Alright everyone. Break out your overalls and pipe wrenches. It’s time to save a princess! Well, there’s not actually any princess in this game. It’s more about playing against other plumbers for what I imagine is the opportunity to rescue the princess. This is Super Mario Bros: Power Up Card Game.
Mario Bros Power Up, which I use for short, is a player elimination and a take that game. It’s basically the Screw Your Neighbor card game with a mix of power ups that helps or hinder players, including yourself. It goes round to round until there’s only one player left. It’s a game that is 3-8 players and has a varied game time dependent on players in the round.
The rules are pretty simple and can be explained while setting up. Everyone starts with 4 life tokens. Then, everyone is dealt a level card from the level deck. Level cards are pictured as levels in Mario Bros and has a number of coins that range from 1-12 or a Castle card. Players do not want the lowest card. Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, they can either keep their card or exchange it to the person to their left. That player has to trade with them unless they have a Castle Card. This goes around until it gets back to the dealer. The dealer can keep their card, or exchange it for the top card of the deck. At the same time, everyone reveals their card, and the lowest coins lose a life token. If to reveal a Castle card, people can’t trade with you and you can’t lose the round. Pretty straight forward, but that’s without the power up cards.
Power up cards. These are the Take That! cards of the game. There’s a plethora of different power up cards. They range from adding coins to your level card, removing coins from other players levels, trading levels with anyone at the table, looking at a players level before trading, or even trading your card with the top of the deck. It adds a lot of play to the game. Where before it was just luck, now it has some strategy. You start the game with just one power up card. You gain additional power up cards from revealing castles or sharing a card level with another player. The power up cards will say when you should use it on the bottom of the card. Some are used when revealing levels and others are used while trading levels. When increasing or decreasing a cards level, you only use the most recent power up card played.
So, Mario edition of Screw your neighbor with power ups. What do I think? I love the ease of play and look of the game. The life tokens are cardboard punch outs, the cards are good quality, and everything fits into the box. It’s a great gateway game. I was able to play this with people that aren’t usually into games besides the classics. It was familiar enough as a card game, and obscure enough to be something different than your typical card game.
We made a couple of house rules when we played. These we really errors in learning the rules, but I feel like it still made the game fun and fast paced. First, we dealt out a power card each round with the level card. We misinterpreted the set up rules with each turn rules. Second, when we had a larger group, we had everyone start with three lives. It made the game shorter. Lastly, we counted all the modifiers on the card played. Since we were handing out power up cards like candy, it made sense to count all the cards on it. If there was a power up that changed the level to either 0 or 10, we counted additional modifiers at that level.
I recently played this game with my grandma. She’s an easy person to read when it comes to if she enjoys or dislikes something. She didn’t get the power ups at first, but the game play was familiar enough that she picked up the game quickly. She had a blast changing player’s levels for her advantage, and even ended up wining the game. When I told her that I was writing a blog and reviewing games. I had to explain what a blog was, and the first game she suggested as a review was this very game. It might have been because it was the most recent one we played at the time, but I want to believe it was because she liked messing with people’s levels for her victory. She also asked if there was another name for Screw Your Neighbor. I’m not sure if there is, but just to count for her it’s written in this review three times now.
I would recommend this game to anyone that loves card games, chances to screw other players over, and anyone looking for a light and easy game to play. Currently, this game is only sold at Target. Mario Power Up. Easy enough to learn, hard to survive your ruthless grandmother.