Awesome Level 9000—A Double-Take Review (Plus a Video!)

SU2-BoxWelcome to Theology Of Games' very first Double-Take Video Review! We're still going to do the written review, but we're experimenting with some video reviews and previews. Yes, we know this video is raw—and we made lots of mistakes and have lots of things to learn. But we're going to get better! So check after the jump for the written and video review...

Awesome Level 9000 is an expansion for the hit "shufflebuilding" game Smash Up. You can read our review of that game right here.

The Components

4 new Factions: 20 cards in each Faction (Plants, Steampunk, Bears, and Ghosts)

VP tokens

8 New Base cards

16 original Base cards with updated graphics.

AL9000VPsThe Setup and Gameplay

This expansion doesn't really add any new mechanisms, so if you want to see how to play the game, just check the review of the original at the link above.

The Factions


These guys get stronger as your hand gets smaller. So there are a number of cards that allow you to discard cards or get rid of cards, and then others that give you VPs if your hand is small enough.


The Bears will just eat your face off. They're not complex, and there's not much nuance. There's just face-eating bears that will eat your face off and then poop out your face. Ewwww....


The plants want to overwhelm you—with both their numbers and their ability to stay out on the table. And the longer they're out there, the worse it is for their opponents. Better grab the weed killer...


AL9000BaseThe Steampunks are all about playing actions on bases and then triggering effects or talents that let you move your own minions to those bases with actions on them, or move your opponents' away from there. And they have that cool locomotive-helicopter thing!

The Verdict, and Recommendations

Jeremiah—If you love Smash Up!, you'll love this expansion; it's more of the same with enough twists and additions to tell that it wasn't just phoned in.

Firestone—It's a great expansion. It adds more of the stuff you want from the base game, and then throws in some cool extras—all for a low $20 price point!

Jeremiah—I'm so happy AEG added VP tokens, the pen and paper thing was reminiscent of playing 5 Crowns or Hearts or something. Even with my snazzy scorekeeper app it felt like I didn't have everything I needed in the box. It was an oversight in the base set, but they were awesome enough to correct it!

Firestone—Well, the lack of VPs in the base game felt like more than an oversight to me—there's no way VP trackers didn't come up in playtesting. So it just felt like they were being cheap at the expense of gameplay. But they included them here, and they're awesome. All is forgiven!

Another great and unexpected addition is the updated Bases! The font size is now larger, so it's easier to read from across the table. Both this and the VP chits are things AEG didn't have to do, but the fact that they did is really, really great. It shows a company willing to admit mistakes, listen to their customers, and go the extra mile to make it right. I love that.

Jeremiah—I'm a fan of all the new factions with maybe the exception of the Ghosts. Mechanically it's a very cool concept that ties into the theme very well!—It's the theme for me that doesn't jive; it's very non-threatening but.'s still Ghosts.

Firestone—I don't mind the Ghosts as much as Jeremiah. But maybe that's just because one of the factions in the base game is Zombies, and those are way creepier than the Ghosts.

AL9000BearsI really like the Bear and Steampunk factions. The Plants are just okay to me because...well, they're plants. It's hard for me to get excited about plants.

Jeremiah—The plants I thought were cool, they remind me of Little Shop of Horrors, or even better that awesome BBC miniseries of Day of the Triffids! B-film making at its finest!

Firestone—My biggest problem with the base game is unchanged here, so it's still a problem: You spend a ton of time reading cards... I have to read my cards, and then when I get ready to play a card I need to read other cards on the table. And then when I play a card I need to read it aloud to the table. And then when it's the next person's turn, they go through the same thing. It's not at all a dealbreaker for me, and it hasn't kept me from playing the game with my 8-year-old. But it's probably the #1 thing that keeps it from getting played in my game group.

Jeremiah Final Verdict—I'm a big fan if the Smash Up franchise, the shuffle building technique is ingenious, and I learned and can teach the game in about 2 minutes! I love that AL9K offers more options and a little more depth, but doesn't make wholesale fundamental changes to the game, you can pick it up add it to your base set and know the different card abilities in about 30 seconds!

Firestone Final Verdict—This game has definitely grown on me. I thought it was fine when I played in my game group, but it's really shined for me as I've played with my oldest. This expansion is a great addition, and as I said before, it adds just what this game needed in an affordable package. And I agree with Jeremiah: no new major rules craziness means you just open the box and you're ready to seamlessly add to the base game and play! And play you should!


Put It On the Table! You may not bring it out for the young kids because of the Ghosts and all the reading. But it's a fun, light game for gamers, great family game, and the learning curve is fast for casual players!

Thanks for reading! And now...feel free to watch! Here's the video review. Remember: First attempt! But feel free to offer constructive criticism...and subscribe to the YouTube channel! Thanks!

Oh, don't forget! You can get Awesome Level 9000 on Amazon here!


More Smash Up, X-Wing Tiles, and Free Stuff from Mayfair!

smashcoverAlderac has officially unofficially announced today that there will be yet another expansion for the hit Paul Peterson title Smash Up, releasing in August. It will feature 4 new factions taking on the same format as Awesome Level 9000. With a few twists. From Alderac's Facebook page: There have already been a lot of questions about more Smash Up, so we'll let you know there is another set of 4 factions coming in August! For the first time, this set has an overall theme running through the factions. Each is distinct, with its own focus mechanically and visually, but there is a common thread that runs through all of them. Speculate away! We interviewed designer Paul Peterson a few months ago, you can check out our interview and see if he left any clues for us on this third expansion...


