If the Scrapyard Wars title sounds familiar, that might be because it combines the names of Scrapheap Challenge—a British television show in which teams compete to build working machines out of scrap parts—and Junkyard Wars, the short-running U.S. program with the same set-up.
Now, instead of watching others transform junk into functioning junk, you get to assemble a few machines of your own—robots, to be precise, and preferably robots that will withstand some punishment. “Scrapyard Wars is a unique take on a combat arena style game in which players seek to build the best robots they can and then keep them alive long enough to get the most value out of their creation,” says designer Steve Sisk.
On a turn, a player can add a piece of scrap to his hand (either drawing randomly or exchanging a part in his hand for a face-up one), build a robot, add parts to a robot already in play (to earn more VPs), or retire a robot (to protect the VPs already earned by that bot). “Robots are worth VPs depending on the quality and mix of parts used to build them,” says Sisk. Robots hold up to four VP tiles worth 1-3 VPs each. “The longer the robots are around, the more VP they’ll earn—but the VPs for a robot may be lost if the robot is defeated or destroyed by another robot.”
During set-up, seven parts tiles are included for each player, and the game ends when a players takes the final tile. Adds Sisk, “With more players, there’s more risk of a more powerful robot being targeted by everyone else, so players must be careful when building. A very powerful robot will earn the most VPs, but will be more at risk of being destroyed. Players become more interested in trying to slip a less powerful robot under the radar of other players and build VPs slowly.”