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Review 3 games and receive a total of 40 positive review ratings.
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Go to the Smash Up: Awesome Level 9000 page

Smash Up: Awesome Level 9000

36 out of 38 gamers thought this was helpful

Smash Up (base game) is a nice light twist on deck building or CCGs (LCGs). The basic premise is that the deck building has already been done for you. The base game comes with 8 factions (Dinosaurs, Ninja, Pirates, Wizards, Tricksters [Leprechauns/Fairies], Robots, Aliens and Zombies) each with their own deck. The players each take two of these decks and shuffle them together – abracadrabra! you now have a unique deck to play.
You then compete with the other players to accumulate 15 points by playing one minion and one action a turn (plus more based on the special abilities of the cards) to have the most power a the various location cards in play (one more than the number of players). When a threshold for that location card is met it is scored and points are divided up based on relative power among each player present (i.e. first may get 4 points, second 2 and third 1).
The basic game is simple – play a minion, play an action, check to see if a base scores, draw two cards. Where the game becomes interesting is how the different factions interact with each other.

As examples:
The dinosaurs have high power cards and ability to boost power more
The ninja have the ability to jump into a location out of turn
The wizards draw a lot of cards.
Zombies come out of the discard pile.
Aliens get victory points in other ways
Robots swarm
Tricksters manipulate how the locations interact
Pirates move between locations

This may seem like a lot of variability, but after a few 4 person games it quickly starts to seem all the same. With the base game, with 4 players every faction is used every game. Robots may be teamed up with dinosaurs this time – but they are going to do the same things.

This is greatly fixed by the new expansion. There is nothing new here as far as rules goes (not entirely true as there are a few new effects on some of the new factions). What is new is that there are 4 new factions. This means that in a 4 person game you aren’t seeing every faction in the box. I may know how my mix of factions could handle the big bruisers of the dinosaurs – but the dinos may not be in this game!

This new expansion adds:
Bear Cavalary – force other players cards to move (and likely die in the process)
Plants – get more powerful the longer they stay in play (did have a good run our first game – clearly take some deck knowledge and planning)
Ghosts – do better when fewer cards in hand (I played with zombies first game and actually discovered real synergy between the two – though I lost)
Steampunks – interact with locations (not sure how they are different from Tricksters – we haven’t played them yet).

Smash Up will never be a serious game – but for light fare it has been greatly enhanced by a simple expansion. A rare example of a game that is improved by an expansion.

My requirements for a good expansion:
1) Doesn’t extend game duration significantly
2) Doesn’t require massive learning of new rules
3) Can add complexity but not so mush to change the weight/feel of a game
4) Adds freshness to a game (and not all games need this) and improves replay (I rate the base game a 3/5 for replay ability)

Smash Up: Awesome Level 9000 meets all these requirements.

Go to the Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small page
44 out of 45 gamers thought this was helpful

I need to start this review by making a basic conflict of interest declaration – I am a Uwe Rosenberg fanboy (fanman?). Agricola is my favorite game – I have played over forty times – and would be many more if my gaming group were as obsessed as I am.

Two of us in our group greatly enjoy 2 person Agricola – the problem though is that 2 person Agricola with the same opponent starts to become a bit predictable, even with multiple card set expansions. There just aren’t enough different moments. I block clay all game as much as possible, Jay denies me wood.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small gives us the basic feel of full blown 2p Agricola without making the 2 hour time commitment.

Goal of the Game:
Score the most points – usually by having the most animals at the end of the game (each of which is worth one point). Additional points can be gotten by building certain buildings or achieving certain threshold numbers of each animal type (such as 3 points for 10 cows)

Basic Gameplay:
Straight up worker placement mechanic – I place a worker, you place a worker and so on. Each player has 3 workers without any ability to increase his family size. This means that each player has 3 actions per turn. Also, all possible actions are available from the beginning of the game. You get the benefit of an action as soon as it is taken.
The game lasts a total of 8 rounds.

Actions include:
1) taking resources (wood, stone, reed or fences)
2) placing fences on your farm
3) taking animals
4) building stalls or other farm buildings

This game has a lot of the same basic feel of Agricola. Some spots accumulate resources so you want to take them when they are just about to be irresistible to your opponent. Your farm grows but not fast enough – like Agricola you don’t have enough actions. The tension of feeding is not present in this game.

The Good:
Feel of Agricola
Short play time
Plenty of meaningful decisions

The Bad:
Same feel as Agricola – if the big game doesn’t work for you this won’t either
Not much variability – though this is fixed by adding different buildings

Final Score:
This is a great game – but suffers some of the ‘sameness’ feeling of 2p Agricola
I don’t find this as problematic as the much shorter play time makes up for it. Also the expansion ‘More Buildings Big and Small’ fixes some of these problems.

Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse: Rook City page
62 out of 91 gamers thought this was helpful

Has the same great easy play system and adds some fun heroes. Only concern is that the tone in darker and one of the villians is a serial killer who has a ‘Lost Girl’ as one of his potential victims – still PG-13 but base game is very PG. Just be aware – I love it myself though. We avoid this villian (Spite) when playing with the 9 year old. The heroes introduces here, though, are among the most fun to play in the game. Mr. Fixer is one of my personal favorites. Also, The Chairman is one of the better villians in all the expansions.

Go to the Sentinels of the Multiverse page
49 out of 119 gamers thought this was helpful

This game is great in that the various heroes have different complexities of play – I have played with children as young as 9 and they were able to be completely independent. It is language dependent so reading is a must. Also a hit with my adult gaming group – on advanced mode provides a higher level of tension. Definitely recommend when compared to the other recent superhero games out there right now (Legendary, Marvel Deck Building Game)

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