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Astro Trash: Simple, Cleaning Fun

That is no typo in the title. Astro Trash from The OP is a super simple tabletop game that has you racing against opponents to “declutter your planet.” And cleaning has never been so darned fun!

Astro Trash had a bunch of 20- and 30-something year old men furiously flinging dice and slinging plastic game components around my kitchen table at breakneck speed. There were shouts of frustration when the dice didn’t go their way and as much trash talk was passed around the table as as were trash components.

There were literal victory dances.

All of this goes to show you that simple games can be tremendous fun, and that a game mostly designed with the younger ages in mind can prove an absolute blast for tabletop veterans.

Astro Trash: How to Play

Set up is easy-peasy: Place the sun disc in the center of the play area, and give each player a planetary board and a set of three dice. A number of pieces of trash are then placed on each player board depending on the number of players.

A player says, “3, 2, 1, Ditch it!” to begin the game. Each player rolls their dice as quickly as possible. There are no turns! The dice tell you how many pieces of trash to move (1-3), which type of trash to move (one of six different colors), and where to move that trash (one planet to the left or right, or to the sun – with the ? being wild). Trash flung into the sun is effectively removed from play for that round.

The first player to clear their planet and shout “Clean!” wins, and collects a Trash Trophy. The first player to collect three Trash Trophies wins the game!

“Clean!” And with my third Trash Trophy now in hand, I am the winner!

Fast and Furious

The lack of any kind of turn systems makes this game move very, very quickly. Literally as fast as you can roll your set of three dice, move the trash accordingly, pick them up, and do it again.

Astro Trash involves some dexterity and the ability to quickly ascertain which pieces you’re allowed to move and where. That might prove a bit tricky for the younger ages, but game designer Kami Mandell has thought about that! There are two options listed for playing with kids to make it a bit easier for them:

  • Kids can start with two fewer pieces of trash than the rules suggest, and, upon a loss, start with one less piece than the previous game.
  • They can play using only the quantity and direction dice, and can choose which color trash to move each roll.

There’s also a teensy bit of strategy. When that ‘?’ die face shows, you can choose to send that trash to the sun or to “any other player.” Sending trash to the sun means it will never find its way back onto your planet, but it could be that you see a player who isn’t to your immediate left or right is close to clearing their board and kick it their way instead!

Admittedly: That “any other player” language may be intended to mean either the player to the left or the player to your right, but I like the idea of having the chance to clutter up a potential victor’s planet from across the table, too!

And it is no knock against Astro Trash that it isn’t dripping with strategy. It is just fast-paced fun. If you had to do too much thinking, the crazed rush of the gameplay would suffer. What this game does best is move. No down time; just a bunch of dice rolling (one of NoE’s favorite mechanics!) and component tossing.

I don’t care if you’re 6 or 60: you’ll feel the rush when you clear your board and shout “Clean!” Sure, it comes down to some luck. Sure, you’ll get a bit frustrated when you keep rolling that stinkin’ blue on the color dice even though you don’t have any stinkin’ blues! But both of those truths really do make that win that much more satisfying.

Simple, cleaning fun.

Astro Trash gets the Nerds on Earth Seal of Approval. And with a $20 price point, it is worth every penny.

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