The official rulebook contains a basic description of how to play. This wiki page attempts to describe in complete detail exactly how the general rules work to resolve any confusion. (Individual cards are discussed on separate pages.) Much of this page is elaboration on the official rules with the goal of staying true to the original intention and providing an explicit and consistent process for resolving difficult issues.
With each expansion, the rulebook has gone through many changes. Some rules and clarifications were added and some rules were modified. Players are expected to use the most recent version of the rules.
Paul Peterson and Todd Rowland, the creators of the game, have provided little to no authoritative clarification on the rules, so the Smash Up Community is left to resolve issues on its own. Hence, this wiki is no more or less authoritative than any other community decision on these matters.
Smash Up can be played with 2-4 players. Follow these steps to set up a game of Smash Up:
Choose 2 FactionsEdit
Each player plays with two different factions. There are many ways of deciding which combination of factions each player will play with. One method suggested by the rulebook is:
Kickin’ It Queensberry: For formal play, put at least 2 factions per player in the middle of the table. Randomly determine who goes first. The first player chooses one faction. Choice continues clockwise. When everyone has chosen one faction, the last player chooses a second faction. Choice continues in reverse order.Originally, the pool of factions for the Kickin' it Queensberry method included "all the factions" (Core Set rulebook). Then, it was changed to "at least 8 factions" (from Awesome Level 9000 to It's Your Fault!). In the Cease and Desist rules, this was changed to "at least 2 factions per player".
If you have multiple copies of the same set(s), different players are allowed to play with the same faction, provided that there are enough copies for each one. But a given player cannot play with two copies of the same factions.
Each player shuffles the 20 cards from each of their factions together to form their deck of 40 cards.
Each player has a deck, a hand, and a discard pile. Your deck remains face-down throughout the game. Your discard pile remains face-up throughout the game, and anyone is allowed to look through it at any time. The order of cards in your discard pile does not matter, but the order of cards in your deck does matter. Drawing a card means drawing the top card from your deck and putting it in your hand. You should not reveal your hand to other players (except when required by special rules, e.g. Probe, The Spy Who Ditched Me).
Big in Japan factions only: Place the corresponding titan(s) near your deck.
Prepare the Monster and Treasure Decks Edit
Note: This step is unnecessary if no player has chosen a faction from Smash Up: Munchkin.
Gather all the monster cards together to form the monster deck. There are twenty monster cards in total. Shuffle them and set this deck face-down to the side within easy reach.
Gather all the treasure cards together to form the treasure deck. There are twenty-two treasure cards in total. Shuffle them and set this deck face-down to the side within easy reach.
Each of these decks has its own discard pile. These decks and their discard piles work the same as described above for players.
Build the Base Deck Edit
After every player has chosen their factions, gather the bases that come from the sets corresponding to the chosen factions and shuffle them together to make the base deck.
For example, if the chosen factions are Dinosaurs, Clerics, Ignobles, Aliens, Werewolves and Fairies, the corresponding sets are the Core Set (because of the Dinosaurs and Aliens), Munchkin (because of the Clerics), Cease and Desist (because of the Ignobles), Monster Smash (because of the Werewolves) and Pretty Pretty Smash Up (because of the Fairies). You then gather all the bases (not just the ones matching the chosen factions) from the Core Set, Munchkin, Cease and Desist, Monster Smash and Pretty Pretty Smash Up and shuffle them together. You just created the base deck for this game!
If you don't remember which bases come with which set, please refer to the list of Bases on this wiki.
If multiple copies of the same factions were chosen, you only use one of each set of bases.
Before Smash Up: Munchkin, the rules only said to shuffle all the bases together to create the base deck. Since that expansion, because there are so many factions, each one with two associated bases, shuffling all the bases together means that a player may never see the bases associated with their factions, so the rule was changed. Though the bases mostly only share a thematic connection with their matching faction, some bases incorporate gameplay elements that are useful to the factions of the same set, e.g. monsters, +1 power counters or Madness cards.
Arguably, if you only own a few sets, you can still follow the old rule and shuffle all the bases in one big pile to create the base deck, regardless of the chosen factions.[houserule]
Draw the BasesEdit
Draw one base per player plus one more, and place them face up in the middle of the playing surface. Space out the bases so there is room to play other cards around them.
Munchkin bases only: The first player draws as many monsters from the monster deck as the monster number shown on the new base and plays them there. That's the official rule, but in practice, it doesn't make any difference who plays the monsters when a Munchkin base comes into play, since they don't get credit for playing the monsters that way.
There is also a base discard pile. This deck and discard pile work the same as described above for players.
There is a base that has an effect when it's played (Moon Dumpster). If this base is drawn during setup, it's resolved before the players have drawn their hand of five cards.
Throughout the game, bases may be discarded, but always one at a time, and will always be replaced by a new base immediately afterward. The number of bases in play is, therefore, usually constant throughout the game, though some cards may affect that number, e.g. Weird New Worlds, Idaho Smith.
Prepare the Madness Deck Edit
Note: This step is unnecessary if no player has chosen a faction from The Obligatory Cthulhu Set, or if you didn't shuffle any bases from that expansion in the base deck (if you're following the old rule for building the base deck).
Gather all the Madness cards together to form the Madness deck. There are thirty Madness cards in total. No need to shuffle this deck because those are thirty copies of the same card.
Place this deck to the side within easy reach so if one player needs one, it can be drawn or passed to them. While not stated in the rules, you should put this deck face-up to avoid confusion with a regular player deck.
Unlike the base deck and the player decks, there isn't a Madness discard pile as the only way to get rid of a Madness card is by returning it to the Madness deck.
Draw 5 CardsEdit
Each player draws 5 cards from the top of their deck.
If you have no minions in your hand, you may reveal your hand, discard it, and draw 5 new cards. Each player can only use this rule once per game. (In the original Core Set rulebook, players must use the mulligan rule if they had an initial hand of 5 actions, but the Pretty Pretty Smash Up expansion changed this to be optional.)
If you do it, you will indeed start the game with 5 cards in your discard pile and 30 in your deck, compared to 0 and 35 if you did not.
Determine the First Player Edit
Use your preferred method for determining the first player.
The rules suggest choosing the first player based on an objective criteria. From the Core Set to Smash Up: Munchkin, it was whoever woke up first this morning. In It's Your Fault!, it was whoever got blamed for something most recently. In Cease and Desist, it was whoever borrowed something most recently. In What Were We Thinking?, it is whoever had a birthday most recently. In Big in Japan, it is whoever watched anime most recently.
It seems that the first player to play is not necessarily the same as the first player to have chosen a faction if you use the Kickin’ It Queensberry method. The latter is chosen randomly, while the former is determined based on a criteria.[probably]
As with most card games, turn order is clockwise. (i.e. After your turn, the player to your left takes a turn.)
Each turn goes through five phases.
Phase 1: Start TurnEdit
- Prior to the Pretty Pretty Smash Up rulebook, this phase was called "Crank It Up".
Phase 1 is considered as "the start of your turn" (for the Current Player). Some cards are triggered by this event (e.g. Overrun, Water Lily, Mushroom Kingdom) and some abilities expire during that phase (e.g. Glymmer, Mind Lady). In accordance with the Card Resolution Order, if multiple cards in play would trigger and/or if multiple abilities would expire[probably] simultaneously at the start of a turn, the Current Player decides the order.
During this phase, if an ability allows you to play an extra card, it must be done immediately or not at all. It cannot be saved for the Play Cards phase of your turn. See the definition of "extra". For example, if you use Sprout's ability to play Zapbot, you must immediately decide to play an extra minion or not. If you do, it must be played immediately. Otherwise, the extra minion is lost.
Also, during this phase, if you manage to play an extra card with an ability that triggers "at the start of your turn", it is immediately activated because it is still the Start Turn phase of your turn. For example, if you use Sprout's ability to play Water Lily, then Water Lily's ability immediately activates and you draw a card.
However, a problem arises if you use Sprout's ability to play another Sprout. Based on the wording, you would then be forced to activate the new Sprout's ability and destroy it. Presumably, Sprout is an exception to this rule and the intention was that Sprout cannot destroy itself on the turn it is played.[probably]
Phase 2: Play CardsEdit
Phase 2 is where most of the game is played. During this phase, you may play one minion and/or one action (or neither) from your hand in any order. These cards are referred to as "free" or "regular" cards. If you get extra minions or actions to play, they are also optional and can be played in any order unless otherwise specified.
For example, if you use your free action to play They Keep Coming, you get an extra minion to play. That extra minion can be played at any time during this phase, even before you play your free minion. However, if you don't play it during this phase, it is lost; you can't save it for the other phases of your turn.
There is some confusion on whether or not you must play extra cards and if you should play them immediately. Many cards seem to take responsibility for deciding the answers to these questions with wording like "Play an extra minion..." (Abduction) vs "You may play an extra minion..." (Terraforming) or "...play an extra action." (Winds of Change) vs "...play an extra action this turn." (Chronomage), but the definition of "extra" says that extra cards in Phase 2 (except for Specials) are always optional and can always be played in any order. So, even if a card says "Play an extra minion/action" without "you may", it's actually optional.
For more information on how to play cards, please refer to the Playing Cards section of this page.
Using Talents and "On Your Turn" AbilitiesEdit
During this phase, in addition to playing cards, some abilities can also be activated. These abilities are all the Talent abilities, and some of the Base, Ongoing and Special abilities that say "on your turn". (e.g. Archmage, Ninja Acolyte, Secret Grove) Talent and Ongoing abilities must be in play to be activated, but Special abilities can be activated whenever they are applicable, even from your hand (e.g. Fan) or your discard pile (e.g. Tenacious Z).
Talents and "on your turn" abilities can be activated at any time during Phase 2 of each of your turns, but only during the Phase 2 of your turns. These abilities cannot be activated in the middle of resolving other abilities.
Talents and most of the "on your turn" abilities can only be activated once per turn as long as they are in play (e.g. you can only play one extra minion with a single Enshrouding Mist on each of your Play Cards phases), the only exception is Subterranean Lair, which can be activated once again if the extra minion is no longer on the base. For the Talents, the Standing Stones base allows a minion there to use one of its talents a second time.
If multiple copies of a card give you the same Talent or "on your turn" ability, you can use it separately for each card that has it (e.g. two Zeppelins, two Enshrouding Mist) unless stated otherwise (e.g. Classic Rocker).
If you use a card's Talent or "on your turn" ability, and on the same turn remove the card from play and re-play it again, you can use its ability again. (e.g. using Change of Venue on Zeppelin or Enshrouding Mist, or using Doctor When's ability on Time Raider). That is because the game doesn't keep track of the use of each individual copy of a card, and so replaying a card isn't treated as playing the same card, even though it's physically the same.
Phase 3: Score BasesEdit
- Prior to the Pretty Pretty Smash Up rulebook, this phase was called "Check for Scoring".
This is the phase where we check whether or not some bases are ready to score. A base is ready to score if the total power of all the players on that base is higher or equal to its breakpoint during this phase. Before that phase, it doesn't matter how much power each player has on each base, they will only score if they meet the requirement during this phase, and this phase only.
For example, during Phase 2, if the total power of all the players is 22 on Mushroom Kingdom (breakpoint of 20), as long as the Current Player doesn't declare that they are done, Mushroom Kingdom doesn't score. If the players move on to Phase 3 and the total power is still equal to 20 or higher, Mushroom Kingdom can be scored. However, if a minion on Mushroom Kingdom is moved, destroyed or returned before we move on to Phase 3, bringing down the total power below 20, we can't score Mushroom Kingdom. Even though the total power managed to its breakpoint at some point during this turn, all that matters is whether or not the requirement is met during Phase 3.
