Be the legend of the junkyard in Trash War

Trash War card game

Is Trash War a box of garbage or fun?

“What goes on in junkyards when nobody is around?”

“After the metal crushers shut down and the land movers roll back into their hanger, after the underpaid employees clock out and call it a night, that’s when the knights arrive, dressed in shimmering armor, impassioned with chivalry and a taste for war. It is in the junkyards where these warriors find the tools for battle. And in the landfills, legends are born.”

So says the introductory text to the card game Trash War by Quirky Engine Entertainment.

We don’t know much about legendary junkyard knights, but we do know it’s fun tossing trash at your opponents’ fortress walls.

And in this case, it means tossing all sorts of junkyard item cards onto the other players’ wall cards to knock them out of the game before your own walls fall.

From toasters and TV’s to moldy sardines and X-ray machines, all sorts of items are flying around the junkyard in Trash War.

But the items thrown around aren’t the only things that make the game feel like a free-for-all. The game flow itself feels like a cafeteria food fight.

When I was first introduced to Trash War last year, I was sure the game would be a hit with our teens. Since then I’ve introduced it to even more kids and teenagers and they’ve all had a blast playing.

Trash War card game

What trash should I throw at my opponents first?


How to play Trash War

Trash War is a simple card game where players try knock out their opponents by breaking down their 3 junkyard walls. If your 3 walls are destroyed, you’re out of the game. The last player standing is the winner.

Set up is super simple as each player places their 3 wall cards in a row in front of them and draws 5 cards into their hand.

While a starting player can be chosen any way you’d like, game play doesn’t go in any particular order. Instead, turn order is determined by who throws trash at who.

Trash War card game

A 3-player game set up. Let the trash throwing begin!


To begin, the starting player chooses a Trash card of any value from their hand to place on one of their opponent’s walls.

The recipient of the initial attack then becomes the next player and follows these 4 phases:

  1. Defense
  2. Burn or Repair
  3. Launch Counter-Attack
  4. Re-Draw



If the attacked player has a defensive card, they may play it right after having trash thrown at them. These cards include the Mace, Deflect, or Shield.

The Mace allows the attacked player to knock the incoming trash in another direction. The direction arrows at the top of the Mace card indicate where it can be knocked to (left, right, or back at the player who tossed it). If a player uses a Mace card, their turn immediately ends. Their walls are safe and it’s now the player’s turn who has the trash coming their way.

Deflect cards allow the player to shift the incoming trash to a different one of their fortress walls.

Shield cards simply block the incoming trash. The value of the shield card must meet to exceed the value of the incoming trash card.

Once a defensive card is used, it’s discarded to the appropriate pile.

Trash War card game

Defensive cards are very helpful (and the catapult is cool too).



After a trash attack lands on one of a player’s walls, is deflected, or is blocked by a shield, that player can use a single Burn or Repair card from their hand to fix things up.

Burn cards allow players to remove trash cards from their walls whose total damage is equal to or less than the value indicated on the Burn card.

Repair cards allow the player to repair a completely destroyed wall. They discard the repair card and turn one of their destroyed wall cards back over. That wall is now back in action.

Trash War card game

Time to clear some of this wall’s damage.



Now it’s payback time!

The active player gets to launch an attack of their own.

The player chooses a Trash card of any value from their hand and places it on an opponents’ walls.

If the player doesn’t have a Trash card in hand, they discard 1 card and draw a replacement card. If the drawn card is a Trash card, they must play it. Otherwise, play proceeds to the player on the left.

Trash War card game

I’ve been hit with a TV. It’s payback time!



For the final stage of a player’s turn, they draw back up to 5 cards in hand.


Every wall in the game can only take so much damage before being destroyed. Once a wall has at least 4 value of damage on it, it’s destroyed!

The player discards the Trash cards from the wall and flips the card over.

Once all of a player’s 3 walls are destroyed, they’re out of the game.

Trash War card game

This wall is now destroyed.


Discard Piles

There are actually 2 different ways cards in Trash War can be discarded – to the Recycle pile or the Torched pile.

Some of the cards in Trash War have a Torch icon or Double Torch icon in the bottom right corner.

When single Torch cards are played, they’re discarded to the Torched discard pile. All other cards are discarded to the Recycle discard pile.

When the draw pile is depleted, only the cards in the Recycle pile are shuffled together to create the new draw pile to continue the game. All of the cards in the Torched pile are removed from play.

The second time through the draw deck, when cards with Double Torch icons are played, they’re now discarded to the Torched discard pile.

So if the deck needs to be shuffled again, the new draw pile won’t have either the single or double torch cards in it.

Trash War card game

Single and Double Torch cards are removed from play along the way.


When only one player remains standing, they’re the haled victor of the junkyard!


Can the whole family enjoy Trash War?

Trash War is a simple card game the whole family can enjoy playing.

It’s full of silly cards and crazy play where battles rage in whatever order players want. If kids like ganging up on dad, that’s totally okay.

Of course, they’ll also soon realize that as soon as they attack dad, it’s his turn to attack back!

That’s actually one of the main reasons why everyone we’ve played it with has enjoyed Trash War so much – because once attacked, they get to attack.

Or better yet, even before having a Trash card land on your wall, you can knock it at another player with a Mace card. It’s a lot of fun when players knock the Mutant Albino Alligator around a few times before it comes to rest on someone’s wall.

Trash War card game

This Mace will come in real handy.

The first time through the deck there’s always a lot of blocking and knocking trash other places. However, since those cards have Torch icons on them, as the game continues, those cards disappear.

Which brings us to another aspect of the game we love – the accelerating game end.

Elimination games typically aren’t the best for family play. They’re especially annoying for the first player to get eliminated from the game.

However, in Trash War once players start getting eliminated from the game you’ll typically be past the first time through the deck of cards. Which means most of the defensive cards that keep players’ walls safe are out of the game. So thrown Trash cards now more easily add up to destroy the remaining walls.

Trash War card game

Walls only take 4 damage before they’re destroyed. So the game doesn’t last too long.

The battle quickly settles down to the last 2 players who quickly take out each other’s final walls.

The final thing we love about the game we’ll mention is actually what caught our attention in the first place – the crazy trash items and artwork.

When we’re throwing smelly pants and leftovers at each other, we can’t help but do so with a taunt and a laugh. It may be low-brow humor, but it works great in Trash War!

Trash War card game

Who wouldn’t love chucking this trash at their friends?


How does Trash War score on our “Let’s Play Again” game meter?

Trash War card gameFor such a simple game, Trash War scores high on our “let’s play again” game meter.

It’s a silly game with plenty of corny trash-talking as we throw wacky garbage cards at each other.

Since players don’t need to consider a lot on their turns, the game play is very quick.

It’s also a game that attracts attention among both kids and teenagers. The last time we played Trash War was during a Guys Game Night where many of our sons were also there. As soon as they heard the laughter about crazy things being thrown at each other, they were all clamoring for their turn to play. We heard the call, “let’s play again” many times that night.

We’d like to thank Quirky Engine Entertainment for a review copy of Trash War.



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