Since the game Smash Up started with popular battling factions and added everything from science fiction critters to geeks, where could they go next?  The answer: cute.  Smash Up: Pretty Pretty introduces four new adorable factions to the game -- and their cuteness doesn't detract in the slightest from their effectiveness.

So what (seemingly) sweet factions can go toe-to-toe with ninjas, dinosaurs armed with lasers, and Lovecraftian horrors?  Mythic Horses have a variety of horses -- including, naturally, My Little Pony-type colorful ones -- that gain benefits from being with their fellow minions.  Fairies have a wide and varied range of abilities that makes them very tough to anticipate.  Kitty Cats use their cuddly nature to control their opponents' minions.  And Princesses -- clearly inspired by Disney -- have a lot of power and powerful abilities, at the cost of having fewer minions than other factions.  Each action also has its own bases, matching their themes.

Pretty Pretty maintains the humor, usefulness, and balance of all the Smash Up factions (base set and expansions).  The Mythic Horses cards usually show the friendly, cavorting horses -- often destroying members of another faction in the background or somewhere else on the card.  The Princesses follow the sweet Disney theme -- along with the appropriate "Direct to DVD Sequel" card.  Kitty Cats are recognizable from motivational posters and internet memes, while Fairies are nicely unpredictable.  Each faction is extremely useful, but none are so powerful that they unbalance the game and give those playing them an unfair advantage.
I wouldn't have guessed that prettiness fit in so well with the battling factions of Smash Up, but Pretty Pretty works very well.  This expansion doesn't change or add to the rules, but it creates lots of new possibilities for victory.  (I won with the Mythic Horses - Geeks combination.)  Pretty Pretty is a (ahem) pretty good addition for Smash Up.

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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