Review: ‘Unstable Unicorns’ – Odd Name, Fun Game (Base Game)
Posted On September 9, 2019
This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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New Card Game is Suitable for All Players
When games come out, you may wonder what type of market they are catering to. Some games cater to the hardcore gamers, some markets cater to casual gamers, and still other cater to a specific niche users who just will buy the game to “be cool.”
It is a rare thing when you find a product that appeals to all of these markets. I believe we have found one in Unstable Unicorns by Denver-based TeeTurtle. The base game won a Toy of the Year (TOTY) award for 2019. According to TeeTurtle, the goal is to “Build a unicorn arm. Betray your friends. Unicorns are your friends now.”
This game includes the strategy that causes hardcore gamers to come back, the ease of play that brings in the casual gamers, and has enough of the fluffy unicorns to attracts the hipster crowd. Overall, this is a good game that can be fun for a group of friends or a gaming club.
Great Art, Not-So-Great Story
The main weakness of this game is the story; there isn’t one. The player operates as a warlord or the equivalent who is trying to raise an army of unicorns. You need seven unicorns to win; that is all the story we have. Unfortunately, the storyline is among the criteria for grading games and is a major weakness in Unstable Unicorns.
If TeeTurtle fixes this in a second edition, the game will be unstoppable. However, because of the lack of a story, we have to give Unstable Unicorns a 2 in this category out of 10.
Unstable Unicorns is a good game that can be fun for a group of friends or a gaming club.
What it lacks in story, it makes up for in art. Card games are known for stellar art; when a card game has good art, that is really saying something. With Unstable Unicorns, the art does not factor into the game play, but it does factor into the fun. The pictures and the flavor text add to the game in a way that you have to play to understand. This definitely gives it the edge over other off-the-shelf games and earns it a strong 8 out of 10 in the artwork.
When you evaluate a card game with simple text on the cards, you often think that the mechanics will suffer. This is not, however, the case with UnstableUnicorns. The text is simple and has few contradictions with a simple set of rules. The designers did well in balancing cards within the rules, a feature many card games lack. What you play factors in as much as how you play, and the balanced pool of cards leads to a strong 8 out of 10 mechanics score.
Strategy Is Supreme
Strategy is one area where you have to shine with a card-based game, and Unstable Unicorns does this. The game has several paths to victory that you can balance or go all out within; this is where gamesmanship, or games-unicornship, comes into play.
There are two main patterns in the play-through: Attack or go on the defensive. Either way offers a deep strategy that changes with every game. Bravo TeeTurtle; you get an 9 out of 10 in this category.
This game also does well in novelty, although it does have the same type of humor as some of the other NSFW games out there. The only difference is that the base set of this game is safe for work. This means that it gets a strong 7 out of 10, which is not a stellar placement for such a good game, but it is targeting a specific area of the market.
Overall, this is a very good game and receives an overall score of 35. While this is not a grand score on the charts, remember the a score of 2 on the story, which made it a catch-up game the whole time. Unstable Unicorns is worth trying out; you can play it with any of your friends and learn it quickly. This is definitely a fast-paced game suitable for any party and still be safe.
Once you add the expansions, the ratings rise up to the high 30s and low 40s. Purchasing the base game is an entry point for developing a great mini-collection of a fun game.
Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer
Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.