Smash Up: Big in Japan
Smash up: Big in Japan
A fight for 2-4 players, ages 14 and up.
Your goal is nothing short
of total global domination!
Use your minions to crush
enemy bases. The first
player to score 15 victory
points (VP) wins!
This set contains:
• 4 factions with 20 cards each
(80 cards total)
• 8 base cards
• 4 titan cards
• 4 card dividers
• 1 token sheet
(used as both Victory Points
tokens and +1 power counters)
• This rulebook
Growing On You
Big In Japan is an
expansion to the Smash
Up core set. It is still a fully
operational battle station
for 2 players though!
These rules sometimes
talk like you’ve got more
than just four factions, or
mention cards that aren’t
in this expansion. If you
don’t already have the
other sets, just think of it
as viral advertising.
Each player shuffles together two
different 20-card factions to make
their 40-card deck. If your factions
have any titans, place them near
Next, grab just the bases from
the sets the chosen factions
came from. For example, if you
have Kaiju Rock Stars vs. Ignoble
Vampires, take the bases from Big
in Japan, What Were We Thinking?,
Cease and Desist, and Monster
Smash to make your base deck.
Shuffle the base cards together.
Draw one base per player, plus
one (e.g., four bases for three
players), and place them face up
in the middle of the table.
Each player draws five cards from
their deck. If you have no minions in
your opening hand, you may show
your hand, discard it, and draw a
new hand of five cards; you must
keep the second hand. Whoever
watched anime most recently goes
first. Play continues clockwise.
Kickin’ It Queensberry
For formal play, put at least
2 factions per player in the
middle of the table. Randomly
determine who goes first. The
first player chooses one faction.
Choice continues clockwise.
When everyone has chosen one
faction, the last player chooses
a second faction. Choice
continues in reverse or
The Phases of a Turn
1. Start Turn
Some abilities happen at the start
of your turn. This is when that goes
2. Play Cards
On your turn play one minion, play one
action, or play one of each… for free!
You can play your cards in any order.
You don’t have to play any cards. To
play titans, see p. 7
To play a minion, choose a base
and put the minion card beside it,
facing toward you. Do what the card
says. (Cards that start with Special are
a special case. See p. 11.)
To play an action, show your card
and do what it says. Boom! Then
discard the action, unless you played
it on another card.
3. Score Bases
After you are done playing cards,
check to see whether any bases are
ready to score (see p. 8). If any are
ready, you must start scoring.
4. Draw 2 Cards
Just what it says: draw 2 cards.
If you need to draw, reveal, search
for or look at a card and your deck
is empty, shuffle your discard pile
and put it on the table face down—
that’s your new deck. Start drawing
The maximum number of cards you
can have in your hand at this time
is 10. If you have more than 10 after
drawing, discard down to 10.
5. End Turn
Anything that happens at the end of
the turn happens here. Then check
to see if any players have 15 or more
victory points. If so, see Game Over,
Man! on p. 9. Otherwise play passes
to the player on the left.
Card Resolution Order
1. Resolve the card just played.
2. Finish resolving other cards that
are in the middle of resolving.
3. Resolve cards in play triggered by
the card of step 1. If more than
one, the current player chooses
4. Play cards in hand triggered by
the card of step 1. If more than
one, go clockwise from the
current player. (Me First, p. 8)
5. Discard the card of step 1 unless
played on another card.
Each faction in Big in Japan has one
titan, a new type of card different from
minions, actions, or bases. Titans start
the game on the table near their owner;
they are never in the hand, deck or
Titans may be played on a base when
a card — including the titan itself, says
you can play them. Playing a titan is
optional, but if a card in play lets you
play a titan it must be done immediately
or not at all. “Instead of your regular
minion play” means instead of the
normal minion play allowed during your
Play Cards phase. Titans are not played
as, and do not count as, extra cards. If
you play a titan, you control it even if
you do not own it.
