raptors) on one side and a heap of Microbots (some of which do weird  increasing of their power when en masse) on the other, all making for a lot of adding up to be done each turn.  It’s not a deal breaker for us, but even though Miss B is pretty good with numbers, I need to help out quite a lot with this.

I think this one’s a keeper though.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 6¾): “I think this is a really fun game, but if you’re new to it I think it gets a bit tiring. I think Zombies and Wizards are a really good combination because you can get really long turns and if they’re together you can get the dead wizards rising again.”

The game: Smash Up (AEG), 2 to 4 players aged 12+.

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  1. Dan
    October 28, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I’ve yet to have an enjoyable game of this one, I suspect it’s mainly because like you say I need to know the cards first, but to be honest I’m losing patience in it.

    Needless to say I’m yet again impressed by your daughters sophistication in the games she’s able/willing to play.

    (incidently, I bought sleeping queens last week – mainly because of the good words for it here)

  2. October 29, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I think the sophistication comes from the sheer quantity of games we’ve played over the last couple of years or so. 🙂

    Good to get an alternate view on this one. I can see how the game could easily get frustrating. It’s going to be some time before we get a flowing game which is completed in less than an hour. I think the combination of factions makes a heck of a lot of difference: we’ve lucked out in finding ones that Miss B has had fun with. If you wanted to persist, maybe there’s a way to house rule and simplify? Perhaps just one faction each (choosing carefully) and play only until the first three bases have broken?

    I hope you guys enjoy Sleeping Queens. It’s certainly one of my best games purchases in recent years, just for the enjoyment Miss B has had from it.

    • Barnetto
      October 31, 2013 at 11:08 am

      I’ve looked at this game a lot, but held off so far, mainly just due to the quantity of unplayed games I already have! However, there’s what seems like a very good suggestion in BGG to reduce the number of bases (I think by one?) which adds to the competition on bases and leads to a quicker game – might be worth thinking about to bring the game time down?

  3. October 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I can totally sympathise with having too many unplayed games!

    Reducing the number of bases sounds like a good idea. Normally you have one more base than the number of players, so this would certainly have an impact. In our case I think the slowing down mainly came from trying to figure out which cards to play (and small hands managing 10 cards can be a problem), but some trick like that could well help.

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