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Subject: Unfair - A Detailed Review rss

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Image Courtesy of joelfinch

This review continues my series of detailed reviews that attempt to be part review, part resource for anyone not totally familiar with the game. For this reason I expect readers to skip to the sections that are of most interest.

If you liked the review please thumb the top of the article so others have a better chance of seeing it and I know you stopped by. Thanks for reading.

Summary

Game Type - Card (Tableau-Building) Game
Play Time: 60-150 minutes
Number of Players: 2-4
Mechanics - Hand Management, Pattern Building, Take That!
Difficulty - Moderate (Can be learned in 30 minutes, takes 1-2 plays to begin to understand all the moving parts)
Components - Excellent
Release - 2017

Designer - Joel Finch - (Debut Title)

Overview and Theme

In the cut-throat world of the Theme Park business, competition is fierce to build the most amazing attractions and lure the crowds through the main gate. Owners search to find the most appealing themes and the best upgrades to create super-rides and money-draining sideshows.

The owners will seek out Blueprints to new and amazing structures and then look to upgrade them with all manner of new creations and guest comforts. Staff will need to be hired too but that is not where it ends. This is Unfair...and park owners will also try to bribe officials, pay off hooligans to vandalise rival parks and safety inspectors may just be given a tip-off or two to put some heat on the competition. devil

This theme park building is done using cards to create a tableau. The game is essentially a card game and the central board is really a very handy management tool to assist the flow of the game.

Theme aside, I love helping to shed light on new designs, especially when they come from an Aussie designer as we are small fish in a very big pond. I don't know Joel overly well but I do know the time and effort he has put into the design and playtesting of Unfair. He has brought the design several times to our local convention, BorderCon, and I have seen much change and playtesting input go into the evolution of the game.

I could have been a part of the playtesting team also but just had too much on my plate at that time. So when Joel asked if I could cover the game for the Kickstarter launch, I was only too happy to help.

Do I like this game? In short I think it's a cracker, but my last play was over 2 years ago and I know the game has evolved considerably since then. So I will be discovering the game all over again as I take a look at the game in its final iteration (I managed 2 more plays over this past weekend).

So roll up roll up folks and see for yourself, the greatest theme park of all time...it'll be a heck of a ride!

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The Components

I usually include quite a detailed components section, but as this is a Kickstarter Preview, I will not go into quite as much depth. Also keep in mind that any component shots I include here are of pre-production quality. For the record I was pretty happy with the components (card thickness, cardstock etc) and I know they will only get better in the final release.

The Central Board - Unfair makes use of a rectangular central board to keep track of the various card decks. It also features a central track to manage where the play is up to each round.

It's colourful, engaging and really supports the play of the game.

Cards - The game comes with a large array of cards and in truth this is a card game as it is a tableau-building game.

The Cards on offer include Park Cards (the largest deck of cards by far), Event Cards, Blueprint Cards, City Cards and Showstopper Cards. There are then a few odds and ends such as Main Gate and Loan Cards.

The Cards are all highly detailed, featuring great art and the graphic design is very well done and consistent throughout.

The cards themselves all have a letter in the bottom corner to denote which thematic set they belong to. This is important because the players chose the themes to play with each game (one theme per player) and all cards of a theme are used in a given play. This does have some implications for packing up (I find it best to gather the cards of a thematic set when finished) and then the cards used will need to be well shuffled for the next play so thematic cards of a given type are not all clumped together in a particular deck.

The remaining tokens for money, start-player and the like are all well done and do the job nicely.

I will update this section to my usual standard once the full game is published. But I must give a huge thumbs up to the artistic team. The game simply looks a million bucks from box to cards and it really brings the theme to life.


Image Courtesy of EllenM


Set-Up

Unfair takes a little setting up but nothing too onerous.

Each player must decide on which themed deck they would like to the game (one pack per player). A single player will not control that theme exclusively, instead the cards are added to common decks in which they can be accessed. Each theme though has its own particular strengths and tricks up its sleeve. The game outlines some of the suggested themes to use in your opening games and with experience it is a case of anything goes.