Clash of the Titans
You may not play a titan if you already
control a titan in play. After you play or
move a titan to a base that already has a
titan, one of them must be removed from
play (exception: Kaiju Island). The two
controllers compare their total power at
that base, after resolving their ongoing
abilities though not their talents. The one
with the lesser total removes their titan;
the earlier titan wins ties.
Titans are not affected by abilities that
target “minions” or “actions”. But abilities
that target “cards” can affect titans and
even force them out of play (destroyed,
returned, placed, etc.). Titans also leave
play if the base card they are on leaves
play. Whatever the reason, when a titan
leaves play it is set aside near its owner,
discarding any counters on it. The titans
can come back any time a card allows it.
Actions with power
The Kaiju faction has actions with
power, and bases that grant power. This
power counts both toward breaking the
base and toward earning VP rewards,
even if the player has no actual minion
cards there. This is a new rule for Smash
Up: you must have either at least one
minion or 1 power at a base to receive
Titans by themselves do not have power,
but their abilities may add power, and
each power counter on them adds 1
power towards their controller’s total on
The Big Score
Score a base during the Score
Bases phase if the total power of
all cards on that base equals or
exceeds the base’s breakpoint
(see p. 6). If more than one base is
ready to score, the player whose
turn it is decides which one to
After a base has been chosen to
score, players may use abilities
that happen “before” the base
scores. If the total power on a
base drops below its breakpoint
after it is chosen, you still finish
scoring the base.
For example, the Mega Trooper
player plays Blitzing Sword Attack
to destroy a 4-power minion on
the base, making him the player
with the highest power. Even if
the total power is now below the
new breakpoint, it still scores.
Abilities of cards in play are
resolved first, in the order chosen
by the current player. Then if more
than one player wants to play a
card with a Special ability, starting
with the current player and going
clockwise, each player uses a
Special or passes. You can use a
Special after passing, but it stops
when all players pass in sequence.
The players with the highest, 2nd
highest, and 3rd highest power
on a base are the winner, runner
up, and third place! They get
victory points equal to the 1st,
2nd and 3rd number on the base
card respectively. Anyone with
the 4th highest power or lower
gets nothing. If there are less
than 3 players on a base, no one
gets the VPs for the unclaimed
spots. Dispense VP tokens in the
appropriate amounts to everyone
who scored. Abilities that happen
“when” a base scores may change
how this happens. You must have
at least one minion or 1 power on
a base to get victory points.
Back to Your Corners
After scoring, players can use
abilities that happen “after” a base
scores. Then all cards still on that
base go to their owners’ discard
piles— except for titans, which are
placed near their owners’ decks.
This might trigger abilities that
happen when cards go to the
Put the scored base into the base
discard pile. Replace it with the top
card of the base deck; shuffle the
base discard pile if needed. Check
to see if another base is ready to be
scored. Score it too, the same way.
If players are tied on a base, all
involved players get points for
the best position they tied for. So,
if three players had 10, 10, and 5
power on a base when it scores, the
winners with 10 power each get
first place points! The player with
5 power then gets third place, not
second. If two players tie for runner
up, no one gets third place. Harsh.
If players tie for a base’s ability, they
each get to use it. See Me First! on
the previous page to settle conflicts.
1. Bases are checked to see if any are
ready to score. If none are, go to
the next phase.
2. The current player chooses a base
that is ready.
3. Players may play and/or invoke any
“Before scoring” abilities.
4. VPs are awarded according to
the current power totals. “When
scoring” abilities may trigger now.
5. Players may play and/or invoke any
“After scoring” abilities. This may
affect steps 6-8.
6. All cards on the base are discarded.
7. The base is discarded.
8. A new base is chosen to replace it.
9. Go to step 1.
Game Over, Man!
At the end of any turn that
someone reaches 15 VP,
the player with the most
victory points wins. If there
is a tie for the most, keep
playing turns until there
isn’t. No sharing! Except
for your two factions. You guys are BFFs
Terms and Restrictions
Some restrictions apply. See rules for details.
