Smash Up, Obligatory Cthulhu Expansion Review

Obligatorily Worthy of your $15

It’s probably worth noting that if you haven’t caught my reviews of the base game of Smash Up, or it’s first expansion Awesome Level 9000, you should probably take some time to look them over first if this review seems like it’s coming out of left field for you. I’ll give you time to go do that now, I need to make some tea anyway.

Alright, you back? Me too, this tea is delicious, tastes like…madness. *cue creepy twilight music* Of course I’m here today to talk to you about the latest Smash Up expansion, the Obligatory Cthulu Expansion. Aptly named since these days it seems like all you have to do is “put an elder god on it”  and people will just lap it up. Alderac plays into this by delivering with a solid and fresh addition to Smash Up, not only with new factions but a new mechanic as well – the madness deck. The madness deck is a simple addition to such an already simple game that it doesn’t complicate things and adds nice side-layer of complexity should your group choose a c’thonian faction to smash into the already staggering number of options the game offers. Let’s discuss.

New Factions

I promise we’ll get to discussing the madness deck very, very soon, but first let’s go over the new contenders and their overall ethos at the table. OCE offers 4 new ones that range from outright destroying your opponents to just screwing them over with madness cards.

  • Miskatonic University – A great ability to manipulate madness cards along with decent minions and lots of control of the flow of their own gameplay these guys make a great combination with lots of other factions. These guys have a bit of a Scooby Do theme, and a really nasty minion called “Professor” who will annoy all of your opponents if combo’d up with some madness!
  • Elder Things – A minion-centric faction full of powerhouse creatures that are geared to ramp up fast and hard with an explosive outcome, it also does a good job of forcing madness cards on your opponents. These guys are probably my favorite faction out of this set.
  • Innsmouth – Strength in numbers is how these guys work, another minion-centric faction where every minion in the deck is identical and can be used to fill up bases in no time due to their effect when put into play. The actions here also have some great opportunities to make minions untouchable, and these guys smash up really well with other decks full of “weenie” minions.
  • Cthulhu Cultists – These guys are all all about opening portals and destroying other minions, and there’s some direct victory point gain and madness card removal as well. A solid addition to most any other faction, except Aliens. No one likes the aliens.

The Madness Deck and New Bases

Ah yes I keep talking about this madness deck and it’s probably tearing at your sanity by now so I suppose I’ll fill you in. Take a seat. So, the madness deck is just a bunch of action cards that are identical, they read “Draw two cards OR return this card to the Madness deck”. As you play certain cards will force you to pick them up, (whether it’s one of your own or your opponents) and at the end of the game you’ll go through your hand, deck, and discard piles to pull them all out. For every 2 madness cards you have at the end of the game, you’ll lose a victory point.

So, as you can see the risk/reward is a factor here if you’re picking them up to draw cards, and if you don’t find a good way to get rid of them then you might not actually be the winner at the end of the game. For people playing without any of the Cthulhu expansion factions in their deck, they can still mitigate the card’s effects by using the action to return it to the madness deck, or also utilize the effects on many of the bases that come with the Cthulhu expansion that allow you to get rid of them. Speaking of the base cards, there are a lot of really fun ones in this expansion like the Mountains of Madness, R’lyeh, the Asylum, and Miskatonic University to name a few.


Final Thoughts

The Obligatory Cthulhu expansion is a must have for any Smash Up fans and/or Cthulhu fans in general, especially those who’d like to add another small layer of complexity to the game. It’s a steal at $15 and I don’t think the train of awesome stuff for Smash Up is coming to an end anytime soon, it looks like AEG has queue’d up yet another expansion: Science Fiction Double Feature which is due out this April.

I hope to get you guys an in-depth review of that one when it’s available as well. Until then, I hope you’re enjoying playing Smash Up as much as I am! Don’t forget you can snag it right now on amazon for just about $15. Until next time, game on!

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Today in Board Games Issue #135 - Cthulhu: The Great Old One - Today in Board Games
  2. Lovecraftian leftovers for week 8 | The Scrawl of Cthulhu

Shoot An Arrow At It