Junk Art Review

Where some see junk, other’s see art! In Junk Art let you’re creativity take over as everything you touch turns into magnificent structures and extraordinary creations!

Junk Art is a game in which you and the fellow players are travelling artists, with the objective of being the leading artist in each city you travel too. Each want’s their structure or creation to be created based on a certain set of rules however, and that’s where the fun is as some of the cities will want collaborative pieces, others will want the tallest structure, some just want a structure as quick as you can make it.
When I introduced this game to various friends for the first time, the opening gambit I used each time was “Imagine Jenga, but you have to build the towers, not dismantle them”. Obviously there is a lot more detail to it than that, but in essence, that is exactly what Junk Art is. You either individually or collaboratively are tasked with building a structure adhering to the rules set by the city you happen to be working in.
Each player picks a bag of whacky, wonderful and colourful shapes. There is a black block for each player, but it might not be needed dependant on which Cities are drawn and what rules each city use.
To start with you need to choose 3 cities from the available 12. The 3 you pick are the only ones used per game and will determine the rules and the points available each round. The details for rules and scoring can for each city can be found within the games instruction book.
Each city is essentially a new game variant, so one game is built up of 3 very different approaches at tower building. For instance New York City sets the goal for the tallest structure, the build time ends when a player draws the ‘star card’ from the deck. This could potentially see all the users pieces used to build their tower as the Star Card might not feature till the very last card drawn. This would result in some absolutely epic structures being built.
Whereas Montreal the objective is to have the last tower standing. So in this game variant players draw cards from the deck which show pieces. The player has to use the piece they’ve pulled on their tower. This then continues until only one tower remains.
So as you can see, it’s a little tougher to explain the rules for this game as they tend to change based on the cities that are drawn per game. The basics however are simple enough, just build an awesome tower. Once the round ends based on the stipulation being met, point counters are distributed to the players as per the rules for the city. Again a little difficult to cover the points given per round as they tend to change based on city and various different scenarios playing out in each city such as more than 3 pieces falling off a tower, the whole tower collapsing etc etc.
We had a lot of fun playing this game for the first time. During our first play through we did have New York, which saw us building some rather inventive structures to attain the tallest tower. Some of us took a gamble with regards to positioning our pieces as you see below.However it’s not always a good idea to aim for height from the start, as that star card might not appear for some time resulting in pieces falling off. One of the rules for New York with regards to fallen pieces is just carry on building, but all fallen pieces are removed. This occurred to me, and left me with a terribly funny structure as seen below.

That little grey ball… that’s my tower at the end of the game.

This game is one that I’ve been able to take to a few evenings at different friends house and explain reasonably simply enough and we’ve gone on to have a cracking night playing the game. There was however a few exceptions to the simplicity though. One city features a cactus card, which we couldn’t find within the standard version of Junk Art. I’ve since found out that there is an expansion for the game called Flick Em Up, which utilises the cactus cards as well as what appears to be cowboy pieces. This wasn’t really explained that well in the instructions, so we were a little unsure what we were meant to do. And the wording in some of the cities required us to read the rules out a few times for them to make sense. Perhaps the alcohol didn’t help, but on one occasion, the 4 of us were sat around looking at each other if hoping that we had all misunderstood the rules. Turns out we did, and all agreed that they weren’t the easiest of rules to read.
That aside it’s been a hit when introduced to different people. We’ve all enjoyed the facial reactions of people as they concentrate so hard to ensure that their structure doesn’t wobble when adding their piece. All eyes on the last person to apply their piece as they control their breathing and give their forehead a quick wipe just before they attempt to put the piece down. Anyone would think we’re about to start surgery. All in all a very funny and entertaining game, that’s pretty simple to bust out and introduce to people who haven’t played it before. Entertaining towers can be created with the strange pieces and hilarity ensues when a player is unfortunate enough to draw a card that they have absolutely no hope of being able to apply to their tower.
 – Murr

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