Affect: A card is affected if
it is moved or transferred,
removed from play (i.e.
shuffled, or placed), changed
in power or controller, or has
an action attached, or its
After: “After X do Y”, means X
is completely resolved before
Y is done. (Unless X is “a base
scores”, p. 9.)
Cancel: This means the
ability is treated as if it does
Control: By default, each card
you play is controlled by you. If
you gain control of a card, it is
as if you had played it: minions
add to your power total,
abilities on the card apply to
you and you can use them, etc. Controlling a
minion does not mean you control any actions
played on it, but their abilities apply normally.
When the card leaves play, it goes to the hand,
deck, or discard pile of its owner, not its current
controller. "Having" cards at a
base means you control them.
Destroy: This lets you
remove a card that’s in play
and put it in the discard pile.
Directly: Card X directly
affects card Y if X’s ability
does one of the things listed
under “Affect”, and Y is a
target specified by X.
Discard: This lets you put
a card that is not in play or
has just been scored into
the discard pile. It comes
from your hand unless it
Extra: “Play an extra minion/
action” means you increase
the number of that type
of card you can play in this
phase by one. You don’t have
to play the extra card right
away, unless it was gained by
a Special ability or outside the
Play Cards phase. Like regular cards, extra
cards are optional.
In Play: Cards in play are
in the middle of the table,
i.e. an active base or any
card on it. Cards in the
hand, deck, or discard pile,
or set aside, are not in play.
Move: This lets you relocate
a minion or titan from one
base to another, along with
any cards or counters on it.
Moving a card does not count
as playing it. On-play abilities
do not trigger when you move
a card, but Ongoing, Special,
and Talent abilities still have their effects.
Ongoing: Most abilities
happen and then they're
over, or else they end at the
end of the turn. Ongoing
abilities are active for as
long as they’re around.
On your turn: This
means during the
normal Play Cards
phase of your turn.
Owner: The player who
had the card at the start of
the game. Monsters and
treasures have no owner.
Place: This lets you relocate
a card in a way not covered
by other terms, such as from
a base to the bottom of your
deck, or from the discard pile
to your hand.
Play: You play a card when
it’s one of the free cards you
get in phase 2, or any time an
ability specifically says that
you’re playing it. A card’s
ability happens when you
play it. When cards are moved, placed, or
returned, they’re not being played, and their
abilities don’t happen.
Return: This means that
a card goes back where it
came from. When a card
returns from a base, discard
attachments on that card, and
put it in its owner’s hand.
Special: Most abilities
happen when you play
a card. Special abilities
happen at unusual times
or in unusual ways. Special
abilities might trigger on
a card already in play, or in
your hand or discard pile.
A card’s ability will describe how it can be
used. If you use a Special ability to play a
card on your turn, it doesn’t count as one of
your free cards for that turn.
Starting: The power of a
minion or breakpoint of a
base before being modified
by other abilities. Normally
this is the number printed
on the minion or base, but
some cards can change it.
Talent: This is an ability
that the card may use once
during the Play Cards phase
of each of your turns. You
don’t have to use it if you
don’t want to.
To: Some cards say, “Do
X to do Y” (e.g. “Discard cards
equal to a minion’s power to
destroy it.”) With these cards,
if X gets thwarted for any
reason (e.g., you don’t have
enough cards in hand), then
you can’t do any of X, or Y,
either. So there.
Transfer: This lets you relocate
actions or power counters
from one card to another.
When adding counters to
your cards (from the pool), or
discarding counters from your
cards (to the pool), that’s
Bewitching Gal, Sakura Warrior: The amount of reduction is calculated once, and does not change even if the number of minions there changes.
Black Magicat, Critter Champion, Critter Coach, Evolution, I Select You, White Magicat: It is now part of the rules that cards that tell you to search your deck also require that you reveal the card searched for, and shuffle your deck afterwards.
Black Trooper: This can trigger from any player’s special ability, and multiple times in a turn.
Critter Coach, Critter Champion: The minion they play must go to the bottom of the deck even if the card that summoned them is out of play by the end of the turn.