Here's how to proceed during this Phase:
- Check which bases are ready to score. For each base, if the total power of all the players on that base equals or exceeds the base's breakpoint, the base is considered as "ready to score". If no bases are ready to score, go to Phase 4 of the turn. Otherwise, go to step 2 of this Phase.
- Note: You'll often come back step 1 after doing the other steps. When you do, you need to recheck all the base. Indeed, it's possible that a base that was previous considered as "ready to score" does not meet the requirement anymore (e.g. a minion there was destroyed or lost power as a result of another base scoring). In that case, it's no longer considered as "ready to score". On the other hand, it's also possible that a base that was not previously considered as "ready to score" now meets the requirement (e.g. a minion was moved there). In that case, that base is now considered as "ready to score".
- Choose one base that is ready to score. If only one base is ready to score, that base is automatically chosen. If multiple bases are ready to score, the Current Player decides which base begins scoring; the others do not score yet, but probably will right after step 9 of this process. Once a base has been chosen to score, go to step 3.
- Play/invoke "before scoring" abilities. This is the "Before Scoring" step. Some abilities in play are activated by this step and some cards in hand can be played during this step. (e.g. Hidden Ninja, Things Best Not Known, Cthulhu's Chosen, Mole). These can be recognized as they say "Before a base scores", "Before the base scores" or "Before this base scores". Abilities that say "Before this base scores" can only be activated if the card is on the scoring base, if the card is attached to a minion on the scoring base or if the card is the scoring base itself. If multiple abilities can be invoked or played during this step, please refer to the Card Resolution Order section of this page to decide the order of activation/play. Then, go to step 4.
- Note: During this step, if someone manages to play Stasis Field on the scoring base or destroy the scoring base, scoring stops for that base and you must go back to step 1.
- Award VPs and play/invoke "when scoring" abilities. At this point, the base is scored regardless of how much power is still left on it after the previous step; even if there are no minions left, the base still scores.
- All the players are ranked based on their total power on the scoring base and are awarded victory points based on their rank.
- A player is a winner if NO player has more total power there and receives as many VPs as the number on the left.
- A player is a runner-up if exactly ONE player has more total power there and receives as many VPs as the number in the middle.
- A player gets third place if exactly TWO players have more total power there and receives as many VPs as the number on the right.
- If three or more players have more total power there than someone, that player doesn't score any points.
- Note: A player must have at least one minion on the base (even if they have 0 total power there, e.g. a Worker without +1 power counters), or at least 1 total power on the base (even if they have 0 minion there, e.g. Tail Smash) to be eligible to receive victory points in this step.
- In addition to awarding victory points, some abilities in play are activated by this step and some cards in hand can be played during this step. (e.g. Factory 436-1337, Happily Ever After, Angry Pillagers). These can be recognized as they say "When a base scores" or "When this base scores". Abilities that say "When this base scores" can only be activated if the card is on the scoring base, if the card is attached to a minion on the scoring base or if the card is the scoring base itself. If multiple abilities can be invoked or played during this step, please refer to the Card Resolution Order section of this page to decide the order of activation/play.
- Then, go to step 5.
- All the players are ranked based on their total power on the scoring base and are awarded victory points based on their rank.
- Award treasures. If the base has no monsters on it, go to step 6. If the base does have one or more monsters on it, whether controlled or uncontrolled, add up all treasures awarded by the monsters and reveal that many cards from the treasure deck. In the order of total power each player has on the base, from highest to lowest (not just the top three), each player chooses one of the revealed treasure and places it in their hand. In case of a tie between two or more players, the order among them goes clockwise from the current player. A player must have at least one minion on the base or at least 1 total power on that base[probably] to get a treasure, even if that minion adds 0 power to the base. If there are more treasures than eligible players, continue in the same order until all treasures are claimed. Once all the treasures are distributed, go to step 6.
- Play/invoke "after scoring" abilities. This is the "After Scoring" step. Some abilities in play are activated by this step and some cards in hand can be played during this step. (e.g. Return to the Sea, Wormhole, Buffet). These can be recognized as they say "After a base scores", "After this base scores" or (rarer) "After another base scores". Abilities that say "After this base scores" can only be activated if the card is on the scoring base, if the card is attached to a minion on the scoring base or if the card is the scoring base itself. Abilities that say "After another base scores" can only be activated if the card is on a base that is not the scoring base. If multiple abilities can be invoked or played during this step, please refer to the Card Resolution Order section of this page to decide the order of activation/play. Then, go to step 7.
- Note: You can only invoke/play "after scoring" abilities during this step, but some of them won't have an effect until steps 7 to 9. For example, if you want to use a First Mate's ability, you must declare it during this step, but it won't move until step 7, because First Mate's ability affects what happens during that step (notice the phrase "instead of the discard pile"). On the other hand, if you play Port Me Up after a base scores, the minion is immediately returned to your hand.
Note: Some bases only say "The winner..." without saying "After/when this base scores". (e.g. The Greenhouse, Dragon’s Lair, Inventor’s Salon) It seems there's an implied "After this base scores" to the ability and so it would be activated during this step like any regular "after scoring" abilities.[probably]
- Discard all the cards on the base. All the cards on the scoring base and actions on the minions on the scoring base go to the discard pile simultaneously (The Current Player doesn't choose the order!) Some abilities played or invoked during step 6 above make something else happen "instead" of this (e.g. First Mate, Scout, Return to the Sea, Ritual Site). In that case, do what these cards say, but the other cards are still discarded. Some of the cards going to the discard pile have abilities that are triggered when they are discarded (e.g. Igor, Jumper, Clyde 2.0), this step triggers them as well. Once there are no more cards on the scoring base, go to step 8.
- Discard the base. During this step, the scored base is simply discarded into the base discard pile. Then, go to step 9.
- Replace the base. You now reveal a new base to replace the scored base. By default, the new base is drawn from the top of the base deck, but some abilities can change how this is done (e.g. School of Wizardry, The Nexus, Time is Fleeting). In case multiple cards changed how a base is replaced, the one that was activated first takes precedence.[probably] Weird New Worlds is the only card that can make you ignore this step. Once the new base is revealed, some base's abilities finally retroactively trigger (e.g. The Greenhouse, Tortuga). The new base is revealed before any decisions must be made for those abilities.[probably]
- Munchkin bases only: The Current Player draws as many monsters from the monster deck as the monster number show on the new base and plays them there. That's the official rule, but in practice, it doesn't make any difference who plays the monsters when a Munchkin base comes into play, since they don't get credit for playing the monsters that way.
- Go back to step 1.
Note: Prior to the Pretty Pretty Smash Up rulebook, the rules mentioned checking for the end of the game at the end of this phase, and then also say to check "at the end of the turn". This confusion was cleared up in the rules change which just puts the check at the end of Phase 5.
Phase 4: Draw 2 CardsEdit
- Draw 2 cards.
- If you have more than 10 cards in your hand, discard until you have exactly 10 cards left in your hand.
(None of these steps are optional.)
Note: You only need to discard down to 10 cards during this step and this step only. If you ever draw more cards either during other players' turns (e.g. Imperial Dragon, Lord of the Prance) or during your End Turn phase (e.g. Missing Uplink, Difference Engine), you don't discard down to 10.
Phase 5: End TurnEdit
- Prior to the Pretty Pretty Smash Up rulebook, this phase was called "Shut It Down".
Phase 5 is considered as "the end of your turn" (for the Current Player) and "the end of the turn".
- Some cards are triggered by this event (e.g. Assassination, Missing Uplink, Difference Engine) and some abilities expire during that phase (e.g. Swashbuckling). In accordance with the Card Resolution Order, if multiple cards in play would trigger and/or if multiple abilities would expire[probably] simultaneously at the end of a turn, the Current Player decides the order.
- Next, check for the end of the game: If one player has more victory points than all other players and that player has at least 15 victory points, the game ends. Note that this check is only ever done at this time (i.e. Invader cannot end the game during the "Play Cards" phase.) If you didn't play with Madness cards, the player with the most VPs is the winner. If you did, each player must search through their hand, deck and discard pile, and count their Madness cards. Each player loses 1 VP for every two Madness cards. The player who has the most VPs left after this is the winner. In case of a tie, victory goes the tied player with the fewest Madness cards. If there's still a tie, all tied players share the victory.
Note: Prior to Pretty Pretty Smash Up, there was some confusion in the rules about checking for the end of the game at the end of Phase 3.
Whose Turn is Next?Edit
Normally, the player to your left starts their turn after you end your turn.
The exception to this rule is if Portal Room was scored on this turn. In that case, the normal turn order is suspended, and an extra turn or multiple extra turns occur before the player to your left takes their normal turn. If multiple players are the winners of Portal Room, they each take an extra turn before the player to your left takes their normal turn. If you were a winner, you take your extra turn first. Then if the player to your left was a winner, they take their extra turn, and so on. If no one was a winner of Portal Room, then the turn order is not affected.
While extremely unlikely, this situation can theoretically get even more complicated if Portal Room is recovered from the base discard pile and scored ''again'' during the extra turns. In this case, the extra turns are interrupted by even more ''extra''-extra turns.
Playing Cards Edit
There are different kinds of cards in the game. The most common ones are minions, actions and bases, though some sets introduced particular kinds of cards, i.e. monsters (which are all minions), treasures (which are minions or actions), Madness cards (which are all actions) and titans (which are a distinct kind of card).
Playing Minions Edit
To play a minion:
Step 1. Choose a minion from your hand and choose a base to play it on. At this point, the minion is not "in play", and its power is exactly equal to the power printed on the card. Your minion and base choice must be a legal play. (e.g. You cannot choose War Raptor and Tsar's Palace.)
Step 2. Place the chosen minion card face-up next to the chosen base card. Position the minion pointing toward you indicating that you are the controller of the minion. (The controller of a minion can change; e.g. Make Contact.) The minion is now "on this base" and "in play".
Step 3. Do exactly what the card says, step by step (a minion may have multiple abilities), and resolve it entirely.
- An ability that does not start with "Ongoing:", "Special:", or "Talent:" is resolved immediately (e.g. Ninja Master). This kind of ability is informally referred to as an on-play ability. This card's on-play abilities are resolved only once and have no further effect. Some on-play abilities may state a deadline, e.g. "until the end of the turn". In that case, it is resolved when the card is played and is maintained until the stated deadline. If an ability says "you may", you have to immediately decide if you want to do it. If you don't, it is lost. If you decide to do it or if the ability doesn't say "you may", you must do it immediately, except if the ability gives you an extra minion or action to play.
- An ability that starts with "Ongoing:" immediately becomes active. Unlike on-play abilities, it lasts for as along as the card is in play. Note that an Ongoing ability may state that it is triggered during a certain phase (e.g. "at the start of your turn", "before this base scores") or if certain conditions are met (e.g. "after this minion is destroyed, "if you have two or fewer cards in hand").
- An ability that starts with "Talent:" is never resolved immediately. You'll be able to activate it on each of your turns (including the turn the minion is played), but only after you finish resolving everything involved with playing a minion and only if the minion is played during Phase 2 of your turn.
