Superheroes Team Up With Supervillains in Smash Up: Marvel | Casual Game Revolution

Superheroes Team Up With Supervillains in Smash Up: Marvel

Smash Up: Marvel

What if Spider-Man and Hydra joined forces to take down Avenger Tower? What does it look like when the Avengers work together with the Kree? Shuffle the cards to find out.

Published by AEG and The Op, Smash Up: Marvel is a Marvel-themed edition of the popular Smash Up card game, with all new decks to play with.


The game comes with eight different decks, each with its own theme. For example, there is an Avengers deck, and a Hydra deck. Each deck has its own unique strengths and strategies. At the start of the game, each player selects two decks. You shuffle your two decks together to create your own personal draw pile. You then draw a starting hand of five cards. Next, you shuffle all the base cards, and put one for each player, plus one, in the center of the table.

Cards in your deck will either be character cards or abilities. On your turn you may play one of each card type (unless the text on a card allows you to play additional cards). Some cards in play may also allow you to perform extra actions. After you finish playing cards, you check to see if any base scores.

Each base has a number. When you play a character, you add it to a base. Each character has a certain amount of strength points. When the combined strength of all the characters at a base reaches the number on the base card, then the base is scored. The player with the highest strength total on his characters at the base gets the points for first place listed on that base card. The player with the second most gets the points for second place, and finally the player with the third highest total gets the points for third place. The base card is then discarded, all played characters are placed in their players’ respective discard piles, and a new base is drawn. Some characters will have abilities that might trigger during the scoring phase, such as discarding an opponent’s character or allowing you to move characters about between bases. Different bases can also have unique abilities written on their cards.

After any bases finish scoring on your turn, you then draw two cards (up to a hand limit of ten) and your turn ends. Some abilities on cards will also trigger specifically at the start or end of your turn.

The game ends once someone has reached at least fifteen points, and then the player with the most points wins the game.

Smash Up: Marvel Components


Smash Up: Marvel is a lot of fun. The gameplay is chaotic, has tons of player interaction, and is always unpredictable. When you pull off a clever play and manage to edge out an opponent at the last second, it’s quite satisfying. You’re always reacting to what other players have done, based on the cards available to you in your hand, and the bases on offer.

Part of the enjoyment of Smash Up has always been figuring out how different decks combo off each other, and there’s plenty of room for that here. The rulebook also helps by describing the complexity level of each deck as well as some ways each deck is unique.

The rulebook specifies that in a few instances, slightly different language is used for card text than in previous Smash Up games. This can make it a little bit more complicated to combine versions of the game but Smash Up: Marvel can still be mixed and matched with previous decks from the series.

As the bases get filled with more and more cards, it can be hard sometimes to make room to lay them all out so you can clearly read all the powers and be sure everything triggers when it’s supposed to. There is a section in the rulebook that clarifies certain card abilities and how things resolve, but for the most part the text on the cards is sufficient for resolving abilities as most of them are quite intuitive, which makes Smash Up: Marvel an easy game to pick up and learn.

From the artwork to many of the characters, the game borrows from the comics rather than the movies, and there are some decks that will be less exciting if you’re only familiar with the Marvel movies. But there’s plenty here for the movie fans as well, and there’s some really fun combinations that you can make with the decks from a story point of view (the combination of Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. was our favorite).

If you don’t enjoy Smash Up, this game isn’t going to change your mind, but it can be a fun jumping on point if you’re new to the series or if you love the theme. There is a lot of luck of the draw, and not all deck combinations are going to be equally good, but it’s a solid, chaotically fun gaming experience.

Pros: Fun to try different combinations, thematic, can be combined with previous decks, tons of player interaction

Cons: Can be hard to read all card abilities when bases start to get full, fans of only the Marvel movies might be a little disappointed

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.