Critter Cube: The other players’ minion in your deck is drawn and played normally, and you control it. When it leaves play it goes back to the owner.
Gorgodzolla, Megabot, Walking Castle: You may play these instead of a regular minion play whether or not you have any minions in hand. No restrictions on minion play apply to titan play.
Kaijookey, Wade through the Buildings, Gorgodzolla: Actions on minions do not count.
Kaiju Island: If the ability is cancelled, multiple titans still stay; new titans played or moved here would trigger removing the weaker one(s).
Moon Dumpster: Players reveal in order starting with the current player. If during setup, reveal before drawing hands, starting with the first player.
Purge the Demon: You may choose any card, including a base or a titan.
Q Point: You may have just one minion or one action there before scoring, not one of each. Indestructible cards do remain, though. Titans there do not count toward that total, and are unaffected.
Void Where Prohibited
Often, card text and rules text will
conflict. When there's a fight, card text
wins. So there’s an invisible “unless
stated otherwise” with every rule in this
book. Exception: Minion power and base
breakpoint are never reduced below zero.
If cards conflict, the one that says you
can't do something beats the one that
says you can.
If multiple effects would happen at the
same time, the player whose turn it is
chooses the order.
You can play a card even if its ability can’t
or doesn’t happen. For example, you can
play an action that destroys a minion even
if no minions are in play, or if the minion
you choose is immune to destruction.
You must follow a card’s ability, even if
it’s bad for you. Exceptions: Extra cards
are optional, as are abilities that say you
“may” do something.
If an ability says “any number” you may
choose one, or even zero. You may play
a card that says “all” even if there are
If you get to play extra minions or
actions outside the Play Cards phase,
you must play those extra cards
immediately or not at all.
Anyone may look through any discard
pile at any time.
“A minion” or “minions” means any
minion in play, unless stated otherwise.
Exception: “Play a minion” refers to
minions in the hand.
When a card that others can see goes to
the hand, deck or discard pile, it goes to
the one belonging to the card’s owner
(i.e. the player whose deck the card
came from), no matter who played or
When a card leaves play, any cards and
counters on it are discarded.
Specials may be played at any time
they are applicable, even on other
The power of a minion not in play is only
the number printed on it, but once in
play its power includes all modifications.
If not stated, the effects of an ability expire
at the end of the turn, or when its card
leaves play, whichever is sooner. Exception:
with no stated deadline, a control change
of a minion lasts indefinitely.
“You” on a minion, action, or titan means
the controller of the card; on a base it
means any player it describes, often the
current player. “Other players” means
everyone except “you”. “Your” cards are
those you control, whether or not you
“Here” means the base the card is at;
“there” means the location just referred
to on the card.
If you “look” at a card, show it to no
one else. If you “reveal” it, show it to
everyone else. If you “search” a deck or
discard pile for a card you must reveal
the card chosen. After searching a deck
it must be shuffled.
This set of Smash Up features four
factions, which combine to make 6
possible decks. Counting all the Smash
Up sets, there are now over 1000
possible faction combos! Mix and match
factions to suit your play style.
Go go play on bases!
Go go destroy minions!
Go go Mega Troopers,
You crazy Smash Up
The Mega Troopers are the ultimate
fighting team, snatching victory from the
jaws of defeat. And should things get out
of control, they can always call a giant
frickin’ robot and auto-win. Which they
should probably just do earlier in the
fight, but whatever.
love, and starshine!
OMG, it’s so kawaii!!!!
The Magical Girls are
undoubtedly cute, but
they will surprise you with what they
can do with their spells. And they work
together as a team. Evil will have no
chance against these girls.
Giant monsters stomp
around Tokyo, smashing
countless buildings as
they battle. Their amazing
whose greatest weaponry proves useless
against them. Who can stop the massive
power of a guy in a rubber suit? We know!
We’ll let the precocious 10-year-old, with
unexplained access to the Japanese
military’s most secure facilities, talk to it!
