Review – Darkest Night by Victory Point Games

Review – Darkest Night by Victory Point Games

Design – Jeremy Lennert

Art – Clark Miller, Dan Taylor II

Victory Point Games, as previously noted in this blog, has turned the corner and upscaled their production quality to improve their competitive position and good news that is too. Boxed games you say? Mounted boards? Better components? Well yes indeed. Ah, but will they still remain a company that takes risks with smaller print runs? a wide variety of game topics? And most of all, produce, fun, playable games?

Well, time will tell and with Darkest Night we have one of the first of the new format games.

From the rules introduction – A great shadow has fallen over the kingdom as the undead continue to multiply under the control of a dread Necromancer. The king’s army is broken, the lands overrun, and now the Castle has fallen. The last of the kingdom’s strength has taken refuge in the hallowed ground of the Monastery, where the Necromancer and his dead dare not tread…yet. As he tightens his grip on the land and builds his power for a final assault on this last refuge, a few brave souls seek a way to fight back…
Darkest Night is a cooperative game for 1-4 players age 12+ “where four heroes fight a guerilla war to retake a kingdom invaded by an evil Necromancer. All players share victory or defeat and must work as a team to succeed”. At first pass, I am instantly reminded of the huge game, Defenders of the Realm.

What we have in Darkest Night is a pressure cooker that the 4 characters step into from the safe confines of the Monastery. The object of the game is survival through beating back the Necromancer. Nothing more straightforward than that.

Unboxing

If you are familiar with Victory Point Games, you will immediately notice a significant improvement in the quality of components. The cardboard is thicker, the board is mounted (you put it together like a puzzle) and the art is simply outstanding and very dark and atmospheric. I actually prefer the look of this game to DotR as it looks more menacing. The components have been lazer-cut and there is a bit of residue from this process and VPG kindly includes a napkin for you to give it all a wipe.

The game comes with –

• One 11” x 17” game board

• 10 standing character tokens
(minor assembly required)

• Five 6-sided dice • 9 hero sheets

• 90 power cards (10 per hero)

• 6 artifact cards

• 34 event cards

• 20 map cards

• 42 1” square blight counters

• 29 multi-shaped item counters
• 4 1” square relic tokens

• 5 1” round turn trackers

• 5 round grace trackers

• 5 round secrecy trackers

• 1 round darkness tracker

• 1 rules booklet (player aid included)

Lots of stuff to be sure and seemingly a lot of administration but actually, the components are clearly illustrated, and the wording is fine to read. Everything is clear as to its purpose and easily functional.

From the rules –

The Game Board: The 11” x 17” game board depicts the kingdom where the game takes place. The map shows the seven locations that the players can visit (the Castle, Village, Mountains, Forest, Ruins, Swamp, and Monastery), the lines they can move along , and numbers that are used to determine the Necromancer’s movement. Along the bottom of the map is the Darkness Track, which represents the Necromancer’s growing power and influence.
Standing Character Tokens: These tokens are used to track the current location of each hero and the Necromancer. These are nicely done and are a welcome change from the “chits only” found in previous VPG games.

Other Tokens represent Blights (the baddies), Items which you can collect to help your character, Holy Relics which are needed to have a go at destroying the evil Necromancer, and trackers which you need to keep track of the survival of your character.

Hero Sheets: These sheets describe the heroes, and have tracks at the bottom for recording the hero’s current grace and secrecy. On the reverse side is a player aid.

The Cards: There are several different kinds of cards in the game:
Power cards represent the unique abilities or equipment of different heroes; each hero has a separate set of 10 power cards.

Artifact cards are a special kind of power card.
Event cards represent the malign forces roaming the kingdom.
Map cards are used to randomize blight creation and search results.

Well it all looks and feels terrific. A very exciting development for VPG.

Game play overview

Darkest Night is played in rounds. During each round, each hero will take a turn, and then the Necromancer will also take a turn.

