Review: Trailer Park Wars!
Publisher: Gut Bustin’ Games
Tagline: Live the dream… be a Trailer Park Manager!
how we met
My introduction to Trailer Park Wars is unique amongst the meet-cutes I have written about so far and will write about in future. Like most board game enthusiasts, I frequently look up games on Board Game Geek and read through user feedback. I was reading a review of Mystic Skull and the user noted how much they adore games that could not be made today. As you can imagine, I don’t find a lot of kindred spirits in the board game world. I clicked on the name to read through their reviews and found that – lo and behold – I had already read so many. So many. Mystic Skull, Snakes Alive, Girl Talk Dateline, Mall Madness, Heartthrob – and more modern games like Viticulture and Blood Rage.
Based on my perusal of this person’s reviews I purchased Trailer Park Wars from the Geek Market and sent her a note of thanks for all the game feedback she has written. So while I didn’t stumble upon this game at thrift, I did stumble upon it.
how it plays
Trailer Park Wars is a humorous card game where your goal is to be the best Trailer Park Manager. You accomplish this by having the best trailer park in beauty, represented by pink flamingo decorations – accomplished by having the best tenants, like a Firefighter or a Frugal Millionaire, and the best amenities, like a nearby tavern or a cigarette machine.
The first step of the game is to choose three cards from a face-down collection, labeled 1, 2 and 3. The 1 cards are proper names, like Del-Mar, Buena Vista, or Dump View. The 2 cards are descriptive and include words like Gypsy, Rectangular or Leisure. The 3 cards are logical endings to a Trailer Park name, like Holler, Gulch or Estates. Choosing these cards should net you a unique name for your Trailer Park, so you can start to make it all your own.
All trailer homes are divided up between players and then placed in front of them in a rectangle or circle.
Each player maintains a hand of seven cards and is allowed to play two cards per turn. Card types include tenants, amenities, natural disasters and action cards.
Tenants can be positive (pink flamingo icon) or negative (black flamingo icon) and can be placed on any open trailer in any park. So generally you are playing positive cards on your own park and negative cards on your neighbors, and constantly trying to find the balance between offense and defense.
Additionally, tenants have their own limited statistics and may not interact positively. For example the Angry Old Guy turns even more negative when living next door to Young Tenants, Bands or tenants with animals.
At the beginning of each turn (save the first turn), each player adds up the net positive points that they have and gets a pink flamingo decoration for each one. The game ends when all 100 flamingos have been placed. The player with the most flamingos has the best trailer park and is the best Trailer Park Manager and therefore the winner!
how it went
This is a fun, cute game and is very easy to understand. Initially the pile of flamingos is daunting and you think the game will go all night, but turns are pretty short and soon each player is picking up anywhere from zero to eight flamingos per turn and the game ended up a perfect length. It did not overstay its welcome, but it was enough time for you to grow attached to your trailer park and really plan its future.
The flamingos are novel and fun. They are a perfect complement to the sardonic humor of the game.
And trust me, nothing draws all eyes to your trailer park like a huge amount of flamingos. The idea of them is to be attractive and draw the eye, but the player with the most flamingos can hardly hide them and is constantly the target of fellow players, so the lead changes frequently. You may jump ahead initially but before you know it a tornado hits your park, an arsonist moves in and you have a roach infestation. Even a communal hot tub can’t overcome that mess.
play or pass
Play. I do love a quirky game and in the words of everyone’s favorite Trailer Park Manager, “You can’t change the spots on a shit leopard.” Rest in peace John Dunsworth.
One of the criticisms of this game is that it may not have a ton of longevity, and I can see that. But the combination between cards does do a good job of increasing replayability. It’s probably not a perennial game that will hit your table weekly or even monthly. But still it’s a fun, sarcastic little game and we will definitely play again.
Have you ever taken a chance on a game based on the recommendation of a stranger? Comment and tell us about it.