They’re tiny, and they come
and go quickly, but once
you learn which one to call
when, the Itty Critters can
really pack a punch. We
know you’ll want to have
them all. If you can make
these things as popular
as certain other things (you know which
ones) we’d be eternally grateful.
Does more than one person want to play
Kaiju? Great! Combine two sets of Big
in Japan so people can draft and play
the same factions against one another.
Remember, you can’t put two of the
same faction together though! Just use
one set of bases when combining
Game Design: Paul Peterson
Development: Mark Wootton
Art Direction: Todd Rowland
Art: Alberto Tavira, Francisco Rico Torres,
Hinkle / Silva Art, Studio 2 Minds
Graphic Design: Kalissa Fitzgerald
Writing: Todd Rowland, Bryan Stout
Editing: Bryan Stout
Proofreading: Bryan Stout, Rusty Bloomer,
Nicolas Bongiu, Wim Debraekeleer, Adam East,
Garrett Lapham, Daniel Matteo,
Duc-Man Nguyen, Robert Payne, Logan Pierce,
Todd Rowland, Mark Wootton
Layout and Typesetting: Kalissa Fitzgerald
Production: Dave Lepore
Brand Management: Todd Rowland
Playtesting Director: Bryan Stout
Playtesting: Seth Abraham, Stefanie Albers,
Alexandra Allen, Timothy Allen,
Wesley Anderson, D.J. Atanasoff,
Robert Baker, Beth Barry, Melissa Bloomer,
Rusty Bloomer, Nathan Boxall, Malte Büsing,
Debbie Cartwright, Emma Cartwright,
Freya Cartwright, James Cartwright,
Jessica Cartwright, Daniel Chang-Fong,
Cliff Christiansen, Heidi Christiansen,
Joschka Cors, Brock Craddock,
Kathryn Cramer, Blake Cunningham,
Nadine de Groot, Wim Debraekeleer,
Ayne Delgado, Adam East, Elissa East,
Jewel East, Seth East, Janis Eisenmenger,
Jon Espinoza, Alexander Fink, Jared Frail,
Stephanie Frail, Andrew Gerber,
Maurice Haedrich, Justin Harrell,
Dean Harris, Tim Helms, Christian Janßen,
Jason Lahowetz, Garrett Lapham,
Danny Leal, Benjamin Little, Zach Lyons,
James Martin, Sam Martin, Daniel Matteo,
Amanda McEwen, Robert McEwen,
Daniel Mowat, Andrew Narzynski,
Duc-Man Nguyen, Le-Thi Nguyen,
Kaz Nyborg-Andersen, Gerrit Oestreich,
Dennis Oltmanns, Timo Onken,
Brittany Payne, Robert Payne, Mason Pember,
Katie Pierce, Lane Pierce, Laura Pierce,
Logan Pierce, Josh Rathert, Joshua Reed,
Alex Rossi, Eugene Sandberg,
Robert Sandberg, Nathalie Scheeck,
Emily Schepper, Michael Schmeeckle,
Andrew Schwartz, Michael Schwartz,
Trevor Skelton, Ryan Stewart, Bryan Stout,
Aaron Stricker, Alex Stricker, Alailima Talavou,
Fabien Vannier, Andrew Willis,
Andrew Wilson, Michael Wilson, Anna Wray,
Landon Wray, Erik Yaple, Andrew Young,
Special Thanks To: Bernie Tanaka, Mel Fujitzu,
Dr. Ho, and our main squeeze Slojin.
© 2017 Alderac Entertainment Group. Smash Up, Big In Japan and all related marks are ™ and ©
Alderac Entertainment Group, Inc. 555 N El Camino Real #A393, San Clemente, CA 92672 USA.
All rights reserved. Printed in China.
Blah blah blah.
Warning: Choking hazard! Not for use by children under 3 years of age.
Smash Up mechanic designed by Paul Peterson, used under license by Alderac Entertainment Group.
Smash Up the Interwebs
Questions? Email CustomerService@alderac.com