Awesome Level 9000: A Smash Up expansion

Smash Up expansion 1

What is Awesome Level 900?

If you’ve read other entries on this blog you’ll know I really enjoyed playing Smash Up, going so far as to take it on holiday with me.

Knowing how much my wife loves Smash Up – she usually wins by a mile at this game – I recently bought one of the Smash Up expansions.

So far there are five – Awesome Level 9000, The Obligatory Cthulhu Set, Science Fiction Double Feature, The Big Geeky Box, and Monster Smash. Recently publisher AEG announced a sixth expansion, Pretty Pretty Smash Up which should be released in March 2015.

Although The Big Geeky Box is really not an expansion, it’s a collector’s box to keep your ever-expanding sets of cards, it does include a new faction, The Geeks.

I went for the first expansion, Awesome Level 9000, as I figured I may as well start at the beginning and had no real preference.


Each of the expansions contains new factions and base cards to add to your set. Awesome Level 9000 contains ghosts, killer plants, steampunks and the bear cavalry.

One of the great things about the expansion is that it can actually be played as a stand-alone game. After all, games of Smash Up require players to pick two factions to mix together, so even with just these four you have enough to create a few unique combinations – steampunk-ghosts, killer plant-bear cavalry, etc.

Smash Up works so well with just the basic game that having an expansion almost feels like a luxury. I get the impression that AEG isn’t going to stop producing expansions any time soon, and why would they?

By it’s nature, Smash Up could keep expanding as long as its creators can think of new factions, and I wonder how long it will be before we start to see spin-offs or tie-ins to existing properties – Marvel Smash Up, anyone?

But back to Awesome Level 9000. The new factions are unique enough to work well, with cards sticking to their relevant themes nicely.

Ghosts, for instance, encourage you to keep killing off your own deck, with actions that occur if you have two or less cards in your hands. Killer plants have powers allowing you to ‘grow’ the minions you have in plan, playing extra minions over and over.

Steampunks are a little close to the pirate faction in that they allow you to move your minions around the bases in play, while the bear cavalry is all about power – stopping your minions from being destroyed and allowing you to destroy those of your opponent.

There’s not much more to say without going into the mechanics of the game itself, and I’ve already done that. Plus if you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with how Smash Up works anyway.

I like this expansion, and I’ll be getting more to breath new life into an already excellent game.

One additional note: this expansion also includes score counters, meaning you can keep track of victory points without resorting to using a pen and paper. With victory points playing such an important role in the game, keeping track of them in an ‘official’ way is a welcome addition to the game.

Is it good for two players?

I’ve said this before, but I think Smash Up works well with just two. I’ve never tried a game with more than two players, and I can see how it would add to the game, deciding who to attack while keeping an eye on those important bases.

I particularly like the way the expansion itself can be played as a stand-along game. If you’ve not got a lot of cash, it – or any of the other expansions for that matter – would be a good entry into the world of Smash Up without breaking the bank.

Further information

The game’s official web page can be seen here.

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