During their turn, each Hero can

Start: Follow any special start-of-turn instructions

Event: Draw an event card – variable effect depending on the circumstances when they are drawn. For the most part these are enemy attacks. Note – I wish that there was more variety of random events that could bring out more of a story line.

Action: Travel, Hide, Attack Blights or the Necromancer, Search for useful stuff, Pray (good for healing), Retrieve a Holy Relic ( absolutely necessary at some point or you can’t win), and use a Power card (these are individualized to each character and you WILL need to use them).

End: Defend against blights that are in the area they are in

The Necromancer then takes a turn after each hero

Darkness: Advance the darkness track – time is against you as the Necromancer’s forces are growing

Movement: Move the Necromancer – He will always be close by and there is no escaping his presence really. Good luck!

Blight: Create a blight at the Necromancer’s new location – there are a nice variety of enemies to deal with each with its own particular difficulties and effects

The process actually works very well and moves along too. It took a couple of reads to understand the rules reasonably well and I did need to go back to the rules as there are a number of details that I needed to clarify. Not so much a problem, but an indicator that this is not too simple a game although it is very manageable.

Essentially, you need to manage the 4 characters to work together so that they can move about the land, collecting useful items, Holy Relics, Keys, etc. in order to be ready to take on the Necromancer. unfortunately, his Blights pop up, causing all manner of problems and you need to decide whether to take them on or hide and move somewhere else. Difficult choices abound as you simply aren’t in a position to hack your way through them all.

And then do you keep the characters together or split up to increase the odds of finding useful stuff? Each character has a set of powers, some of which you start with, some come later. Nice feature this as it gives you more options or more headaches. Depends how you look at it.

Then you have time passing which works against you as do the Event cards which keep bringing in new problems which are scaled according to the current situation. Again a nice feature. And the claustrophobic nature Of the land really starts to build as the Blights start to add up, the Necromancer keeps spotting characters and the characters take more damage.

What’s really noticeable about the design is that there are enough differences from other cooperative games that Darkest Night can stand on its own merits as its own experience.

Did I enjoy Darkest Night?

I’ve played this game solitaire and I think it is a strong game with excellent replayability. It’s the choices that you make that are key. Timing and luck feature in the game but that just keeps it all interesting. No 2 games play the same as there is a healthy number of variables, whether in Blights, Events, items found, the Necromancer’s movement. To a degree you have control over your actions but the fickle finger of fate will inevitably have a go at you. I personally like this as it avoids trying to find an optimum strategy.

The theme comes through very well although I would have liked more events and side missions to drive the story rather than just throw enemies at you. So this is not an RPG game. More like Defenders of the Realm than say RuneBound with increasing Blights popping up as you are under pressure to go after the Necromancer as soon as practicable, hoping to collect those Relics on time and in good number. I would say that this is more compact and has more variety than Defenders of the Realm.

All in all I enjoy Darkest Night. I would say that its one of the best games that Victory Point Games has published and should be a top seller. It ticks pretty much all the boxes that you would expect in a fantasy cooperative game. The theme and claustrophobic darkness of the game come out pretty well, it looks great, the components are a nice step up. It moves along as a solitaire game, even as you manage 4 characters and so I can’t imagine loads of downtime with other players. The Necromancer and Blights are suitably menacing and the wide variety of variables in Events, searching, Blight placement, etc. all contributes to a game that keeps you on your toes. As I keep thinking that I want another go, I’d say that Darkest Night worked really well for me.

For more information go to www.victorypointgames.com

Advertisements

Press Release – Sprocket Games is proud to announce the launch on Kickstarter of their first game, Keep Running!

November 24th 2012 – Milton Keynes, UK: Sprocket Games is proud to announce the launch on Kickstarter of their first game, Keep Running!

