Second Look—Smash Up Digital

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.It wasn’t long ago that Smash Up became available via Early Access to Steam. Since then I’ve had some time to play and see how it compares to the physical game. Smash Up is free to play, giving you 3 factions,  Dinosaurs, Ninjas and Geeks, to play the game with. All the features of the game are available in the free version. The only reason you’d need to pay at this point is if you want more factions. There’s a $9 Starter Pack available that gets you Zombies and Aliens now, and then Pirates, Robots, Tricksters, and Wizards when the game leaves Early Release.

So how does it play? Ultra smooth. The interface is a bit different than what I would have thought but works extremely well. Your cards are laid out on the bottom of the screen while scores are on the left and the rest of the screen is taken up by the bases. Each base is represented by a row with its card to the left, played cards on the line, and number totals to the right.

smashup_base_screenshot_02The way the screen is laid out makes it extremely easy to know what’s going on with the game at all times. It only takes a glance to see what you have, where your assets are places, and where you stand with all the other players. Overall the experience is extremely pleasant and makes the game that much more enjoyable to play. Having all the bookkeeping kept track of by the game is awesome.

Even though it’s in Early Access, Smash Up still boasts an incredible level of polish with a great tutorial and a slew of different features. Here’s the list detailed on the Nomad Games site:

  • Play with 4 players or solo against the AI
  • Online play against opponents from across the globe
  • Add-on faction decks, including the base game set and more
  • Random or manual faction selection
  • Save game function for storing progress on the go
  • Fully automated scoring
  • Tutorial system plus ‘Step Through’ and ‘Review’ modes to help players learn
  • Leader-boards and Achievements
  • Three free to play factions

I was already a huge fan of Smash Up, but this steps the game up a notch. Being able to play solo, and have the bookkeeping taken care of, means that I’ll be playing this one much more often than I do now.

A copy of the Starter Pack DLC was provided free for this review by Nomad Games.

  • Comments Off on Second Look—Smash Up Digital

Smash Up Hits Steam Early Access

headerYou can now snag the Early Access of Smash Up on Steam for free. You’ll have access to the Dinosaurs, Ninjas, and Geeks in the standard version, while you can purchase the Zombies and Aliens separately for $2 each. There’s also a Start Pack for $9 that includes the Zombies and Aliens for now, but will add 4 more factions later once they’re released.

I’m at work right now, so I haven’t had a chance to give this a shot. I’ll make sure I post a bit more once I have a chance to really dig it.

  • Comments Off on Smash Up Hits Steam Early Access

Second Look—Mystic Vale

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.Mystic Vale, a game I’ve been eagerly awaiting since I first saw the initial thoughts on the system during Toy Fair 2015, is AEG’s new deck building game. The gimmick here? AEG’s Card Crafting System. Instead of buying cards each turn, you’re buying advancements that can be sleeved into your base cards. Through various card combinations you’ll get more mana to spend, icons to purchase Vale Cards that give you even more power, and victory points. VP can either be active, earned every time the card is drawn,  or inactive, awarded at the end of the game. The game ends when the VP pool is emptied, then all VP are calculated. Highest VP wins the game. The video below lays out everything fairly well:

How does it play? I’ve played with my kids, and we all really enjoyed it. My 6-year-old really took to the game well, and pulled a win during our first game! The push-your-luck element initially seemed to be a pain, but with clever card crafting really comes into it’s own and can be a powerful tool to getting many cards out on the table. The card crafting system has some cool combos that can be made, and feels like it can really be expanded on in the future.

My only real complaints are that the game takes a bit to ramp up. Initial turns seem a bit slow and unproductive only to have the pace of the game rapidly increase for a shorter endgame once you’ve crafted some powerful cards. There’s also no real player interaction. It’s very much a solo game of trying to ramp up and empty the VP pool.

Mystic Vale is a fun deck builder, and the card crafting mechanic is pretty cool. Ramp up is a bit slow, but that’s something that could probably be fixed by seeding some already crafted cards into the base decks. I highly recommend playing it first before purchase, if possible. It may not be for everyone, but I can tell it’s a game that’ll get a lot of play in my house.

A copy of Mystic Vale was provided free for review by AEG.