- An ability that starts with "Special:" is only resolved when the stated conditions are met. If you play a card with a Special ability and the condition is already met, you must resolve the Special ability.[probably]
Step 4. Trigger card reactions. Some abilities may be triggered by the minion you just played, either from it being played or from resolving its ability. These cards are recognized as they say "After (something happens)"; that something being a minion being played or something that was caused by the minion's ability. Several cards either in play or in hand can therefore be activated. To decide the order of activation/play, please refer to the Card Resolution Order section of this page.
Playing Actions Edit
To play an action:
Step 1. Reveal it to all the players.
- If the action starts with "Special:", it can only be played at special times. You cannot choose to play it as your normal action or as one of your extra actions (if any) on your turn. (e.g. You cannot use Hidden Ninja to simply play an extra minion like Summon.)
Step 2. Do exactly what the card says, step by step (an action may have multiple abilities), and resolve it entirely. The abilities are resolved exactly like how a minion card is resolved with the following exceptions:
- If an action's ability says to "Play on a base." (or similar wording), choose an eligible base in play, and place the action there with positioning similar to a minion played there (see above). The action and base choice must be a legal play. (e.g. You cannot choose such an action and The Dread Gazebo) At this point, the action is "in play" and "on this base". Then, continue resolving its ability. This is very similar to how minions are played and their abilities are resolved.
- If an action's ability says to "Play on a minion." (or similar wording), choose an eligible minion, and place the action card on the minion card. The minion and the action don't necessarily have the same controller. There isn't really any good way to position an action played on a minion to track the action's controller. (The controller of actions played on minions cannot change. However some abilities let you play other players' actions, making you the controller. e.g. Mass Enchantment) At this point, the action is "in play" and "on a minion here" (or similar), but not "on this base". Next, continue resolving the action's ability.
- If an action's ability does not say to play it on a minion or a base, the action is never "in play", and the action "goes to the discard pile" after all of its abilities are resolved. (e.g. Lend a Hand cannot shuffle itself into your deck.)[probably]
Step 3. Trigger card reactions. Some abilities may be triggered by the action you just played, either from it being played or from resolving its ability. These cards are recognized as they say "After (something happens)"; that something being an action being played or something that was caused by the action's ability. Several cards either in play or in hand can therefore be activated. To decide the order of activation/play, please refer to the Card Resolution Order section of this page.
Step 4. Unless the action was played on a base or on a minion, you must now discard the action into the appropriate discard pile, usually yours. Madness cards are discarded into your discard pile if you chose to draw two cards. Treasures have their own discard pile. If you played an action owned by another player, the action is discarded into their discard pile. Note that some cards may change where they end after being used, e.g. Time Walk is placed on the bottom of your deck, Woodland Helpers does it for all your actions, Wand of Dowsing is shuffled back into the treasure deck,...
Playing Bases Edit
Bases are only played:
- at the start of the game as part of the setup.
- after you finish resolving the scoring of a base to replace it.
- when a card tells you to play a base, e.g. Weird New Worlds, Idaho Smith.
When you play a base, place it face up in the middle of the playing surface. Space out the base so there is room to play other cards around it.
Munchkin bases only: The Current Player (or first player during setup) draws as many monsters from the monster deck as the monster number shown on the new base and plays them there. That's the official rule, but in practice, it doesn't make any difference who plays the monsters when a Munchkin base comes into play, since they don't get credit for playing the monsters that way.
Playing Monsters Edit
Monsters are only played:
- After a Munchkin base comes into play.
- When a card tells you to play a monster.
When a player plays a monster, it only triggers abilities that react to a player playing a minion (e.g. Leprechaun, Fairy Circle) if it was played because of one of their cards. (e.g. Taunter, Mass Summoning) If the monster was played as one of the monsters that appear with the base, or because of a base's ability (e.g. The Gauntlet), it doesn't count.
They are considered as minions and play exactly like minions, with the following exceptions:
- They don't have any owners.
- They aren't a faction.
- They are not controlled by the player who plays them and so they don't face any particular direction when they are in play. For readability purposes and to save table space, you can overlap uncontrolled monsters and place them beneath the base card so that only their powers and abilities are visible.
- They don't count as extra minions for cards like Eliza.
Playing Treasures Edit
Treasures are either minions or actions and are played exactly like normal minions or actions, with the following exceptions:
- They don't have any owners.
- They aren't a faction.
Playing Titans Edit
Titans are neither minions, actions, nor bases. Titans are only played when a card (including the titan itself) tells you to play one. To play a titan, you must not already have one in play. Just like extra cards, playing a titan is always optional, but unlike them, if you choose to play one, it isn't "banked" and must be played immediately or not at all.
To play a titan:
Step 1. Choose a base to play it on.
Step 2. Place the titan card face-up next to the chosen base card. Position the titan pointing toward you indicating that you are the controller of the titan. The titan is now "on this base" and "in play".
Step 3. Do exactly what the card says, step by step (a titan may have multiple abilities), and resolve it entirely. The abilities are resolved exactly like how a minion card is resolved.
Step 4. If there is another titan on that base, the former titan and the new titan "clash". To do that, compare the total power of each titan's controller on that base (not just the titan's power !); the player with the lowest total power must remove their titan from that base. In case of a tie, the new titan is removed and the former one remains. Exception: If the base is Kaiju Island and if its ability isn't cancelled, you must ignore this step.
Order of Operations EditIf an ability has multiple distinct parts in sequence, resolve each one completely before moving on to the next. For example, Headlong has two distinct sentences: "Move one of your minions to another base." and "Place two +1 power counters on that minion.". You must completely resolve the first sentence before moving onto the second sentence.
Note that if resolving an ability gives you an extra play, you must not play the extra card right away unless a later part of the ability requires that the extra be in play. For example, playing a War Raptor on The Homeworld occupied by an enemy Leprechaun will not allow you to play more War Raptors before the Leprechaun's ability triggers and tries to kill the first War Raptor. However, IT'S ALIVE!, which lets you play an extra minion and then place a +1 power counter on it, requires that the minion be in play before the ability can be fully resolved. In this case, the extra must be played as part of resolving the ability (verification pending).
If multiple things are supposed to happen at the same time, for example two different on-play reactions, the current player chooses one of them to resolve first. That ability is resolved completely, then the current player decides the next one to resolve, and so on until all abilities have eventually resolved.
Card Resolution Order Edit
After a card is played or after a certain event occurs (e.g. the start of a turn), it's very likely that more than one ability can be activated by it. Here is the rulebook's official process on how to resolve the conflicts:
Step 1. If the trigger is a card being played, finish resolving the card just played. Then, go to step 2.
Step 2. If other cards were in the middle of resolving (so the card from step 1 essentially interrupted them), finish resolving these cards. Then, go to step 3.
Step 3. Cards in play that are triggered by the card from step 1 are resolved first. If there are more than one, the Current Player decides the order. Make sure to resolve all the cards in play before moving on to the next step.
Step 4. Cards in hand with a Special ability that can be activated because of the card from step 1 are resolved next. If several players want to play such cards, start with the Current Player and continue clockwise. When it's their turn, each player may play one card or pass. This round continues, so a player who has passed may later decide to play. Continue until all the players have passed in sequence.
Step 5. If the card from step 1 was an action that is not played on a base or on a minion, this card is discarded.
While the above chart gives a rough idea on how to resolve most card reactions, several cards don't seem to wait until step 3 or 4 to be activated.
Mimic vs Nightstalker Edit
Possible Resolution: Resolve the played card first: According to the official chart, you must first resolve Nightstalker's ability before resolving card reactions. So Mimic's ability doesn't readjust its power yet and Mimic is still a power 0, and therefore eligible for Nightstalker's power. Mimic can therefore be destroyed.[probably]
Possible Resolution: Passive abilities: However, you can also view Mimic's ability as a "passive" ability, one that is always active and is automatically re-evaluated as soon as the state of the game changes. So, as soon as Nightstalker comes into play, Mimic's ability immediately readjusts Mimic's power to match the highest printed power in play, and so Mimic's power is increased to 4 and Mimic cannot be destroyed.[houserule]
Sprout vs The House of Nine Lives Edit
The House of Nine Lives is in play and Sprout is on another base. At the start of Sprout's controller's turn, Sprout's ability triggers. Sprout's controller must then follow Sprout's ability step by step: Destroy Sprout, search their deck for a minion of power 3 or less, play it on Sprout's base, and shuffle their deck. However, The House of Nine Lives gives them the opportunity to move Sprout there instead of destroying it. But when can the move be done?
Possible Resolution: Interruptive abilities: The House of Nine Lives interrupts resolving Sprout's ability right when the player is about to resolve "destroy this card", and before they do it. The player then has the opportunity to either move Sprout there, or not and so Sprout must be destroyed. Once they've made their choice, the player must then resume resolving the rest of Sprout's ability. So, if the player chooses to move Sprout, the extra minion will be played on The House of Nine Lives, otherwise, it will be played on the base where Sprout was when it was destroyed.[houserule]
Cub Scout vs Headlong Edit
A player has a power-2 minion on a base. Another player has a Cub Scout on another base. If the first player plays Headlong to move their power-2 minion, when is Cub Scout activated? Before or after that minion gets a +1 power counter?
Possible Resolution: Resolve the played card first: According to the official chart, you must first resolve Headlong's ability before resolving card reactions. So the power-2 minion gets its +1 power counter and therefore survives Cub Scout's destruction attempt.[probably]
Possible Resolution: Only "after a card is played" abilities wait until after resolution: Cub Scout doesn't react to Headlong being played, but to the minion being moved. So as soon as the minion finishes its move, Cub Scout interrupts Headlong's resolution to be activated and destroy the minion before the rest of Headlong's ability can be done.[houserule]
There are a number of ways for turns to last forever.
Delay of GameEdit
It's fairly trivial for a player to do a sequence of things that allows them to repeat that same sequence of things arbitrarily many times.
The simplest example is playing Collector on The Homeworld and then using the Collector's ability to return itself to your hand. Since The Homeworld lets you play an extra minion of power 2 or less after doing that, you can simply repeat that operation over and over again.
Since this repetition is voluntary, the situation is easy to resolve by speaking aloud the phrase "Stop that!". Any kind of delay-of-game penalty that applies to players simply waiting for an hour to take their turn could apply to this situation as well. One example of a delay of game penalty is to not invite that friend over to play Smash Up anymore.
As of the Pretty Pretty Smash Up set, there are some situations that cause infinite loops and break the game.
Buccaneer vs Cub ScoutEdit
One player is Pirates, and another player is Bear Cavalry. A Buccaneer has an action attached that reduces his power, such as Poison. All bases have a Cub Scout on them (or a manned High Ground). Some ability attempts to destroy the Buccaneer, such as Seeing Stars. At this point, the Buccaneer will not die, but instead move. However, once he arrives at any base, a Cub Scout (or High Ground) will attempt to kill him. At this point, the Buccaneer will not die, but instead move. And so on.
In summary: Destruction triggers moving; Moving triggers destruction.
Smash Up creator Paul Peterson himself actually commented on this situation saying this:
That is a wonderful question. The answer is that the Buccaneer bounces between the bases forever. I know that's not very satisfying, but it is the way the rules would work in that case.
If you wish to deal with it with a house rule, that's up to you. Perhaps you could just set the Buccaneer to the side, assuming that he's never actually at any base. Or you could just continue the game and assume that the Buccaneer is actually at every base all the time because it is constantly moving. This will make it very tough to resolve a base, though as he will both be there and not there all the time. Eventually a Bear Cub will go to the discard, though, and the Buccaneer will come to rest.
- - Paul Peterson - Board Game Geek Forums
Unlike the "Delay of Game" situation above where a player is deciding to delay the game, this situation is actually impossible to resolve while following the rules.
