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Junk in My Trunk Review

Quick Look: Junk in My Trunk

Designer: David Coleson
Artist: Josh Cappel
Publisher: CSE Games
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-7
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 20 minutes

The circus is over, and cleanup duties fall to the elephants. To make the job go faster, these playful pachyderms have made a game of the task! Using their trunks like vacuums, they suck up all the junk under the big top and blow it into the trash! First small things like tickets and popcorn... all the way up to the circus' old broken cannon. Everything is blown into the trash until the circus has been swept clean. The first elephant to get all the JUNK out of its TRUNK wins the game!

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


Overview and Theme:

The title may be slightly risque, but this is actually a delightfully family-friendly card game with an endearing circus theme. The idea is that the circus is over and the elephants are put to the task of cleaning up all the debris by using their trunks to help out.

Components and Setup:

Junk in My Trunk comes in a sturdy box and contains a rule book and 108 nice quality linen-finish cards. The artwork is bright, bold, and colorful, and it fits the theme perfectly.

Since it's a card game (with no other components), setup is quick. If you're playing with less than four players, you'll pull a few cards out to make a smaller deck (unless you want a longer game), and it's suggested that you can play with eight or more by shuffling two decks together.

Each player gets dealt three face down cards in a row, and a hand of seven more cards. Of these seven cards in hand, the player will choose one to go on top of each of the face-down cards, leaving four in hand to start the game. There is a tiny learning curve in knowing which cards might be best to lay down, but the rules suggest using your highest cards or wilds, and that advice makes it easy to get started.

Game Play and Mechanics:

Junk in My Trunk is an empty-your-hand card game. On your turn, you can play numbered cards to the Trash (the growing pile in the center of the table) if you have a card equal to or higher than the card on top - if you don't, you have to pick up the entire Trash pile instead, and the next player will start a new pile. After each turn, you draw back up to four cards.

There are a few other rules, as well. You can lay down multiples of the same card, and if you've laid down the fourth identical card in a grouping, you get a 4-Pach Bonus that removes that whole Trash pile from the game. There are also 0-numbered wild cards that can go on top of any number and sometimes give you bonus actions, as well. 1s, 2s, and 3s have special actions that let you peek at, flip, or swap the face-down cards on the table.

Play continues until the whole draw pile has been drawn; then, your goal is to run out of cards in hand in order to be able to play your three face-up cards one at a time, followed by your three face-down cards. The first player to run out of cards in hand and cards on the table wins.

The rules are easy to explain and the game flows smoothly, with just the right amount of frustration; I was about to run out of cards in hand when I was stymied by a 50 on the top of the pile and had to take the entire pile! In a family-friendly atmosphere, that's accompanied by good-natured jeering and laughter, and it happened to everyone sooner or later.

There's room for a bit of strategy, especially as you get to know the game. You aren't required to play a card if you can see a reason for picking up the pile instead. Peeking, flipping, and swapping the face-down cards can get you set up for the best possible end game. You'll want to use cards - especially the wilds - very carefully.

The Good:

My family was charmed by Junk in My Trunk. It's a solid family card-shedding game from theme and components to gameplay. It accommodates a wide range of players (from 2-7 in a single box, and will go higher if you put two boxes together) at a wide range of ages (the box says eight and up, but I know several six year olds who would enjoy this one, and it's equally enjoyable for adults).

The Bad:

Not much to say here! If you don't like lighter games, card games, or the circus theme, it might not be your cup of tea.

Final Thoughts:

Junk in My Trunk is a well crafted, family-style card game with enough room for strategic players or for off-the-cuff lighthearted play.

Players Who Like:

Junk in My Trunk is a modern spin on the classic Swedish game V√§ndtia (Turn Ten), and so fans of that and similar card games will enjoy it. Families that play Flinch, UNO, Phase 10, Five Crowns, The Great Dalmuti, and similar games will enjoy Junk in My Trunk.

I am giving Junk in My Trunk 10 out of 10 Super Meeples for Family Style Card Games.

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About the Author:

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!
Junk in My Trunk Review Junk in My Trunk Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on March 08, 2018 Rating: 5

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