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Home » Shows » TableTop
Smash Up - TableTop SE2E06
  • ShibsShibs
    PMPosts: 27Member, Administrator
    Rich Sommer, Cara Santa Maria, and Jen Timms join Wil to play some Smash Up! 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZpMEVQYBO8
  • FarlanderFarlander
    PMPosts: 888Member
    This looked like an interesting game, somewhat reminiscent of Magic: the Gathering, but presumably a lot less complicated and expensive.  I hope they make an extended cut and show how they determined who got which factions for their decks; clearly, Cara fighting for the dinosaurs paid off handsomely.  Dinosaurs who can crunch numbers with mathematical expertise?  Unstoppable.  

    Smash Up is described once or twice as a deck-building game.  Are the various factions all preset, or does the player customize them, deciding which cards to keep in, which cards to leave out?  It looked as if there were just a set number of Robot cards and a set number of Wizard cards, and if you have those two packs you shuffle them all together.  That would seem to add a bit of variety to the game if you choose and assign decks randomly between players, but it is not really what I'd call deck-building.  

    Dammit, now I'm probably going to go buy this game.  Even with his epic losing streak, Will makes these games look too fun to resist.  I just got Forbidden Island after the last episode, too.  
  • RustyRusty
    PMPosts: 218Member

    I bought Smash Up after seeing it on the TableTop Day live show, and it's one of my favourite games - possibly my favourite adversarial (as opposed to co-op) game. And that's not just because I have a 100% record. Okay, that's only over three games. I just wish one of the local game shops had the expansion in stock.

    I thought they did a good job of showing it off, as it can seem daunting at first with so many different cards and abilities. I also particularly liked that they told us who played what between cuts rather than just jumping from one part of the game to another. I think that was one of the few minor flaws in the first season in games like this, so it's great that they're doing it this way now.

    @Farlander: The deck choosing happens a little like the initial placing of settlements in Settlers of Catan, if that helps. So the players pick one faction in turn, and then they pick their second in reverse order. It's actually a pretty fun part of the game, as if you see an early player pick a faction and you know how he thinks and what he's planning, you can screw them over by picking the second faction they probably want. ;) What I can't remember off hand is how to decide who picks first - I think we do the same as who gets to take the first turn, so whoever woke up earliest, but it's been a few weeks since I last played so I'm not sure, and the rules are all the way in the next room.

    There are 20 cards for each faction, though the split is different between minions and actions (Robots have 18 minions and only 2 actions, as the most extreme example), and you do indeed simply shuffle your two factions together to form the deck from which you draw. But I don't know what the proper definition of "deck-building game" is, so I don't know whether it's correct or not.

    Obviously each faction has its own strength and the way your two factions work together is a pretty important part of the game - which is why showing the deck-choosing part would've been nice.

    Board Game Geek profile | TableTop gifs | Steam: SirRustyroo | BoardGameArena: Rustyroo
  • JoeMagusJoeMagus
    PMPosts: 45Member
    @Farlander -- I would also add that the description directly on the box of it being a "shufflebuilding" game is a more accurate term. You are basically blending the two groups into one army to play against others as opposed to building a deck around a theme like M:tG. Also with the expansion "Awesome Level 9000" and the upcoming "The Obligatory Cthuhlu Set", there are a lot of options to play with in this game. Hopefully we will get an extended cut like they did with Small World to show more of the selection and the consideration of which factions are chosen...

    ...and honestly... I will rule the table with my Zombie Robots... It's bedlam when they hit the table.... haha
    Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today - but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all. -- Isaac Asimov
  • TriencoTrienco
    PMPosts: 623Member, Moderator
    I've seen "deck-building game" used to describe any kind of game where you end up playing with a "custom" deck, independently of whether it's built outside the actual game (pretty much any CCG or LCG like Magic, Netrunner, etc.) or as part of the actual game mechanic (Dominion, Thunderstone, Marvel Legendary).

    Though based on the most common use I'd argue it describes games where deck building is part of the game itself, so a game like Mage Knight (where deck building is just a small part) is probably qualifying more than Magic. It still applies to Smash Up, even if the "deck building" is more "deck combining" and the process isn't drawn out over the entire game, but just a quick step before the "main game".

    I'm tempted now to get the game, as the card effects and combos seem to easily compensate for the simple basic rules. Also, how can you not support a game where the second expansion is called "The Obligatory Cthulhu Set"?
  • FarlanderFarlander
    PMPosts: 888Member
    I haven't actually played Settlers of Catan, @Rusty, but your description explained the set-up mechanism nicely.  

