Welcome back to Flipping the Table: Theme Month. This month's theme is Video Games. Over the course of October and the first week of November, I'll look at various games dealing with Video Game themes. This week we're looking at one of gaming's iconic characters, Mario. This is Super Mario Bros: Power Up.
GAME DESCRIPTION: Super Mario Bros Power Up is a card game published by USAopoly for 3-8 players. Each player has a set of lives that they must avoid losing by using Power-ups and the Levels themselves
SET-UP: Each player starts with 4 Life tokens, 1 Power-up card in their hand, and everyone is dealt 1 Level card face-down. The player to the left of the dealer begins.
LEVELS: Each player may look only at their Level card. Each Level card has either a number from 1 to 12, or a Castle card, which is flipped immediately. During their turn, each player may either keep their card, or trade it with the next players card. Castle cards cannot be traded, so if the next player has a Castle, that player may not trade. The last player is the dealer, and instead of trading, they may discard the card and draw a new card.
LIVES: Once every player has kept or traded their card, then flip all cards. Any players with matching numbers draw a Power-Up card, and the player(s) with the lowest number lose 1 Life token.
POWER-UP: Power-Up cards are represented by the "?" cards. Each Power-up has a variety of effects, from raising or lowering Levels to trading with any player, to stealing or eliminating a life from any player. Each card states on the bottom when it can be used. Players may not stack, or play multiple Power-ups from their hand onto a card.
WINNING: If a players loses all 4 Life tokens, they are eliminated from the game. Once all but 1 player has lost all 4 Life tokens, the remaining player wins
CONCLUSION: Supposedly, this is based on a standard deck card game. The Mario theme does strike a resonance with the game, especially the coins representing the numbers on the Levels. and the Power-Up cards. The mechanics, however, are heavily reliant on luck. If it were just the Level cards, I'd probably say just skip this one. However, with the Power-ups, there's a tiny bit more bluffing and chicanery involved to consider playing this. It's a fairly quick game, which can be made quicker or longer by adjusting the life count. Not a lot of depth, but something to play with kids or family, and has a bit of strategy enough to come back occasionally.