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Throw piles of trash at each other, and the last one standing wins.

Card Game Review: ‘Trash War’ from 3 Headed Giant Games

Trash War from 3 Headed Giant, part of Quirky Engine Entertainment, brings together exciting gameplay, novel mechanics, and a hilarious theme into a vibrant game that will return again and again to the tabletop. The purpose of the game is simple: throw piles of trash at each other, and the last player standing wins.

trashwarThe most obvious facet of Trash War is its epic garbage motif. The cover alone is enough to intrigue players as gladiators in fantasy armor prepare to duke it out with a rake and plunger-and-bin-lid. The hilarity continues on every card, ranging from mutant albino alligator, junker muscle car, exercise bike (with middle-aged lady in a leotard still attached), and the trusty drum of toxic waste. The art by James Krause is vivid with rich color, giving each image a powerful punch that makes it larger-than-life, as if one could practically smell the odors trickling off the pages.

Gameplay in Trash War begins with each player receiving three Wall cards, each able to withstand three points of damage. Players receive a hand of cards with attacks, defense, and repairs that must be played strategically to maximize damage against opponents while keeping one’s walls standing. Attack cards are straightforward, dispatching a series of damage points toward an opponent of a player’s choosing that damage walls. Damage from clinging garbage under three points may be removed by “burning” off the trash and restoring the wall to full health. Defense cards either shield damage or send it flying back at someone else, which is much more entertaining.

What makes Trash War stand out from other combat card games is its unique turn-taking mechanic. Rather than having turns around the table, play goes from the attacker to the defender, who then becomes the next attacker. This turn of events may be from immediately sending an attack back at the attacker by batting it with a Mace or bringing someone else into the fray by deflecting it their direction. The defender has a chance to block it, perhaps sending the same flung garbage all around the table, or takes the damage and then declares an attack on an opponent of his or her choosing.

To prevent the dragging attrition feeling that often accompanies combat card games in their later stages, Trash War attaches torch icons to many of the defensive and repair cards. When the deck runs out, players pull these cards out and reshuffle the deck with the remainder. By the second time through the deck (provided the game goes that long), all of the draw cards are potent strikes that will soon spell the end for someone. If two players in a large game get into a feud, the other players may feel some downtime, but as soon as they are attacked, they will wish for quieter days of yore.

Trash War is a combat card game for two to five players aged ten and up. Games last fifteen minutes to half an hour with shorter games for fewer players and longer epic slug-matches with larger groups. Players will have to stay on their feet with defense cards ready and carefully judge the table to see whom they should attack next for the best chance to survive the Trash War.

 

About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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