Having previously worked alongside other companies on other games such as Ace of Spies and the upcoming Pocket Universe, Sprocket Games’ own Michael Fox has now decided to branch out on his own for the release of his new game, Keep Running! A quick playing extravaganza of dice rolling and card throwing mayhem, between three and eight players can test their mettle to see whether or not they’ll be the last one standing when being chased by a bear through the woods.
Game play is simple. Roll your dice to see how fast you’re traveling and choose a card from your hand, paying close attention to any modifiers. The speediest runners go first, following any instructions on their cards as the players work their way down to the slowest. Don’t feel too bad if you’re the slowest for that round though – you have all the power when it comes to breaking ties, so cut deals with your opponents to see if they’ll help you keep running! Lose all your cards and you’re out of the game; just remember, if you’re not running, you’re dinner…
Designed by Michael Fox, producer and presenter of the highly regarded boardgames podcast The Little Metal Dog Show ( http://littlemetaldog.com ) , Keep Running is easy to pick up no matter what level of gamer you may be. Whether you’re killing time while someone else sets up your copy of Twilight Imperium or you’ve just finished an epic game of Agricola and want to cleanse your gaming palate, is the ideal filler for your gaming group. It’s also ideal for non-gamers, with easy to understand rules and speedy, take-that action.
Art is provided by Stephanie Burrows Fox, a truly talented graphic designer with a taste for the delightfully absurd, meaning that Keep Running! is truly a family affair. A pledge of only £20 will see a copy of the game arriving on your doorstep in a matter of weeks rather than the usual months associated with Kickstarter projects; production is entirely based in the United Kingdom meaning that Sprocket Games can deal with issues in days, not weeks. Higher pledge levels see backers receiving specially designed artwork and other commissioned pieces – and if you’re feeling particularly flush you could even come for a weekend of camping and gaming!
The Keep Running! Kickstarter campaign launched at 4pm GMT on November 24th, 2012 and will finish at the same time on December 24th. It’s a game with plenty of silliness, a decent amount of luck and a fair bit of decision making… oh, and one very hungry bear. Will you survive or just end up as a snack? Play Keep Running! and find out for yourself!
For more information or to organise an interview, contact Michael Fox of Sprocket Games via email, phone or Skype.
Skype: idlemichael

Review – Soccero (second edition) from Gamina Ltd.

Review – Soccero (second edition) from Gamina Ltd.

Design – Jarmo Kuitunan, Martti Ojalainen

A copy of this game was provided by Gamina Ltd.

I am a Football (Soccer) fan, no doubt. A fairly rabid Manchester United fan for the last 22 years actually (Go Red Devils!). I haven’t really played many Football games, in fact Subbuteo and the Fifa games on my PS3 are the extent of it. I’m rubbish at the Fifa games and Subbuteo, although fun, is a dexterity game which, to me, doesn’t really translate the tactical feel of the “beautiful game” as well as it could do.

Offered the chance to review Soccero, which has it’s 2nd edition recently published by Gamina Ltd., I had a look at the website and was very interested to see what looked like a game that could be fun and provide strategy and tactics of Football.

Unboxing

This is a lovely, very good quality production which should please Football fans. The 22 footballers are of a higher quality and more sturdy plastic than those found in Subbuteo (at least the version I used to own) and you get a nice, solid game board compared to the cloth pitch that you get in Subbuteo, 2 plastic goals, along with nice custom dice which are used for movement of the players and determining the direction and flight of the football, and 2 timers. Lovely.

Game play overview

Although listed as a game 2-player game for age 11+, I think that you could play Soccero with 8-9 year olds with little problem. You can play 2 halves of 45 minutes but I preferred playing shorter time periods and the game can easily be played for whatever time you agree to.

After the initial set up of the players and kicking off, each game turn is very simple in structure. Before you roll the dice, you must decide whether you will move players or kick the ball. Then you roll the dice, move players or kick the ball, and then it’s your opponent’s turn to do the same. It’s dead simple.

