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Smash Up Dinosaurs Strategy: Hints and Tips

Smash Up. It’s a game of monsters, aliens, ninjas, pirates, zombies and so much more. It is a strange type of deckbuilding game that encourages finding some kind of synergy in chaos. It is about finding a balance between two decks to lead your team to victory. It is about scoring points through the conquest of your opponents using strong strategy and an analytical eye as to what goes together.

Alternatively, it is about throwing everything at one another in a chaotic disarray of fluster and fury. One of the four.

The base set of Smash Up has eight factions, designed to throw together with countless possibilities and as many strategies. Today, we are going to look at one of those factions in more detail, including the strategy tips that it affords. Today, we are going to talk about dinosaurs.

Smash Up: Dinosaurs – A Summary

Of course, the dinosaurs in Smash Up are not simple dinosaurs. They are not the primitive beasts of nature – those that went extinct 65 million years ago. Instead, these are dinosaurs who survived extinction to become a technological superpower.

This is what makes the dinosaurs such an interesting faction to play. Their ability is focused on pure power, causing bases to tip with relative ease. They don’t need to use as many minions to overpower a base, with their power getting stronger over time. This is what makes the dinosaurs a true force to be reckoned with within the Smash Up world.

They also, arguably, are the simplest of the Smash Up base factions to play. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the dinosaurs and any Smash Up dinosaur strategies, hints, or tips that there may be.

Card List for the Smash Up Dinosaurs

First, let’s look at the dinosaur hand in a little more detail. The cards the dinosaurs have at their disposal are:


  • Power 7 – 1x King Rex – No other ability.
  • Power 4 – 2x Lasertops – Destroy a minion of power 2 or less on this base.
  • Power 3 – 3x Armor Stego – Ongoing: Has +2 power during other players’ turns.
  • Power 2 – 4x War Raptor – Ongoing: Gain +1 power for each War Raptor on this base (including this one).
Dinosaur Minions Strategy Hints and Tips

Dinosaur Minions


  • 2x Augmentation – One minion gains +4 until the end of your turn.
  • 2x Howl – Each of your minions +1 power until the end of your turn.
  • 1x Natural Selection – Choose one of your minions on a base. Destroy a minion there with less power than yours.
  • 1x Tooth and Claws…and Guns – Play on a minion. Ongoing: If an ability would affect this minion, destroy this card and the ability does not affect this minion.
  • 1x Upgrade – Play on a minion. Ongoing: This minion has +2 power.
  • 1x Survival of the Fittest – Destroy the lowest point minion (you choose in the case of a tie) on each base with a higher-power minion.
  • 1x Rampage – Reduce the breakpoint of a base by the power of one of your minions on that base until the end of the turn.
  • 1x Wildlife Preserve – Play on a base. Ongoing: Your minions here are not affected by other players’ actions.
Dinosaur Actions Strategy Hints and Tips

Dinosaur Actions

Summarising The Dinosaur Cards

Automatically, looking at that handlist, one thing comes to mind – the dinosaurs are powerful. They are really really powerful. King Rex is the most powerful card in the whole of the base set, so even though it doesn’t have an ability in its own right, it is still an incredibly useful card to have in your hand.

Immediately, there are also a few other things that stand out. The first is the power of the War Raptors. They are worth 2 power each, until you start piling them up – then it is possible to get them to a value of 24 (collectively), if you manage to play all the War Raptors on the same base. It’s enough to help push any base past the tipping point.

The Armor Stego goes from power 3 to power 5 on your opponents’ turns, meaning your opponent(s) will need to stay aware of the situation lest they accidentally score a base on their turn that they didn’t mean to.

The action cards are also along the same kind of lines. They all add strength to each of the minions. These can be used to increase the power of the dinosaurs, by all means, but they can also be used to increase the power of weaker minions from other factions. Keep in mind factions like the Tricksters, Pirates, Zombies, Magicians, or Robots, which have low power minions, that can suddenly become forces to be reckoned with.

Hint and Tip #1: “Power” really is the word with these guys.

Smash Up Dinosaur Strategy: Hints and Tips

If we were to describe the Smash Up dinosaurs in regards to standard card game terms, they are effectively an aggro deck. What this means is they hit hard and they hit fast, allowing for bases to be overcome quickly. They add additional power to weaker factions, making their scope for team-ups with smaller factions possible.

The Dinosaurs should be seen as the heavy side of any faction they are placed with. Since they are heavy hitters (and not a lot else) they need to be placed with factions that allow for them to speed up. This means thinking carefully about who they can go with, and who they are best to leave alone.

At the same time, there are only a limited number of minions, and so it makes sense to team up with a faction (smashing them together) that allow for one of two things. The first of these is the playing of additional minions in a turn to score bases even faster. The idea behind this is to tip a base before an opponent has the opportunity to play on it. Or, alternatively, to team up with a faction that allows them to keep minions in play. This may be by moving them when a base is scored, or it may be to draw them back out of the discard pile or into your hand.

