For years, I’ve been embarrassed every time I open up the left side drawer in our kitchen. I can barely open it up sometimes: chock full of pens, unfolded papers, sunglasses, and in an ode to today’s age, tons of tiny little black cables to phones and chargers and toys that I cannot even place properly.
I could organize it.
I could just play Junk Drawer, a cute little polynomial game from designer David Smith and Winsmith Games, a puzzley tile laying game for one to four drawer organizers that plays in about twenty minutes. The designer was kind enough to send us a prototype copy, which we played on last night’s Twitch Tuesdays board game stream.
Set up was a breeze; each player takes a bag of tiles representing stuff that I can admit are all found in any of our drawers around the house and garage. Four random goals are revealed to all players, and then the 21 card item deck is shuffled and flipped, one at a time, four per round, with each player taking the matching tetris shape and placing it in one of the four quadrants of their “drawer.”
Fans of this genre know that the premise is nothing new – you are trying to skillfully place these tiles to match the requirements of the goal cards and score the most points. But what we liked are a few little twists that make the game rise above a little. The playtime is short, so it is a perfect little date night game that we expect in final form will have some visually pop, a necessity for games after work. The teach is simple — seriously, it took maybe two or three minutes to figure out the rules.
And, the piece de resistance is the fact that players have to play four pieces but only one in each quadrant each round! Given the breezy pace of play, it is easy to get lulled to sleep that you are just scoring the big objective, going merrily along making big points until you realize that ohmygodijustblockedmyselfin!
That’s right — once you can’t legally make a play with just one of the pieces that are revealed, your game is over, but the rest of the players continue. It’s a tiny bit of player elimination but where you eliminate yourself! Considering the short playtime, this is not a big deal as the handy dandy dry erase scoreboard is a perfect implement to give you something to do while you wait another 30 seconds or minute for the others to finish.
And there’s some lagniappe planned for the campaign. Winsmith Games is planning stretch goals to enhance the production, such as nicer cards, custom insert, and thicker boards. We have also confirmed that the first stretch goal will be dual-layered player boards, which is always awesome lagniappe in any project!
If any of that sounds interesting to you, check out the pre-crowdfunding landing page for more information. Or check out the Twitch stream (we’ll be posting it to YouTube soon.) Note that we were playing on Tuesday with a prototype copy — this is not the final product. Our thanks to Winsmith Games for sending us this copy.
Until next time, laissez les bon temps rouler!
— BJ from Board Game Gumbo
(Info on lagniappe added 6.9.22 after email exchanges with the publisher)