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Smash up

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.

Through the course of the game's expansions, the rulebook has gone through many changes. In some expansions, 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.

Please see Template:Probably and Template:Houserule for the color key used in this article and elsewhere on the wiki.

For the terms and definition relevant to the game, please check the Glossary page.

Setup Edit

Smash Up can be played with 2-4 players. Follow these steps to set up a game of Smash Up:

  1. Each player chooses 2 factions.
  2. Set up the base deck.
  3. Set up the monster and treasure decks. (Munchkin expansion only)
  4. Set up the Madness deck. (Cthulhu expansion only)
  5. Draw N+1 bases, N being the number of players.
  6. Each player draws 5 cards from their deck.
  7. Determine the first player and start the game.

Choose 2 Factions Edit

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.

You can use this method or some additional methods like all-random or ban+pick on Geeky Box Matchmaking page.

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 faction.

Each player shuffles the 20 cards from each of their chosen factions together to form their deck of 40 cards.

Factions with titans only: Place the corresponding titan(s) near your deck.

Each player has their own deck, hand, and 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 taking 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).

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.

Leave space for a base discard pile. This deck and discard pile work the same as described above for players.

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]

Prepare the Monster and Treasure Decks Edit

Note: This step is only necessary if one or more players have chosen factions 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.

Prepare the Madness Deck Edit

Note: This step is only necessary if one or more players have chosen factions from The Obligatory Cthulhu Set, or if you are using the old rules for setting up the base deck and are using the bases from that expansion.

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 face-up to the side within easy reach so if one player needs one, it can be drawn or passed to them. This deck is face-up to avoid confusion with a regular player deck and because it doesn't matter if you can see the face of the cards.

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 Bases Edit

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. (In practice, it doesn't matter which player plays the monsters when a Munchkin base comes into play, since they don't get credit for playing monsters this way.)

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.

Draw Hands Edit

Each player draws 5 cards from the top of their deck. This forms each player's hand that they will begin the game with.

Mulligan Edit

If you have no minions in your starting 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 earliest 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. In That ’70s Expansion, it is whoever watched a show made in the ‘70s most recently. In Oops, You Did It Again, it is whoever most recently repeated a common mistake goes first.

In The Bigger Geekier Box, it is whoever was most recently (by order of priority):

  • abducted by an alien,
  • shanghaied by a pirate,
  • bitten by a vampire,
  • burned by a dragon,
  • kissed by a princess,
  • driven insane by Cthulhu,
  • attacked by a teddy bear, or
  • eaten by an orc.

If no one meets the criteria, then you'll just have to figure out who goes first on your own.

It seems that the player to take the first turn is not necessarily the same as the first player to have chosen a faction if you use the Kickin’ It Queensberry method. The first player to choose a faction is always chosen randomly, while the player to take the first turn is determined based on the aforementioned expansion-based criteria.[probably]

As with most card games, turn order is clockwise (i.e. after your turn, the player to your left takes a turn).

Turns Edit

Each turn goes through five phases:

  1. The Start Turn phase, where all the things that happen at the start of the turn happen.
  2. The Play Cards phase, where most of the game happens.
  3. The Score Bases phase, where bases score and VPs are awarded.
  4. The Draw 2 Cards phase, where the current player draws two cards and discards down to 10.
  5. The End Turn phase, where all the things that happen at the end of the turn happen.

Phase 1: Start Turn Edit

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).

First, abilities that expire at the start of a turn all expire simultaneously as soon as the Start Turn phase starts and before any cards triggered by that phase are resolved. Next, in accordance with the Card Resolution Order, if multiple cards in play must be resolved simultaneously at the start of a turn, the Current Player decides the order.

Note that if the Current Player has any buried cards, they may uncover one (and only one) of them for free during that phase (see Burying for more details). This also counts as an effect that can be resolved at the start of the turn and so, if they want to uncover one of their buried cards and there are abilities that are triggered by that phase, they can resolve all of those in the order they want: They can uncover their buried card first, last, or in-between resolving two triggered abilities.

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.[1]

Note that an exception to this is when you use a Sprout's ability to play another Sprout. The Bigger Geekier Box rulebook provided an erratum only for this card that prevents it from triggering immediately if it's played during your Start Turn phase.

Phase 2: Play Cards Edit

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, or for a future 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.

Also, a peculiarity of this phase is when a card grants you an extra card, it can generally be saved for later in the same phase -- something this wiki sometimes refers to as "banking" the extra card play. This only happens during your own Play Cards phase; in other circumstances, the extra card must always be played immediately or not at all. Check the definition of "extra" for specifics about when an extra card can be saved for later or must be played immediately or not at all.

