Review – Science Fiction Double Feature

            So, there’s this Smash Up game. You take two comically themed factions, smash them together into one deck, the fight it out. This is not a review of that game. Been there, done that, still don’t have the t-shirt (I did, however, buy one for the wife – can’t blow off the family for a week to go play games without bringing back some sort of souvenir). That link is where you go to read a review of Smash Up. This is where you go to read a review of the Smash Up expansion Science Fiction Double Feature, which will not explain the basics of the game in any way, shape, or form.

Science Fiction Double Feature adds four more factions to throw in the Smash Up blender – Super Spies, Time Travelers, Cyborg Apes, and Shapeshifters. Oh, and it also has victory point tokens with fricken’ laser beams on them. Here are your vital statistics for the new factions:

Super Spies

–          Mechanical Identity: Getting to look at and mess with the tops of decks; pretending that randomly discarding cards off of an opponent’s deck is a relevant game strategy in Smash Up

–          Thematic Identity: Seeing how many James Bond references it can make. Also The Mole is Austin Powers.

–          Number of Plays on James Bond Movie Titles Use As Super Spies Card Titles: 8 (of 12 different card titles).

–          Number of Cards With Art Referencing Ursula Andress Wearing A Bikini: 1

–          Super Spy Lord: James Bond. I mean, a completely generic and well-dressed Secret Agent who is gambling, surrounded by women, and coincidentally happens to look exactly like James Bond. He makes your opponents discard a card every time they play an action.

–          Scariest Action: The Base Is Not Enough, a Special that lets you steal control of another player’s minion during scoring

Cyborg Apes

–          Mechanical Identity: Playing lots of actions on its minions; trying to compensate for the fact that Auras are inherent card disadvantage

–          Thematic Identity: Apes. Who Are Cyborgs. This really isn’t complicated. OK, some of them are monkeys, not apes. Also, a war between really funny card titles (Furious George, Missing Uplink) and groan-worthy wordplay (Going Bananas, Monkey on Your Back).

–          Number of Bananas In Each Card Border: 47. And I’m not counting again to double-check.

–          Cyborg Ape Lord: Cyberback, who lets you play actions on him from the discard pile.

–          Scariest Action: Whatever you have in your discard pile when Cyberback is in play, or whatever you have in your hand when Baboom is in play (one extra action a turn to play an action on him).

Time Travelers

–          Mechanical Identity: Recycling cards – mostly from the discard pile to your deck, but also from play to hand (and sometimes back into play).

–          Thematic Identity: The adventures of the Time Patrol, who sport 60s television show jumpsuits, and are led by Doctor When (note: not a Doctor Who spoof, except for the name, he’s just the father figure out of the group).

–          Closest I Will Ever Get To Having A DeLorean In My Garage: The action 1.21 Gigawatts.

–          Scariest Action: Time Walk, which lets you take an extra turn. Watch out, AEG, Wizards is coming for you!

Shapeshifters

–          Mechanical Identity: Copying things (abilities, power)  and tutoring for copies of things.

–          Thematic Identity: Ummm … there are these blobby pink guys who copy things. I dunno.

–          Art That References Other Factions: Yes! Copycat has killed and taken the place of the Gnome from the base set (at least, I think he has … his beard isn’t divided in half). Most importantly, however, is the main pink blobby guy copying the Secret Agent on the card Cellular Bonding. Very nice.

–          Shapeshifter Lord: The Dopplegänger, who fetches an extra minion when he gets killed/discarded.

–          Scariest Action: Transmogrify, maybe? Blow up one of your minions to search through your deck and put into play any minion with equal or lower power.

Your opinion of the four factions will probably drive your opinion of Science Fiction Double Feature – there isn’t anything mechanically significant enough here to make anyone who likes Smash Up not like it with SFDF, or to make anyone who doesn’t like Smash Up start liking it. Personally, I found most of the factions “flawed” in some way (card disadvantage for apes, inherent weakness of cycling things back into deck or discard cards off the top of the deck for the Time Travelers and Super Spies, respectively), but I consider that a feature, not a bug, because I want faction selection to involve interesting decisions, not just taking whichever one you think is busted.

Promotional consideration was provided in the form of a review copy.

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