The first expansion to the brilliant Smash Up game. I guess Alderac Entertainment Group knew they were on to something with this very clever board game. This expansion came out 10 years ago (at time of writing) and brought Killer Plants, Steampunks, Bear Cavalry and Ghosts into the Smash Up arena, all of which bring a unique form of play to the table top. At the time this addition was truly amazing on top of the original eight factions. In 2023, it is still a very valid and highly enjoyable expansion set.
There is not a game rules overview this time, please check out my Disney Smash Up blog for a quick overview. Something to keep in mind here is that you can only play a 2-player game with this set alone. Of course, the series is completely interchangeable with everything else Smash Up so you can always “Smash” it up with another set and bring in a 3rd and 4th player.
So, what does Awesome Level 9000 bring to the series?
One of the toughest factions to play against as the Killer Plants spread like wildfire, and also just keep coming back. The rate at which they bring minions into play is ridiculous. Typically, you only get to play one minion a turn but the Killer Plant abilities usually get you 2 or more a turn with relative ease. This allows for more power and the ability to spread out across multiple bases and quickly. They are a fun faction to play with.
I love this faction. They are a highly mobile faction and probably the first faction in the series to have a significantly high “play on a base” actions that stay in play whilst the base is unbroken. They use their tech to move minions ever so quickly between bases which can quickly result in a huge assault of minions on one base in one move. They also bring in a bit of additional power which is always welcome. You need to think a little with them to get the best out of them. They are a highly effective faction.
The Bear Cavalry in Awesome Level 9000 are tough and they like to destroy their opponents. They like to set a trap and if they can build their momentum and get a foot hold on the game, they are going to be a huge challenge to beat. The fact they can destroy many opposing minions makes it that much trickier to build a score on a base that is higher than the Bear Cavalry. They are an excellent faction.
The Ghosts, for me, are one of the hardest factions to use. They thrive on the player having a small hand of cards, or even no hand of cards. This is untypical of Smash Up as it is good to have a hand of cards (up to 10 cards) and choice for your strategy. If you keep a hand of cards with the Ghosts, very simply you will lose. They are weak this way. They are strongest without a hand of cards, plus they have the opportunity for bonus VP’s which is a rarity for most factions. Because of this style of play they do not gel well with all other factions, but can be so good with the right partner. Some players will struggle with these and they are not the best faction to give someone new to the game.
Like all Smash Up expansions, you can use Awesome Level 9000 as a standalone game, 2 players, because you have 4 factions. This is one of Smash Up’s brilliant features. Or if you have just got into Smash Up with some friends and are just playing the base game. Pick this set up and take it along to the gaming session, you will give your opponents a shock and it would be well worth it.
I loved this set when I picked it up many years ago and after all the other factions that have been released through additional expansions, still stands it’s ground against them. It is a brilliant addition to Smash Up with 4 excellent and quite unique factions introduced to the game, particularly the ghosts. If you own Smash Up, you should 100% look to add this Awesome Level 9000 set to your game series.