For more information on how to play cards, please refer to the Playing Cards section of this page.

Using Talents and "On Your Turn" Abilities Edit

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 "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). Subterranean Lair used to be useable multiple times in a single turn, but this card's clarification received an erratum in The Bigger Geekier Box rulebook. For the Talents, some abilities allow a minion to use one of its talents an extra time (e.g. Standing Stones, Great Wolf Spirit, Expert Timing).

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 one card has several talents (e.g. because of Potion of Redundancy Potion, Passengers, The Touch), you can activate each talent separately unless stated otherwise.

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.[2]

Phase 3: Score Bases Edit

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 reach 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:

  1. 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 to 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".
  2. 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.
  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, Megabot). These can be recognized as they say "Before a base scores", "Before the base scores", "Before this base scores" or "Before another 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. Abilities that say "Before 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 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.
    • Note: Remember that cards in play should have their special abilities resolved before players play any special cards. For example, Secret Volcano Headquarters' special ability should resolve before a player plays a Shinobi.
  4. 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. Rhodes Plaza Mall, 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.
  5. 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 (even if they have 0 total power there, e.g. a Worker without +1 power counters), or at least 1 total power on that base to get a treasure (even if they have 0 minion there, e.g. Tail Smash). 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.
  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) There's actually an implied "After this base scores" to the ability and so it can only be activated during this step like any regular "after scoring" abilities.
    • Note: If several players are tied for the same position and therefore the same use of a base's ability, they each get to use it, starting with the Current Player and going clockwise. Though, if doing the base's ability several times doesn't make sense (e.g. School of Wizardry), only the first appropriate player gets to use it.
  7. 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.
  8. Discard the base. During this step, the scored base is simply discarded into the base discard pile. Then, go to step 9.
  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]
    • Note: If the base deck is empty and you need to draw a base, shuffle the base discard pile and make a new base deck.
    • 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.
  10. 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 Cards Edit

  1. Draw 2 cards.
  2. 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 Turn Edit

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".

  1. 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 simultaneously at the end of a turn, the Current Player decides the order. Then, all abilities that expire at the end of the turn expire simultaneously after all that.
  2. 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, discard pile and buried cards, 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), titans (which are a distinct kind of card) and buried cards (which are a distinct kind of card until they are uncovered).

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. You can try to play a minion on a base where it can't be played (e.g. trying to play War Raptor on Tsar's Palace), but that will cause the minion to never enter play and be discarded without effect.

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, step by step in its written order and have no further effect.
    • 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.
    • 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, even if the card is removed from play or has its ability cancelled.
    • Some rare abilities set something to happen at a later point in the turn, e.g. Critter Coach's "at the end of the turn". In that case, the effect is programmed to happen when the card is played and will be resolved when the time is appropriate, even if the card is removed from play or has its ability cancelled.
  • An ability that starts with "Ongoing:" immediately becomes active. Unlike on-play abilities, it lasts for as long 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").
      • If you play a card with an Ongoing ability that triggers during a certain phase and that current phase matches it, you must immediately resolve the Ongoing ability. For example, when you play a Water Lily during your Start Turn phase, you must immediately draw a card.
      • If you play a card with an Ongoing ability that triggers when a certain event takes place and that event has just occurred, you don't resolve it because it's already too late, but you will be able to resolve next time it's relevant. For example, when you use a Sprout's ability to play a Hammerhead, Hammerhead won't gain a +1 power counter from Sprout's destruction because it wasn't yet in play when it happened. One exception to this is Gorgodzolla, which has been clarified to trigger whenever it is played or moved by Tiny Priestesses and Oh, No!.
  • 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 immediately resolve the Special ability.

Step 4. Resolve card reactions. Some abilities may have been 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 and that the card "witnessed", i.e. was present when it happened. Several cards either in play or in hand can therefore be triggered during the previous steps and must be resolved during this step. 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.[probably] (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 a base in play, and place the action there with positioning similar to a minion played there (see above). You can try to play the action on a base where it can't be played (e.g. trying to play it on The Dread Gazebo), but that will cause the action to be discarded without effect. At this point, if you manage to play the action on a base, 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) You can try to play the action on a minion on which it can't be played (e.g. trying to play it on Dork Orc), but that will cause the action to be discarded without effect. At this point, if you manage to play the action on a minion, the action is "in play" and "on a minion", 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, which is defined as a "standard" action, the action is never "in play".[probably] This kind of action will go to the discard pile after all of its abilities and card reactions are resolved. (e.g. Lend a Hand cannot shuffle itself into your deck because it's not in the discard pile when it resolves.)