Each themed deck will have cards featuring 6 different coloured backs. All cards of the same coloured back should be split away from their theme deck and shuffled together to form 3 unique decks.

Each player then receives a yellow Main Gate Card, a grey Loan Card (placed above the main gate face-down), a player aide (outlining phase order and the like) and 20 coins in starting cash.

Now the City Deck needs to be constructed. This deck consists of 4 red-white 'Unfair' City Cards chosen at random. On top of this is placed the 'City Planning' Card with the Public Notice side face-up and on top of that is placed 4 blue-white 'Funfair' City Cards, again selected at random. This deck, along with all other decks made earlier are placed at their location on the board.


Image Courtesy of misskatja
Each player then receives 5 cards from the red Park deck. If a player receives no Attractions in their starting hand they can reveal this fact and reshuffle their cards into the deck and draw 5 more.

Each player then receives 2 Showcase Cards, which they can look at before placing them face-down in front of themselves.

Finally, a total of 6 Park Cards are drawn and turned face-up before being added to the Market locations on the board.

A starting player is determined and the game is ready to begin.

All of the above may seem a little involved but in truth the game can be set up in a matter of minutes with a couple of players working together. The only thing that needs to be done really well is to shuffle up each deck really thoroughly to mix the themes.

The Play

Unfair lasts for a total of 8 rounds and in that time you are trying to build the best theme park the world has ever seen. In the process you are also trying to stop the competition from achieving the same feat.

Within each of the 8 rounds, the game unfolds by using 4 steps or phases. As each step is completed, a marker is advanced to keep track of where the play is up to.

The various phases and the options they allow include :-

d10-1 Events – This phase is made up of three parts, all of which take only a matter of minutes.

mb Draw Event Card - Each player in turn order draws one card from the Event Deck and adds it to their hand.

mb City Event - The start player turns over the next card in the City Event Deck. The outcome of this event is read out loud and its effect is implemented at the appropriate timing within the round.

The way the game is structured, the first 4 events in this deck offer positive outcomes and assist the players in getting off the ground. These are called Funfair events. The back four events though represent the frailties of the theme park business and the players must try to manage and minimise these potentially disastrous events as best they can. These cards are called Unfair Events.

mb Play Event Cards - This is the longest element of this phase, but it still only takes a few minutes. Beginning with the start player, each player can opt to play an Event Card from their hand or pass.

If a player passes, they can elect to play a card on the next rotation, provided all players haven't passed in consecutive fashion (which ends this round).

Most Event Cards have two options (see left). The top of each card offers a beneficial power, whist the bottom option tends to target the opposition. Some of these cards also offer a power that can block an attacking event played by someone else, allowing a player to respond to a threat.

d10-2 Park – The Park Step is where the action happens. This is where the players build their theme park to lure in the punters.

The Park phase allows each player to take 3 actions, with numerous options available to them. It is possible for the players to access a 4th Park Step (action) if they play the right card.

The play here moves from one player to the next for each action. Once all players have taken their first Park Step action, the phase marker is moved along on the central board and the start player takes their second Park Action. This continues until all players have had their 3rd (or possibly 4th) Park Step action.

In the Park Phase, the players have the following options to spend their actions on :-

mb Draw a Card -

Image Courtesy of misskatcha
This option allows the players to access the many cards on offer in Unfair.

The first option is to take any one card from the Market on the central board and add it to your hand. If a card is taken in this way, a new Park Card is added to the Market to replace it.

The players can also elect to draw from one of the draw decks. The players can chose to draw cards from the Blueprints Deck, the Park Deck or the Event Deck. Any of these options allow a player to draw 2 cards from the relevant deck, they can keep none or one and discard the rest to the relevant discard pile.

If at any point a card is needed from a draw deck and it is exhausted, the discard pile is re-shuffled before cards can then be taken.

The final option is to discard a card from one's hand and this allows 5 Park Cards to be drawn from the deck, with 1 being kept and the rest discarded. This reminds me of the explore step from Race for the Galaxy and it is sometimes very much needed if you are trying to find an uncommon element that is featured in one of your Blueprints.

mb Build a Card - By using a Build Action, a player can build a card directly from their hand or a card from the Market. A player simply pays the cost of the card before adding it to their tableau (theme park), being sure that they have placed it correctly (it adheres to any building restrictions etc).