Yes well, there is more to it than that as in the basic rules you can find rules to

– carry the ball – you can’t just have one player keep the ball, you do have to pass it

– steal the ball – the advanced rules allow for fouls

– kick the ball – the special dice determine if the ball changes direction or travels through the air or along the ground

– move players – must be in a straight line

– take shots at goal – needs to reach the goal or can be blocked by other players or the goalkeeper

– have your goalkeeper save against shots on goal

– offside decisions

And you can choose to use the sand timers to limit how long each player has to take their actions. Probably a good idea if plays take too long to make choices and moves. Football is at its best when it’s fast-flowing after all.

Extended rules add more realism and in my view, hardly slows the game down at all once you are familiar. They cover such things as –
– Goalkeeper saves
– Weak shots
– Headers
– Fouls
– set piece plays

There should be enough here to satisfy most footy fans.

How did I like Soccero?

With the popularity of console footy games, its hard to see how a board game can compete. I can’t see that any Board game will replace what the console games offer in playability and depth. Having said that, I do think that there is a place for footy board games and definitely for Soccero.

The quality of the components is very good and adds a good feel to the game play.

I am very pleased with the level of complexity. The rules are clear and provide basics to get you started and extended rules that you can gradually add without to much trouble at all. The dice are at the heart of the game engine and makes it very easy to manage moving your players, kicking, passing, etc. I particularly like the use of the special dice to simulate ball movement. The player movement feels a bit like chess as you really have to think about tactical placement to get in a scoring or defending position.

Soccero is a fast playing game and is all action. The timers will keep things moving for sure. I haven’t played other football board games so I don’t know how it compares but I can say that this is a fun, enjoyable game for this footy fan.

For more information go to – https://soccero.net/index.php/en/

Press Release – Classic Warlord – republished by original designer/publisher Mike Hayes and with a special deal of free p&p for UK gamers!

Press release – Classic Warlord – republished by original designer/publisher Mike Hayes and with a special deal of free p&p for UK gamers!

Ultimate War Board Game “Classic Warlord” http://www.classicwarlord.com

This now legendary game was first produced in 1968. It took the gaming world by storm. It led to all night frenzied sessions at universities up and down the country. It was played in H.M.Borstal in Wellingborough. It spread to the USA and Europe.

Playing the original Warlord game for the first time, Steve Jackson of Games Workshop wrote in his admiring review ‘Three hours later I was spellbound”. Games Workshop took over the game in the early 1980’s and released it as Apocalypse (a smaller version).

When the copyright came back to Mike Hayes, he revisited the excellent feedback he had received from hundreds of fascinated Warlord/Apocalypse fans. He tested some intriguing rule-enhancements and increased the number of regions to 600. In October 2012 he re-launched the game as “Classic Warlord”.

Classic Warlord retains the original game’s unique, simple and entirely skilful method of play where the dice is staked, never thrown. It is a multi-player board game (2-7) that requires players to exercise skill, intuition, bluff, intrigue, strategic acumen and emotional intelligence. A variety of quick games can be played by using just a few of the full 8 boards.

The original red and blue box editions are now expensive collector’s items. Only 500 copies are being produced of this exceptional gold box first edition. In the long-term, ownership of Classic Warlord will be a treasured asset.

For more information see http://www.classicwarlord.com or contact Mike directly at classicwarlord@gmail.com In the run up to Christmas postage and packaging is FREE. This is a present from Santa to give family and friends the opportunity to buy a present for a board games player that he or she would really get pleasure from. A word of warning – this game is addictive and once discovered, players have fun playing it over and over again. You might have to drag them away for Christmas Dinner.

ATO Sale! Cyber-Monday meets the 200th Anniversary of Napoleon Crossing the Berezina!

ATO Sale! Cyber-Monday meets the 200th Anniversary of Napoleon Crossing the Berezina!

November 23-29.

Free Game and Issue,  “Napoleon at the Berezina.” With special purchases.

Click here for details.

Link to Nap at Berezina page:

http://www.atomagazine.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=36&category=4

 

Special Cyber Monday Sale—200th Anniversary!

November 26-29, 1812, the battered remnants of La Grande Armee’ were struggling to exit Russia across the last major obstacle- the Berezina River.