Step 3. Resolve 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 triggered during the previous steps and must be resolved during this step. 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 that they go to. 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. (In practice, it doesn't matter which player plays the monsters when a Munchkin base comes into play, since they don't get credit for playing monsters this way.)

Some rare bases have an ability that resolves as soon as they come into play (e.g. Moon Dumpster, Sheep Shrine).

It's also possible to play a base with an ability that triggers during a certain phase of a turn, for example when scoring Unicrave, you can very well replace it with a base that also has a before-scoring ability. In that case, you must probably resolve its ability immediately.[probably]

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.

Resolving an Ability Edit

If 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 (moving one of your minions) before moving onto the second sentence (placing +1 power counters on it).

If you're unable to do one effect, you must still continue to do the rest, unless there's a very clear dependence between two effects. Namely, if an ability goes "Do X to do Y. Do Z", if you're unable to do X, you won't be able to do Y as it is dependent on you actually doing X. On the other hand, you must do Z, regardless of what happened with doing X or Y.

If resolving an ability gives you an extra play, you can always choose to play it immediately and sometimes, circumstances force you to play it immediately or it will be lost. Otherwise, you're usually able to save that extra play for later during your Play Cards phase. (Check the definition of "extra" for more details.) If you choose to play the card immediately, then the resolution of the current card is put on hold while you now resolve the abilities of the extra card. After it's fully resolved, then you must go back to resolving the card that conjured the extra card and finish the resolution. (Check the Card Resolution Order for more details.)

Sometimes resolving the card's abilities, or even just playing the card, will trigger other cards in play or in hand. The timing of when those cards must be resolved/played is detailed in the next section.

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. Finish resolving the card just played.

Step 2. If other cards were in the middle of resolving (so the card from step 1 essentially interrupted them), finish resolving these cards.

For example, if you play Commission and play Fledgling Vampire as the extra minion, Fledgling Vampire becomes the latest played card and must be resolved completely (Step 1) before you finish resolving Commission (Step 2), which is still in the middle of resolution. That's important because if another player has a single minion with a higher power than you there, you can have Fledgling Vampire gain a +1 power counter before moving that minion away, therefore decreasing that player's total power after Fledgling Vampire's ability is used.
Another example, if a player plays a minion and another player plays Control Minion as a Special. Control Minion being the latest played card must be resolved completely (Step 1), granting that player control of the played minion, and they then finish resolving the minion's ability for themself (Step 2).

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.

For example, if you play a Psychologist on Mountains of Madness, you must first resolve Psychologist's ability since it's the played card (Step 1) before resolving Mountains of Madness (Step 3). This is important because you cannot get rid of the Madness card given by Mountains of Madness with Psychologist's ability since its ability was already resolved before you draw the Madness card.

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.

For example, if you play Torn Apart and destroy a minion while you have a Mako in hand, you must first finish resolving Torn Apart by drawing a card (Step 1), potentially resolve cards that may be in the middle of resolution (Step 2), then maybe resolve any cards in play that were triggered by Torn Apart (Step 3, for example if you destroy a minion on a base where there is Blood in the Water, if The Count or Secret Agent is in play, or if the destroyed minion is a Gremlin), and finally you can play your Mako from your hand (Step 4). Note that if the card drawn with Torn Apart is a Mako, that Mako can be played even though it wasn't in your hand when the destruction happens since no other player can prove it wasn't there (cf. Torn Apart's clarification).

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.

Note that, while the rules specify that the card from step 1 is a card being played, you can easily replace it by the use of a Talent or the activation of an Ongoing ability and resolve the triggered card reactions accordingly. For example, if you use Monster Tornado's talent to move a power-2 minion to a Cub Scout's base, Cub Scout's ability will be resolved during the step 3 of the previous chart.

Also, note that the cards activated during step 3 and 4 are any cards of the type "After X, do Y", where X is something that happened during step 1 and 2. For example, if you use Headlong to move a minion of power 2 to a Cub Scout's base, it triggers Cub Scout's ability but it will only be activated after Headlong has been fully resolved. At this point the minion will then be power 4 and therefore not destroyable by Cub Scout.

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

The only minion in play is a Mimic, so its power is currently 0. If a player plays a Nightstalker on Mimic's base, can they choose to destroy the Mimic?