  • Comments Off on Second Look—Mystic Vale

Smash Up Coming to Mobile/Steam

Alderac Entertainment Group has teamed up with Nomad Games to bring Smash Up to iOS, Android, and Steam this Autumn. The initial release will contain factions from the base set, and will handle up to 4 players via online play or pass-and-play. There will also be AI opponents to play against.

There’s no word on pricing yet, but who cares. I’m buying it as soon as it comes out.

  • Comments Off on Smash Up Coming to Mobile/Steam

AEG’s Mystic Vale Hits August 8th


I first saw an early prototype of Mystic Vale at Toy Fair 2015. It was mostly some sketches in a notebook and some very early components. Back then it didn’t even have a name or theme yet. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the game, and it looks like we’ll be seeing it hit shelves in August.

In Mystic Vale players play as druids trying to cleanse the land of a curse that was placed upon it. The game uses a really cool card crafting system involving a 3 sleeve page where you can customize a card using different parts.

Mystic Vale plas 2-4 players in around 45 minutes, and will retail for $44.99.

  • Comments Off on AEG’s Mystic Vale Hits August 8th

Smash Up: Munchkin


Two Munchkin related news articles in one day? You bet! Keep my kids away from this one. Two of their current favorites, Munchkin and Smash Up, mixed together in what I’m hoping will be something really awesome.

This is a base set that can be played on its own, or mixed with other Smash Up sets. Smash Up: Munchkin, however, isn’t just your normal game of Smash Up with a Munchkin theme slapped on. Two new card types have been added to the game: Treasure and Monsters. Monsters will hang around bases to mess you up, while Treasures give you new rewards when smashing a base.

Smash Up: Munchkin will be out in September for $34.99 from AEG.

AutomobilesAlderac Entertainment Group will be publishing a third game, Automobiles, in the company’s Destination Fun game series. The game, David Short’s third for AEG, is a racing game where the player’s car actions are chosen by drawing colored cubes out of a cloth bag. For each game, one of four different color cards for each of the five main colors is chosen, which determines what a particular color’s effect will be. With just under three hundred wooden cubes in ten different colors and several different effects per color, the game superficially reminds me a bit of Quarriors, but with car racing (and no dice). Players build out their cars and pit crews while the race is underway.

David Short had previously developed Planes for AEG, the second game in the Destination Fun series, which was released in 2014. Automobiles is scheduled to be available in October, 2015, with a MSRP of $49.99.

  • Comments Off on AEG Fully Commits to the “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” Joke

Smash Up: It’s Your Fault Top 16 Voting

Smash-Up-Top16That’s right! You can now cast your vote on the top 18 entries for the It’s Your Fault expansion for Smash Up. Tomorrow you’ll be able to vote on the top 8.

I’m a bit sad that my suggestion didn’t make the cut, but there’s some really great factions in there. Dragons! Mechs! Elementals!

You can totally let my excitement influence your vote.

  • Comments Off on Smash Up: It’s Your Fault Top 16 Voting

Gen Con 2015 Exhibit Hall: Hello, Hall G

Gen Con logoThe Gen Con 2015 Exhibit Hall is even bigger, but we all knew that was coming with the convention’s record growth. This year’s Gen Con has the exhibit hall has 283,000 square feet and about twenty additional vendors than the 2014 convention. In previous years, Hall G was host to Magic: the Gathering tournaments and organized events from AEG, Fantasy Flight Games, and others. There are 390 vendors listed on the official exhibit hall map (available at, about twenty more than in 2014. (Vendors may occupy multiple separate booth spaces.)

An earlier version of this article indicated that 2015 was the first year that the exhibit hall expanded into Hall G. Gen Con expanded the exhibit hall into Hall G in 2014. We regret the error.

  • Comments Off on Gen Con 2015 Exhibit Hall: Hello, Hall G

Smash Up: It’s Your Fault

SU-3D-box-wiconsI just happened to catch this on AEG’s Twitter account. They’re working on a new expansion for Smash Up called It’s Your Fault. Basically they’re taking suggestions as to what factions players would like to see in the game. You can fill out the form to submit your own idea, and hope they use it.

I submitted Politicians.

You’ve got until May 11th to submit your ideas, and then there will be a 32 combatant bloodbath with the top submissions to determine who’ll be in the game.

Smash Up: It’s Your Fault will be hitting shelves in Spring of 2016 with the user-decided factions.


  • Comments Off on Smash Up: It’s Your Fault
« Previous Entries  Next Page »