ATO Magazine devoted an issue, and a solitaire game, to this important but little-studied event. (Aside from the last battle scene in “War and Peace” the movie…)

Now, with the 200th Anniversary of crossing the BERezina coinciding with CyBER Monday, ATO has created a special offer.

From Novomber 23 to 29, you can get a complete copy of ATO #4, including the game, “Napoleon at the Berezina,” free with special purchases.

* Start a Subscription.

* Renew a Subscription

* Buy a “Pick 3,” to get any 3 back issues for one low price.

* Buy a “Big Pick 2” and get any two Annuals or Campaign Studies.

Any of these four options will also get you a whole extra magazine and game.

Just enter the promotion code NAPOLEON with your order to claim your free issue on this great event.  (And, you can still have your pick of Pocket Battle Games too! Maybe more Napoleon with “La Garde Recule!”)

 

 

Review – Oh no, Invasion! from Fablesmith

Review – Oh no, Invasion! from Fablesmith

Design and Art – Joost Das

Fablesmith provided a copy of the game for review purposes

Another card game from Essen 2012’s Indie crop is Oh no, Invasion! from Fablesmith, a small company from the Netherlands. It’s been said that first impressions count so I will be honest here and say that I immediately wanted to play this game due to the art which reminded me of the show, Futurama.

Oh no… INVASION!!! is a co-operative card game for 3-5 players ages 12+ where the players work together to protect their Space Stations from waves of attacking aliens and finally attack the SpawnMonster to win, assuming they survive. Players add modules to their Space Stations and need to collect enough weapons to face the Spawnmonster in the Final Conflict.

Unboxing

The game comes with –

  • 44 cards for the brave Human Resistance
  • 62 cards of the vicious Spawnmonster threat
  • Full color rulebook in English, French and German

To me, the art is outstandingly fun and a refreshing change compared to most of the card games around. It is obviously meant to be fun and the images will be accessible to non-gamers. The approach to the artwork is very inviting and this should be really helpful in attracting non-gamers.

The lovely Shield aliens that protect the Spawnmonster

The cards are of a good standard but unusually, they are squares, not the typical rectangles of playing cards. This changes the way you are used to shuffling cards and takes a little getting used to. The art is eye-catching, simple and yet fun. Very attractive. The icons are reasonably goo but would have been more effective if they were a bit more detailed. Also, the Orange and Red colours are a bit too similar and difficult to tell apart I’m afraid. So not perfect.

One of the many colourful bombs which are very handy for destroying incoming aliens.
Here are some Aliens
Transport Hub of your Space Station
The Aliens come in many colours and with a number of different effects

Gameplay overview

Each player takes their turn in clockwise order A player’s turn
On your turn –

Take one or two Actions
– Draw: add a card from the Resistance to your hand.

– Transport: use the Transport Hub to pass hand cards to another player. The same action may be repeated.

You may Build – add Module cards to your Space Station.

Initiate Combat  – play weapon cards to remove aliens from your Space Station.

Pretty straightforward and play passes pretty quickly around the table.

Actions: The Invasion
After you take an action (Draw or Transport), you must draw a card from the Spawn deck. The alien on the card has an image and colour, a direction it is flying (right or left ) and a text balloon with a symbol and and sometimes a number which is an attack order.
Most aliens try to invade a Space Station in play, starting with the player who drew it. If it can’t, it will fly clockwise until it finds a station it can attack or it will finally be discarded.  Aliens will stop and attack a ship with a matching icon.

Shield aliens are different and do not invade Stations or travel anywhere. Instead they protect the Spawnmonster during the Final Conflict.

There are a variety of aliens with different attack orders. Some attacks effect the specific station it has traveled to, some effect many stations.

The rules provide useful illustrated examples to walk you through how everything works.

Actions: The Resistance
Resistance cards help you to build more Modules to make your Space Station more effective and combat the aliens using the right weapons. Zapping, building or combat does not require you to draw a new alien card (thank goodness…). Each of the modules gives you an additional technology which will help you to fight off the alien hordes. Bombs will zap aliens of the same colour.

