Board Game Review: Junk Art

There’s a surprising amount of fun to be had by piling stuff up on top of other stuff, forming interesting structures and hoping it doesn’t fall down on you. Why else would anyone else in their right mind volunteer to tidy the garage? In Junk Art that’s exactly what you’ll need to do (pile stuff up, not tidy the garage), all in the name of art in the hope that you can grab more fans than the other players as you travel round the world and try out various junk art styles as you go.

In a typical game, which might only take 15 or 20 minutes overall, you’ll pick 3 cities from the deck of city cards and play by the rules that govern those cities, one by one. So you might start with a city where the objective is to build the highest tower, or have the highest number of piece in your structure. The way you get your pieces changes between cities as well, and might limit you to certain colours for example instead of free rein over the box of bits.

But essentially the idea is the same in each city – build your structure to the specification, and when a certain number of pieces falls off someone’s artwork (also denoted by the city card) they’re eliminated from that round and need to wait for the next one, which usually takes all of a couple of minutes, so the wait isn’t too painful. Knock back a couple more chocolate fingers and you’ll be back in the game in no time.

When everyone has been eliminated fan tokens are awarded to the players in the order they placed, and the art show rolls onto the next city with a new set of rules and win conditions. In a very easy to understand ending, whoever has the most fans once all of the cities have been played through is the winner. Simple.

And that’s the beauty of Junk Art, is its simplicity. I’ve played this with my 5 year old, I’ve played it with members of my family who are my age, as well as teenage nieces and nephews, and my parents and in-laws too. It’s a true party game: easy to understand, easy to play, easy to enjoy. You won’t get the depth from it that you might from the more serious games around, but you wouldn’t expect to, and it’s not the point of Junk Art at all – this is just about who’s got the steadiest hand, the best eye for balance and the most fortunate levels of luck – try building an entire structure when you’re unlucky enough to get the ball first time round…

As an extra bonus, one city even brings in Flick ‘em Up, merging two games together to produce something truly bizarre but also very cool at the same time. It’s not something you’ll want to do every time you play, after all getting two games set up instead of one is a pain, but it’s a nice novelty to try if you end up owning both games.

So Junk Art fulfils its promise of being a light hearted, fun game that pretty much anyone can play. With Christmas coming up and all the family stuff that it often brings along, you could do much worse than grabbing Junk Art to fill gap in those quiet Boxing Day moments. It won’t keep you gripped for hours, but for an hour of easy enjoyment it’s spot on.

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