JunkYard Card game

Game: Junkyard Players: 2- 4
Time: 20+ Age: 5+
Difficulty: Easy Replay Value: medium

JunkYard Card game

Imagine needing to dig through a bunch of broken odds and ends to build a spaceship from scratch. Piecing together anything you can find to create the ultimate ship to fly you to safety. Did I forget to mention that part? It is a little detail, but the sun is actually on the verge of exploding and you need to leave Earth before it’s too late–but don’t let that distract you, it’s just a little issue. Junkyard is a 2- 4 player card game that plays around 20 minutes that has you and your opponents scrapping through a junkyard and building spaceships out of what you find. This hand management and card drafting game can allow any space explorer from ages 5 and up and those looking to introduce some new-to-gaming recruitments to the journey. Just be careful when scrapping through the junkyard, the solar flares are getting stronger, so you’re limited on time. 

How To Play

The game will come with 54 cards including 5 solar flares, 6 action cards, and the rest an assortment of ship pieces from front, backs, cross, and middle pieces.

Choose how many solar flares will end the game to begin scoring and then shuffle the junkyard and spread it out face down across the table. Draw three cards returning any cards that are not ship pieces and redrawing. Lay down the ship pieces in a way they connect via shape and if possible their color. take turns drawing cards and either placing them in your ship, playing the action on the card, or putting the solar flare aside.

Continue doing so until the amount of solar flares have been played. Resequence your ship by moving around the pieces in order to get the highest score out of your ship(s). Only count points for ships that are completed with a front and back piece. 

Score each front, back, and cross for 10 points. Each middle piece for 5 points. and any matching shapes and colors together for bonus 5 points.

Things I Like

I like that this game is so simple but so fun. Its really just about drawing cards and putting them into play but there are two objectives involved in the strategy. The first point of interest is to gather enough front and back pieces to even create a flying ship, as well as gather enough solid centerpieces to get a high enough score to win. I think the multiple strategies gives this game a great go for any group gathering. The easiness of the concept allows for players to understand gameplay instantly while beginning to practice their own approach to the game. younger players will have fun putting colors and shapes together while more seasoned players will look for the best way to use actions cards, and take time to resequence their deck in order to maximize total scores.

The artwork is zany and fun but still maintains true to the gameplay itself. Each piece will have an end that connects to another cards end and each connection will score based off shape and for bonus points colors. Lastly, I like the variants listed for increasing the difficulty of gameplay. You might want to go for a single color run for points, or maybe you want to shuffle the flares back into the deck after drawing one. Definitely gives players a variety of easier to harder options.

junkyard card game

Things I Don’t Like

I don’t like the scoring as much as I’d like. It’s not that it’s a bad scoring system, it’s that the scoring is a little tricky. Counting front, back, and cross sections first followed by individual pieces then counting the bonus points can get a little out of control. But it wasn’t anything frustrating–just took a little more time than it should.  The actions available in the game aren’t anything groundbreaking, just mostly taking or giving cards away.

Final Thoughts

I like the game a lot because it is easy to teach and the difficulty can vary by group. Whether I am running this for kids who want to match colors and shapes or for a game night where we shuffle the flares back in and play up to 3 flares before scoring. The scoring situation is manageable and honestly, I’d argue for immersion that the complication of it ties into the story of rushing off the planet right away and only being able to count inventory after blast off–leaving you with a mess of things but a safe journey. Junkyard is a spaceship building, card drafting card game for anyone who’s willing to give it a try. Id’ recommend it to anyone looking for a portable simple card game that can scratch the gaming itch in any environment. 

Toddler Variant

Just have the toddler match colors and shapes while you help them put together ships. This does not necessarily mean scrap the junkyard, they can draw cards and place them where it may fit and you can help them by resequencing the cards to be able to score. It is a great way to spend some quality time with the young gamer and grow their ability to match shapes and colors while enjoying the fun graphics of each ship piece.

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Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.

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