In the vastness of space, we’re alone with our thoughts, also tons of floating trash apparently. The good thing is that cities around the solar system are willing to pay you handsomely for that sweet space garbage. Today we’re breaking open the cylindrical package of Junk Orbit to see how much family fun this game holds.
In Junk Orbit, you’re tasked with collecting and hurling space trash through the orbits of Earth, the Moon, Mars and its two moons. The board is made up of these modular locations that are laid in the middle of the table. Everyone is given some “standard issue” space trash and a couple random pieces to start the game. You’ll pick a wooden rocket ship meeple and have a matching card that gives you a unique ability.
On your turn, you can toss a piece of junk from your rocket either to the left or right. The direction matters a lot because your rocket will travel the opposite direction. If you toss junk with a value of 4 to the right, your rocket will be propelled to the left 4 spaces. The point of Junk Orbit is to deliver junk to the city that has its name on the tile. You can deliver something by throwing it the exact number that it needs to land on the city or by landing in the city while that junk is in your cargo. When your rocket stops at a new location, you’ll pick up another piece of trash to use on a future turn.
Players score victory points by delivering the space junk and the game ends when one of the 3 stacks (Earth, Moon and Mars) of trash are empty. This has been the trickiest part of the game in my opinion. The end of the game can creep up on the players if they are collecting from one location over and over.
Rocketing Through Space
The movement is so fun in this game and you have to plan out those big deliveries. Delivering a space cat to Paris will give you 5 victory points. But, what if tossing that space cat out the bay doors means that you can deliver two items to Hellas that gives you 8 victory points? You’ll need to collect a variety of junk so you can move around the planets quickly and efficiently.
In Junk Orbit, tiles will be laid out differently every time you play the game. There are lots of tiles in the game and the different illustrations are colorful and fun. The game scales really well by adding new locations based on the number of players. I think all of this adds to the replayability of the game without changing the game in a big way.
Junk Orbit is essentially a pick up and delivery style game but feels unique compared to some of the other games in this genre. I really expected to struggle with getting my space craft to move in the right direction. After just a couple rounds, this feels like second nature. There’s a point where each of the planets meet, almost like transfer points. You’ll find yourself counting out these spaces to find the perfect way to hit your target.
This game also has a small amount of “take that” which has made our games more competitive. If you toss a piece of junk and it lands on another players location, that player will be forces to drop a piece of cargo on that location. This doesn’t happen often but it’s definitely a tactic that’s helpful when you realize a which player is in the lead.
Making Space for Junk Orbit
Junk Orbit has been a lot of fun with both kids and adults. It takes a couple minutes to setup and organize the tiles before jumping into the game which takes around 40/45 minutes. I can’t say that Junk Orbit does anything mind blowing, but I can say that the game does everything really well. I really enjoy how movement works in the game and how players are given two different options to delivering cargo.
The different rocket ships give players unique powers which can make a big difference in the way you play. These rocket ship cards are double sided for even more replayability. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, the planet locations have an “night side” (advanced mode) that adds more of a challenge as you get better at piloting your rocket.
This game is colorful, fun and a real treat to have on the table. Junk Orbit grabs your attention with its cylindrical packaging and has great table presence as the planets sprawl across the table. It may be an odd fit among all the rectangular games on your game shelf, but it is worth carving out space and time to adventure into the universes largest trash heap known as “space”.
Another Look from Bob Crowell
I can not tell you how many times in my life I’ve wanted to throw garbage at my friends while navigating through space. Now Daniel Solis and Renegade Games have finally given me that opportunity. I really like Junk Orbit, I love the pick up and deliver mechanic and I love tiles (we all know that). I also like that you are left with the choice to use your space junk as fuel to maneuver around the planets or to deliver it for victory points. Junk Orbit plays in what feels like a perfect amount of time, all while being able to support up to five players. The only negative thing I could say about this game is that it doesn’t fit on my perfectly boxed, right angle holding shelf. Though I do understand the cylindrical packaging, because while it now sits on top of my shelf, its presence is pretty awesome. The artwork is really fun and if I’m not mistaken there seems to be a few subtle artistic references to other well known space devices on the tiles, but that could just be the lack of oxygen in my rocket ship.
Head over to your local game shop to pick up a copy of Junk Orbit or purchase on Amazon today. Check out our unboxing of Junk Orbit on YouTube.
- Unique gameplay movement has players plotting the perfect delivery
- Great color choices and fun illustrations
- Variable rocket abilities and advanced mode adds replayability
- Plays well with kids and adults
- Takes up lots of space on the table
- Cylindrical packaging will frustrate some