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]

Triggering and removing After X abilities from play Edit

By definition, an "After X, do Y" ability is only resolved during either step 3 (if it's a card in play, e.g. Imperial Dragon, Nukebot) or step 4 (if it's a card in hand, e.g. Mako, Snuggly Bear) as a reaction to something that happened during step 1.

For "After X, do Y" abilities that only work while in play, a very important timing aspect is that while they are resolved some time after X happened, they still must have "seen" X happening, or in more technical terms, the card must have been present when X occured.

For example, if a Flock is in play, if a player plays Headlong to move their minion away from Flock's base, Flock's ability, having "seen" the minion move away, was triggered and so will move as well after Headlong is completely resolved (the player still has to place +1 power counters on their minion). Another example, if Flock is again in play, but this time a player plays Trade Winds and has Flock trade places with a minion on another base, Flock will arrive on a base where a minion was moved away, but Flock itself didn't "see" the other minion moving, so it won't trigger and so won't follow the other minion when it's time to resolve card reactions.

Another example, if a Hammerhead is in play and a player plays A Little Bit Frightening to destroy another minion on the same base, Hammerhead's ability, having "seen" a minion being destroyed, was triggered and so will gain a +1 power counter after A Little Bit Frightening is completely resolved (the player still has to place +1 power counters on their minions). Another example, if Hammerhead wasn't in play but the Shark player had Blood in the Water there, Blood in the Water's ability, having "seen" a minion being destroyed, was triggered and so will allow its controller to play an extra minion there. Suppose that player immediately plays their Hammerhead there, that Hammerhead wasn't present when the minion was destroyed and so it won't gain a +1 power counter.

So, the important thing is that once an "After X, do Y" card is triggered, you must wait until the relevant steps to resolve them. Another peculiar situation happens when you do something that does triggers a card but also removes it before it can be resolved, for example if you play a Tiger Assassin and destroy an Imperial Dragon. The common resolution is that a triggered card will be resolved no matter what even thought the card itself is no longer in play. Following the example, the Dragon player will draw a card even though their Imperial Dragon is no longer in play.

This is logical for cards that take their own removal into consideration. For example, if a player destroys a Nukebot, the Nukebot is triggered but the Robot player still has to wait until step 3 to resolve Nukebot's ability, even though Nukebot is no longer in play when it's time to resolve it! This also applies to Gremlin, Brownie, Igor, Samurai-Chan, Bushi, etc. But also to Death Wisher! Death Wisher triggers after any minion is destroyed by another player. Death Wisher is a minion itself and so it also triggers from its own destruction and will be resolved even though it's no longer in play! This is backed up by its clarification.

Moreover, this behaviour is actually the norm for ALL "After X, do Y" abilities. If you trigger an "After X, do Y" ability, not matter what happens to the card, it WILL be resolved in step 3 even if it's no longer in play.

For example, if you play an action that destroys/returns Secret Agent, you will have to discard a card in step 3 because Secret Agent was triggered. This is backed up by its clarification as well.

Feeling Lucky? is an exception to that rule, but that's because its wording takes that behaviour into account. It states that you can only destroy the minion if Feeling Lucky itself "is still on it". So if you play an action that destroys it, Feeling Lucky? won't trigger because its wording prevents it.

Two notable exceptions are Leprechaun and Flame Trap. Those cards received clarifications in The Bigger Geekier Box rulebook that describe behaviours distinct from that norm. In fact, those should have received a similar wording as Feeling Lucky? as erratas to take into account their additional restrictions.

Comprehensive Card Resolution Order Edit

Here is an attempt at classifying all the different abilities that may activate from or interrupt a card play/use of a card ability. These are based on various clarifications and rulings in order to enrich the official Card Resolution Order.

