Smash Up: What We Were Thinking Review - Probably About Printing Money!

Are AEG trolling themselves now? I get the feeling the next expansion for Smash Up is discussed on an employee night out over a few drinks! It would explain some of the choices we've had over the years and certainly at last one or two of these ones. But it's Smash Up and anyone who plays and enjoys it, always loves to see another collection of factions to justify the acquisition of that Big Geeky Box! I kid you not, fully sleeved, it's not going to be long before that Geeky box runs out of space to hold everything. I give it. . . . 4 expansions tops, baring in mind you need room for tokens. What I really need though is a reference faction sheet that explains briefly all the different strategies for each as the box isn't designed to hold every single rulebook.

I still enjoy it though and even though it hasn't hit the table much in recent times, it's not going anywhere soon. It's biggest hindrance is getting people to sign up to the idea of playing it as it's very . . . unique. . . . and also because it's best played with less than 4 players so you're a little limited there. That being said, I still enjoy the game and at least it does all store nicely in a very tough box. Some of my games lately are showing wear and tear from being carted around in IKEA bags, sliding in my car boot etc, but that Geeky Box just takes it like a man. Or Dinosaur. Or Werewolf. Or Dinosaur Werewolf.




Designer: Paul Peterson
Publisher: AEG
Age: 12+
Players: 2-4
Time: 45-60 Minutes
RRP: £19.99


From Board Game Geek:

Never let a cute face fool you, there's a beatin' awaiting you behind those cuddly smiles (didn't Pretty Pretty Smash Up teach you anything?!?!) But it doesn't end there, if you survive the onslaught of teddy bears, you have rock stars, grannies and explorers awaiting....seriously, what were we thinking? 

Smash Up: What Were We Thinking returns to the wild randomness of the early days of Smash Up. By combining this expansion with your Smash Up sets, will you take Zombie Rock Stars against Explorer Dinosaurs? What about Time Travelling Grannies versus Teddy Bear Vampires? It's all possible now! All your dreams can finally come true!



SETTING UP A BIZARRE JOKE



TEDDY BEARS

"How could something so cuddly … OH MY GOD GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF!"

There are two key aspects that these cute bears excel at besides being plain funny as a concept. Firstly card draw, many of their actions will allow them to draw an extra card, which may not sound like much, but keeping your hand replenished after playing many minions is a necessity. Secondly their abilities are keyed to powering up depending on what the opponent has. One card boosts you for each other minion present and one of your bears starts at a power level equal to the highest one present from an opponent.

These guys can certainly keep up the pressure throughout the game and paired with any other faction that also facilities card draw or uses low power minions like Robots works very well. I'd quite like to try Shapeshifters as well as then you're essentially leeching off your opponent twice over.
 Also Teddy Bear Robots seems very apt and the stuff of children's nightmares. I have yet to try out Teddy Bear Elder Things though, but man, isn't that a scary premise? "I bring you lovvvveee........flghthyhfh fhfythf!!"



GRANDMAS

"Never underestimate the power of an old lady to Smash All The Bases!"

When it comes to deck manipulation, these Grannies are basically the kings....sorry queens of this skill. All of their cards in some way allow you to tailor the top or bottom of your deck. Typically you're putting actions on the top and minions on the bottom, and then benefiting from insider knowledge as well as burst card draw. With some skillful play, you can basically tell luck to take a hike and be in control of your deck like never before.

Ideally you want a partner that will take full advantage of their deck manipulation. Say hello to the Time Travellers or Super Spies then. They are however a thinking man's faction and not recommended for new players.


ROCK STARS

"Fire up your lighter and wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care! When the Rock Stars come to town they always bring huge crowds with them."

If the field has a lot of breakpoints above 21, these guys will.......well rock! Otherwise they might be a little neutered, but not dreadfully. They can amend some breakpoints in play and it's not like 21 is that high a number to find even with a giant base deck as it stands. They gain a lot of little benefits from sitting on high breakpoints though and thus pairing with high power factions is their strongest bet, such as Princesses or Dinosaurs.


They also have many low power Groupies that can quickly be played/moved, much like some of the Innsmouth and Zombie crowd and so it may be worth trying those as pairings also. Generally the Rock Stars are quite a powerful faction and thus probably the best one to give a fresher player off the bat.


EXPLORERS

"No risk is too high, no treasure is too big! The Explorers will peek into every locked chamber and lost temple searching for gold, fame and wahoo powers!"

No faction has focused so much on base manipulation as these guys. Not just affecting bases in play, but also being able to tailor the base deck itself. No other faction does this. You can even potentially bring extra bases out, spreading the minions out across the playing field even more. For this ability to work well, you're looking for bases that have abilities that favour your partner faction and thus Explorers gel fairly well with just about most factions.

Given that their focus is on bases and movement, the natural cause of action is to use a similarly mobile partner. The three best ones that love to master the art of movement would be Pirates, Bear Cavalry and Steampunks to my knowledge. I would pay money to see Indiana Jones riding a Bear into a lost temple. . . .



VERDICT ON SMASH UP: WHAT WERE WE THINKING?



There's some pretty cool combo ideas that form from these factions to suit all styles of play, whether it involves freedom of movement, high power numbers or deck manipulation. Most of the humour factor is taken from Teddy Bears and Grannies directly as there's very few occasions you can put those words in front of something and not make it sound amusing.

What this expansion does well is attempt to utilise some new tactics that work well with some factions that don't tend to get as much love. None of the factions feel like a re-hash of previous ventures, even though it would be normal to assume that at some point some repeat will occur and we even have some completely new ideas such as base deck manipulation.

It's generally pretty solid and one of the better expansions mechanically to date even if it doesn't keep to one specific theme.



BROKEN RATING - 8 ROLLING PINS UP-SIDE YOUR HEAD




YOU WILL LIKE SMASH UP IF:


You've been asking for these factions for so long - what a strange imagination you have!


You own everything and more factions = more variety = more fun!



YOU WILL NOT LIKE SMASH UP IF:


You think it's gone way too far now.


You don't have the Geeky Box as by now I'm sure your storage issues are surfacing.

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