    "Shufflebuilding" is an excellent word, @JoeMagus, and I believe I will try to find ways to use it in everyday life.  :}

    I think of deck building in terms of the complicated strategy involved in choosing which cards to put into a Magic deck.  It happens outside the actual game, at least for me.  I've never played in tournaments or those sealed-deck games where players all open a bunch of booster packs and put together a deck on the spot with whatever they get.  Either way, though, there's an entire aspect of preparing for the game where you are trying to balance cheap cards with powerful cards with multicolored mana requirements and so on.  If I wanted to build a wizard/robot deck in Magic (blue-artifact, with myrs for robots) I'd have to look through stacks of wizards and decide which ones to put in, and which ones to leave out.  It was fairly evident that Smash Up doesn't have the ridiculous depth of card choice, but from watching the Tabletop episode I wasn't quite sure whether you had a little of that customization going on, tweaking the decks slightly each time before playing.  

    The relative simplicity of shufflebuilding suggests that this would probably be an easier game to play with an 11 year old and an 8 year old, which is a good thing.  

    I've noticed several of these games try to come up with quirky rules for who goes first.  I usually don't like them.  Citadel lets the oldest player start with the King token and first-turn advantage, for instance.  The oldest guy in my gaming group always goes first, by that rule, which seems a bit unbalanced, since it can really help you out in that game.  The player who got up earliest in the morning, for Smash Up, is mildly funny the first time you propose it, but is still weird and arbitrary, plus that oldest guy in my group also works night shift, so sleep schedule is a bit peculiar there, too.  I'd rather have a d20 on hand and just let everyone roll once, highest roll goes first, for just about any game.  After that we either rotate first turn around the table, or it shifts to the player who lost the last game in a two-player duel.  
  • TriencoTrienco
    PMPosts: 623Member, Moderator
    @Farlander I actually like the "whoever got up earliest" rule. Probably because I get up at 5am every day (not to mention that waking up happens a lot earlier and every few hours, so the G&S rules work even better for me). Though I never took those rules very seriously and consider them more as a "humorous suggestion". However, sometimes they are meant as a way to balance things, for example by letting the youngest player go first (or last).
  • JoeMagusJoeMagus
    PMPosts: 45Member
    I never worry about who goes first for the games because I just want us to start playing... haha...

    @Farlander -- If you are thinking along the lines of strategy for Smash Up, it's about knowing what the individual factions power and abilities are when they are blended. My example of the Zombie-Robots works amazingly well because the combination of the zombies returning from the discard pile plus the magnifying effects of a series of small robots coming out. Pirates with their freedom to move around is great to play with the Dinosaurs bringing big muscle to break bases.

    Also they are four more factions in the current expansion that adds quite a bit of strategy with the ghosts, plants, steam-punk, and.... ***drum roll*** ..... THE BEAR CAVALRY.... Seriously... the cards show WARRIORS MOUNTED FOR BATTLE ON BEARS....

    ....if I still smoked.... I'd have one now...

    The editing of the deck like Magic isn't really needed because there are not many cards and by having the smaller 20 card groups, it aids in the balance and interaction between factions. When I used to play Magic, even with tweaking of the decks, it still boiled down to how the cards come out. Smash up has less of that issue in my opinion...

    But back to the more important thing.... BEAR CAVALRY.... ***drops the mic***
    Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today - but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all. -- Isaac Asimov
  • FarlanderFarlander
    PMPosts: 888Member
    I keep picturing the riders falling off when the bears decide to stand on their hind legs, or clinging to the saddle for dear life as their ursine mounts climb up a tree. On the other hand, The Golden Compass was one of my favorite books, and gave me an appreciation for panzerbjorn. Clearly, I need to get my hands on these cards.

    I don't mind the quirky "who goes first" rules for my gaming group, as we can disregard them and use any house rule we prefer. But you do not want to start an argument between two young boys about who woke up earliest, so I groan a little when I see something like that printed in a rule book. Munchkin's starting rule sums them up pretty well, actually: "Decide who goes first by rolling the dice and arguing about the results and the meaning of this sentence . . ."

  • MavMav
    PMPosts: 39Member
    This is one of the best shows in a very good series, I just wish they would spell out how well the game works with fewer players?

    (I know the box says 2 - 4)
  • RustyRusty
    PMPosts: 218Member
    @Mav: I haven't played with just two players yet, but it works well with three. With fewer players you have fewer bases, so the ratio of minions to bases should stay the same.
    Board Game Geek profile | TableTop gifs | Steam: SirRustyroo | BoardGameArena: Rustyroo
  • MavMav
    PMPosts: 39Member
    @rusty thanks for that, but I meant for all the games they show, just as a show note rather than in the video.
  • JustAGeekJustAGeek
    PMPosts: 13Member
    I've picked up about half of the games that have appeared on TableTop and this is definitely going to be joining them!
  • Daniel_WallaceDaniel_Wallace
    PMPosts: 2,285Member, Moderator
    I bought Smash Up on a convention this weekend, wearing my TableTopTee before seeing the episode. I haven't played it yet, but after seeing the episode I'm sure I will enjoy it.