If a card was built from the Market, a new card is turned over from the draw deck to replace it.

The other option when taking a Build Action is to build one of the Showcase Attractions that all players receive at the start of the game. As the name suggests, these attractions are ones that draw in the big crowds and leave park-goers stunned. As such they come at some cost, a whopping 18-20 coins, but as well as a great star rating, they also have a power that a park owner can benefit from each round, provided the attraction stays open of course! devil

In addition to the cost, the only other restriction on building a Showstopper is that your park must already have at least 5 stars for the council to authorise the new project.

The kinds of cards that can be built and added to your park include attractions, upgrades, guest services, resources and staff.

mb Demolish a Card - This action allows a player to demolish or dismiss a card from their own park. This may seem counter-productive but there can be good reasons to do so, which I will let you discover for yourself. whistle

mb Loose Change - This action is used to supplement one's income. It essentially allows staff to scour the grounds for any loose change that has fallen out of Guest Pockets.

The game effect is that a player can earn 1 coin for each open attraction in their park. It isn't a lot but it may just be enough to add a new element to your park before the round is over.

I really like the thematic reasoning behind this action as well. It takes the mickey out of what happens at theme parks and this kind of humour is strewn throughout the game.

d10-3 Guests Step – Each round in the game equates to one month. The Guests Step essentially represents pay day, it's the end of the month and it is time to see how the park has faired.

Each player simply adds up the number of stars in their park, which represents how many guests have come through the Main Gate (again the game rationalises that each star equates to 10,000 park-goers). For each guest (star) attracted, one coin is earned.

Each park has an initial capacity of 15 stars (150,000 people per month). This can be increased with the right upgrades, staff or event cards. Only open attractions can add their star rating to your park total. It is possible to have a park with a star rating greater than your capacity, but your capacity dictates the maximum income that can be earned.

Additional income may also be earned from Event Cards or Staff/Upgrade powers.

d10-4 Cleanup - The Clean-up Phase is a quick affair in which the game is reset in preparation for a new round.

All un-purchased cards in the Market are scrapped and replaced with 6 new cards.

Each player discards any Event Cards with a pinpush icon (ones that stayed in play for the round) that may have still been in effect.

The players check their hands to ensure that they do not hold more than 5 cards (Showstopper and Blueprint Cards do not count towards this total).

Any face-down cards (closed attractions) are turned face-up, thereby reinstating them for the next round. No round marker needs to be advanced at this point because the number of cards left in the City Deck controls this.

The Start Player Ticket Stub is given to the next player in clockwise order. The Phase Marker is returned to the 'Draw Event Card' at the start of the track and the game is ready for a new round.

d10-5 End Game and Scoring -

Image Courtesy of misskatja
At the end of the 8th round it is time to see how each park has performed and who will be crowned the greatest.

There are 4 ways to score points at the end of the game :-

mb Attractions - As the theme would suggest, the most points are on offer for the actual attractions that the punters come to experience. For each attraction a number of points will be earned based on the number of icons that it is made up of. Those icons include the attraction type (round icons) and all diamond icons (the upgrades). I nice table outlines the various scores and a player can earn 5 points for a single icon, right up to 310 for a 25 icon attraction! The norm for an attraction seems to be somewhere in the 12 to 38 range...but then again I haven't seen anyone in our groups go for broke on a single attraction to shoot for the sky. We have also played fairly aggressive, which keeps really big scores down a bit.

mb Blueprints - Blueprints feel a little like tickets in Ticket to Ride, except that they are probably a little more challenging to complete and consist of two elements - the base requirements and a possible bonus if the first element is achieved. For every blueprint not achieved, a ten point penalty is incurred.

It is important to note that Blueprints are only scored at the end of the game, so completing them at some point in the mid-game is totally irrelevant. An image of Blueprint Cards can be seen above (the blue ones funnily enough... cool ).

mb Coins - Scoring points for coins left over is not uncommon in games, but here it feels just that little bit more thematically accurate because a strong park that draws in the punters will earn decent coinage.

