When the world is full of bad news, unicorns offer the ultimate escape.
For the pick-me-up we all need right now, pick up the Unstable Unicorns 2nd Edition pack from Unstable Games. Who can be upset when they have an army full of mystical creatures at their disposal? Be warned that you will be forced to betray the other players in this game, so make sure you’re ready to have the only people you’re quarantined with not speak to you.
The premise is simple: the first player to get a certain amount of unicorns in their stable (the place where unicorns go, obviously) wins. Those playing with two to five players must collect seven unicorns and those playing with six to eight must collect six. For battles with just two players, you’ll remove the basic cards (among others) from the deck — also in an effort to keep things balanced.
Because I don’t have eight people in my apartment (thank God) my battle was with just two players. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything except access to the adorable basic cards. The favorites I saw while discarding (pun somewhat intended) were the scarved hipster that only likes mixtapes and the narwhal that “has no special powers, but sure is cute.” I think this game could be more fun with more people playing because you can deal damage to more than one person and utilize more cards — but I’ll have to wait until next month (next year?) to test that theory.
The premise is simple, but reaching your goal will take a lot of work. Aside from the basic cards, there are Magical Unicorn, Baby Unicorn, Magic, Upgrade, Downgrade, and Instant Cards. Each one has different abilities in either making your army stronger or destroying your opponent’s stable. Due to this, your stable never stays one way for very long. It may sound like a lot but in practice, everything becomes easy, especially when you keep the rule reference card on your side.
Each round is taken in turns. The person who embodies the unicorn’s most inner thoughts goes first (meaning the person who is wearing more colors). Lucky for you, now that you’ve read this you know to dress like a rainbow threw up on you at game night in order to get the advantage. Before you start, each player adds one baby unicorn face side up in front of them and takes five cards from the shuffled play deck.
In your first move, you check to see if any cards have a specific “at the beginning of your turn” effects. For example, Claw Machine allows you to discard a card, and then draw another card. This is in addition to the next phases of the round in which you draw a card and then play a card. To play a unicorn card you place it in your stable *or* into your opponent’s. This gives them another unicorn toward their goal, but if it’s a downgrade it may be worth it. If you add the Broken Stable card, for instance, to someone else’s stable they can’t play any upgrade cards unless they get a unicorn that will destroy that one.
The keywords I’ve already mentioned and you definitely want to know are “sacrifice” (getting rid of a card from your stable), “destroy” (getting rid of a card from another player’s stable), “steal” (take a card from someone else’s stable and add it to yours), and “discard” (remove a card from your hand). These are also on the reference card to make it easy to remember.
Gameplay takes about 30-60 minutes and requires some real magical skill. While the cards you get are based on luck, strategizing how to use them most efficiently will make it easier to take the prize. There are 135 cards included in the pack and a ton of expansions available so every time you play you can discover new exciting unicorns.
Each card brings a new twist to the game and a new hilarious drawing that can make people laugh even in our current time. My favorite card is the Pandamonium, which turns unicorns into uni-pandas so bad things can’t happen to them. I think we can all learn from that. So turn yourself into a uni-panda, grab the people you’re stuck with, and go build your army of hope, glitter, and mayhem.