One of the perks of coming back to work in the office after the COVID lockdowns ended was the ability to play games at lunch.
Namely, Smash Up (though we’ve played a bunch of other games as well).
Way back in 2019, I had bought every available Smash Up expansion that I didn’t already have (with one or two exceptions, like Cthulhu and Munchkin, since I don’t want them).
We were in the process of playing through these, getting enough plays in that I felt comfortable doing a review.
And then chaos happened and that all stopped.
So it was good to get back to things!
While Smash Up: Marvel had to be the first one we played because it was new and I wanted to get it to the table, it became time to go back to the oldies but goodies.
The first old one we played was the It’s Your Fault expansion, the expansion where the fans voted on which factions they wanted to be included.
What was it New York City Mayor Ed Koch said after losing his re-election bid in 1989?
“The people have spoken…and they must be punished.”
In this case, they’re punished with cool stuff!
The expansion was also designed by Paul Peterson and published by Alderac Entertainment Group in 2016. (I’ll name the artists for each faction separately).
This is an unusual expansion in that there are 5 different factions in it.
Five!! That’s, like, one more than four! (I excelled in Math as a kid…can you tell?).
And they’re all pretty cool, in their own way.
As with previous expansion reviews, I’m not going to go over how to play Smash Up. You can go to the original review for that one.
Here are the five factions we’ll be covering today.
Get it? Sharknado?
I love it.
How are they?
Let’s take a look.
Since this is all voted on by the fans, there’s no real theme to this expansion.
However, that doesn’t mean the factions aren’t good. They’re all unique in their own way.
Let’s start with the Sharks because that Hammerhead over there looks like he wants to bite me.
Maybe I shouldn’t have accidentally cut myself with a boxcutter when I was breaking down boxes.
Artist: Marcel Stobinski
First, I have to say that the sharks look freakin’ cool. Stobinski really outdid himself with them.
This has to be some of the coolest artwork I’ve seen in the game.
But how do they play?
The Sharks concentrate on destroying minions and getting more powerful by doing so.
The Hammerhead above gets a +1 power counter whenever a
character minion (gah! It’s so confusing!) is destroyed at the base where it is. Considering many of the Sharks do destroy minions (like Megalodon, which could conceivably destroy two minions by the time the base scores!), the Hammerhead could get pretty powerful.
The two Great Whites (not pictured) let you move and then destroy a 2-power or less minion at the new base. Move them to the Hammerhead base and watch the power creep up!
The Shark actions fall along the same lines, destroying minions, having minions get more powerful after another one is destroyed, or moving and destroying minions.
Gee, it’s like somebody thinks Sharks are deadly or something.
The Shark Week action is the only one that’s really different, giving you an extra card draw at the end of your turn if you have a minion at its base.
Of course there’s no way they would ignore the Shark Week joke.
They are nullified by minions or powers that prevent minion destruction, though. That’s not a good thing.
Overall, I loved played with the Sharks. They’re just so cool and nasty.
And I love looking at that artwork in my hand.
This is my type of faction, with lots of power adjustments.
I’m like Tim Taylor in that respect.
Artist: 2Minds Studio
The Dragons you would think are also built on killing minions, but they’re not!
Instead, they concentrate on making other players fear them (or, you know, making bases less attractive to other players).
A lot of their minions and actions have abilities that give you bonuses depending on the other players and how they play.
Imperial Dragon? Whatever base he’s on, when somebody else plays or moves a minion there, you draw a card.
The Great Wyrm deprives your opponents of VP when the base it’s at scores, as does the Ruins action.
While the Wyvern (not pictured) does destroy minions, it’s main benefit is its talent: it can reduce the break point of the base its at by 3 each turn. It’s a talent, so you don’t have to use it, but it can come in handy!
I love how Burn It Down destroys a base and puts a new one out there. Even more so because the minions that are there stay on it.
I can just picture their reactions.
Even better is the Dragon Lands action (not pictured). It’s a Base Action and gives all of your minions there +1 power. The kicker? It is also a Special and you can play it when the Base scores.
The Dragons are the first faction that I would almost say are overpowered.
They’re not, really, but it’s close. They are hard to get around for other players unless they’re paired with a faction that doesn’t go well with them.
You really need something in your deck that can destroy actions because the Dragon actions can be brutal to their opponents.
Which I guess is a very dragon thing, right?
Artist: 2Minds Studio
The Mythic Greeks are a really fun faction that can also have some power creep (maybe that’s the theme to this expansion?)
Mythic Greeks are active folks, so they love the play of actions. Playing actions can make some of them even more powerful.
Even better if the action itself makes them more powerful!
Like Odysseus above, whenever you play an action, you can place a +1 power counter on any of your minions. The Favor of Hera action lets you place two +1 power counters. It’s a win-win!
What’s really neat with the Greeks is the Argonaut (you have four of them). It can be played as a minion, but it can also be played whenever you could play an action.
Not only that, but it triggers all of your “if you play an action” abilities.
The Spartans (not pictured) are only 3-power minions, but they can get bumped up quickly. That’s because you place a +1 power counter on them the first time you play an action on your turn. It doesn’t trigger on all actions like Odysseus does, but even so it’s quite powerful.
