Garbage Day Review

Designer: Shane Willis

Artist: Jonathan Pitcher

Publisher: Mayday Games

Year Published: 2016

No. of Players: 3–5

Ages: 8+

Playing Time: 30 Minutes

Main mechanic / Theme: Dexterity / Piling up garbage

It’s piled high and teetering.

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Between you and your roommates there is the unwritten rule that someone has to take out the trash. However, there is a second unwritten rule the person who gets caught overfilling the garbage can is the one who must take it out. The competition has gotten fierce as the week goes by and garbage day approaches. There is pieces hidden in everyone's bedrooms and the pile on top of the can is getting unsteady. Can you get away with balancing the pizza box on it? Or maybe you can try hiding the banana peel in your room. Then again, maybe you can catch your roommate off guard and make them clean their room in the hopes they make the garbage tumble to the floor.


Simple game start

Gameplay and mechanics

Garbage Day pits players against each other in a game of strategy and dexterity. On your turn you draw a card and play by hiding it in your room, make an opponent do something, or carefully placing it on the garbage can.

Every card has two holes in it. When you place a card on the garbage can, either by choice or being forced to, you need to place it so you can see the tabletop through both holes. It must remain balanced on the garbage can. If it a card or multiple cards fall off, you collect them. If you have too much garbage, you're out.

At the start of the game placing cards on the garbage can is easy enough to do, but you have to decide if you are going to place it in a way to create a stronger base, or one that may tip out more easily. Either choice may come back to haunt you later in the game.

pile on

Piling on the garbage

Theme and Artwork

Garbage Day comes in a garbage pail, which you pile the cards on top of. The art and descriptions are great for the age group Garbage Day is designed for.

pile 2

Getting questionable

What worked

All our games were finished before the 30-minute mark and the last one was less than 15. Making this a good game to have on hand as a filler game, or a cabin game. When showing this game to younger players they wanted to play based on the name and the garbage can the cards come in.

Final thoughts

Three of us played several games of Garbage Day. The rules were easy to understand and we were able to start the first game easily. In the first game, we played our early cards conservatively as we were figuring out how the game played out. It worked until one card tipped off. At that point there was an avalanche of cards that cleared most of the garbage from off the top of the can and forced that player out. In our following games we placed cards further out, creating a less stable base on top of the can. Fewer cards fell when they came sliding off.

In either case, people stopped sitting at the table as the game moved along for fear of knocking garbage out of the can. There is a rule that if you cause garbage to fall, even if you are not placing a card, they go in your overflow pile.

I don't remember if we played three or four games, but we were having fun. Garbage Day is designed for three to five players. We also have the Smelly Expansion which allows you to bring in a sixth roommate. With how Garbage Day played, we all think there would be more chaos with more players, and we want to pull it out for our entire gaming group.

on the table

Down they go

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About the Author

Daniel Yocom does geeky things at night because his day job won't let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He's written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines after extensive research along with short stories. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join him at

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