The Junkyard Derby is beginning soon, and it is up to the competitors to not only build a reliable ride out of scrap but also win the big race! Of course, you wouldn’t expect a race called the Junkyard Derby to be a smooth experience, so racers will have to watch out for hazards along the way if their ride is to have a chance at even seeing the finish line.
Junkyard Derby is the latest game by the creators of Pure Steam, a Pathfinder RPG with a steampunk setting. The board game features two phases. First, the players will spend a few turns building their car out of scrap parts. After that, the race will begin. The gameplay is driven by cards, which are often parts, hazards, and components to upgrade your vehicle. Players’ rides can be slow and tanky or fast and fragile, it all depends on the desired playstyle.
Kickstarting The Race
Junkyard Derby is currently on Kickstarter, where it has been successfully funded and is looking forward to a February 2019 release.
The game came into being when the design team wanted a filler game for lengthy table-top sessions. Originally the game was planned to be a minigame for an RPG but became much more. We spoke with one of Junkyard Derby‘s creators, B’omarr Punk, about his new board game and its influences. “The characters are based on character types from our Pure Steam Campaign Setting. From there it took on its own life.”
One constant struggle for board game developers is the balance of their games. If a game doesn’t have the perfect set of rules, it can be unfair for some players, or one player snowballing to victory, with games being decided during the early phase. “The first version had lots of balance issues. There was essentially a single build that couldn’t lose,” recalls Punk. “The first iteration of the game was created over a couple weeks of design work, but it was a far cry from the game today. With every version, it got more streamlined and made more sense.”
Junkyard Derby has quite a few influences, and it shows when the game is underway. “Munchkin’s lighthearted backstabbing nature certainly influenced the style of play of Junkyard Derby.” The backstabbing is something that players are going to need to get used to. “Junkyard Derby is best to learn with three to four players, for the speed of that first game. But it’s a riot at six players when everyone gets the cutthroat nature of the game and knows the mechanics,” says Punk.
Racing Towards Success
While the Kickstarter has been successfully funded, the journey for Punk and company isn’t over yet. There are still many stretch goals that will further increase the quality of the game. The team has plans for additional tracks, including a loop with multiple laps. Other stretch goals include enhanced meeples and custom dice.
Junkyard Derby has found success, but the creative team has experienced a few scares on the way. “There are some obvious comparisons to Junkyard Derby like Steampunk Rally, but we didn’t use those games as a basis for Junkyard Derby. After the design of the original version of Junkyard Derby, a friend said: ‘Have you seen this game Steampunk Rally?’ We hadn’t. We panicked for a moment until we looked it up and realized the two games are vastly different in style and mechanics,” recalls Punk.
When the team finishes Junkyard Derby, they will immediately begin working on a few new projects. “We have expansions for Junkyard Derby planned, as well as a cross-country race game based on Junkyard Derby with the working title Musketball Run. There’s also this game we are toying with called Homunculus, and it’s very far from ready, but it keeps me up at night,” jokes Punk.
A pledge of $23 will earn backers a copy of Junkyard Derby. Like most Kickstarters, there are higher-tiered rewards for enthusiastic backers of the new game. Punk has an idea of who should be most excited for Junkyard Derby. “If you are a fan of Mario Kart, you are sure to love Junkyard Derby.”