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AEG's SMASH UP is a 2-4 player game of intestellar violence of the fun kind. It is described
on the box as "Total Awesomeness" and "Tag Team Mayhem" and it lives up to those
accolades, and then some.  It is the game where Ninjas and Pirates, Robots and Zombies,
Wizards and Dinosaurs, Aliens and Tricksters, meet up, join up and SMASH UP !

As well as this card game SmashUp is available for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. You can
check SmashUp versions out at the AEG website: www.alderac.com/smashup

The box contains 160 faction cards, 8 sets of 20 cards each faction.  Players can decide in
whatever way they like which factions they wish to play and then they take two decksof 20
cards, smash them together (I mean shuffle them together) to make a single 40 carddeck.
Then shuffle the Base cards (these have 3 numbers on them across their centres) and place
one per player and one additional card face up in the middle of the table in a row.Tha Base
card's numbers are the VPs for the winner (left) second place (centre) and third place (right)
but players can only be awarded these points if they have a presence on the Base, plus the
value of the Base (top left corner) aka the Breakpoint has to be equalled or exceeded by the
total value of the power of each attached card.

Most cards have special abilities which come into play at various times of play. Some take effect
before the winner of a Base is determined and others after a Base has been scored. As players are
only holding 5 of the cards from the deck as a hand at the beginning of the game - this can grow
to a maximum of 10 - there is a degree of randomness in the game.

At the start of each players turn they check to see if they have any abilities that will affect play.
Then they can play cards, one Minion, one Action or one of each; there is no cost to playing cards
nor do you need any mana or resources as in many combat based card games. Minion cards are
played onto a Base card - the player can choose which - facing towards the person who played it.
If there is an ability on the Minion card that can now be brought into affect, it is. After playing
Minions if an Action card  has been played it is now put into effect before being discarded to the
owner's discard pile.

For a card's ability to be put in play the card has to have come from a player's hand that turn, cards
already on the table have been used, unless their ability says different, such as ongoing. The player
now draws 2 cards and play moves on to the next player clockwise. 

With 2 players it is almost inpossible (aka highly unlikely) that both players will not score off every
Base card. With 3 or 4 players it is just as unlikely that all players will score off every Base card, in fact
only 3 players maximum (unless there is an ability that changes the rule) will usually score from a card
as there are only 1st 2nd and 3rd places - however a power draw gives equal score to the drawing players.

The game is one of crazy combat, the craziness supplied by the cards abilities and the players skills in using
them. It is not a strongly strategic game, though there are no doubt some strategies to be found. It isn't even a
game of deck building because the only building you do is to select 2 factions and shuffle them together. So yes
although it may have some aspects of several deck-building games it basically isn't one.

Reading the brief, sadly too brief, descriptions of the factions brings a few chuckles but I cannot honestly say
thatany two factions are better to join up than any other; they are all quirky in their own way. However it is
quite likely that you will change your own style of play based on the factions you meld together.

The box has a plastic insert tray capable of holding several decks more than come with the game. I assume that
AEG will be releasing Faction-Packs, in the manner of Boosters, in the future. This game is a lot of fun and has,
as they say, got legs and it could run and run far past the short sprint of this boxed set through to a marathon.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015