This means there are a few factions and pairings that come to mind (looking at the base set alone) that could help a Smash Up dinosaur strategy.

Obvious Dino Combos

So, what are the best Dinosaur combos in Smash Up? Here are a few that come to mind:

Dinosaurs + Tricksters

One of my favourite combinations is the Dinosaur/Trickster combination in Smash Up, and this is because of the Trickster ability that allows for more than one minion to be played on a turn, allowing for those War Raptors to stack up quickly. Enshrouding Mist, in particular, is a great card to team up with the dinosaurs as it allows for more than one minion to be played on a base each turn.

Dinosaurs + Robots

Ahh, this may seem like a bit of a weird or random combo, but the ability of the Hoverbot (Power 3) allows for the top card of the deck to be turned over. If it is a minion then it can be put into play, once again stacking up potential War Raptors, or increasing the chance of bringing the King Rex onto the table. Likewise, the dinosaur actions can increase the power of the different Microbots who are otherwise Power 1.

Dinosaurs + Zombies

Who doesn’t love zombies? To be completely blunt, there is nothing special about the dinosaur/zombie strategy that isn’t just the zombies’ strategy on their own, but the ability of cards like the Grave Digger allow for cards to be redrawn from the discard pile. This can be a devastating combo with the King Rex.


Useful cards from other factions.

Less Obvious Dinosaur Combos

Dinosaur + Alien

So, this is a difficult deck to pull off efficiently as it requires a fair amount of meta-gaming at the same time. It requires using the King Rex and then using alien cards such as Abduction, Beam Up, and Invasion to bring him back to the hand just before bases are about to be scored. Bring the King Rex back and then play something in its place like the Scout. The Scout has the ability to return to the player’s hand once a base is scored. It’s difficult to pull off, as you effectively use the King Rex as a distraction to put players off the base, before moving in with a minion with less power, requiring a delicate balancing act, but one that can be pulled off if planned right. If done right, you end up keeping both the King Rex and the Scout.

Dinosaur + Ninja

This may seem like an obvious combo to some people, but to others, it may not be. Dinosaur/ninja is the ultimate aggro deck. Both are highly destructive forces and just will not relent. Use the dinosaurs for power, and use the ninjas to reduce the power of your opponents.

Useful cards from other factions.

Useful cards from other factions.

Conclusion: Smash Up Dinosaur Strategies

Smash Up is one of those games I don’t think I truly appreciated until recently. It is a unique game, with a lot of openness and choice. This article has focused on just one strategy and how they sit within the game; however, depending on whether you guys like reading articles like these, there may be a few more on their way.

Dinosaurs are versatile as they are such a simple faction to take a hold of and use. They are big and they are powerful, and they can be difficult to deal with because of that. Everything about them is about tipping bases over that scoring mark early, whilst also maintaining control elsewhere on the board.

Anyway, have a play around, and let me know which combos you like to play with your dinosaurs. Let me know what you think of the dinosaurs, of Smash Up, and of these different strategies in the comments below. What factions do you like to play?

Other articles in this series:
Zombies Strategy
Robots Strategy


  1. I’ve only played Smash Up once, a few years ago, but recently bought a bundle with everything besides the most recent expansion – so I’m definitely in favor of more of these articles!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha I did have a feeling you would pop up on a post like this 🙂

      I downloaded the Android app earlier to give it a go – just out of interest – what is your favourite faction to play as?

      Liked by 1 person

          • Yep, that’s them. I like them because they take a bit of creativity to play with. Giving control of your minions to another player, when is it a good idea? There’s lots of scheming and intrigue, just like the show!

            So what’s your favorite?

            Liked by 1 person

            • I only have the base faction and Monster Smash. I would have to say that I love the Mad Scientists in Monster Smash purely because of how they accumulate power. Out of the base though I think the Zombies are my favourite.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Yeah, Zombies are pretty cool. All that resurrecting from the discard pile! I’ll have to play with some of the base game factions again. I’ve been concentrating on the two expansions I have so I could review them.

              Liked by 1 person

            • You are correct, sir! I’m not sure which one I’m going to get next. Whether to go brand new and get the 70s expansion, or maybe Monsters or Awesome 2000 (or whatever it is).

              Liked by 1 person

            • The Japanese one looks quite good as well. That’s the one I’m most tempted by. If I am right, Awesome 2000 (or whatever it is called) is the only expansion to come with 5 factions, bar the Munchkin expansion which comes with 8.

              Liked by 1 person

            • I was thinking of a different expansion. Also, it’s Awesome Level 9000!! (I’ve just looked it up). It’s Ghosts, Plants, Bear Cavalry, and Steam Punk.

              The expansion I was thinking of is “It’s Your Fault” which has Dragons, Mythic Greeks, Sharks, Superheros, and Tornados.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoy the Dinosaur/Ninja combo – mainly for the ability to swap out the basic ninja minion for a King Rex as you go to score a base. aka “Crouching Ninja, Hidden T-Rex”.

    Liked by 1 person

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