Welcome to the second in a series (of four…that’s a series, right?) of Smash Up micro-expansion reviews for one of my favourite games from Alderac Entertainment Group.
If not my favourite, it’s certainly one of my most-played, mainly due to the variety of expansions and the multitude of possible faction combinations.
Last time I reviewed the Goblins, so let’s look at the Penguins this time!
These micro-expansions are available from the Alderac store for $10 plus shipping.
Is this one worth it?
Let’s take a look.
I’m not going to go into how to play Smash Up since my review does that, let’s see whether this faction is able to bring the happy dance to players.
This seems to be a theme in the micro-expansions (though maybe it’s just that I’ve been lucky to choose the first two like this). Penguins also embrace randomness to a degree, though maybe not as much as the Goblins.
There are no coin tosses here.
Instead, Penguins use the randomness of your deck shuffling to play unexpected minions out onto bases.
When they do so, they also gain great advantages as well.
What does that mean?
It means that you reveal cards from the top of your deck until you reveal a minion. That minion is then played as an extra minion.
For example, there’s the cute little Baby Penguin! (Seriously, they’re all cute in this faction…well, most of them).
If it’s played off the top of your deck, then you can also play another minion of power 3 or less to the same base (if you have it in your hand, of course).
Two for the price of one!
Snazzy Penguin (not pictured) lets you draw 2 cards when it’s played from the top of your deck.
Of course, the Pebble Gift base action applies that power to the base it’s on. When you play a minion there off the top of your deck, you get to draw a card as well.
There’s also a bit of trickery in the Penguins deck.
Dancing Penguin lets you get around some of the base rules! Some bases (or base actions) restrict bases so that (for example) minions of power 3 or more can’t be played there.
Dancing Penguin gets around that by replacing the minion that you just played. So you can play a 2-power minion to the base and then quickly swap it out for this 4-power monstrosity! (I mean “monstrosity” in the kindest possible way).
Even better, it synergizes well with Baby Penguin because that extra minion of power 3 or less that you can play…Dancing Penguin can replace it!
Secret Mission, of course, just allows you to mix up your deck some and get rid of some cards that you may not want right now.
Do not use it if you have combined Penguins with the Grannies (or any other deck-manipulation faction).
The two bases that come with the Penguin faction, as usual, just reinforce these abilities.
The Colony and Ice Floe both give the Penguin “play off the top of your deck” power to everybody, along with a bit of deck manipulation (which, ironically, the Ice Floe power would work great with the Grannies!)
The Penguins have won one of the two games that we have played with them.
They are a lot of fun and I do love the randomness involved in this faction.
I know not everybody is a fan of that, but it’s just neat to me that you could “accidentally” get King Rex played onto a base just in time to pummel everybody else when the base scores.
They only have a total of 27 power in their minions, which may be the offset of being able to play multiple minions on the same turn quite often.
The “play off the top of your deck” ability also covers any ability that says something like “reveal the top 2 cards of your deck: you can play one minion revealed as an extra minion.”
I really love this faction and now that we’re done playing expansions for review purposes (yes, those reviews will be coming), I look forward to seeing Penguins in action with some other random factions.
This is going to be fun!
What do you think of these Penguins?
Let me know in the comments.
(This review was written after 2 plays with this expansion)
Other Smash Up Reviews: