JunKing: Impish Fun with all the Interesting Junk you can Grab!
We recently got the chance to work with Junk Spirit Games to check out their new game, JunKing, a game where you play as an imp avatar picking through a massive junk pile to collect the most impressive trash heap ever! Does it make the cut or is it junk? Read more to find out!
In JunKing, You’re an imp working to be the JunKing by amassing the best collection of active junk attached to your character combined with your hoard (score pile), and you’re also on the lookout for bonus points from the JunKing crown, which ends the game. This 2-6 player game is easy to jump into, with light strategy and unpredictable cards and events moving the gameplay along quickly.
General play is simple enough. Each turn, a player must:
1. Draw a card
2. Play a card from your hand to your character (optional)
3. Take an action from one of your played cards (optional)
To start, you’re given an imp card with a special unique action, but you’ll get more use from the junk you attach to your character. Junk cards include Helms, Mounts, and Devices, in three different “suits”. Most have a special action that can only be activated by moving them to your hoard, where they count as one point each. Use your active junk to gain more hand cards, contribute to your hoard, do special actions, attack others, or protect yourself if someone else finds the crown first. You’ll balance playing action cards against stackable junk cards that are only used for points. Junk cards and imp characters give both helpful and attacking actions, so it’s good to keep track of what the other players can do. There’s also a lot of potential interaction when others play their junk, so you’ll need follow the action and make sure you get your bonus cards. The cards have a lot of variety, but with enough similarity or repeats to not be overwhelmed; after a few plays, the expectations of what sort of things will appear and how they will be used are pretty clear.
The junk pile also contains EVENT cards, which cause you to draw from the Event deck, and you should expect random bad things to happen or at least to miss out on the good thing others get. You also miss a normal junk card you would have gotten, so it’s frequently lose-lose. Since Events are unpredictable and usually bad for the drawing player, making others draw them helps you most of all.
When the JunKing crown is revealed during a card draw, the game ends…unless it doesn’t. There are multiple cards to put the crown back in the deck after certain situations, but eventually the crown is really “found” and scores are totaled, including both the active cards in front of you and in your hoard. The crown finder gets 10 bonus points, and has a good advantage to win, but that’s not a guarantee.
All of our games were 2-5 people, and swapping out the normal crown or including additional ones are suggested for more people, but we skipped that to focus on core game play. And we love expansions included with an original game release, but weren’t able to play this one within our review window. We expect the gameplay would be more interesting as it adds bonus cards you need to match for points. Mix that element with more crowns and the random impish factor increases to new heights. Hold on to you junk, fella!
A few things to consider:
Calling it the “Event” deck isn’t really accurate. It should really be called the “Not very likely to be good for most imps, especially for the one who draws a card” deck. The Event deck keeps the game interesting, but doesn’t seem to keep with the light-heartedness the game typically employs. Maybe that’s the “dark” impishness you hear so much about these days.
Positioning the crown(s) in the bottom half of the deck can make the game rather short if it’s near the top of the bottom, which happened two games in a row for us. And the higher the actual crown placement, the less likely the cards will be already played to extend the game when it is revealed, so statistically, game length is disproportionately longer the deeper it is in the deck. We played a few variant games by putting the crown in the bottom quarter of the deck, which seemed to last much longer. We suggest the crown section of the deck to be sized depending on the number of players and length preference: 2- 50%, 3/4- 33%, 5/6- 20%. Note: in one game, the crown was the very last card. Who knew?
Overall, JunKing is a fun, light card game, where familiarity is helpful, but frequently dominated by the unexpected (randomness). It can be played easily by gamers and party-goers alike. Pick it up today and you’ll be able to able to say “an impish time was had by all”!
Doesn’t JunKing sound fun? You can get your own copy right here!.
The Family Gamers were provided a complimentary copy of JunKing for review.