Probably the most annoying action (for your opponents, anyway) is the Favor of Dionysus (also not pictured).
Sure, it only lets you give one of your minions +1 power until the end of the turn, but it also lets you play an extra action (Odysseus says thank you!) and you place Favor of Dionysus on top of your deck instead of your discard pile.
So once you have it, you will never have a “I have no actions to play” hand.
I’ve had too many of those in my Smash Up career.
The Mythic Greeks are a powerful and fun faction to play, especially if you get your action engine going.
Artist: Dudu Torres
Then we come to the Superheroes.
More power creep! (I think that is the theme).
They concentrate on turning low-powered minions into high-powered minions, and preventing anybody else but you from destroying those minions.
See Mild Mannered Citizen above?
There are five of those cards in the Superhero faction, and there are only 9 minions in total!
There are five Mild Mannered Citizens and four minions with 5 power to turn them into.
Or if you’re playing with the Dinosaurs, you can turn him into King Rex!
Being able to upgrade the Citizen into a high-powered minion is insane! And putting actions out like Secret Base make it so others can’t destroy the Citizen before you do.
Not Really Dead is an action that can then resupply your hand with those citizens that you previously destroyed.
Awesome Guy also protects all of your minions so that only you can destroy them. Another 5-power minion lets you give your minions at his base +1 power until the end of the turn.
Mind Lady (another 5-power minion) lets you cancel another player’s minion’s ability until the beginning of your next turn. That can come in handy.
The combinations with the Superheroes can get quite insane.
And they’re a lot of fun to play with because of that.
The artwork on the cards is decent. It’s not my favourite, but it does evoke that pulp comic book feel which fits them perfectly.
Superheroes would be killers with the Princesses faction (I haven’t reviewed that expansion yet). The Princesses only have 6 minions but they’re all 5-powered!
Granted, with only 15 minions in a 40 card deck, you may have trouble drawing minions.
Maybe not so good.
Anyway, Superheroes are another winner!
Artist: Gildia Art Guild
Speaking of power cree….oh wait. No we’re not. I guess that’s not the theme of this expansion.
I don’t recall seeing this artist on Smash Up before, but I haven’t gone through all of my expansions yet so I could be mistaken.
Finally, we come to Tornados, my least favourite faction in the expansion.
I’ve said before that I don’t really do well with factions that concentrate more on moving than on power and card combinations, so I’m sure that’s why I’m not a Tornados fan.
All of the movement abilities do give the Tornados a chance to swarm bases, and having some of those moves be from Specials makes it more palatable.
Monster Tornado can move anything 4-power or less on your turn with no problem whatsoever. Twister also allows you to move your minions around (but only 3-power or less minions in this case).
I do like Ripped Off, which lets you move actions around. I made great use of it when I was the Tornados, especially moving some of those Dragon Base actions around to get them out of my way.
It’s also nice that you can play Over the Rainbow as a Special before a base scores, letting you boost your power a bit.
Sadly, there is nothing in the Tornados faction to boost power at all. If you want to do that, you have to depend on your second faction.
They also don’t really have any juicy card combinations.
Not In Kansas (not pictured) does have the same effect as the Dragons’ action Burn it Down, where you destroy a base and replace it but the minions there remain. However, it doesn’t destroy any actions, just the base itself.
Not quite as fun.
The faction’s fine and I don’t mind it, but I had trouble playing it because of all the moving and nothing else.
I think they’re highly dependent on what faction you pair them with (pair them with Dragons and watch the bases fall!).
The artwork is fine. Nothing that really grabs me, but it’s decent.
Overall, my least favourite faction in the expansion and I think this shows it’s time to end the review.
Four out of Five awesome factions is a pretty good track record, though!
How are the bases?
The bases are typical bases, showcasing the faction power and allowing it to be used by everyone.
Converted Cave gives that 2-power or less minion protection to everybody who’s there, making sure there’s the distinction that only the minion’s controller can destroy them.
Trailer Park makes me wish the Tornados actually had an action like that, giving a +1 power counter when you move a minion to that base.
The Deep highlights that Shark ability, letting you destroy another minion there if you play a minion of power 4 or higher.
Wooden Horse capitalizes on the Mythic Greeks having actions create more power, though this time it’s only until the end of the turn (can’t have everybody taking advantage of it permanently!)
Finally, my favourite is Wyrm’s Desolation. A base where the winner gets 5 VP but all minions there have -1 power. It’s just the “f-you” that the Dragons love to give.
There are two bases for each faction, but these five are my favourites.
I’d have to say this is a great expansion to get because it’s a lot of fun and definitely has some crazy combinations and abilities.
I love the power chaining of the Sharks, the interesting base abilities of the Dragons, the actions and their effects with the Mythic Greeks.
Even the Superheroes and their “make a better minion” effects are really cool.
It’s Your Fault is well worth adding to your Smash Up library.
You won’t regret it.
(P.S. It’s not my fault. It’s your fault)
(This review was written after playing with these factions 3 times)
Other Smash Up Reviews: