AEG Announces the Next Smash Up Expansion

SmashUpSciFiThe suspense was killing you, right? Well it's all over now. Following up on the heels of the semi-controversial Obligatory Cthulu Set, AEG has announced the next expansion for their hit shuffle-building game.

SCIENCE FICTION DOUBLE FEATURE!!! (Read that with a cool echo effect in your head. It's impossible to do in print, but you get the idea.)

Time Travelers – The time stream has been compromised. Robots from the future mingle with pirates, extinct dinosaurs move with magical wizards… everything is all smashed up! That’s where the Time Patrol steps in. Organized in 1976 and led by the enigmatic Doctor When, the Time Patrol works to keep time flowing… in the manner they deem best.

Cyborg Apes – In a daring raid on a top secret research facility, apes stole the latest in cybernetic enhancements, and are now enacting their centuries old plan to take over the world! Combining their natural athleticism and powerful strength with high-tech augmentations, these apes will go bananas all of your opponents!

Super Spies – The shadow war between International Secret Intelligence and the evil HAVOC (Henchman and Villains of Chaos) continues. HAVOC’s schemes threaten the world, from weather changing satellites to lasers mounted on secret moon-bases, they can only be opposed by the daring agents of the ISI. Using the latest in espionage technology, the ISI will be able to foil your opponents plans before they even come to fruition.

Shapeshifters – Far below the surface of the earth, strange amorphous creatures have developed a thriving world, based on the manipulation of their own genetics. Now they plan to apply that knowledge to conquer our world above. Taking samples of the most powerful creatures and warriors they can find, these shapeshifters can use the best of whoever they copy.

In addition to the new factions, it'll also come with 8 new bases. This double feature premieres in April of next year. Stay tuned!


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!


A Double Take Interview with Paul Peterson and Todd Rowland

cthuluGame designer extraordinaire Paul Peterson is at it again with yet another expansion for the smash title Smash Up! Paul, being the friend of the blog he is, agreed to once again have a cyber chat with us about Smash Up, and he brought along Todd Rowland, Director of Marketing and Senior Brand Manager for Alderac Entertainment Group.

Paul, thanks again for visiting us here at TOG, we’re glad to bring you back for another chat!

And Todd, welcome to the party! Glad you could make it!

So it got leaked a little earlier than AEG had planned. But the cat has escaped the confines of the bag, and word on the street has it that the next Smash Up! expansion will be a Cthulhu theme. 

When the this was revealed, some folks were a little critical of the idea that the expansion is so singular in its focus—that is, that it all revolves around the Cthulhu Mythos. What is the thought process behind that decision, and what would you say to the nay sayers?

Todd: Well, one thing we know that we want to do over time with Smash Up is include the occasional themed-release mixed in among “normal” mixed up releases.  Smash Up relies on tropes (even our own twist on them) and Cthulhu is probably the biggest trope in hobby gaming. So we took on the mythos and put our own spin on it, cracked a few jokes, and weaved it into the Smash Up universe.

Paul: It’s also a mythos that has a lot of room to explore.  It’s not all Cthulhu, there’s other elder gods, the ancient races, and the human factions with different goals.

You’re also adding a new card type to the game; what can you tell us about that?

Paul: Anyone who’s ever read Lovecraft or played a Cthulhu game knows how deeply the theme of madness runs, so I wanted to try to capture that, and a themed expansion seemed like a good place to explore some new mechanics for the game.  So we added a new card type; Madness cards.  No one starts with Madness cards in their deck, they only get added by other cards.

Madness cards are bad for the player. At the end of the game a player gets one less Victory Point for every two Madness cards in their deck, so some factions try to put them into other player’s decks as an attack. However, this isn’t always a bad thing.  Madness cards can be played as an action to draw 2 cards, so you could end up helping the player if they embrace the cards.  Also, as an action a player can get rid of the card altogether, so some factions will just do that to negate the penalty.

Just making them attacks in all four of these factions would have been a little boring, so I made several of the factions actually want them.  Cthulhu has cards that are more powerful, but they have to take a Madness as a penalty, and Miskatonic takes them and then burns them to power their cards.

SU2-Box (1)It seems like Awesome Level 9000 just hit the market and now we have The Obligatory Cthulhu Set. How quickly will we see more expansions coming down the line for Smash Up?

Todd: Our intention at the moment is to have two expansions per year.  We aren’t married to that and it may change, but that’s the working plan right now.  Usually around early spring and September.

What are your favorite factions in Awesome Level 9000? (My [Firestone] 8-year-old’s favorite is definitely the Bears...)

Todd: I like Dinosaur-anything.  Though Dinosaur-Elder Things is a massive power surge.

Paul: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but at the moment I think I’m having the most fun with Steampunk.

Paul, last time we checked in with you, you had a few things in the works—something that involved rolling dice... Any news on that front?

Paul:  I have a bunch of projects going on right now, and the stack just keeps getting bigger.  The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game that I helped develop should be out soon.  I’m still working on the dice game you mentioned, but I keep making massive changes to it, so who knows what will happen with it.  And of course, there’s more Smash Up on the way!

MT-3D-box1-300x215Todd, we chatted with Jason Tagmire about the upcoming release of Maximum Throwdown. We’re super excited about that. Is there anything else exciting coming down the line from Alderac that you can share with us?

Todd:  Well we have Maximum Throwdown which is a blast.  We also have Agent Hunter from Mike Elliot which is a fun, fast deduction game for two players.  We have our Big In Japan line which includes Trains, Love Letter, and many more coming soon such as Cheaty Mages, Sail to India, Mai Star, and... yep Lost Legacy.  People were expecting that I think. We also have some new games we’re discussing with other designers from Japan.  And finally we have our own AEG stuff we’re working on for 2014 but it’s way too soon to spill on those yet.

Todd, you recently announced the Eastern Skies expansion for Nightfall. Can you tell us what that one brings to the table?

Todd: Eastern Skies is very cool!  It introduces some new starting minions, but the main new effect is known as “Link”.  Cards with Link have an effect the moment the are placed in the chain, rather than when it is resolving.  There is also a new wound effect.

5-Questions 5-words to answer them -

Captain America or Thor?

Todd: Captain America all the way.

Paul: Thor!

Autobots or Dinobots?

Todd: Dinobots are a smash up.

Paul: Me, Grimlock, likes Dinobots!

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Todd: Cesar Romero was best Joker.

Paul: Only the blood moon.

Classic Star Trek, The New Generation or J. J. Abrams?

Todd: I really prefer Star Wars.

Paul: I like them all.

Favorite bacon-based meal?

Todd: Mushroom Chicken wrapped in bacon.

Paul: Bacon wrapped prawns.

Gentlemen, thanks so much for talking with us. We’re excited to see what you have in store for us in the future!

You can find Paul on twitter @Warewolf00 and Todd is on Twitter as well @ToddRowland

Thanks for joining us for this special interview here on TOG, we had a chance to catch up with Paul during the Origins Game Fair, and we'll be posting that video soon as well!

As always you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now YouTube!

What You Missed...

HanabiIt's been another busy week here at TOG! Here's a quick look at the week that was:

To start the week off we brought you some info on new expansions from games by Eagle/Gryphon and Cryptozoic.

Later in the week the Spiel des Jahres were announced.

Firestone warns us: Don't believe the hype about Love Letter.

And AEG's plans to keep the next Smash Up expansion under wraps were thwarted—but we didn't spill the beans! We just reported on it, post-spillage.

We'd also like to give you a heads up about a few things we have in the works!

We've got a TON of interviews in the works, including Paul Peterson, who will discuss that new Cthulhu Smash Up expansion. We'll also be chatting with Jamie Stegmaier, designer of Viticulture, about his latest Kickstarter campaign for Euphoria, and we'll check in with David and Fred Mackenzie of Clever Mojo Games about the epic board game Princes of the Dragon Throne! (And that's just for starters!)

Also be on the lookout for our newest delve into social media as we introduce out newest feature: The 6-Second Review via Vine! Don't wanna miss this!

Thanks so much for reading, we'd love it if you subscribed for our email list, and liked us on FaceBook and followed us on Twitter, Instagam and now Vine!

The Great Old Ones Won't Stay Hidden—A Cthulhu Smash Up Expansion!

cthuluWell, AEG was hoping to keep the secret until June 1, but you know ancient evil: It just won't stay hidden! The Obligatory Cthulhu Set is the third expansion for the popular Smash Up game. According to AEG "this set features crazy Cthulhu cultists, fishy Innsmouth locals, horrifying Elder Things, and good old Miskatonic University members (the Fightin’ Cephalopods). To be certain we got it right, this set also includes a new card type fittingly known as “Madness”, that each of these groups use to various effects. But remember that Madness brings you power but at a price." Since this was outed earlier than they'd wanted, AEG doesn't have a page up or previews yet, but they promise more next week.

You can read our interview with designer Paul Peterson right here.

There are already some complaints in the Twitterverse that people aren't really excited about an expansion that's all under the same broad theme. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Thanks for reading! Please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

What You Missed...

What more could you ask for in a week of posts? Three reviews, an interview, and a ton of news! #boom Specifically...

spacesheepcoverWe shared news of the interesting-looking Space Sheep, a real-time customizable cooperative game from Stronghold Games.

Then I talked about Grail games a little bit—and how I was recently able to snag one of the games at the top of my Grail list. Update: I talked about moving to the next game—Magic Labyrinth—and I found a copy of this out-of-print gem for $34 shipped. Awesome!

Then we talked about yet another expansion for the hit game Battlestar Galactica: Daybreak.

Review #1 was a Double-Take Review of Reverse Charades. Spoiler Alert: We loved it.

Then we broke some news about another Smash Up expansion, sweet tiles for The Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game, and Mayfair's Facebook contest—which we didn't win... :(

Then we interviewed Randy Hoyt and Tyler Segel from Foxtrot Games about their upcoming game Relic Expedition.

Review #2 was The Crazy Creatures of Dr. Gloom.

And finally, Jeremiah gave us his first impressions of the print-and-play copy of Relic Expedition. Once I get a chance to play it (I've been ridiculously busy!), we'll have a proper back-and-forth on our thoughts.

Have an awesome weekend. We'll see you next week!

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!

Hot Off the Press!

Just minutes ago Alderac Entertainment Group posted this picture of Paul Peterson's new Awesome Level 9ooo expansion for Smash Up. It's an ACTUAL box that is making its way to store for International TableTop day later this month! Follow all the linky text above to find our complete coverage! And enjoy oooing, and aaahing over the photo!

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