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Super Powered Smash Masters (Preview)

October 18th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

I wasn’t a big fan of wrestling as a kid, but I always enjoyed a good “Royal Rumble”…that is, more than six wrestlers in the ring at once trying to eliminate each other.  Now imagine the same kind of setting, except the wrestlers are super heroes with some really wicked powers. Interested?  Thought so.  “Super Powered Smash Masters” will be coming to Kickstarter in September of 2016, so you won’t have long to wait.  Special thanks to Adam Cogan from Dark Unicorn Games for sending me a prototype for preview purposes.  It’s important to stress that prototypes are not often reflective of the final product, making everything you read about here (including the rules) subject to change.

 

2-8 players ages 10+

2-8 players ages 10+

 

The game includes a single box 4-player base set of 250 cards with no randoms. Each player begins by choosing nine heroes to form their hero stack and fifty non-hero cards to form your draw deck.  Each card (hero or non-hero) must be unique and you can include up to 25 smash cards in your deck.  Smash cards are your basic damage cards, though there are other cards that you should most certainly include as well to bring the hurt to your opponents.  Each hero has a Super card, for example, that can only be played by them.  Including them into your deck will not only provide you with a powerful attack, but allow your to revive a stunned hero when played.

The basic idea of the game is this: each player starts with three active heroes.  Your objective is to eliminate and deplete your opponents’ deck of heroes so that your heroes are the only ones that remain standing.  A successful hit stuns an active hero, turning it 90 degrees and making it useless.  A successful hit on a stunned hero eliminates them.  Whenever a hero is defeated, the defending player immediately draws a new hero from their stack.  Players start with a hand of five cards and maintain that five card hand at ALL times…meaning if you play one, you immediately draw one to replace it.

On a player’s turn, they can do one of eight things:

1. Attack with a smash card.  These are basic attacks that heroes can perform against other heroes.  If the defender cannot counter, they are stunned (if already stunned, they are defeated).  If the attacker cannot defend against a counter by countering themselves, then they become stunned.  Once again, stunned heroes cannot attack and are essentially useless.

2. Use a hero card’s power.  Each hero has a special power that allows them to do unique things.  Some are passive can don’t cost a turn while other power-based attacks do.

3. Play a story card.  These are events that effect all teams.

4. Play a super card.  As explained above, each hero has a unique super card that you’ll want to include in your deck.  It can be played when they’re active to deliver some nasty effects, or used to revive a stunned hero back to active status.

5. Attack with a team up card.  Using two active heroes with power types that match the card, the player can deliver an attack that can immediately defeat a defender assuming they are countered.

6. Play a loot card.  Loot cards grant new powers to an active hero with the matching power.  Only one active hero per team can be equipped with a loot card at a time.  When the hero is defeated, the loot card is discarded unless otherwise noted.

7. Discard an unwanted card from your hand and draw a new one from the deck.  You must do this if no other action is possible.

8. Place one of their stunned heroes into the defeated pile and draw a new hero to replace them.

 

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Turns continue until only one player remains, in which case they win the game!  It’s important to note that I didn’t cover everything found in the rulebook, but the above should give you a good idea as to how the game is played.

“Super Powered Smash Masters” is a pretty fun pick-up-and-play brawler that even the most casual of gamers can get into.  Like any card game in the genre, the toughest part will be getting used to the cards, their special effects, and when it’s best to use them.  This game reminded me slightly of “Super Smash Brothers”, a video game I often frequent when I want to virtually bash someone’s head in with a Donkey Kong hammer.  They’re both spontaneous and a lot of fun, though the former is a bit more luck driven since you’re drawing cards.

I enjoyed the freedom of building my own team of heroes and deck of cards.  I also like the “no duplicates” rule, as without it folks could find a card that works very well for them and spam a bunch into their deck and really ruin someone’s day.  With the no duplicates rule, the game is a bit more random and chaotic as you never know what your strategy is going to be throughout the game.  “Magic: The Gathering” builds, for example, often revolve around chaining a particular set of cards to some great effect.  Here, you’re constantly adapting to what you’re drawing without having to plan all that much.

Don’t fret…there’s still some strategy involved and it’s not all random.  The strategy comes into play when forming your deck and choosing heroes and cards that use a particular power type.  You can opt to focus on mutant or gadget heroes, for example, and choose loot cards and the like that compliment them (sort of like choosing mana colors in “Magic: The Gathering”).  You also have control over what type of cards seed your deck…meaning you can place more counters than usual to ensure you draw defensive cards on a regular basis or perhaps focus on story cards that YOU know are coming that your opponent may not be equipped to handle.

Both casual and fun, “Super Powered Smash Masters” is one brawler that you’ll want to don your cape for because regardless of who wins or loses, you’re in for a good time.

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1078033723/super-powered-smash-masters-0

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