Players earn 1 point for every 2 coins they have in their kitty at the end of the game.

Finally there is a scoring option labelled Other, and these allows for any additional points that come from Staff Members or some other means.

The game uses a 7 Wonders-esque score pad to help track all of these points easily. A player's final total is determined by adding up the above 4 point-earning mechanisms and then subtracting any penalties for having taken Loans during the game.

I haven't mentioned Loans in this review to avoid getting too bogged down. Essentially up to 4 Loans can be accessed during the game (5 coins each time) if a player finds themselves extremely cash-strapped. The consequence though is that each Loan will cost a -10 point deduction at game end.

d10-6 Winning the Game – Naturally the player with the highest total wins the game. In the event of a tie, the player with the highest star total (crowd drawing power) takes the win. If still tied the player with the most successful Blueprints wins. If still tied the player with the most cash wins and if still tied (hugely unlikely) it's a scissors/paper/rock.

That does sound a bit ridiculous but then the odds of all those tie-breakers not finding a winner is pretty ridiculous too. And of course the game is called Unfair, so I think the design team were having a bit of fun by throwing that last one in. laugh

Tell Me About the Moving Parts - What are the Strengths of the Design and is it Fun?

I'll come right out to bat here. For me Unfair is a fantastically well developed and implemented game design. In the Australian Gaming stable, this is easily in the top 5 designs that we have produced. More than that though...this game is just so much fun to play.

d10-1 Thematically Engaging -

Image Courtesy of misskatja
I usually look to a game's mechanisms and mechanics first in this section of a review but this game is different.

When I play this game, I just have a smile on my face from the start to the finish (even despite some of the challenging decisions). I mean...who doesn't want to build a theme park with all that fun and cool stuff in it?

The artwork to the game is fantastic and my partner even commenting when playing for the first time yesterday that it made her want to go to a theme park! The game even has some cards that feature a panorama icon, indicating that these cards can be placed together to form a panoramic scene. This has zero impact on the game play but it is a really cool addition and I need to congratulate the artists that worked on the game because it looks fantastic. It is one of those games that passers-by will stop to look at.

So why do I smile? I guess it is because the theme is so interesting and enjoyable. The mechanics are easy to grasp but the decisions are thought provoking. And then there is the humour.

d10-2 Humour - Unfair is packed with humour, from the rule book to the cards. In fact just about every card has a wonderfully funny 'flavour text' addition...like seriously funny. So much so that your initial games will likely blow out in relation to time because the players will be reading each and every card and sharing them with one another. This is just one aspect of the production that underlines the time and energy that has gone into making the game the best it can be.

d10-3 The Mechanisms - All of the above is great if a game can pull it off but it is pointless if the game doesn't play well. Unfair has 'game play' down to a tee. The phase structure is smooth, but every mechanism has an important role to play. The game revels in 'take that' whereby the players can actively hurt one another. This can feel nasty in some designs but Unfair also gives the players opportunities to protect themselves as well, so it feels balanced.

d10-4 Rewarding Play - One of the things I love about some designs is that they let you build something. Even if you do not win, you can look back on what you have accomplished and feel a sense of satisfaction. A great example was my 16 year old son a few days back. He was smiling from ear to ear and gloating about having built the greatest Video Arcade Sideshow the world had ever seen. It had comfy seats, air conditioning, Premium Quality features and a flag pole to lure the punters.

It created a sense of fun around the table and made everyone...somehow...happy. cool

Many games have this aspect but Unfair takes it to a new level I think due to the theme and the possible upgrades. Take for example Kingsburg. I enjoy building my realm there, but I never really get super excited about building that Guard Tower. Unfair creates those moments for every player.

d10-5 Minimal Downtime - Excruciating downtime is something most people dislike in a game, but Unfair goes the other way and reduces it to almost nothing at all. This is made possible thanks to the structure of the Park Steps. If players chose to draw cards from one of the decks, the game doesn't force the players to wait until they are done. The play can move right on to the next person while they decide. Pretty much every other action is completed in seconds and when someone builds something, the other players are generally very interested to see what it is anyway.