  1. Declare that you're playing a card, using a talent or using an "on your turn" ability and reveal which card it is. If you're playing a card and the card is not a standard action (i.e. one that's not playable on a minion or a base), you also need to play it on a base or a minion.
    • If you're playing a card, any player may interrupt you with a "when a player plays a card" ability, e.g. Wil Wheaton, Force of Wil, Control Minion, and immediately resolve that ability.
  2. Resolve the ability of the card from step 1, step by step in its written order. That card will be referred to as THE CARD for the rest of the Resolution Order.
    • At any point of the resolution, any player may interrupt you before you carry out a part of THE CARD's ability with a "if X would happen, do Y instead" ability, a "when X happens, do Y instead" ability or a "before X happens, do Y instead" ability where X is what that part of the ability or the result of it (like the card going to the discard pile), e.g. Buccaneer, Ensign, The House of Nine Lives, Magical Staff, Drone, and immediately do the part written as Y.
      • Once that's done, you may still do the rest of X if there's anything left to do with it and continue resolving the rest of THE CARD's ability. For example, if you play Powderkeg and intend to destroy several minions on a base, other players may want to interrupt you with The House of Nine Lives and save some or all of the minions they own from destruction. The minions whose owner didn't want to save are still destroyed once the interruption is completely resolved.
    • At any point of the resolution, any player may also interrupt you after you carry out a part of THE CARD's ability with a "when X happens, do Y" ability, e.g. Diva, Dancing King, Funky Town, and immediately do the part written as Y. Once that's done, you can continue resolving the rest of THE CARD's ability.
      • Note that this also works if the card that says "when X happens, do Y" is removed from play when X happens, i.e. if you destroy Dancing King with a standard action, its controller can still copy the destruction.
    • At any point of the resolution, any player may interrupt you after you carry out a part of THE CARD's ability with an "after X happens, do Y" ability, e.g. Tar Pits, Opportunist, Imperial Dragon, Death Wisher. However, the part written as Y will only be resolved after you are done resolving THE CARD (during step 3 or 4 as appropriate).
      • Note that if X causes the removal of the card that says "after X happens, do Y", that card can still be activated by X and have its Y effect happen once THE CARD is fully resolved. For example, if you destroy Death Wisher, its ability was still triggered and so its controller will be able to destroy one of your minions after you are done resolving your card.
    • If a part of THE CARD's ability grants you an extra card play, you can choose to play it immediately or save it for later in the phase (if so, that will only be after going through all the steps of this Card Resolution Order). Sometimes, circumstances won't allow you to save it for later, and so you must either play it immediately or not at all (the extra card is then lost).
      • If played immediately, then you must put the resolution of THE CARD on hold and fully resolve the extra card's ability before resuming THE CARD's resolution where you left off. It's entirely possible that the extra card play triggers even more cards. In that case, abilities that say "when", "before" or "if" are resolved exactly like previously mentioned, while abilities that say "after" will be added to the cards to be resolved after THE CARD's complete resolution.
  3. After you are done resolving THE CARD, players must now resolve "after X happens, do Y" abilities that were previously triggered. The abilities that were triggered while they were in play, whether or not the card is still in play at that point, are resolved first in the order chosen by the current player, like it's described in the official Card Resolution Order. For example, The Homeworld, Death Wisher, Nukebot, Imperial Dragon.
    • It doesn't matter if the triggered card is still in play or not by that point. Once triggered, its ability will be resolved no matter what. For example, Death Wisher's ability still works after it is destroyed.
    • Note that the clarifications for Shogun’s Palace and So-So Corral specify a further hierarchy of "after X happens, do Y" abilities: You resolve "after X happens, do Y" abilities that were triggered by played cards in the reverse order of their apppearance. So if you play card 1 and then card 2, you would resolve cards in play reacting to card 2 before cards in play reacting to card 1. It's not clear though if you would fully resolve all card reactions for one card before resolving them for the other, or if that order only applies to reactive cards in play.
  4. The abilities in hand are resolved next in clockwise order from the current player, like it's described in the official Card Resolution Order. For example, Mako, Snuggly Bear, Crypt Looter.
  5. If THE CARD was not played on another card, e.g. a standard action, you must now discard it into the appropriate discard pile, unless an ability (it can come from the card itself) "reprogrammed" it to go elsewhere instead of being discarded. For example, Favor of Dionysus, Woodland Helpers, Non-Infinite Loop.

Here are a few practical examples:

