We have a special guest review of Daniel Solis’ Junk Orbit, by David Abelson

Junk Orbit

Designed by Daniel Solis

Published by Renegade Game Studios

Players: 2-5

Ages: 10+

One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure!

by David Abelson, January 21, 2019


“Been making the rounds for years, traveling from Earth to Mars and back. I Always find myself stopping at the moon for a quick nap and a drink between planets. You can even find some good junk there now and then! Sometimes I miss having my feet flat on the ground, but Junk is my job, it’s what I do. No matter how fast I fly, it just keeps showing up…”

Today I finally had the chance to play Junk Orbit, published by Renegade Games and designed by North Carolina designer Daniel Solis. I was not the last person to take out the trash so I had to settle for going second in this two player game. It was no big deal because the turns go really quickly and before I knew it we were off and running…or flying. You start the game on the moon, and you travel around from the moon to earth to the moon to mars and back to the moon forever attempting to skillfully deliver the most junk and the heaviest junk to the various cities. In the 3+ player games, there are additional moons which we didn’t use.

You can deliver junk in one of two ways, either by throwing it just right, so that it lands in its target city or by bringing it to a city in your ship. It’s even possible to do both at the same time and get some serious value for your turn. And, every city your ship lands at grants you more junk to transport so you are never out of options. The hook of the game is that your ship only moves according to Newton’s third law of motion, so in order for your ship to move 2 cities clockwise, you have to throw a piece of junk 2 cities counter-clockwise. The number of spaces that the junk can move is determined by its mass.

Photo of Junk Orbit by Eric Yurko, used with permission.

This was an easy to learn game. We were up and running in about ten minutes and some of that time was spent separating out the tiles we couldn’t use because we were only two players. It was also quick to play, ending in about 30 minutes. Quick turns kept the pace up, and the beefy decisions and strategic planning were satisfying. Your opponents can catch you in the middle of a plan, causing you to have to change it up quickly but I felt engaged and invested in the game, and I could definitely feel the underlying science and the puzzliness of the game. I lost but felt like I had a fighting chance from beginning to end, and I had a good time!

Renegade and Daniel Solis are both known for their engaging art, and the packaging and game art does not disappoint. It comes in a unique round box too, with a lot of spot gloss. Quick, engaging gameplay and a pretty package make Junk Orbit a game worth looking at.

Appearance – 9.0

Accessibility – 9.0

Engagement – 8.0

Control – 8.0

Composite Score – 8.5

David Abelson, is the designer of Intelle and founder of Fisher Heaton Games. His newest game, Gartenbau will be coming to Kickstarter March 26, 2019. David can be found on Twitter @FisherHeaton.