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SMASH UP is an online (Local or Online) electronic card game wherein each player selects two species or factions, the first has to be different from any other player but the second can be the same, to battle for them.

There are several different factions/species including Pirates, Zombies, Wizards, Ninjas and even Dinosaurs. Each faction has a deck of 20 cards and so when the two factions of a player are added together and shuffled there is a random deck of 40 cards from which a starting hand of FIVE cards per player is dealt. During play your hand can rise past five cards but never more than NINE can be held, any over this are discarded, though you do get the chance of which cards to lose. You cannot play cards instead of discarding them.

 

In 2 player (or player versus computer) the games are played over 3 Realms, the player with the most points after the third realm has fallen wins the game. There are two types of card in your deck, Minion (these have a strength/fighting value) and Action (these can affect your cards, your opponent's cards or even the realms.

When it is your Turn you play a Minion card onto one of the land areas. Each realm has a value that needs to be equalled or bettered by the value of the Minions within its lands. There are three score values for each realm, 1st prize, 2nd and 3rd. The player who has placed the most value in Minions takes the points for first place, and then so on...

    

As is often the way, the A.I. MarkBots somehow manage to play 2, 3, 4 even 5 cards in one Turn whilst I often have a problem playing 2. I play one Minion, go to play another and it doesn't move. No reason given. In fact although this is quite a reasonably fun game there is a distinct lack of help. There is a Tutorial you can take but it isn't the same as actually playing and besides although it tells you this, that or the other will occur when you take a Turn the fact is that when you are actual playing, not learning, is often quite different. It has happened so many times that there is a command under my display of cards saying to Select A Card To Play and then the game does not allow me to select a card and play it.

    

Playing the game is tactical. Often it is better to just ensure you have a Minion IN PLAY so that you score something than to try to put all your Minions in one basket (so as to speak). There are times when you need to score high in a Realm and thus lay down more than enough cards to give you the first place score, but thinking before playing is a strategy worth considering. Unlike some online card games this isn't card against card this is thoughtful strategic play against a MarkBot (or other human) both of which are often better at Tactics than me.

The artwork on and around the cards is splendid. Not just the style of illustration but the comic-book action, it is all so eye-catching and amusing, even when it is dramatic there is more than a slight sense of added humour.

 

I have had a fair amount of entertainment from SMASH UP but would liked to have seen a little more onscreen communication, not help or hints, but speech bubbles (or similar) of encouragement or jeering or something similar would be more in line with such an amusing and attractive game.

    

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015