Around four years ago we looked at the board game Monster Mash. Monster Mash is a game that I actually remember playing as a child. In the 1980s and 1990s there were several of these type of games that took the basic mechanics of Slap Jack and included sticks that players would use instead of slapping the cards with their hands. I thought this was a genre of games that died out in the 1990s but it turns out that it is still popular enough as today’s game Moustache Smash was first released back in 2014. While I enjoyed Monster Mash I have to say that I didn’t have high expectations for Moustache Smash mostly because it just looked silly. I decided to give the game a chance though as I hoped it would stand up to games like Monster Mash and possibly even improve upon it. Moustache Smash actually surprised me as it is a really solid fun game that the whole family can enjoy in short doses.
How to Play Moustache Smash
- Shuffle the cards and place them face down on the table.
- Each player chooses a moustache.
- Choose which player will flip over the top card from the draw deck.
Playing the Game
Throughout the game players will have to hold their moustache up to their nose. Starting with the first player and then moving clockwise players will take turns flipping over the next card.
When the card is flipped over players will compare the moustache on the card to their own moustache. If the moustache on the card matches the color or shape of your moustache you slam your moustache onto the card so the card sticks to it.
The first person to grab the card and have a matching moustache gets to take the card and any other cards still in the center of the table. The card has to stick to a player’s moustache in order to count. The next player then flips over the next card.
If the card that is flipped over is a “moustache smash” card, everyone races to pick up the card first.
If a “moustache pass” card is flipped over, no one should pick it up. If any player picks it up they will suffer the penalty for picking up an incorrect card (see below). The card stays in the middle of the table. Each player passes their moustache to the player on their left and the next card is flipped over.
If the moustache card matches none of the player’s moustaches, the card stays in the middle of the table and the next card is flipped over.
If a player accidentally picks up a moustache card that doesn’t match their moustache, the card stays in the middle of the table. The player also has to put two of the cards they already earned into the middle of the table. If they don’t have two cards, they put whatever they have in the middle of the table.
End of Game
The game ends when all of the cards have been won by one of the players. Each player counts up how many cards they earned throughout the game. The player who earned the most cards wins the game.
My Thoughts on Moustache Smash
When I first started to see Moustache Smash in stores I can’t say that I was expecting much out of the game. It looked quite childish as it looked like one of those games that make players look like fools while playing. Usually I wouldn’t even bother picking up. I mostly picked it up for two reasons. First as I have already brought up I fondly remember playing Monster Mash as a kid and I wanted to see what the designers could add to the game after 30 years. The other reason is that I couldn’t pass on picking up the game for $1. After playing the game I have to admit that I was glad that I decided to give it a chance as the game actually surprised me.
While the comparison is not perfect, I would say that Moustache Smash is actually pretty similar to Monster Mash. The premise of the two games are basically the same. In Monster Mash you grab the card of the monster that matches the monster created by the machine. Meanwhile in Moustache Smash you grab the card if it matches the color or shape of your moustache. These are not exactly the same but are similar enough that you can kind of look at Moustache Smash as the modern Monster Mash. I would probably say that Monster Mash is slightly better but I can see ways where each game is better and worse than the other game.
If it wasn’t already pretty obvious, Moustache Smash is one of those games that is not going to be for everyone. The game is pretty silly so I can’t really see serious gamers having much fun with it. If you can look past how silly it is though you can have fun with the game. While it is a pretty simple speed game, it can actually appeal to the whole family. Before playing the game I worried that it would be something that only children would enjoy but I actually had more fun with the game than I was expecting. If you think the idea of using your stick to hit cards that match your moustache sounds fun, I can’t see you not having fun with the game.
Moustache Smash’s simplicity might turn some people off but I think it is beneficial to the game. Moustache Smash is the type of game that the whole family can enjoy. The game may have a recommended age of 7+ but I could see younger players enjoying the game as well. As soon as a kid is old enough to determine what cards match the shape and color of their moustache, they should be fine to play the game. As that is basically the only mechanic to the game, I can’t see anyone having any trouble playing the game. While I think it will work best as a family game with younger children, I can see groups of adults enjoying the game as well. The adults will have to have a sense of humor and like playing silly games but I think adults can still enjoy the game even if they aren’t playing it with young children.
When I first saw Moustache Smash the thing that I thought was silly/stupid was the fact that each stick had a fake moustache on it. The box shows the kids holding the sticks up to their faces to simulate that they have a moustache. I thought this was kind of a silly idea as it felt like it was added just to make the players look like the fools. While I still think this was the main reason for adding the moustaches to the sticks, it actually serves a gameplay purpose. I wouldn’t recommend players hold them right up to their noses, for germ reasons, but having a fixed place where the sticks have to be at all times actually fixes a problem with a lot of these type of games. In these type of games there will always be that player that wants to get a slight advantage in the game by placing their stick as close to the cards as possible. With players having to hold their stick by their nose all of the players basically have to start at the same place which will prevent the eventual arguments where one player accuses another of cheating.