Again, its pretty straightforward. There is some slow down in the process initially at least as you get used to the icons and match them correctly. They aren’t as detailed as perhaps is necessary to make them instantly recognizable.

Basically, as the Resistance cards are drawn, you will build up  supply of weapons and some of them you will use to keep the attacking alien numbers down. You will want to add modules to your station as well to give you more capabilities. This is all nice but don’t forget that drawing a resistance cards forces you to draw an alien card to go around trying to attack someone.

AND, you can lose automatically if you draw all of the Shield Aliens before the Final Battle. When you draw a Shield alien, place it directly next to the Spawnmonster. When all 8 Shield Aliens have been placed the Spawnmonster will be fully protected and all players will lose the game.

You see, it all gets very tricky, and stressful as you are racing against time as the longer you wait to build up for your attack, the more chance you will draw Shield Aliens which will make life even tougher. Also, leaving aliens out there attacking space stations can be ok, but it can also be risky because certain alien cards can cause a player to be overwhelmed and get knocked out of the game if they have too many of certain types of aliens attacking them.

Basically, you want to get to a point where you can start the Final Conflict. Whenever that is, only you can decide because…

At any time during the game, the active player may call for the Final Conflict to commence. This will start a direct confrontation with the Spawnmonster. From here on, there is no turning back.
Starting with the active player, a turn now goes like this:
1. Kamikaze:
The player tries to counter a kamikaze alien that is then drawn or fails and gets eliminated from play and the next player will have to take a new Kamikaze alien. If you destroy the kamikaze alien, go to step 2 to destroy a Shield alien.

2. Strike:

Destroy a Shield alien. Destroy each remaining Shield Monster. If there are no more Shield aliens to protect the Spawnmonster in this phase, the active player may use any weapon card to destroy the Spawnmonster. If this happens, all players win the game.

This is not so easy as you may or may not have the right weapons, nor enough of them and you may not survive, leaving to to the next player to pick up where you left off, and so on.

In truth, Luck has a fair hand in the outcome. Luck and timing. If you don’t choose and pay the right resistance cards at the right time, you could be on the way to having your butt well and truly kicked. You have choices to make for sure, but luck and timing will influence your decisions. Kind of like life I guess.

Did I like it?

Yeah I think so. I do like cooperative games and you may need to manage anyone who starts taking over which always spoils the experience. That aside, Oh no, Invasion! is fun. It plays pretty fast once you get used to the icons, and can spot the direction the matching aliens are flying. There is good tension as you have to balance how far you go to build up your weapons and your station. The Shield Aliens can come up at any time and you need to keep track so as not to push your luck too far and risk an 8th Shield Alien and losing the game. You need to work together for sure to ensure a spread of weapons across the group and then decide who will go for the Final Conflict and kick off the big game ending fight to the death. D you really want to allow a lot of Shield Monsters to come out and have to fight off all of them before getting to the the Big boss?

Luck of he draw does have a determining factor for sure but it isn’t such a huge deal as you do have to make a number of important decisions which will impact your chance of survival, or not.

It feels rather like an arcade game where you are bouncing through the level and picking your fights to get to the final boss in good order. This is a clever design and makes sense. Enough meat on the bone here, I think, for most types of gamers to have a lightish, co-operative experience. Most important, its fun.

If you like co-operative games where you need to push your luck, trying to beat of the minions whilst trying to build up a weapons cache, and then end with a BANG! or tears, you should try Oh no, Invasion!

For more information go to – http://fablesmith.com/Games/Oh%20no…%20INVASION!!!/Oh%20no-Overview.html

Review – Smash Up from AEG

Review – Smash Up by AEG

Design – Paul Peterson

Art – Dave Allsop, Bruno Balixa, Conceptopolis, Francisco Rico Torres

AEG provided a copy of this game

The AEG stand was surely buzzing at Essen. What with the Tempest series of games (not interested in Euro Games I’m afraid except for the wonderful card game, Love Letter…) and Smash Up.

