As I’ve stated a few times before, Smash Up and I have a bit of a checked history. I actually almost traded it away because I found it fiddly and didn’t really care for it.
Then I played it again and something just clicked. Not sure what it was. Now I really love it.
Since that point, I have bought a couple of expansions and really enjoyed them.
This review is for the Science Fiction Double Feature expansion.
As with the base game, Science Fiction Double Feature is designed by Paul Peterson, this time with art by Víctor Pérez Corbella, Igor Heras, Wen Juinn, and Brynn Metheney. It’s published by Alderac Entertainment Group.
I’m not going to go into the whole “how to play” spiel since I did that on the original Smash Up review. You can check there (pretty please?) for that information.
Science Fiction Double Feature adds four new factions to the ever-expanding list.
- Cyborg Apes
- Super Spies
- Time Travellers
As with all Smash Up factions, you have a mix of actions and minions that you will be playing on bases to eventually break them and score points.
Each faction has some interesting qualities to them that make them fun to play.
The Cyborg Apes are very action-heavy, but while the Wizards in the base set are too, the Apes use those actions to really strengthen their minions. Furious George is a minion who gets +1 power for each action played on him. Clyde 2.0 makes it so any of your actions on the base where he’s at that are destroyed actually go back to your hand. Quite powerful!
The Shapeshifters are the most fiddly of the bunch, which adds to my main negative point about the game itself: the ongoing and never-ending calculations. The Mimic has a power equal to the highest printed power of a minion that’s on the table. So it’s constantly changing. When you’re checking a base, you always have to keep rechecking this one. If you don’t like that aspect of Smash Up, you will hate the Shapeshifters.
But it’s still quite a powerful faction.
The “…Really??” action lets you destroy one of your minions and then play an extra minion from your discard pile of the same or lower power. It’s a good way to move minions *and* it lets you use their ability again (rather than just moving them, which doesn’t). Others let you copy other minions on the table temporarily, or let you do other things like that.
The Time Travellers have you picking up minions and placing them elsewhere, turning back the clock to before they were played. Some actions will let you return your minion or other players’ minions to their hand instead. The key words for them are deck manipulation. You will be shuffling your deck a lot.
The Super Spies are my favourite, though.
Many of their cards rely on playing cards out of turn or forcing other players to discard. The Discards Are Forever card is pretty handy. There’s also the Secret Agent (not pictured, he’s shy) who, while he’s in play, forces each other player to discard a card every time they play an action. How restricting! The Mole lets you play any Action as a Special Action when a base scores. That can be helpful too.
The bases are quite thematic as well.
Each of those bases works similar to how that faction’s deck works.
The game also adds VP tokens to keep track of your score! (Since this wasn’t the first expansion, maybe they were added to previous ones, but this was my first). That was very much needed from the base game.
This is a fantastic expansion with a few artwork mishaps, at least for me. The factions are very cool, with the usual funny parody card titles (Furious George for the Cyborg Apes, Doctor When, Discards Are Forever). Peterson’s humour once again shines through.
The problem for me with this expansion is some of the artwork. I’m not a fan of the Time Traveller and Shapeshifter artwork. The Shapeshifters look cluttered (maybe it’s that particular artwork reduced down to a card size that is the problem?) and the Time Travellers art style just doesn’t work for me. It’s too blocky and not really attractive.
That being said, the Super Spies artwork is fabulous. Funny situations and this style just pleases me. Each card makes me laugh. The Cyborg Apes artwork is pretty good too.
Of course, opinions on art vary so much that of course they’re personal, you may like what I don’t and vice versa, yadda yadda yadda (Editor: Dave’s watched too much Seinfeld)
Overall, this expansion comes highly recommended. The factions are well-designed (with my caveat about the Shapeshifters) and it continues the wonderful Smash Up humour that we all know and love.
No new rules included. Just variations on what we already know, all smashed up together into a very pleasing whole.
(These factions have been used in 3 games)
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