Here are some proposals for resolving situations like this:
Possible Resolution: Stalemate: As the game cannot meaningfully continue, all players agree to end the game and no one is declared winner, loser, or anything else. This is similar to an insufficient material situation in chess where both players are capable of defending against every possible strategy from their opponent.[houserule]
Possible Resolution: Game Over: As the game cannot meaningfully continue, declare the game over and count up victory points. This is slightly more fair than the Stalemate resolution above.[houserule]
Possible Resolution: Finite Abilities: Although a bit difficult to comprehend, there is a more satisfying resolution to the situation in which one imagines that there is an upper-limit on the number of times an Ongoing ability can trigger in one sequence of events. In order to not affect the normal play of the game, imagine this limit as something very large, say 1000. Each time Buccaneer eschews destruction, he uses his ability once. Each time a Cub Scout attempts to destroy the Buccaneer, the Cub Scout uses his ability once. It is evident that no matter how high the limit is, the Buccaneer will run his ability dry before any Cub Scout, since there are more Cub Scouts involved that are sharing the work load. Therefore, the Buccaneer dies. This resolution can be applied generically to any infinite-loop situation like this.[houserule]
Possible Resolution: Pirates Playing Limbo: This solution is that the buccaneer is suspended in limbo. He is theoretically on every and on no base. He will be suspended in limbo and out of play until an opening is made for him to return. Such as a base scoring or one of the involved Cub Scouts or High Ground being destroyed itself.[houserule]
Sleep Spores vs In Plain SightEdit
A Killer Plants player plays Sleep Spores on a base. "Play on a base. Ongoing: Other players' minions have -1 power here (minimum power 0).". Then an Innsmouth player plays a power 3 minion there, at which point the minion becomes power 2. Then the Innsmouth player plays In Plain Sight there. "Play on a base. Your minions here of power 2 or less are not affected by opponents' cards."
Since the minion is power 2 and is being affected by an opponent's Sleep Spores, that effect is negated. The minion returns to power 3. Since the minion is power 3 now, it is not longer protected by In Plain Sight, and so Sleep Spores brings it back down to power 2. Then this paragraph repeats.
As with the Buccaneer vs Cub Scout example above, the Stalemate, Game Over, and Finite Abilities resolutions could apply here as well.
For the Finite Abilities resolution, the situation would play out like this. Each turn, the minion starts at base power 3. Then Sleep Spores acts to reduce the minion's power. Then In Plain Sight acts to restore its power. Then Sleep Spores again, etc., etc., etc. Since Sleep Spores acts first, it runs out first giving In Plain Sight the final say, and the minion ends up at power 3. After anything changes the situation, like playing another minion, the turn ending, going to Phase 3, anything, reset the finite ability limit and start this process over. The result is always the same. In order to get consistent results, think of Ongoing power modification as always starting with base base power, and then acting at every time it would matter.[houserule]
While most of the text on cards is intended to be self-explanatory, many terms have precise definitions that will clear up (or possibly cause) confusion. In order to play the game correctly, you must pay careful attention to the wording on cards.
Counter-intuitively, the word "affect" has a precise definition that does not include everything you think it would. Only minions and actions in play can be affected. The original definition in the Core Set includes these things:
- Moving a minion or a titan affects the minion or titan (e.g. Shanghai).
- Returning a card affects the card (e.g. Beam Up).
- Destroying a card affects the card (e.g. Ninja Master).
- Having an action attached to a minion affects the minion. It's not just playing an action on a minion (e.g. Poison), but also transferring an action to it (e.g. Rules Lawyer), since both make it so the minion has an action attached.
The definition in Pretty Pretty Smash Up augments the list to include the following:
- Placing a card that is in play affects the card (retroactively applying to Scout, Disintegrator, etc.).
- Changing a minion's power affects the minion (e.g. Sleep Spores). This also includes adding and transferring +1 power counters to a minion (The Astroknights count power-boosting actions and power-counter-adding actions as both directly increasing minions' power). This probably means any ability that alters a minion's power is constantly affecting the minion as long as the ability is active.[probably] However, this rule may instead mean that abilities that alter minions' power affect the minions only when the minions' power changes from one value to another. For example Sleep Spores would affect Captain Ahab when he arrives on the base or when he leaves the base, but not in the meantime.[houserule]
- Change in controller (e.g. Cat's Paw). See above for ongoing-vs-instantaneous affect discussion.
The definition in It's Your Fault! added the following:
The definition in Big in Japan added the following:
- Transferring an action affects the action (e.g. Rules Lawyer).
- Shuffling a card in play into a deck affects the card (e.g. Dr Livingstone, I Presume)
While it seems this list is intended to be complete, it still misses quite a few things that a naive player would expect from the term "affect". The definition does not include the following:
- Detaching an action from a minion does not affect the minion. This can happen through destroying actions (e.g. Disenchant) or transferring actions away from this minion to another other minion (e.g. Tinx). This omission seems to be deliberate when considering the wording in Shielding.
- Discarding a card from play does not affect the card (e.g. Terraforming).
- Removing power counters from a minion does not affect the minion (e.g. The Monster).
- Transferring power counters away from a minion does not affect the minion (e.g. A Kind of Magic).
Note that playing a card does not count as affecting it, because only cards in play can be affected by anything. (e.g. Steam Queen does not prevent another player from getting control of one of your actions with Mass Enchantment).
Almost every time the term "affect" is used in card text, it is in the negative sense, e.g. "Your minions here are not affected by other players' actions.". An exception to this pattern is Brownie.
Two of the things listed in the definition of "affect" are potentially ongoing abilities: change in power and change in controller. It is not clear how to reconcile something like Sleep Spores against Tooth and Claw... and Guns. The former "affects" a minion forever, and the latter blocks the effect and then disappears. How long does the block last? Can a card that has been out of play for several turns still have a lasting effect?
Another puzzling example is to play Make Contact and then Tooth and Claw... and Guns on the same minion. If another player destroys Make Contact (e.g. with Disenchant), the end of Make Contact's ongoing ability is supposed to change the controller of the minion, but Tooth and Claw... and Guns is supposed to block the change in controller. A similar example can happen if Pinkie has a companion and Tooth and Claw... and Guns, and then the companion leaves Pinkie alone on the base. Pinkie's power is supposed to go back down, but Tooth and Claw... and Guns is supposed to block changes in power. Some interpretations of the rules would even go so far as to imply that Pinkie could later give herself an additional +1 power with her own ability.
Possible Interpretation: One-Time Defense: Change abilities that provide one-time defenses (Tooth and Claw... and Guns and Hideout) to only defend against one-time effects, i.e. everything in the definition of "affect" except for change in power and change in controller. This would resolve all the confusion in the previous two paragraphs.[houserule]
- Tooth and Claw... and Guns - blocks any ability from affecting a minion, even a minion's own ability.
- Brownie - responds to but does not block abilities.
- Steam Queen - protects your actions from other players' abilities.
- Shielding - can block other players' actions from affecting their own minion. Can also block another player's action played on a minion from self-destructing, although that's probably not useful.
When a card says "After X, do Y" (where "X" is an event and "Y" an effect), you need "X" to happen and be resolved completely before you do the effect stated as "Y".
Exception: If a card states "After a base scores", that rule doesn't apply. You must instead refer to the rules about base scoring.
For example, with Tar Pits (After each time a minion is destroyed here, place it at the bottom of its owner's deck.), the event "X" is "each time a minion is destroyed here" and the effect "Y" is "place it at the bottom of its owner's deck". If a minion is destroyed on Tar Pits and nothing prevents the destruction, "X" is considered resolved completely and the destroyed minion is placed on the bottom of its owner's deck. If for some reason the minion is not destroyed (for example, the minion is a Buccaneer, which moves instead of being destroyed), then "Y" doesn't happen.
Note that it's not because "X" happened that "Y" is guaranteed to be resolved no matter what, especially if the card changes controller or is removed from play.
For example, if your opponent has played an Imperial Dragon ("Ongoing: After another player plays or moves a minion here, draw a card."), and if you play a Tiger Assassin on the same base and destroy Imperial Dragon, your opponent doesn't draw a card. The reason is Imperial Dragon's ability is only checked for activation after the minion is played, but after playing Tiger Assassin, Imperial Dragon is no longer in play and so its ability can't activate.
Another example. If your opponent has played an Imperial Dragon once again, and if you play a Muffin on the same base and take control of Imperial Dragon, noone (neither you, nor your opponent) draws any card. The reason is Imperial Dragon's ability is only checked for activation after the minion is played, but after playing Muffin, Imperial Dragon is now your minion, so they clearly don't draw a card. Does its ability still activate for you though? For Imperial Dragon to activate, you have to answer whether another player played a minion on that base. The answer is no, only one player did and that's you, not another player. So no card draw for you either.
Ignoring the effect of a card. Cancelling is usually temporary.
Cancelling an effect does not necessarily undo what it did. For example, if you cancel an Invader's ability, the player doesn't lose the VP they gained from it. If you cancel Mr. Grumpers's ability, the -2 power still remains until the end of the turn. If you cancel a Sneaky Squire's ability, you don't give control of it back to the player who gave it and it doesn't return the extra minion they played into their hand.
Some cards use the term "lose" (most notably the Changerbots). While it's not clearly defined, it seems to work the same way as a cancellation.
Cancelling on on-play ability is usually pointless as these abilities aren't active anymore and cancelling it doesn't undo them.
Cancelling a Talent ability only means that on its controller won't be able to use it as long as the cancellation lasts. However, it doesn't necessarily undo it if they already used it previously. If you cancel Mind Lady's ability, it doesn't undo any current cancellation that was caused by Mind Lady (similar to how the rules specify that removing Mind Lady from play doesn't undo its ability). If you cancel Aunt of Drakes's ability, it doesn't undo the control of the minions that were given by Aunt of Drakes's ability. If you cancel a Glymmer's ability, the power change it caused still persists until the start of Glymmer's controller's turn.
Cancelling on Ongoing ability can be very interesting. There are different types of Ongoing ability. Those that have a continuous effect (e.g. War Raptor, Mimic, Ghost Knight) are shut down completely. Those that only activate on certain conditions (e.g. Jason, Hatchling, Hammerhead) won't activate if those conditions are met again, but similarly to talents and on-play ability, it doesn't undo what happened from previous activations. If you cancel a Hammerhead's ability, it will stop getting +1 power counters but the ones it already has remain. If you cancel a Hatchling's ability, it will stop lowering the power of minions played there, but it doesn't undo any -1 power it already caused. If you cancel a Leprechaun's ability, it won't destroy anymore minions, but it doesn't ressuscitate any minions it has already destroyed.
- Potion of Paralysis - Special: Play before a base scores. Until the end of the turn, cancel the abilities of all cards on the base or on minions on the base.
Not to be confused with own. Every minion (except uncontrolled monsters), action in play and titan in play is controlled by exactly one player. When a player plays a card, they become the card's controller (Monsters are a special case: when a card tells you to play a monster, you don't become its controller). Minions you control are your minions (and your minions add to your power at a base, etc.). Again, don't confuse "your minions" with "minions you own". Usually, "you" in the card's text refers to its controller, not its owner. For example, Talents can only be used by the card controller. When a card leaves play, it no longer has a controller, and the card goes back to its owner's hand, deck, or discard pile.
Minions on a base should be positioned pointing toward their controller, not their owner. An action controlled by a player other than its owner is difficult to represent on the table.