  • The House of Nine Lives's ability necessarily interrupts the ability of the played card before a destruction happens because of Mild Mannered Citizen. When you resolve Mild Mannered Citizen's ability, you first destroy it and search your deck to play an extra minion, and Mild Mannered Citizen must be successfully destroyed for it to work. The House of Nine Lives thwarts its ability by preventing its destruction, and so it can only happen when you intend to destroy the minion and before you can actually carry it out. If it only happened after Mild Mannered Citizen's ability is fully resolved, it would be impossible to undo the searching and shuffling of the deck to return to the state of the game before the destruction attempt, and the order of the deck matters for some factions. If it happened right after the destruction takes place only to undo it, it would raise the question of other abilities that react to the destruction of minions, like Hang in There, Cave of Shinies, etc. So the most logical timing for The House of Nine Lives and other similar "if X would happen, do Y instead" abilities (and any abilities that allow you to do something instead of another) is when you voice your plan to do X, but before you actually carry it out.
  • Official clarification states that Death Wisher's ability works even if Death Wisher itself is destroyed. Its trigger is "after another player destroys a minion they don't control", so as long as that trigger happened while Death Wisher is still in play, the rest of the ability will be resolved no matter what. In fact, if there was a card that said "Return a minion into its owner's hand and destroy a minion you don't control", and if you return Death Wisher to hand and destroy a minion, Death Wisher no longer being in play when you destroy the minion, it won't be triggered. On the other hand if there was a card that said "Destroy a minion you don't control and return a minion to its owner's hand", and if you choose to destroy a different minion and then return Death Wisher, then Death Wisher was in play when you destroyed the minion and therefore "witnessed" the destruction. Its ability was then triggered and will happen even though Death Wisher was returned to hand. Note that even though Death Wisher is triggered by the destruction, its own destructive ability will only happen after the card that caused the destruction is fully resolved.
  • Feeling Lucky? has a very peculiar wording. Its trigger is "After this minion’s controller plays an action" and its resulting effect is "destroy the minion if this card is still on it". The "if this card is still on it" is an odd choice of word. According to the official Card Resolution Order, the destruction happens after the action's ability has been fully resolved. But when is the "Feeling Lucky?" triggered? Is it triggered right when the player reveals they're playing the action? Or is it triggered when you're checking if there are any cards that react to the player playing the action? If it is triggered during the step where you check for card reactions, then "if this card is still on it" is useless: The card is obviously still on the minion because you're currently checking if that minion's controller played an action. So the moment when the card is triggered and the moment when its effect is carried out are necessarily different, hence why "Feeling Lucky?" specifies that is must still be on the minion. If the player plays an action and transfers "Feeling Lucky?" to another minion, "Feeling Lucky?" is definitely triggered when the player reveals the action they are playing, but before its ability starts resolving. Then when it's time to check for card reactions, "Feeling Lucky?"'s ability is resolved from having been triggered, but it won't destroy any minions because it no longer is on the minion it was on before the action's resolution. This example shows that there's a clear difference in timing for when a "reactive" card is triggered and when its ability is resolved. It is triggered as soon as it "witnesses" its trigger happening but its effect will only be resolved later.

Unbounded Turns Edit

There are a number of ways for turns to last forever.

Delay of Game Edit

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.

UPDATE. This scenario was resolved in The Bigger Geekier Box rulebook thanks to a simple erratum. A Collector is now unable to return any Collector minion, including itself..

Infinite Loops Edit

As of the Pretty Pretty Smash Up set, there are some situations that cause infinite loops and break the game.

Buccaneer vs. Cub Scout Edit

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[3]

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 Sight Edit

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.

This loop can happen with any Ongoing ability that causes a loss in power, such as Enchantment, Poison, etc.

UPDATE. This scenario and any similar ones were resolved in The Bigger Geekier Box rulebook.

  • In the case of Poison or similar play-on-minion actions (e.g. Grumpiness, the minion becoming immune to the action causes that action's destruction. That's because "having an action attached to it" counts as "affecting", and if a minion becomes unaffectable by an action that's already on it, that action is destroyed, therefore ending its effect.
  • In the case of Sleep Spores or similar play-on-base actions (e.g. Enchantment), the card that grants the immunity "tolerates" the action affecting the minion, because that's what made the card become unaffectable. For example, in the case of a power-3 minion being lowered to power 2 by Sleep Spores and therefore entering In Plain Sight's range of protection, In Plain Sight now protects it from being affected by other players' cards, except the -1 power from Sleep Spores. It "accepts" Sleep Spores lowering the minion's power in order to keep it within its protective range.

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”, “minions”, or “an action” means any minion/action in play, including monsters and treasures, unless stated otherwise. Exception: “Play a minion/action” means one from 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.
  • Power counters on minions and titans always modify their power. Power counters have no effect on action or base cards or buried cards.
  • 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.

Official FAQ Edit

AEG released an official FAQ in 2012 September.[4] 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.

ReferencesEdit

  1. https://boardgamegeek.com/article/15455888#15455888
  2. https://boardgamegeek.com/article/25184584#25184584
  3. https://boardgamegeek.com/article/11934123#11934123
  4. http://www.alderac.com/smashup/files/2012/08/SU-FAQ.pdf