Game Night: Unstable Unicorns

When I first heard about Unstable Unicorns, I thought it was going to be a goofy game like Exploding Kittens that was funny, easy to play and was good for one or two plays before it lost its charm.

I was wrong!

Unstable Unicorns does have lots of replayability!  It’s cute, so children like it, but there is humor in it for adults too.  You cannot help getting into the spirit of banding together to prevent someone from winning, and then turning against each other when the next threat emerges.

How to Make any Room Louder

How did we learn about Unstable Unicorns?

I first heard about the game from a friend who got it for his niece and nephew.  It was described as fun and a go-to game whenever they get together.  We already had Exploding Kittens in our game stack, and I thought from the name that it would be something similar. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  While some mechanics may be similar, the games are totally different, and the energy of the players definitely is.  People want their stable of unicorns to succeed!  The cards and descriptions are cute.  It becomes personal when someone steals your unicorn.  There are funny combinations and instant game changing cards. 

While we were traveling on Wizard Tag business, we stopped at a friend’s house and they brought out the game.  They had all of the expansions, so there were plenty of cards.  We had seven players (two were paired up), and the fun began.  It took only a couple of minutes to teach us the game and there are quick-reference cards that helped a lot.  

Within minutes there was laughing, crying, shouting, accusations, calls for the rulebook, and more laughing.

Unstable Unicorns, all the neighs!

We visited our FLGS and got a copy of Unstable Unicorns for our collection.

The game is not too expensive, although there are many expansions that increase the laughter and yelling, and maybe even add some tactical thought to this lighthearted game.

The second edition of the game changed some overpowered cards and removed some underpowered cards, but it is essentially the same game.

Playing Unstable Unicorns with different groups.

I brought the game to my father’s house where we had game night for three days in a row.  Unstable Unicorns landed on the table, and even in a room full of “Adults”, the noise meter went from normal to rock-concert-loud in about a minute.  

Everyone was shouting to stop anyone else who was on the verge of victory.  People were dropping down “nays” (or “neighs”) left and right to counter game-ending moves!  Counters were countered, and final overrides were dropped.  Some people saved spells for emergencies and others piled on to prevent the end of the game.

When we switched to another game after that, it seemed like we had moved into a library.

The family we played our first Unstable Unicorns game with visited us recently and of course we got out the cards.  It was fun and loud and everything we remembered, including the controversy.  There was a conflict about timing of playing a “Yay” card, and whether that card could be “Nay’d”.  

There were tears, but after consulting Board Game Geek, the situation was resolved!  Once a “Yay” is played, it is a very OP card, however, it can be prevented from coming into play, just like any other card, with a “Nay” of any kind.

Is this card game in our rotation?

Unstable Unicorns is best with more people, so we probably won’t take it out when we are playing just Cally vs. Jon.  However, it is a must for any large groups, and groups with kids.  If the kids can’t read, they should be teamed with someone, but it will still be fun.

Unstable Unicorns is so fast to set up, play, and teach if necessary, that it is going to always be an option for families and larger groups.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Have you ever played Unstable Unicorns?
  2. Did you like the mechanics or wasn’t there enough thinking or strategy?
  3. What games have you played that resulted in tears?  Did you still have fun?

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