The Core Set is the base of Smash Up. Its roots. Where all the magic began. And that being said you can understand why this should be your first buy when you are entering the world of Smash Up as a novice. It would help you understand the basic rules and strategies before making it even more complicated by adding expansion over expansion.
It contains 8 different and very unique Factions, the Aliens, the Dinosaurs (with lazers!) , the Ninjas, the Pirates, the Robots, the Tricksters, the Wizards, and the Zombies. Each one of them with a completely different playstyle for many interesting combinations and countless hours of pure fun while strategically trying to win your friends in this extraordinary game of base breaking and scoring.
The very special thing about this Faction and its unique playstyle is that is mostly based around one minion. The Invader. Which gives you 1 VP instantly when it enters the game.
The concept of the Aliens is the return to hand ability which allows you to return to your hand a minion you own or a minion of your opponent. This is a very versatile ability and can be played in many ways to achieve victory. A very powerful Faction with some of the most powerful combinations in the whole game.
Probably the Faction with the highest single card power in the game, this Faction is all about brute force and great power. Having very high minion power, and being able to give extra power until the end of the turn, this Faction can achieve very high numbers of power on bases in a single turn, making it an excellent choice overall.
It has a lot of destruction of opponent minions in it, so it makes your prevail over them seem a natural thing in the food chain.
The fun (for you, and irritating for your opponents) is that Ninjas tend to show up when you least expect them to. They have minions, and actions, that can be played during other player turns, after a base scores.
That gives them a great advantage if played right, because it can give you first place on a base where your opponents thought they would otherwise win. Having a lot of destroy minion cards plus some intriguing actions that can change the outcome of the game, this Faction jumps from the shadows to victory.
Though it does not feature any of the most famous personalities of the theme, ( I’m sorry, you won’t see no Jack Sparrow, Captain Hook, or Monkey D Luffy) it is a great Faction , with the concept of moving around. Either your own minions, or your opponents.
And that can lead to great combinations and playstyles being able to score even 2 bases in a single turn and come first at both of them. It also has some low power destruction cards for further board control. Open up your black sails and go get all the VP on the map.
These little fellows are very interesting, and can be combined with almost anything, because they basically play extra minions. Loads of them actually. They also have minions that buff other minions, or generally do things with each other, like destroying opponents minions, drawing cards and many more.
It is the definition of strength in numbers, being able to play multiple minions in a single turn to overwhelm a base . This Faction would make even the Terminator proud.
If you have heard the myth that at the end of the rainbow there is a Leprechaun with a pile of gold, it was talking about these guys and their collection of trophies from winning this game. And the reason for that is that they pretty much do it all.
Destroy other minions, have protection for themselves, play extra minions, ban opponents from bases, and well, almost anything you can think of. It is a great Faction in the overall and combines with the most Factions in this game quite adequate.
This is probably the Faction that if played right, can play the most cards in a single turn, being able to play multiple actions that allow you to play extra actions, or draw cards, or play extra minions, over and over again, to a point where you would definitely have to keep track of what you have played in just one turn.
Not recommended for novice players, put once you get to know them, they can prove to be one of your greatest allies.
Taken straight out of a Romero film, the walking dead have returned from their graves the same way their cards return to their hand or in play from their discard piles. A very useful feature that allows you to play cards from your discard pile so you can use great cards two, or even three times in a single game.
They have lots of low power minions that have the tendency of coming back again and again to eat your opponents alive and dominate bases. A necromancer’s favorite Faction, animating dead things throughout the course of the game.
The gameplay of the Core Set is pretty much the concept of Smash Up. The way to achieve victory varies greatly from Faction to Faction and from combination to combination. Meaning that every game you play it will be somehow different from any other you have played before.
That being said, you can understand that adaptiveness and improvisation are crucial elements on your challenge to master the game. Before anything , be sure to know your Factions well, and don’t be afraid to experiment with any combination imaginable until you find the ones that suit your needs and your playstyle.
Each Faction provides of a couple of alternatives on the way they can be used and that gives you a vast majority of options of how will you handle a situation.
As every strategy game, you get better with practice and experience, to a point where almost any Faction combination can somehow work. Get ready for many hours of fun and battle and may the best player win.