A “shufflebuilding” game of total awesomeness! That’s how AEG‘s Smash Up is billed. The players pit different factions against each other. Interestingly, you will combine 2 factions to do battle and there are fun combinations amongst the 8 factions that come with the base game. Basically, how many fanboy hot buttons can we push and “smash up” in one game? Aliens? check. Ninjas? check. Pirates? Dinosaurs? Wizards? Zombies? Robots? and “Tricksters” (gnomes, leprechauns, goblins and the like)? Well that’s a good start anyway as expansions will be on the way.

A game for 2-4 players age 12+, Smash Up is basically a punch-up. Ok, so I’m interested, as it’s obviously a confrontational “take that” card game.

Unboxing

Inside the box, you get –

• 8 factions with 20 cards each (160 cards total)

• 16 base cards

• A rulebook

The box itself and plastic card holder insert has lots of space for future expansion factions. The art is good, has a real sense of fun and shows that the game isn’t anything pretentious, just chaotic fun. The card text easy to follow and the rule book works pretty well, although I will say that I HATE the use of “cool slang” in the rules which just feels false and like the designer was trying too hard to have the game appear cool. There’s no need for this and it just seems silly and contrived.

Base cards show three levels of victory points that can be won and also text describing effects.

Minions are used to attack bases. Actions have specific descriptors that have all kinds of effects.

Gameplay overview

Your objective is to use your minions to destroy enemy bases. The first player to score 15 victory points (VP) wins! It’s that simple. Shuffle all the base cards together to make a deck. Draw one base per player, plus one. Place the bases face up in the middle of the table. Each player draws five cards.

1 . Cards that have abilities that take place at the start of your turn are actioned.
2 . Play cards – On your turn play one Minion, play one Action, or play one of each. Cards can be played in any order or not at all.

Minions
Minions have a numeric power are played against a base card. You simply do what the card says. The bases have a point total that needs to be equaled or surpassed, usually by Minions of more than one faction. The three highest scoring factions played against a base receive the victory points on the base for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. There may be other benefits or actions as stated on the base card.

Actions
To play an Action card. Then discard the Action (unless it has an Ongoing ability).

3 . Check for Scoring
Score any bases are ready to score. After scoring bases, check to see if any players have 15 or more victory points. They win. If not…

4 . Draw 2 Cards – The maximum number of cards you can have in your hand at this time is 10.
5 . Shut It Down – Anything that happens at the end of the turn happens here. Play passes to the player on the left.

The process is very straight forward and moves quickly from player to player which is a good thing. Slowing down the process is the reading of cards, both Minions and Bases, and this can’t be helped until you become familiar with the cards. You will find yourself going back to read the base cards regularly just to check what will happen when scored and other effects. I didn’t find this too much of a problem. A bit of slowing things down, but not an issue. Its a case of getting used to what’s on the cards.

A nice feature of the rules is a glossary of key terms and descriptions of each faction to give the players a good sense of how each faction plays.

Did I like it?

I like what’s going on with Mash Up. It’s chaotic, unpredictable and yes you are subject to the lack of the draw, timing, etc. and I’m fine with all that. I really like the idea of “mashing up” 2 different factions to create a fun and interesting fighting force. Its a “take that” game for sure. There will always be a tendency to go after the leader but you have to keep your eye on the other players sneaking in for the win so there are definite choices to make. Smash Up is not meant to be a heavy game and the mechanics keep it simple. I look forward to more factions!

There is some down time in that you have to keep referring to card text but for me that’s not a huge deal. I am thinking that perhaps you can reduce the winning score to 10 points for faster games. 15 doesn’t seem like a lot but when you are using Actions to intervene with other players, it does make the game longer than it needs to be.

Overall, a fun experience and if you get into the spirit of the factions, you will have a great time.

For more information go to – http://www.alderac.com/