When a card refers to cards that you "have" on a base, it means cards that you "control" on that base, whether or not you own them.
When a card allows you to take control of a minion, it means you become that minion's controller for as long as the change in control lasts. The owner doesn't change though.
Also, if the minion has any actions attached to it, you don't gain control of those actions. The consequence of this is intuitive for cards like Daisy Chain, but isn't for cards that mention "you" or "other players". For example, taking control of another player's minion with Missing Uplink doesn't make you Missing Uplink's controller and therefore doesn't make you draw a card at the end of your turn.
Here are several (hopefully helpful) examples to show some interactions when you take control of a minion while an action on it is still under the control of another player:
- If player A has a minion and played Daisy Chain on it, the minion has +2 power because Daisy Chain's controller (player A) is the same as the minion's controller. If player B takes control of the minion, Daisy Chain is still under the control of player A, but because the minion's controller is no longer the same as Daisy Chain's, it has -2 power.
- If played A has a minion and player B plays Choking Vines on it, the minion will be destroyed at the start of player B's turn, because they are Choking Vines' controller (so "your turn" means "player B's turn"). If player C takes control of the minion, Choking Vines is still under the control of player B, and so will still be destroyed at the start of player B's turn.
- If played A has a minion and played Überserum on it, the minion gets a +1 power counter at the start of each of player A's turns, because they are Überserum' controller (so "your turn" means "player A's turn"). If player B takes control of the minion, Überserum is still under the control of player A, and so it keeps getting a +1 power counter at the start of each of player A's turns, not player B' turns.
- If player A has a minion and played Moontouched on it, player A is Moontouched's controller and therefore can use its talent. If player B takes control of the minion, Moontouched is still under the control of player A, and so only player A can use Moontouched's talent. (also applies to Leader of the Pack, Ladybug, Leaf Armor, Magic Missile, Boots of Running Really Fast, Monkey on Your Back, Traveling Elf)
- If player A has a minion and played Passengers on it, player A is Passengers's controller but the talent is gained by the minion, player A being the minion's controller can use it. If player B takes control of the minion, Passengers is still under the control of player A, however, the talent is one of the minion's talents and so now, only player B, as the minion's current controller, can use it. (also applies to Potion of Redundancy Potion, Flighterizer, The Touch)
- If player A has a minion and played Too Tough on it, player A is Too Tough's controller and therefore the minion is not affected by the actions of the players that are not player A. If player B takes control of the minion, Too Tough is still under the control of player A, and so the minion is not affected by the actions of the players that are not player A. Yes, even player B's actions! (also applies to Shielding, Smoke Bomb)
- If player A has a minion and played Expanded Power on it, player A is Expanded Power's controller, and so the minion cannot be destroyed by players that are not player A. If player B takes control of the minion, Expanded Power is still under the control of player A, and so the minion cannot be destroyed by players that are not player A. Yes, even player B!
- If player A has a minion and played Laser Sword on it, player A is Laser Sword's controller and therefore the minion is not affected by the minions of the players that are not player A. If player B takes control of the minion, Laser Sword is still under the control of player A, and so the minion is not affected by the minions of the players that are not player A. Yes, even player B's minions! And yes, even that minion!
- If player A has a minion and played Flying Monkey on it, player A is Flying Monkey's controller, and so after the base scores, player A can decide whether to move the minion or discard it. If player B takes control of the minion, Flying Monkey is still under the control of player A, and so they still decide the minion's fate after the base scores, not player B.
- If player A has a minion and played Hang in There on it, player A is Hang in There's controller, and so if the minion is destroyed, player A will have to move it instead. If player B takes control of the minion, Hang in There is still under the control of player A, and so if the minion is destroyed, it will still be moved instead, but it's player A who decides where, not player B.
- If player A has a minion and played Missing Uplink on it, player A is Missing Uplink's controller, and so they draw an extra card at the end of their turn. If player B takes control of the minion, Missing Uplink is still under the control of player A, and so player A still draws an extra card at the end of their turn, not player B.
- If player A has a minion and played Encouragement Power on it, player A is Encouragement Power's controller, and so the minion has +1 power for each of player A's other minions there. If player B takes control of the minion, Encouragement Power is still under the control of player A, and so the minion has +1 power for each of player A's other minions there, not player B's minions!
So far, there aren't any cards that allow you to take control of another player's action that's already in play. The only way to control another player's action is to play it with Mass Enchantment for example.
- Cat's Paw - take control of a minion.
- Make Contact - "Treat this minion as yours" (predates the term "control").
- Mass Enchantment - play cards from other players' decks, thereby making you the controller.
- Daisy Chain - ability is conditional on who controls the minion.
- Sneaky Squire - you can give control of it to another player.
- Foot of the King - take control of a minion "you own"
- Hostage Exchange - give control of a minion to take control of another
The current player is the player whose turn it is. This player has the unique ability to decide the order of events that are supposed to happen simultaneously. The current player does not change until after all phases of the current player's turn are complete.
Examples of simultaneous events:
- Two bases are both ready to score in Phase 3. This choice is explicitly described in the rules.
- Sprout and Water Lily both take cards out of your deck at the start of your turn in different ways. It is typically more advantageous to resolve Sprout's ability first.
- Playing a Haunting on the Haunted House occupied by an enemy Leprechaun triggers two on-play reactions at once. The current player can chose to force the Haunting's controller to discard a card first or to have the Leprechaun attempt to kill the Haunting first. This can mean life or death for the Haunting.
Note that several things that seem like they might happen simultaneously actually have a priority order predetermined by the rules of the game. As such they must be resolved in priority order regardless of the preference of the current player. See Order of Operations.
Examples of "simultaneous" events that the current player can't influence:
- If a player plays a card that cause multiple destructions (e.g. Powderkeg, Nukebot, Bear Hug), multiple returns (e.g. Crop Circles, Mass Teleport) or multiple moves (e.g. Hyperspeed 10, Felicia Day), the destructions/returns/moves all happen at the same time and there's no order to decide.
- If several players have the opportunity to play a card at the same time (e.g. as a reaction to a card being played, during the before/when/after-scoring steps of the Score Bases phase, when Secret Volcano Headquarters is scoring), the order is clockwise from the current player.
- If several players get the same reward from a scored base (e.g. in case of a tie for winner position), the order is clockwise from the current player.
- After a base scores, all the cards on it are discarded. All the cards are discarded at the same time without the current player influencing the order of discards.
When a card is destroyed, it goes to its owner's discard pile, thereby leaving play. If a minion leaves play, any attachment is discarded (actions, power counters). If some ability targets a card for destruction, but the destruction is thwarted, then do nothing to the targeted card; it is not destroyed.
See "target" for how to choose a minion if an ability says something like "Destroy a minion.".
After a base is scored, cards on it go to the discard pile. This counts as being discarded, but not as being destroyed.
Some abilities trigger when a minion is destroyed (e.g. Cave of Shinies "After each time a minion is destroyed here, its owner gains 1 VP."). If a minion is targeted for destruction, but the destruction is thwarted, then these kinds of abilities do not trigger. It's possible for multiple of these kinds of abilities to trigger simultaneously from the same event. In that case, the current player decides the order.
Some abilities trigger when a minion would be destroyed (e.g. Hang in There "Play on one of your minions. Ongoing: If this minion would be destroyed, move it to another base and destroy this action instead."). If the minion is targeted for destruction, but the destruction is thwarted even without the "would be destroyed" ability, then the "would be destroyed" ability does not trigger. If multiple "would be destroyed" abilities trigger from the same would-be-destruction, the current player decides the order.
- Ninja Master - Minion destroys a minion.
- Seeing Stars - Action destroys a minion.
- Disenchant - Action destroys an action.
- Assassination - Action destroys a specific minion.
- Sprout - A minion destroys itself.
- Overrun - An action destroys itself.
- Gremlin - An ability triggered by destruction.
- Buccaneer - An ability triggered by would-be-destruction.
Card X does something "directly" to card Y if that "something" is part of card X's ability and card Y is among the selected targets of card X's ability. If the target is changed or if what happens is because of a different card than card X, then card X did not "directly" do it to card Y.
For example, if you play a Bear Cavalry (Move another player's minion from here to another base.) and target an eligible minion, the Bear Cavalry "directly" moved it, or it can also be said that the Bear Cavalry "directly" affected it because "being moved" is listed under the definition of "being affected". Then, if the targeted minion is of power 2 or less and is moved to a base with a Cub Scout, the targeted minion is destroyed, but in that case it was "directly" destroyed by the Cub Scout, but "indirectly" destroyed by the Bear Cavalry. This is significant if the opponent has an Ensign in play. If the Ensign was on the Bear Cavalry's base, Ensign can be moved instead of the targeted minion because the move was "direct". But if the Ensign was on Cub Scout's base, Ensign cannot be destroyed instead of the targeted minion because the card that was played is Bear Cavalry and the destruction it caused was "indirect".
So far, this term has been used in two situations: general affection of a card and increase of a minion's power.
The Astroknights have a few cards that deal with actions that "directly" increase a minion's power when they are played. Such actions are actions that:
- Give the minion "+N power".
- Place +1 power counters on it.
- Changes its printed power to a higher value.
List of actions that give "+N power" to a minion when they are played:
- Door to the Beyond
- Rotary Slug Thrower
- Dunwich Horror
- The Price of Power
- The Deep Ones
- That's So Crazy...
- ... It just Might Work
- Things Best Not Known
- Juiced Up
- Genetic Shift
- Splice as Nice
- We Will Rock You
- Full Moon
- Leaf Armor
- Daisy Chain
- Super Future Space Armor Power
- Encouragement Power
- Fairy Godmother
- Join the Club
- Good Habits
- Helping Hands
- Pumping Iron
- Potion Bandolier
- Shield of Ubiquity
- War Cry
- Kneepads Of Allure
- Boots of Butt-Kicking
- Potion of Idiotic Bravery
- Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment
- Chest of Holding
- Cross Bow
- Dragon Lands
- Favor of Ares
- Favor of Dionysus
- Justice Friends
- Expanded Power
- Laser Sword
- Use the Fours
- Block the Probe
- Yield to Rage
- Form Mergacon
- Cesium Armor
- Hot Venue
- Power Ballad
- Group Hug
List of actions that place +1 power counters on a minion when they are played:
- Gimme the Prize
- IT'S ALIVE! - This may not count toward Space Prince's ability because the affected minion is not in play before playing this card.
- Body Shop
- Angry Mob
- Dinner Date
- Cull the Weak
- Crack of Dusk - This may not count toward Space Prince's ability because the affected minion is not in play before playing this card.
- Mad Monster Party
- Favor of Hera
- I Said No Camels!
List of actions that change a minion's printed power when they are played:
Examples of cards that use the term "directly":
- Ensign - If an opponent plays a card that "directly" affects another minion, it can change the targeted minion to itself.
- Alien Guru - Places a +1 power counter on a minion if an action "directly" increases its power.
- Walking Carpet - Allows you to play an extra action that "directly" increases its power.
- Space Prince - Allows you to play an extra action that "directly" increases one of your minion's power.
- Hive of Scum and Villainy - Allows you to draw a card after you play an action that "directly" increases one of your minion's power.
It means putting a card into its owner's discard pile. Unless otherwise specified, when a card instructs you to discard a card, it refers to cards in your hand.
Other than cards that tell the players to do so, certain "events" also make you discard cards (and not necessarily cards in your hand):
- After a base scores and after the after-scoring step, al the cards on the scored base are discarded.
