Junk Art is a box filled with balance, creativity and a whole lot of fun. It’s a dexterity type game filled with numerous challenges. Whether you are creative with structure building or skilled with your steady hands, there’s plenty of gameplay to go around the world collecting as many fans as you can to win the game.
The gameplay is very simple. Each game will have three rounds and the 3 random city cards will be dealt to determine what kind of rules you will be using in each round of the current game; once city for one round. All players will have access to all the wooden junk pieces as otherwise stated on the city card rules. The Junk Art deck contains all the 15 different types of junk pieces in 4 colors and is shuffled. They will be dealt based on what the city card states. There are general rules to keep in mind for every game, but other than that, each of the three rounds determined by the city cards will be played differently. At the end of a round, there will be an exhibition, and you will score for points based on what city you are in. For example, in the Hometown city card, you will gain 5 fans for having the 1st tallest structure, and then 3 fans for 2nd place, and 1 fan for being 3rd place. After three rounds, you will end your world tour, and each player will add up the total of their fans gained from each of the three cities. Whoever has the most fans wins the game. Sounds simple but with the different rules on each city card, there are times when you are left with your opponent deciding which junk art piece you will be placing on your structure, or sometimes even you will have to rotate around working on someone else’s structure.
Junk Art is fun and very interactive. The rules for each city cards are straight forward, and the game is rather versatile in a way that you can create your own rules for future plays once you’ve completed most of the city cards several times, or you can continue playing the same city cards randomly, and it would still be fun. The majority of the game lies on how well you can build your Junk Art structures, and also how well you can take on challenges from other players when they choose the junk art cards for you to play on your area. The game is different compared to other structure building games like Jenga or Kaboom.
If you’ve ever seen or played Pretzel Games’ previous game of Flick ‘Em Up (the wooden pieces edition), and you loved the quality they produced, that should show you how well these components are also produced. The overall quality is great and even the box itself is made out of wood with a sliding cover. The graphics on the cover and rulebook are well rendered and the pieces are all sturdy and just really well developed and it leaves you with a nice organic feel from all the wooden junk pieces.
There’s not a whole lot of negatives I can say about Junk Art apart from one of the junk pieces seeming fragile. I think with enough falling pieces on the table or ground when structures collapse, I’d be afraid for it to eventually accidentally break. I let my kids play with the pieces but that one junk art piece that looks like a dumbbell makes me nervous for they might break it. Also, I’m not sure why they made the fans circular black and white pieces that look like coins. I think they would have looked better as just pure wooden tiny meeples or even a flat version of a meeple, but the coins are just a poor representation of fans.
There is potential for this game to have high replay value especially with expansions of city cards, or even more junk cards and junk pieces. I really do hope they would have more and maybe even add another color. Fifteen city cards may not be enough. I guess anyone can really make up their own city cards, but not everyone out there is creative or some may be very picky about their cards being professionally printed instead of hand written. The game also has cards that let you combine the cactus pieces from Flick ‘Em Up.
Overall, I really like Junk Art. It’s a fun dexterity game that lets you interact with other players and the challenges are more fun than they are overbearing. And if you’re bored with Jenga, this definitely takes it to a whole new level of fun.