    Also: So close, Wil, so close. :-D
    If you see any spam, @-mention me in the thread and I will come in to kill it with my hammer. The hammer is not my... you know.

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  • TriencoTrienco
    PMPosts: 623Member, Moderator
    Somewhat annoyed after seeing the major differences between the English and German versions. Smaller cards with white border, tiny box that will never fit sleeved cards, smaller font (because that's what you need in a game where you constantly peek across the table to read upside down cards) and so far I'm not overly impressed with the translation. I haven't noticed anything wrong, but it just feels less atmospheric.

    Found this a little late:

    Unless you want to save money (German version costs around half as much) or friends/family don't speak English and/or you don't intend to sleeve the cards anyway, I would go with the English version. The cards just look so much better in that.
  • GamerSeussGamerSeuss
    PMPosts: 14Member
    I bought SmashUp about a month before the TableTop episode, and I've been demoing it at our local gaming store and at one of our local events (The Picnic at the End of the Universe) to great success.

    I love this game, and can't wait to get the expansions when funds allow. 

    One thing we've come up with, is whenever your in a 2player game, go with the option of combining 3 or even 4 factions instead of only 2. It makes the game even more crazy and fun.

    Another thing we do when combining factions is do it randomly. I shuffle all the decks and place them face down, and then move the piles around several times so nobody knows which pile went where. then we take turns picking up a pile, and we don't reveal what we got, we let gameplay reveal that for us (although we look to see)
    check out My online eZine: Random Encounters

    Director of Table Top Games for Eclectic Endeavors, Hosts of Springfield, Missouri's Gaming Arts Media Expo (G*A*M*E)
  • Daniel_WallaceDaniel_Wallace
    PMPosts: 2,285Member, Moderator
    I introduced Smash Up to the folks at our middle age themed tavern, where they do have a pretty good collection of games, last week. They borrowed my copy for a week and now ordered their own (including the expansion).

    We ended up having a game night there last week, today and they talked me into also coming by for one next week... okay, there was not to much convincing me to do there. :-)

    Well, I just ordered the expansion for Smash Up, so we can then have two full tables playing it next week. They also loved Tsuro but it's nearly impossible to get for a decent price at the moment.

    I had to take my Smash Up back today (need it on the weekend) but I left my copy of "Pandemic!" there. They will probably get infected with that one, too. :-D
    If you see any spam, @-mention me in the thread and I will come in to kill it with my hammer. The hammer is not my... you know.

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  • davidernst11davidernst11
    PMPosts: 10Member

    What I liked about the game is that it wasn't centered around direct conflict.  At first, I was disappointed that the creatures weren't directly fighting each other, but then I remember how many gamers I know are turned off by games where creatures are directly attacking another player's creatures.

    However, I typically like games where a large portion of the scoring is kept secret or is undetermined until the end of the game...with this one, a player knows in the final rounds exactly how many points he must get to win the game, which I think is a little disappointing.

    I like the ideas of the different deck combinations.  I feel like there might not be a lot of variety after a few plays though.

  • GamerSeussGamerSeuss
    PMPosts: 14Member
    There are currently 28 possible deck combinations, and that's only using 2 decks per player...as I said, our optional rule is in 2 player games using 3 or even 4 decks.

    Also, there is already 1 expansion out with 4 new decks, and another on the way that I believe will have another 4 decks. If you buy the game, there is slots in the box for something like 16 to 20 decks total (granted, at least one slot should hold the bases)
    check out My online eZine: Random Encounters

    Director of Table Top Games for Eclectic Endeavors, Hosts of Springfield, Missouri's Gaming Arts Media Expo (G*A*M*E)
  • JoeMagusJoeMagus
    PMPosts: 45Member
    Wow... not sure if I did something that is legal to be done... but I managed to pull off a win in a game that I was third out of four by making my pirate zombies chain break two bases. I had the Mothership base that I was the only active player and managed to break Tortuga. That moved all of my First Mates over to the Mothership and set off the second win and putting me at 16 VP just over my friend that was at 14.

    Just as the first base broke he said "Damn you Joe.... I just caught onto what you are doing..." and laughed as I moved the cards around so the other players could see the gambit.

    .... The moral of the story is now I'm not allowed to play zombies, robots, and pirates when the group gets together.... haha
    Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today - but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all. -- Isaac Asimov
  • bhchanbhchan
    PMPosts: 1Member
    any chance on getting the board PDFs?  I bought the game and the expansion after watching this episode, only to realize the game doesn't actually come with base boards like the ones shown :(

    hmm, just realized I forgot to check the main resource for "geeks who play board games" ;)

    found what I was looking for there.