- When a card with attachment (usually a minion with actions attached to it) is removed from play, either returned/destroyed/placed in your deck/etc., the cards attached to it are discarded.
- During Phase 4 of your turn, after drawing your 2 cards, if you have more than 10 cards in hand, you must discard down to 10. Note that you only discard down to 10 during that phase, not the end of your turn. The end of your turn is actually an entirely different phase (Phase 5). In practice, nothing usually happens during your End Turn phase, but if something does (e.g. Missing Uplink, Difference Engine), it's after you have to discard down to 10 cards.
Terraforming explicitly says to discard actions from play. This seems to conflict with Pretty Pretty Smash Up's redefinition of this term, but it's actually a reminder of a general rule, i.e. "when a card leaves play, discard attachments." It's normal when a minion leaves play to discard any actions attached to it, but it is less well-known that it also applies to bases. According to the rule, when a base (which is a card after all) leaves play, then anything attached to it is discarded. It seems minions played on a base aren't considered as "attached" to it, but actions played there are definitely, like actions played on a minion are considered as "attached" to that minion.
But, then why do Burn It Down and Not in Kansas make you destroy a base and actions attached to it? If the actions survive the destruction (e.g. Steam Queen), they will still be discarded according to the above rule, so why attempt to destroy them anyway?
- Terraforming - discard actions from play. This conflicts with the redefinition in Pretty Pretty Smash Up.
- Igor - an Ongoing ability mentions the minion being discarded, meaning it must have been in play. This conflicts with the redefinition in Pretty Pretty Smash Up.
- Haunted House - "discard" in general means from your hand.
- Take the Shinies - discard random cards.
- The Spy Who Ditched Me - discarding minions specifically.
Normally, you can play one minion and one action each turn during Phase 2. You can play these cards at any time during Phase 2, and they are each optional. If you get extra minions and actions during Phase 2, it increases the number of minions and actions you can play during Phase 2. As with the normal minion and action, you can play extra minions and actions at any time during Phase 2 or not at all. Extra minions and actions acquired outside of Phase 2 or acquired from a special ability must be played (not optional), and they must be played right away.
The term "extra" has a long history. The original Core Set rulebook said that extra minions and actions could be played in any order, but they were not optional. There was no mention of Special abilities or playing things outside of Phase 2. The Awesome Level 9000 rulebook added that extra minions and actions acquired by a Special ability must be played right away. The Pretty Pretty Smash Up rulebook added that non-Special extra minions and actions were optional in Phase 2, and that if they were acquired outside of Phase 2 they must be played right away just like if they were acquired through a Special ability.
Since "extra" cards can be played at any time during your turn, there are some cards in the game that need their wording changed to avoid contradictions. For example Commission says "Play an extra minion. Then move another player's minion from the extra minion's base to another base.". The rules say to resolve on-play abilities like this immediately, but also you can play the extra minion at any time during Phase 2. It is impossible to resolve Commission's on-play ability until it is known where the extra minion will be played. This is a contradiction in the rules. The obvious resolution is to add a word to Commission's ability text: "Play an extra minion immediately. Then move another player's minion from the extra minion's base to another base.".
Except for the cases where the extra card must be played immediately, extra plays not be played before abilities that do happen immediately. For example, playing a minion on The Homeworld occupied by an enemy Leprechaun triggers an extra minion play and an immediate reaction from the Leprechaun. The Leprechaun's reaction must happen before the extra minion can be played.
- Sprout - Play an extra minion in Phase 1.
- Puck - Play an extra action during the current turn phase. Combined with Sprout and Overgrowth, allows a Fairy/Plant player to score a base with a single minion in a single turn.
- Chronomage - Play an extra action in Phase 2, no matter when Chronomage was played. Played after Phase 2, it is not clear how this ability works.
- Secret Volcano Headquarters - Play extra minions in Phase 3.
- Doppelgänger - Play an extra minion any time a minion can go to the discard pile, such as Phase 2 of another player's turn, or Phase 5 if killed with Assassination. This is a special ability, so the extra minion must be played immediately.
- Blossom - "Play up to three extra minions that all have the same name." Since extra minions can be played at any time during your turn, you could play these extra minions one at a time. For example, playing Enchantress to draw cards hoping for more Enchantresses.
- Bacta the Future - Qualifies that the extra minion must be played immediately.
- Eliza - Limit the extra cards opponents can play.
- Difference Engine, Portal Room - Use the term "extra", but not in this context.
- Hoverbot, Neophyte, Mass Enchantment - You may play an extra card from the top of a deck and put unused cards back. These abilities probably need the word "immediately" added.
- Commission, IT'S ALIVE!, Crack of Dusk, Non-Infinite Loop - Play extra an extra card, and then do something to the extra card. These abilities probably need the word "immediately" added.
Each player gets to play one free minion and action on their turn during Phase 2. These are also known as your "normal" minion and action. Playing a card as a Special minion or action never counts as your free minion or action.
The term "free" is only ever used in the rules, not in card text. The term is synonymous with "regular", which is used in card text.
"Extra" cards are distinct from "free" cards, as the former are gained through abilities, while the latter are gained on each of your turns.
A minion is in play if it is on a base; an action that can be played on a base or minion is in play if it is on a base or minion. An action that cannot be played on a minion or a base is never in play. A card's Ongoing abilities are active for exactly the time that the card is in play.
A card goes into play when it is played on a base just before resolving its on-play abilities. This means Ongoing abilities affect the minion before resolving its on-play abilities, which is also before resolving "After a minion is played here" abilities. If a card goes to the discard pile (such as by being destroyed or by its base scoring]], it goes out of play just after going to the discard pile. This means any Ongoing ability the minion has still applies while it and actions played on it are going to the discard pile.
Whenever card text refers to "all minions" or "your minions" or the like, it is referring to minions in play, not in hands, decks, or discard piles. (e.g. Howl "Each of your minions gains +1 power until the end of your turn.")
- Spreading the Word - "Play up to two extra minions with the same name as a minion in play."
- Make Contact - After playing on a minion, "Ongoing: Treat this minion as yours while it and this card are in play."
- Microbot Alpha - "Ongoing: Gains +1 power for each of your other Microbots. All of your minions are considered Microbots." Both of these sentences refer to only your minions in play, not in your hand, deck, or discard pile. This means Microbot Reclaimer can never shuffle non-Microbot minions from your discard pile into your deck.
- Jumper - The Ongoing ability must be active due to the minion being in play. This ability does not activate when the minion is discarded, such as in Phase 4.
- Clyde 2.0 - Still applies to actions played on him when he goes to the discard pile, because minions are in play until just after they are discarded.
There is no precise definition of instead given in the official rules. This terms shows up in the form "If X would happen, do Y instead." or "Do X instead of placing it in the discard pile."
In the case of "If X would happen, do Y instead.", you check if X is about to happen, and if so, you do Y instead of X. X then isn't considered as having happened.
For example, with Buccanneer ("Special: If this minion would be destroyed, move it to another base instead."), X is "this minion is destroyed" and Y is "move it to another base". So if Buccaneer is targeted for destruction, it is moved to another base instead of being destroyed, and it doesn't count as having been destroyed for cards that react to minion destructions.
In the case of "Do X instead of placing it in the discard pile.", the effect just "reprograms" the card so X happens if the card is about to be placed in the discard pile. But if the card isn't placed in the discard pile, X doesn't happen.
For example, with First Mate ("Special: After this base is scored, you may move this minion to another base instead of the discard pile"), X is "you may move this minion to another base". So, this ability can only be invoked during the specific step where after-scoring abilities are invoked/played. And it's optional, so you must then decide if you want to activate it or not. If you choose to activate it, First Mate isn't moved yet, but it will be reprogrammed to move if it's placed in the discard pile, which will happen later during the Score Bases phase. Note that if something else happens to the First Mate before it's discarded (e.g. Ninja Dojo), then it won't move despite its ability having been activated (with Ninja Dojo, it was destroyed, not placed in the discard pile).
- Buccaneer - "Special: If this minion would be destroyed, move it to another base instead."
- First Mate - "Special: After this base is scored, you may move this minion to another base instead of the discard pile."
- House of Nine Lives - "If a minion at another base would be destroyed, its owner may move it here instead."
There are cases when Y cannot happen. In that case, should X happen like normal? The answer is no. Once you've decided that Y will happen instead of X, just because Y can't happen doesn't mean that you rollback to doing X. X being replaced by Y is definitive. Even if Y isn't done in the end, the rules allow you to do something even if it can't happen.
For example, if Buccaneer is on the same base as Entangled and if a destruction hits Buccaneer, Buccaneer will "change" the destruction into movement. So instead of being destroyed, it will move, but since Entangled prevents it, Buccaneer just stays in place, you do not revert to destroying it.
Only minions and titans can be "moved".
To move a minion, choose a minion to move and choose a base that is not the base where the minion is currently. If the minion cannot be moved through some ability (e.g. Entangled), then do nothing more. Otherwise, move the minion card to it to the new base. Anything attached to the minion (Actions that say "Play on a minion" and +1 power counters) go with the minion and stay attached. Then trigger any ability that reacts to minions being moved, (e.g. High Ground).
If a card allows you to move another player's minion, they still remain that minion's controller; you do not take control of it.
Moving a minion must target a destination base that is different from the current base, meaning you cannot move a minion to the same base where it already is. When you move a minion, you must target a base that exists, meaning after a base scores, you cannot move First Mate onto the new base right away.
Moving a minion does not reactivate its on-play ability, and does not count as playing the minion. For example, you can move power 2 minions onto Tsar's Palace, Haunted House, Mountains of Madness, etc., or onto a base where there is a Leprechaun, Block the Path, Pay the Piper, etc. with no restriction or penalty.
Moving a titan is very similar to moving a minion, except that if you move a titan to a base with another titan, they "clash". To do that, compare the total power of each titan's controller on that base; the player with the lowest total power must remove their titan from that base. In case of a tie, the moved titan is removed and the former one remains.
Actions and power counters are never "moved". Instead, that's called transferring.
- Invasion - Move your minion or an opponents' minion.
- Full Sail - The most powerful "move" card in the game.
- Cub Scout - Reacts to a minion moving and checks the minion's power. Since the minion's Ongoing abilities activate before this check, it means War Raptors are probably safe.
- Deep Roots - Prevent your minions from moving.
- Entangled - Prevent opponents' minions from moving.
Ongoing actions are active for as long as those cards are on the field.
Some cards have an Ongoing ability but only trigger at certain times, e.g. Cub Scout, Leprechaun. The Ongoing part is here to keep the ability active until something triggers the ability, which will most likely happen after the turn the cards are played.
Some other cards have an Ongoing ability but eventually self-destroy themselves at a given time, e.g. Smoke Bomb, Stasis Field. The Ongoing part is only here to remind players that this ability carries on after the turn that it is played, unlike "instant" abilities. Interestingly, if the destruction is prevented, the ability still applies and self-destruction attempt is delayed until the next opportunity.
On your turn Edit
Effects that happen "on your turn" actually happen the Play Cards phase (Phase 2) of your turn. They cannot happen during any of the other phases of your turn.
Players own the 40 cards in their 2 factions (or more, if they chose factions with a titan) and only those cards. The owner of a card never changes throughout a game, but the controller can change. No one ever owns bases, madness, treasures, or monsters.
It may be difficult to determine a card's owner if there are multiple copies of the same faction in one game.
