Smash Up: Cease and Desist Review - RipOff's In Disguise!

I really don't know what to say here! It's another expansion for Smash Up, what else is there to say? If you've got this far and don't know what Smash Up is, then here's the original review, but I think the vast majority of you reading this will know what I'm on about! Take two decks, shuffle them up, get out there and fight off other players. Not too long, a little fiddly at times, don't play with 4 players, but otherwise a fun, light card game.

Cease and Desist is a deliberate parody of four TV/Movie franchises as opposed to specific groups of people/monsters etc. Star Trek, Star Wars, Transformers and Game of Thrones. An odd mix, but at least they're well known and universally loved in some way or another. I like all four so that's a good start, no duds so far. But that Geeky Box of mine is filling up more and more so how much longer can they pursue this?





Designer: Paul Petersen
Publisher: AEG
Age: 10+
Players: 2
Time: 30-60 minutes
RRP: £23.99


From Board Game Geek:


Smash Up: Cease and Desist can be played on its own as a two-player game or combined with other Smash Up titles to allow for up to four players to compete for control of bases at the same time.
Smash Up: Cease and Desist includes four factions — Astroknights, Changerbots, Star Roamers, and Ignobles — with 22 cards for each faction. To play, you shuffle together any two factions, whether from this set or any other Smash Up title, then start playing.


STAR ROAMERS


A classic Star Trek crew at your disposal, including all those Red-Shirt ensigns that are designed to simply take the hit for the other crew, how fitting! These are an interesting faction as many of their abilities involve "replacement" effects or bouncing minions to hand. If you have a faction alongside them with a lot of "when played" abilities, it's quite satisifying.

It's not quite the same as Pirates who move minions across bases, but it's still a strong element of mobility that they have, while protecting each other from harm. So you shouldn't have an issue keeping up the pressure of minions turn after turn even though you don't necessarily have many powerful ones off hand.






CHANGERBOTS


Our Transformers parody functions pretty much as you would expect. You've got a selection of unique Transformer minions in very much the same style as the Autobots, right down to the Optimus Prime alternative which is a busted up RV! I especially like how Arcee from the 80's series has downgraded from a motorcycle to a girl's pushbike! Other in-jokes are there which fans of the franchise will recognise such as one card "The Touch", which if you don't know what that is, you didn't reach the peak of your childhood in the 80's!

Generally they have a lot of actions that can be played on minions adding new talent abilities. I used these first with the Superheros from a previous expansion and it worked out very well actually, though it was weird to have Mild Mannered Citizens turning into a Transformer. I can only dread how much power would be gained if they were combined with the Steampunk faction.


ASTROKNIGHTS


You'd think they would all about mind control and manipulation, but no, actually this Star Wars rip-off has a smattering of unique minions with a wide range of abilities usually tailored to power gain or card draw. There's certainly a lot of easily recognisable references from the cards that cause a lot of giggles.

Rather than being a great faction by themselves, they feel more like they're playing support. A lot of other factions can benefit from the extra plays and card draws that they use, especially Killer Plants who utilise +1 counters as well as a lot of low strength minions that pair nicely here.






IGNOBLES


For the Game of Thrones fans, the Ignobles are for you. As well as parodying a lot of the "King's Hand" style of titles from the series, their whole gimmick is giving control of their minions to opponents in return for extra benefits, only to eventually take them back at a later stage. Diplomacy mixed with betrayal all in 20 cards. And of course, some random dragons thrown in for good measure.

They are not the most amusing faction in the set, however one card in particular called "Inevitable Betrayal" is so perfect with its chosen artwork that any fans of a certain cancelled Fox show won't be able to resist smiling at it. It goes to show that some of the in-jokes reach beyond the intended parodies in this set and so I do recommend caution acquiring this set if you don't think you'll get the jokes.


Verdict


I had my doubts, but this is one of the better expansions to date! It's heavily dependant on your knowledge of the series though and sometimes unrelated ones as well, but assuming that's the case you'll laugh at a lot of the amusing references here. It's not all just comedy though, the individual factions work very well mechanically and so far combine nicely with older sets. Obviously it's physically impossible to try them all out, but I don't play Smash Up to find broken combos.

They're all feel very different from each other and even though they're not the easiest of factions to grasp, they're a long way from the overly fiddly extras that the Cthulhu and Munchkin expansions added in. Even with these added my Geeky Box has room for more so if you're a Smash Up fan, feel free to add this to your collection!




BROKEN RATING - 8 Copyright Lawsuits!


If you are interested in this game you can find a copy at your friendly local gaming store - http://www.findyourgamestore.co.uk/



YOU WILL LIKE SMASH UP CEASE AND DESIST IF:



You're a fan of any of the series parodied within - there's a lot of in-jokes.


You enjoy Smash Up and want more factions - that's usually the case!



YOU WILL NOT LIKE SMASH UP CEASE AND DESIST IF:


You only use these factions - they may be standalone, but it's better to combine with other sets.


You've reached a peak of how many factions you need!


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