Smash Up is not a new name for many tabletop gamers. But for those of you who have not yet heard of Smash Up, the basic premise is this: two seemingly unrelated factions (e.g. elder things and ninjas, time travelers and princesses, mad scientists and plants) come together to fight for control of bases. Designed by Alderac Entertainment Group‘s Paul Peterson and first published in 2012, Smash Up has been gaining huge popularity.

So far there have been five expansions, each acting as a standalone game for two players. The latest expansion, Pretty Pretty Smash Up, dropped March 9. “Pretty Pretty Smash Up brings the sweetest factions ever to the vicious fight for victory” with four too cute factions: kitty cats, princesses, faeries and mythic horses.


  • The base rules are easy for new players to understand: play an action and a minion. See if bases score. Draw and move on.
  • Things can get complicated when players start to play extra minions or actions and the learning curve can be a bit much for newer players if playing with people already familiar Smash Up.
  • The four decks for Pretty Pretty all play distinctly from each other which give the various combinations different feels.
  • Unfortunately, fairies play fairly similar to Tricksters from the core set which can be problematic if they are combined as it doesn’t allow the player much variation.


  • The rulebook (a 16 page booklet) is well set up and everything is clearly labeled so new players can find answers quickly. The “All Your Basics” section is especially handy.
  • The writer’s humor also manages to shine through and it’s almost worth a read just for that.


As a standalone game, Pretty Pretty holds its own quite well. Granted, Pretty Pretty is still best enjoyed alongside the core set and/or other expansions. Though obviously marketed to those gamers that drift toward a pink box covered in kittens and glitter, this is not a set to pass up if you enjoy Smash Up.

The usual self-aware pop culture references and humor are here with everyone from Nyan cat to princess Elsa making an appearance. Amidst it all is the craziness of creating new strategies in response to all the new possible combinations.

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars


Cover image via


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Categories: Tabletop Reviews

Author:Brittany Pressley

Brittany loves tabletop games. She can be found on twitter: @brittpressley.

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