While this term is not listed in the "Terms and Restrictions" section of the rulebook, a definition can be found in the "Void Where Prohibited" section:
When a card that others can see goes to the hand, deck or discard pile, it goes to the one belonging to the card’s owner (i.e. the player whose deck the card came from), no matter who played or controlled it
- - Big in Japan rulebook page 13
Using Trade, it's possible for a player to have a card in their hand that another player owns. However, if that card were ever to go to the discard pile (e.g. after playing it as an action or discarding your hand down to 10), the card would go to its owner's discard pile instead. On the other hand, if that card were ever to go to the deck without being revealed (e.g. Field Trip), the card wouldn't go to its owner's deck.
- Beam Up - return a minion to its owner's hand.
- Cave of Shinies - a minion's "owner" gains 1 VP, not its "controller".
- Bear Hug - "owner chooses" should surely be interpreted as "controller chooses". Otherwise, the ability is incoherent.[probably]
- The House of Nine Lives - gives a minion's "owner" a choice rather than its "controller". Since the author of this base knew the term "controller" (in fact this base is themed after a faction that prominently features controlling minions), we should assume that this word choice was deliberate.
Typically, the verb place is used to refer to moving cards around that are not in play, such as Grave Robbing "Place a card from your discard pile into your hand.". Some abilities also use the verb place to remove cards from play, such as Disintegrator "Place a minion of power 3 or less on the bottom of its owner's deck.". As of the Pretty Pretty Smash Up set, placing a card that is in play counts as affecting the card.
Sometimes, some cards "place" cards in play into their owner's hand (e.g. Scout). While the end result is the same as if the cards "returned" the card into its owner's hand, the use of a different word is very important for some cards that interact with cards being "returned" from play (e.g. Ship's Engineer, Entangled). Such cards don't do anything to cards that are "placed" from play.
Several abilities refer to placing cards after a base scores, such as Scout "Special: After this base is scored, you may place this minion into your hand instead of the discard pile.", or after a minion is destroyed, such as Tar Pits "After each time a minion is destroyed here, place it at the bottom of its owner's deck.". These placings happen after the card goes out of play and as such do not interact with Tooth and Claw... and Guns or any other abilities that would prevent the card from being affected by the placing.
Examples of placing other player's cards that are in play:
Examples of placing your own cards that are in play:
The rules change in Pretty Pretty Smash Up didn't matter at all for these as there is no way to prevent your actions from being affected by your own abilities or to prevent your minions from being affected by your own abilities before you can play Tooth and Claw... and Guns on them.
You play a card as a free minion or action in Phase 2, as an extra Minion or extra Action (usually in Phase 2 as well), or as a Special minion or action. Monsters and titans are also played when a card tells you to play one, but they are not played as extra cards. See also #Playing Minions and #Playing Actions.
Each player gets to play one regular minion and action on their turn during Phase 2. These are also known as your "normal" minion and action. Playing a card as a Special minion or action never counts as your regular minion or action.
The term is synonymous with "free", which is only ever used in the rules, not in card text.
"Extra" cards are distinct from "regular" cards, as the former are gained through abilities, while the latter are gained on each of your turns.
Some titans (e.g. Gorgodzolla, Megabot, Walking Castle) can be played "instead of your regular minion play", which means that, on your turn, you must not play your regular minion in order to play them.
This means that a card goes back where it came from. When a card returns from a base (such as to your hand or deck), discard any attachments on it (i.e. actions played on a minion or +1 power counters on it). Usually, "return" is used to put back a card that is out of play (e.g. Neophyte, Walker) or to put a card in play into its owner's hand.
There are two different meanings for Special:
- An ability that can trigger when the card is not in play. This usually takes the form of playing the card from your hand under some specific circumstances.
- A synonym for Ongoing. This definition is used frequently in the Core Set presumably before the designers had a good understanding of how the rules would evolve over time.
As a reminder, an Ongoing ability is one that is active while the card is in play. Several cards that say "Special:" should really say "Ongoing:". The best example of this is Cthulhu's Chosen when compared to Mole.
- Cthulhu's Chosen - Special: Before a base scores, you may draw a Madness card. This minion gets +2 power until the end of the turn.
- Mole - Ongoing: Before this base scores, you may play an action as a Special action.
- Ninja Acolyte - Special: On your turn, if you have not yet played a minion, you may return this minion to your hand and play an extra minion on this base.
- Sprout - Ongoing: Destroy this card at the start of your turn. You may search your deck for a minion of power 3 or less, and play it here as an extra minion. Shuffle your deck.
All of these abilities are active as long as the minion is already in play. This fits the definition of Ongoing perfectly.
Although it appears that the designers chose to say Special instead of Ongoing if the ability was optional, consider Archmage which has an optional ability that says Ongoing:
- Archmage - Ongoing: You may play an extra action on each of your turns.
Here is a list of all the cards (as of the Cease and Desist set) that should say Ongoing instead of Special:
- Ninja Acolyte
- Pirate King, Buccaneer, First Mate
- Cthulhu's Chosen
- Flying Monkey
- Pack Alpha, Loup Garou
- Deep Friar
- Happy Zapper
- Dust Devil
- Walking Carpet
Two cards (as of the Cease and Desist set) classifies cards based on whether or not they are "Specials":
- Mindraker - Play on a base. Ongoing: Other players cannot play Specials while this base is scoring.
- And Stay Down! - Special: Play before a base scores. If you have the highest total power here, other players cannot play or use Special abilities.
Since Mindraker refers to playing Specials, all of the above cards that should say Ongoing are not relevant anyway; those cards cannot be played as Specials. However, And Stay Down! prevents the use of Special abilities, so the qualification of Special instead of Ongoing is relevant.
Here is a list of every Special ability (as of the Cease and Desist set) that can trigger when the card is not in play:
- Play from your hand before a base scores:
- Shinobi, Hidden Ninja
- Full Sail
- "Old Man Jenkins!?", Things Best Not Known
- The Price of Power
- Live and Let Chum, The Base Is Not Enough
- Under Pressure
- Can Has Cheeseburger?
- Teaching Power
- Some Day My Prince Will Come
- Salvage, Cunning Plan
- Helping Hands, Run Away!, Run Away More!
- Last Call
- Dogpile, And Stay Down!
- Potion of Halitosis, Dungeon Rule Book, Potion of Paralysis
- Intimidating Presence, Dragon Lands
- Picked Up, Over the Rainbow
- Block the Probe, It’s a Trap!
- Change Up and Roll On
- Inevitable Betrayal
- You Call This Archaeology?
- Power Ballad
- Love Overload
- Play from your hand when a base scores: Angry Pillagers
- Play from your hand after a base's treasures are revealed: Potion of Line Cutting
- Play from your hand after a base scores:
- Play from your discard pile on your turn: Tenacious Z, Spectre
- Play from your hand when an opponent plays an action: Wil Wheaton, Force of Wil
- Play from your hand when an opponent plays a minion: Control Minion
- Play from your hand when you gain 1 or more VP: Cosplay
- Discard from your hand on your turn: Fan
- Play from your hand instead of playing an action: Argonaut
- Play from your hand after you destroy a minion: Mako
- Play from your hand after a new base comes into play: Crypt Looter
- Play from your hand after you play a minion: Snuggly Bear
"Starting power" or "starting breakpoint" means the "base" power or breakpoint of a card before applying any modifiers. The word "starting" was probably introduced to avoid possible confusion that could come from talking about "base power" or "base breakpoint".
So, when talking about the power of a minion or the breakpoint of a base, its "printed value" is the one printed on the card, its "starting value" is its value before applying any modifiers (in the vast majority of cases, the starting value is exactly the same as the printed value), and its "value" is either its "printed value" when the card is not in play, or its "modified value" (taking into account all the modifiers) when the card is in play.
For example, if you play a Weed Eater (printed power of 5), its ability gives it -2 power until the end of the turn. So, the Weed Eater's printed power is 5, its starting power is also 5, but its power (i.e. its modified power) is 3. So, while Weed Eater does have only 3 power whenever it's first played, 3 is not its starting power. That is because when you calculate its power you do the following operation : 5 (printed power) - 2 (its ability) = 3. So, 5 is really its starting power, i.e. the "base power" on which you then apply any power modifiers.
Another example. If Lovey Bear (printed power of 3) is on the same base as an opponent's minion with a printed power of 4 and Lovey Bear has a +1 power counter on it. Lovey Bear's printed power is 3. Because of its ability, Lovey Bear's starting power is 4 (to match the opponents' minion with the highest starting power). Because Lovey Bear has a +1 power counter, its power, a.k.a. its modified power, is 5 (starting power of 4, plus 1 from the +1 power counter). So Lovey Bear has a printed, starting, and modified powers that are all different. Note that if the opponent's minion had +1 power counters too or a power-changing action attached to it (e.g. Upgrade, Grumpiness), it wouldn't change Lovey Bear's printed, starting and modified powers at all because Lovey Bear only depends on the minion's starting power.
Since it was created before the word "starting" was introduced, Mimic probably changes its "starting power" and should be rephrased "Ongoing: This minion's starting power is equal to the highest power printed on a minion card in play." Its current wording only saying "This minion's power" could be interpreted as "This minion's modified power" if one follows exactly what is written in the rulebook. However, it makes more sense if what Mimic's ability changes is actually its "starting power", and it would match what the official answers have already explained about Mimic's behaviour.
This is an ability on a minion, action or titan that may be activated once during the Play Cards phase (Phase 2) of each of your turns. You don't have to use it if you don't want to. The card must be in play for you to use its talent and you can use its talent as soon as the card is in play; you don't have to wait until your next turn to use it!
Only the card's controller can use its talent. If a player controls several talents at the same time, they can activate each of them if they want to, but only if it's their Play Cards phase and they cannot activate a given talent more than once on the same turn.
It's entirely possible to have an action with a talent (e.g. Magic Missile) attached to a minion with a talent (e.g. Captain Ahab). In that case, only the action's controller, i.e. whoever played the action, can use the action's talent, regardless of who the minion's controller is.
Some actions attached to minions give that minion a talent as an additional ability (e.g. Potion of Redundancy Potion). In that case, the talent is treated as one of that minion's abilities and can therefore only be activated by that minion's controller and only during their Play Cards phase, no matter who played the action. Also, if that minion happens to have another talent, both talents can be activated independently from each other, but the same talent cannot be activated twice on the same turn, as always.
Please note that if a card is removed from play and replayed on the same turn, it doesn't keep "memory" of having been present before. So, if you use a card's talent, then return it and replay it (e.g. Do Over!, Doctor When, Change of Venue), you can use its talent again.
If you play a card with a talent, the talent is not activated from playing the card. Instead, you must actively activate it when you are able to do something once the card is in play.
For example, if you play a Mind Lady on a base with an enemy Imperial Dragon, you cannot use Mind Lady's talent to immediately prevent Imperial Dragon from reacting to you playing Mind Lady. Indeed, like any card you play, you must first resolve any of its relevant abilities (usually its on-play and ongoing abilities). In that case, Mind Lady's only ability is a talent, which is not automatically activated when you play it, so when you resolve its ability, you do nothing. Then, card reactions must be resolved, so Imperial Dragon's ability is activated. Only after all card reactions are resolved are you able to act again. You can now use Mind Lady's talent to cancel Imperial Dragon's ability, but it's too late to prevent its activation when Mind Lady was played.
Also, while a talent is not activated when the card is played, activating it on the same turn as the card was played does trigger cards that react when "a player plays a card that do X" (X being an effect).