Outside of hitting the cards that match your moustache, Moustache Smash has one other mechanic. Occasionally in the game the players will reveal the moustache pass card which will force all of the players to pass their moustache to the left. In some ways I like this mechanic but it also adds more luck to the game. I like the mechanic because it adds a little variety to the game. Instead of using the same moustache the entire game you will have to change to a couple different ones throughout the game. The problem is that by changing moustaches some players are likely to benefit while others will lose out. This can become a problem if a lot of cards of one color/shape have already been revealed. This would allow a player to collect quite a few cards of that shape/color. They could then pass the moustache to another player and get a new moustache whose cards might not have appeared yet. This will give the player an additional batch of cards that they can claim. At the same time the player who receives the moustache whose cards have already appeared will have less opportunities to grab a card. While Moustache Smash is not meant to be a serious game, I think these disadvantages of the moustache pass cards outweigh the positives.
While on the topic of giving some players an advantage I would recommend using as many moustaches of the same color as possible while playing the game. If you are playing with an even number of players I would recommend using pairs of the same colored moustaches. If you have an odd number of players this is not going to be possible. I recommend this since if one player has a color all to themself they are going to have an advantage in the game. For example if only one player has a black moustache they may have no competition for each black card that is flipped over. This will allow them to collect quite a few cards with no competition. While there is a lot of luck in the game, I think it is worthwhile trying to eliminate as much of it as you can wherever it is possible.
I was quite surprised by Moustache Smash but that does not mean that there are not problems with the game.
The biggest problem with the game is something that it shares with a lot of these type of games. The simplicity makes Moustache Smash a game that almost everyone can quickly pick up and play. With so few mechanics though the game can get repetitive rather quickly. As you are basically just racing to slap cards with your stick, it gets boring after a while doing the same things over and over again. Moustache Smash is one of those games that you are only going to want to play for 20-30 minutes and then put away for another day.
An unintended problem with the game is that after a while your hands can start hurting. I think this is due to how the sticks are designed. As players are racing to hit the cards as quickly as possible, you will regularly end up hitting your fingers/knuckles on the table. This tends to happen over and over again which makes your fingers/knuckles start hurting after a while. This was not an isolated incident as all of the players started to complain of this problem after a while. I don’t know if the sticks are too short or if they should have been designed at a slight angle. Something should have been done though to prevent players from continuing to hit their fingers/knuckles on the table though.
The third problem that I had with Moustache Smash is that for a speed game there are too many times where a player gets a free card. This is not a problem for the six player game but with only four players I would say there were usually two to four cards each game where a player got to take a card with no competition. That kind of ruins the competitive nature of the game as a player can get a couple cards without really earning them. Unfortunately this is probably something that you have to live with unless you want to remove all of the offending cards before you play the game which is probably not worth the effort.
The final problem that I had with the game is that I think some of the moustache designs look a little too similar. I am guessing this was done in order to occasionally trick the players but I think the game could have come up with a better way to trick players. There are two pairs of moustaches that I think are a little too similar which makes them hard to tell apart when racing to slap a card. One group of moustaches look very similar except that one is longer than the other. The other pair has two moustaches that are very similar except one is a little curlier than the other. I think the game could have still tricked the players without having to use moustaches that are similar enough that at a quick glance they look the same.
The component quality is pretty much what I expected out of a game by Spin Master. The components are neither bad or good. The sticks are pretty sturdy even though I wish they were designed in a way so you didn’t hit your hand on the table so often. Maybe it was because the players didn’t hit the cards quite right but I didn’t think the cards stuck as well as they probably should have either. This might have to do with multiple players hitting the cards at the same time but there was several times that players had to hit the card several times before it finally stuck. With this being a copy that looked like it was never played, I would have thought the cards would have stuck better. Usually there are ways to make the suction cups work better though so I will have to try these out. The cards are of a decent thickness which will help them last longer but they will develop creases over time due to the nature of the game. I kind of wish the game included more cards though as you go through the 32 cards pretty quickly.
Should You Buy Moustache Smash?
Moustache Smash is one of those games that show that the old phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” can occasionally apply to the world of board games. I honestly had next to no expectations for Moustache Smash as it looked like a silly children’s game that would be boring for adults. Moustache Smash still has problems but it is surprisingly fun as well. While the game is still kind of silly, it is accessible for the whole family and is actually more enjoyable for adults than I was expecting. Moustache Smash is one of those games that are best in small doses though. The game also sometimes gives some of the players an unfair advantage and you tend to hurt your fingers/knuckles as you will regularly hit them on the table while trying to grab a card.
Moustache Smash is one of those games that is not going to appeal to everyone. If you don’t like silly games, don’t have any children, or don’t like the game’s concept, it is probably not going to be for you. If the game sounds fun to you though I would think that you would enjoy playing the game. As you can usually find the game for pretty cheap, I think it is worth checking out.