Living in the Junklands is a hard life. Living among your fellow imps, it’s a constant contest of survival as you scrounge and rummage through the hoards of junk you call your home. Forget about food and shelter though, there’s something more important at stake–the Junklands are in need of a king, and only the legendary, coveted Junk Crown can bestow such an honor. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve accomplished, or how you look–in the wild wilderness of the Junklands, the one with the crown makes the rules. This is JunKing, the tale of Junk King’s rise to power.
JunKing, designed by David Gerrard and self-published by his company Junk Spirit Games, JunKing is a light, gateway filler game for two to four players. The game was successfully funded on Kickstarter back in April, and is now shipping out to backers and retailers. The game also features the art of Justin Hillgrove, creator of the Imp Lands, the universe in which JunKing takes place.
In JunKing, players compete to be the first one to draw the legendary Junk Crown, which will end the game. Players can play cards that will allow them to take special actions as well as give them passive point boosts–although drawing the crown will always end the game, the player with the most points is the winner. So, is JunKing worthy of a spot in your tabletop collection? Let’s find out!
This is an accordion-based review. Feel free to jump around and expand whichever section is most relevant to you.
I had fun with JunKing, but I think it’s important to recognize it for what it is–a light, gateway filler card game. JunKing is probably not something I’d buy for the main attraction on game night, nor to play with some of my experienced gamer friends; it’s just not deep enough to fill that kind of position. However, JunKing is a fantastic choice if you have children or inexperienced players that you want to sit down and play a fun game with.
With children, you often run into the problem of games being fun for them, but not at all for you. JunKing will be a great learning experience for them, but interesting enough to hold your attention. With inexperienced players, even simple games like Catan can be too much for them, and JunKing hits a really nice line between “super easy and casual” and “strategic enough to feel satisfying,” so both the newcomer and the veteran end up having fun with it.
I wasn’t completely satisfied with JunKing’s “find the crown to win” idea, but the game already comes packed with alternative solutions, and there will likely be many people that will appreciate the way it was originally implemented. The other expansionary content in the box also adds a little bit of tactical variability, and that, combined with the variety of ways you can set up your imp, makes for a highly replayable game.
JunKing totally kills it in the visual department, sporting wonderful, whimsical art from the talented Justin Hillgrove, who manages to breathe personality into each and every last card. Whether you like the game or not, it’s hard to argue that the visual design is not exceptionally well-done.
Overall, JunKing is what it is. Looking for something to introduce to your children that’s not just simplistic, mindless drivel? Bust out JunKing! Got a friend that you think might enjoy board games, but insists on playing Uno all the time instead? Bust out JunKing! This is a great little gateway experience. If you’re looking for a game of this weight, you could do a lot worse than JunKing.
YOU WILL LIKE THIS GAME IF…
- You want something you can play with your children and still enjoy
- If you’re looking for a light gateway game
- You like high quality art, and lots of it
- You’re yearning for an original theme
- Aesthetics are a strong selling point for you
- You like having a variety of strategies to pursue
- You’re a fan of the way Quidditch scores
YOU WON’T LIKE THIS GAME IF…
- You’re totally over filler games
- You don’t like games that can swing hard
- You don’t like keeping track of multiple cards in play at once
- You prefer games that have a more serious art style
- You don’t like luck to play a role in the final results