For example (example given in the What Were We Thinking? rulebook), you have Forgotten Horrors in play. Forgotten Horrors is a card that is activated after you either play a minion on its base, or play a card that moves one or more of your minions to its base. If you play a Zeppelin on its base, nothing happens because Zeppelin is an action, not a minion, and because Zeppelin's ability is a talent, and therefore not automatically activated when it's played. Later on the same turn, if you use Zeppelin's talent to move one of your minions to its base, then the rulebook declares that it does activate Forgotten Horrors's ability. The only condition is for the talent to be used on the same turn as the card with talent is played. If the card was played on a previous turn and you use its talent, it won't trigger Forgotten Horrors.
- Venus Man Trap - A minion with a talent.
- Zeppelin - A "play on a base" action with a talent.
- Monkey on Your Back - A "play on a minion" action with a talent. Note that it doesn't give the minion a talent!
- Flighterizer - A "play on a minion" action that gives the minion a talent.
- Potion of Redundancy Potion - A "play on a minion" action that gives the minion the talent to copy the talent of another minion.
- Standing Stones - A base where minions can use their talent twice, instead of once.
- Changing Room - A base where minions gain power from using their talents.
If an ability says to "Choose a minion" or to do something (e.g. destroy, move, etc.) to "a minion" without specifying which card in particular to do it to, you may target a minion in play of your choice (and similarly with actions in play). If the ability has qualifications on what kinds of card you can target (e.g. "a minion of power 2 or less", "another player's action played on a minion", etc.) you must obey these qualifications. If there are no valid targets, then the ability targets nothing, and any further reference to the target has no effect. If there are valid targets, you must chose one, even if it means bad things happening to your minions.
The card you target may be immune to the effects of the ability you are performing, but it is still a valid target.
Many cards have an implied "Choose a minion." in their abilities. For example, Augmentation "One minion gains +4 power until the end of your turn." You are still allowed to target a minion who cannot gain power, for example, another's player's minion who is Incorporeal.
- Sacrifice - Target a minion for destruction. Even if that minion doesn't die, you still draw cards.
- Bear Cavalry (minion) - If other player's have minions on the base, you must target one of them. However, the minion you target might not be affected anyway.
- Microbot Guard - Often forced to destroy himself because no other minions on a base are low enough power to be targeted.
When a card says "Do X to do Y" or "You may do X to do Y" (where "X" and "Y" are effects), you need to completely do the effect stated as "X" before you do the effect stated as "Y".
Please note, that whether the card says "Do X to do Y" or "You may do X to do Y", doing X is actually always optional! This is contrary to the usual rule about "Do X." (mandatory) or "You may do X." (optional), but that's the official ruling about "Do X to do Y" abilities.
If effect "X" cannot be done completely for any reason, you can't do either "X" or "Y". Note, that this is also contrary to the usual rule about "Do X." or "You may do X." abilities that make you do as much as you can. For example, if an ability says "Choose a minion. You may discard cards equal to its power to destroy it." (Spirit), and if you don't have enough cards, then you don't discard any cards. On the other hand, if an ability says "Discard two random cards." (e.g. Take the Shinies) and you only have one, you must still discard it.
However, if you manage to do effect "X", you must then completely do "Y".
For example, with Nightstalker (Destroy a minion of power 2 or less here to place a +1 power counter on this minion.), the effect "X" is "Destroy a minion of power 2 or less here" and the effect "Y" is "place a +1 power counter on this minion". There's no "you may", but the destruction is still optional because it's a "Do X to do Y" ability! So, if you choose to, you may destroy a minion of power 2 or less on Nightstalker's base. If it happens successfully, then you must place a +1 power counter on Nightstalker. On the other hand, if the destruction is prevented, e.g. if there's no eligible minion or if the minion is immune to destruction, then Nightstalker cannot get a +1 power counter through its ability.
It's possible for power counters and actions played on minions or bases to be transferred to another minion or base. This is analogous to moving a minion, but for some reason there is a different term for power counters and actions.
Just like moving minions, transferring an action does not make you its new controller. The controller still remains the player who played the action. The consequence of this can be intuitive for most cards, but isn't for cards that mention "you" or "other players". For example, transferring another player's Missing Uplink to one of your minions doesn't make you Missing Uplink's controller and therefore doesn't make you draw a card at the end of your turn. Please refer to the section about "control" for examples of unintuitive consequences of that. In essence, transferring another player's action to one of your minions leads to similar problematics as taking control of a minion while another player's action is attached to it.
Here are more (hopefully helpful) examples to show some interactions when you transfer another player's actions to one of your minions (or a different player's minion):
- If player A has a minion and player B plays Make Contact on it, player B becomes that minion's controller. If player C transfers Make Contact to one of player D's minions, Make Contact is still under the control of player B and so the first minion's control is returned to player A and player B now becomes the controller of player D's minion.
- If player A has a minion and played Incorporeal on it, player A is Incorporeal's controller and so the minion is not affected by the cards of the players that are not player A. If player B transfers Incorporeal to their minions, Incorporeal is still under the control of player A and so their minion is not affected by the cards of the players that are not player A. Yes, even player B's cards! And yes, even that minion!
Transferring an action away from a minion does not count as affecting the minion, but transferring an action to a minion does count as affecting the new minion.[probably] This means that Steam Queen cannot protect against Tinx.
Transferring power counters away from a minion does not count as affecting that minion, even though the power is being changed. But transferring power counters to a minion counts as affecting it.[probably]
- Tinx - Transfer an action played on a minion.
- Rules Lawyer - Transfer an action in play from anywhere to anywhere. It's possible to use this card to put a base action onto The Dread Gazebo, which is normally impossible. If the action transferred there is Jammed Signal, then more base actions can be played there as well.
- Leaf Armor - Action transfers itself.
- A Kind of Magic - Transfer power counters among your own minions.
Note that Change of Venue is not an example of transferring an action; you return an action to your hand and replay it; you don't transfer the action.
The term undead refers to a class of monsters that say "Undead" as part of their ability. These monsters are:
There are no particular rules for undead monsters, but a few card abilities refer to the class of undead monsters:
- Poultrygeist - Ongoing: This monster has +1 power for each other undead monster here.
- Turner - Destroy an undead monster here OR shuffle a random minion from your discard pile into your deck.
- Whack-A-Ghoul - After an undead monster is played here, place it on the bottom of the monster deck.
A lot of cards state a deadline for their abilities, commonly "until the end of the turn" or more rarely "until the start of your next turn". It means that the effect of the card is applied and that it lasts until the specified moment.
Interestingly, if such a card is removed from play, or if the effect is lost or cancelled, the effect that was already resolved before that still persists until the stated deadline.
For example, all "instant" actions work like that. If you play Swashbuckling, you must discard it after use, but the +1 power boost still remains until the end of the turn. Less intuitively, it also happens with minions. If you play Mr. Grumpers and reduce the power of another minion until the end of the turn, even if you later destroy or return Mr. Grumpers, or cancel its ability on the same turn, the other minion still retains the -2 power. It will only wear off at the end of the turn, as stated.
Howl and Augmentation are the only cards in the game that state "until the end of your turn". Presumably, it is a mistake and a more accurate interpretation is that they were meant to last until the end of the turn they are played.
- Rampage - Reduces a base's breakpoint until the end of the turn.
- The Deep Ones - Boosts your minions' power until the end of the turn.
- Glymmer - Gives you a choice of two effects that both last until the start of your next turn.
- Bruiser - Loses its abilities until the start of your next turn.
Void Where Prohibited Edit
These rules appear in the various rulebooks.
- Often, card text and rules text will conflict. When there's a fight, card text wins. It has a black belt in rule-fu. So there’s an invisible “unless stated otherwise” with every rule in this book. Exception: Minion power and base breakpoint are never reduced below zero.
- If cards conflict, the one that says you can't do something beats the one that says you can.
- If multiple effects would happen at the same time, the player whose turn it is chooses the order. If a single effect affects multiple players, the order starts with the current player and goes clockwise.
- You can play a card even if its ability can’t or doesn’t happen. For example, you can play an action that destroys a minion even if no minions are in play, or if the minion you choose is immune to destruction. This helps you get unneeded cards out of your hand.
- You must follow a card’s ability, even if it’s bad for you. Exceptions: Extra cards are optional, and Talents are always optional, as are abilities that say you “may” do them.
- If an ability says “any number” you may choose zero. You may play a card that says “all” even if there are no targets.
- If you get to play extra minions or actions outside the Play Cards phase, you must play those extra cards immediately or not at all.
- When a card that others can see goes to the hand, deck or discard pile, it goes to the one belonging to the card’s owner (i.e. the player whose deck the card came from), no matter who played or controlled it, unless it originated from a special additional deck, like the Madness deck. Madness cards that you discard go to your discard pile, you can only return them to the Madness deck if you are told you can by a card (like the Madness card itself). Exception: monsters and treasures go their respective discard piles.
- When a card leaves play, any cards and counters on it are discarded.
- Anyone may look through any discard pile at any time. And yes, zombie fans, they will be rifling through yours all the time if they’re playing smart to keep track of what you have....
- Specials may be played at any time they are applicable, even on other players' turns.
- If you are playing with the Obligatory Cthulhu Set, remember to check for Madness cards VP reduction at the end of the game. If, after players have counted their Madness cards up, any players are tied for most victory points, the player with the lowest number of Madness card wins.
- “A minion” or “minions” means any minion in play, including monsters and treasures, unless stated otherwise. Exception: “Play a minion” refers to minions in the hand.
- If a card resets a base’s breakpoint, that refers to its printed value. Monster power and other effects add to or subtract from that value.
- If a monster is controlled by a player, its power adds to the player’s power at that base. Otherwise, its power adds to the base’s breakpoint.
- Monsters and treasures belong to no player or faction, and have no owner or hand. A monster has no controller unless a player takes control of it.
- Monsters are not opponents or “other players” to anyone, but each player is “another player” to monsters.
- Monsters and treasures have no owner or faction. Monsters don’t go to a hand, and are only controlled if an ability lets a player take control of them.
- A player who destroys a monster gets its treasure.
- Monsters and treasures always go to their discard piles when they leave play.
- The power of a minion not in play is only the number printed on it, but once in play its power includes all modifications. Its power may never go below zero.
- If not stated, the effects of an ability expire at the end of the turn, or when its card leaves play, whichever is sooner. Exception: with no stated deadline, a control change of a minion lasts indefinitely.
- “You” on a minion, action, or titan means the controller of the card; on a base it means any player it describes, often the current player. “Other players” means everyone except “you”. “Your” cards are those you control, whether or not you own them.
- “Here” means the base the card is at; “there” means the base just referred to on the card.
- If you “look” at a card, show it to no one else. If you “reveal” it, show it to everyone else. If you “search” a deck or discard pile for a card you must reveal the card chosen. After searching a deck it must be shuffled.
AEG released an official FAQ in 2012 September. This FAQ contains several reminders and assurances that the rules and cards are meant to be interpreted literally, and does not contain any additional or modified rules. A careful reader of the rules and card abilities will learn nothing from the official FAQ.
- ↑ https://boardgamegeek.com/article/15455888#15455888
- ↑ https://boardgamegeek.com/article/15664458#15664458
- ↑ https://boardgamegeek.com/article/25184584#25184584
- ↑ https://boardgamegeek.com/article/20211371#20211371
- ↑ https://boardgamegeek.com/article/20231922#20231922
- ↑ https://boardgamegeek.com/article/11934123#11934123
- ↑ https://boardgamegeek.com/article/17014769#17014769
- ↑ http://www.alderac.com/smashup/files/2012/08/SU-FAQ.pdf