Fantasy Flight has announced that they are releasing a Tile/Battlefield kit for their X-Wing Miniatures game. The set comes with 12 tiles each measuring a square foot, and featuring iconic locations in the Star Wars Universe. They look slick, and appear to offer a great, and FLAT, surface to hold your battles on! Check out the photo we've included. And you can see the official info on Fantasy Flight's site here.

catan protoAnd finally the deadline is quickly approaching to enter Mayfair's giveaway for a prototype copy of the new Catan expansion Explorers & Pirates! Go follow this link to enter; it's easy!

Thanks as always for reading, and please don't forget to sign up for TOG via email, or RSS feed! And for even more fun do the Facebook and Twitter things!

The Millennium Falcon is Coming!

box-SWX06-rightLast week Fantasy Flight Games gave the world a pretty good look at the latest expansion for their Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures game. The long-awaited Millennium Falcon ship is on its way. And I just have to say: Wow, it looks cool! The Falcon will have a few extra modifications (true to the ship's history in the films), as well as 3 different pilot options: Han, Chewie, and the often under-appreciated Nien Nunb.

You can check out the full preview on Fantasy Flights Web site right here.

Thanks for reading, and we'll see you tomorrow!

Fantasy Flight Announces the First Force Pack for Star Wars: The Card Game!

It's official, we're excited. And as if the eminent release of Fantasy Flight's Star Wars: The Card Game wasn't enough, they've already announced the first Force Pack for the game. The game's first expansion cycle with be the Hoth Cycle, with the first Force Pack being  "The Desolation of Hoth." It's a little surprising they're jumping ahead in the saga to an Empire theme; I'm chalking it up to Fantasy Flight wanting to start out strong. And I wouldn't be surprised if they have the schedule lined up to continue through and drop them right in line with the upcoming release Episode VII. (There's four words I thought I'd never type!)

Over on the official Fantasy Flight page they are giving some great detail and overview of the pack. You can check it out here!

It's an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan, and a gamer; look out as worlds are about to collide, again!

Thanks for reading!

The Wait is Over...Almost. Race for the Galaxy Expands!

The super-long-awaited fourth expansion for Race for the Galaxy is nearly here! Rio Grande has announced a December 2012 release for Alien Artifacts. The expansion will change the trajectory of the game and will not be compatible with the three previous expansions of the title.Rio Grande has also scheduled Roll for the Galaxy—the obligatory dice version of the successful title, that's been rumored for years.You can check out the official Rio Grande page for Alien Artifacts right here. Thanks for reading!

Lord of the Rings—The Battle of Lake Town!

Fantasy Flight also announced this week that The Battle of Lake Town adventure pack for their living card game The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, is now available as a print-on-demand title. The Battle of Lake Town was Fantasy Flight's Gencon exclusive this year, and promises to be an exciting addition to the LOTR adventure. Players will have to work together to save Lake Town from the Hobbit's main baddie, Smaug himself! If it's anything like last year's Gencon exclusive, it will be a brutal slugfest, with lots of action and not much questing! (My kind of adventure!) You can order a print-on-demand copy of The Battle of Lake Town RIGHT HERE! And you can read Fantasy Flight's full description of the adventure RIGHT HERE! As always, thanks for reading!

When We Last Left Our Heroes...

Well it certainly has been a busy week for us here at TOG! We've had lots of exciting news, an interview, and we've got a TON of stuff in the works behind the scenes! We started the week off with a few deep thoughts about the LARP community.

Stay on Target... Or at least go to Target to grab some new titles or a few clearance gems!

We also learned a little more about the wine making community in an interview with Viticulture designer Jamie Stegmiaer.

Thursday we kicked off a new weekly feature: Kickstarter Weekly with news about the Purge: Sins of Science Kickstarter campaign.

And we brought you a heads up of the Halloween Freighters add-on for Ticket to Ride.

We are always so glad to have your support, and thank you as always for joining us for another week here at TOG! The next few weeks will be chock full of game reviews, a TON of interviews, Kickstarter info, and of course up-to-the-minute news from around the gaming community!

Power Up! King of Tokyo Expands!

The hit dice roller King of Tokyo, created by Magic the Gathering designer Richard Garfield is slated for an expansion titled Power Up! There aren't a lot of details about the expansion except the contents. It looks like they are adding another monster Pandakai, and over 50 evolution cards to give your monsters more options to power up and become King of Tokyo! See our review of King of Tokyo by Firestone - Right here!

Dominion gets a 7th expansion...

Rio Grande has released info about a 7th addition to the Dominion franchise: Dark Ages. The expansion will include 500 cards, including 35 new Kingdom cards and a few replacements for estates and such. They're touting a couple new baddies to give to your opponents and a few cards that are only acquired by specific other cards. You can see the official Rio Grande description here. And for some nifty card previews from the game designer himself, click here. It looks like Rio Grande and designer Donald X. Vaccarino are doing their best to keep the Dominion franchise alive and relevant—and quite honestly, that's okay with us.

Are you looking forward to another installment of Dominion? What are your favorite expansions? Leave it here! And thanks for reading!