Unfair is one of those games where the players are the main reasons for the game going longer than it needs to (due to reading all the flavour text) rather than the game play being the culprit.

d10-6 Time Well Spent - We all know games that we quite like but they just take too much time for what they are or the ratio of fun and enjoyment to time spent just isn't compelling.

With Unfair, I have never been happier to play a game that takes between 90 and 120 minutes before (with 3-4 players). The time seems to fly by and it is almost disappointing when that last round approaches.

And I know that once we know the cards well and begin to play with experience, we will be getting 3 player games completed in about 70 minutes and 4 player games within 90 minutes. This aspect will have me coming back to Unfair time and again.

d10-7 Variability - Whilst you will start to get pretty familiar with many of the Park Cards after 3-4 games, the combinations you can make as you build attractions is pretty varied. There are 7 different types of attractions in the initial 4 themes, 5 types of Upgrades (and many unique items within each of those) plus staff and resources that can be acquired.

But the game has a few other ways to make sure that each play is different from the last. First there are the City Cards. Generally speaking, only a third of all available City Cards are used in each play and with 8 cards being selected randomly, the mix (which essentially constitutes the hoops that the players are asked to jump through) will be fairly unique for many, many plays.

Then there are the Blueprint Cards. In some games the players may only be accessing 1 or 2 Blueprint Cards from the pretty decent supply. So it will also take a lot of plays to have drawn and experienced them all.

Add to these factors the release of new theme expansions that will be released if the game is well received, and Unfair has the potential to be a pretty dynamic game on your shelf.

d10-8 Customising the Experience - Joel and his team of play testers have also considered the reality that not all gamers are built the same. You may have a group that really doesn't like 'take that' in their games for example. So the game comes with a selection of 'Game Changer' Cards. These allow the game to be altered in some way to meet the desires of the group. This is a great idea and one that makes the game pretty flexible in meeting the preferences of gaming groups.

d10-9 The Challenge of the Play - Finally I get to how the game experience actually is.

Whilst there is nothing mechanically difficult about the play, the game does demand a good bit of juggling from its players. Initially the players are trying to build their cash engine, ensuring that enough money is coming in to take their park to the next level. They will likely want to get a Blueprint or two to try and set their goals early and by the mid-game you have to weigh up if you will go for a big attraction strategy with many upgrades (which paints a huge target on your forehead) or if you will try to build a more balanced park with mid-sized attractions.

Hand management is a factor too because only 5 cards can be held at the end of each round. Then there is the issue of wanting to do everything but only having limited income and limited actions to implement your plans. Event Cards are great but if you take too many of these you are limiting how much you can actually build. The Event Cards themselves also pose a decision to the players by offering a personal benefit vs a 'target someone else' power. Do you play nice or aggressive? If you go aggressive are you prepared for the inevitable backlash?

The Market itself feels a little like Alhambra in a way, because there are times when you need to be in the right place at the right time to nab a key card before another player does. But this is minimised wonderfully well by scrapping the Market Cards after each round and offering the players a chance to draw 5 cards from the Park Deck by discarding a card from their hand.

Unfair is a game that demands that the players are paying attention. Let one player get away with too much with reeling them back in and you will suffer the consequences. Target someone else and you better get ready to defend yourself.

Timing is also important in the game because many of the card powers will trigger in a particular phase of the round. Get it wrong and you will be kicking yourself.

d10-1d10-0 Accessible Game Play - There are many games on my shelves that I love but some of them are demanding children. They are challenging to learn and long to play. For this reason it can be months or years between plays and that means I have to re-learn some aspects of the game each and every time. shake

Unfair is that little niece or nephew that is just a joy when you see them. It is easy to learn with the basic concept being explainable in 10 minutes. The phase structure only takes 1-2 rounds to become intuitive. What is challenging is knowing the best moves to make at any given time and for me that is the hallmark of a good game.

It is a game that is easy to grasp but mastering the game and your competition is the real challenge. meeple

I don't like going beyond 10 key points but I need to add one more thing here. Unfair is also a game in which it is possible to explore many different strategies and they all seem pretty viable in your attempt to win. I love that in a design.

Stop Being Biased...Surely the Game isn't perfect?

Image Courtesy of misskatja


Well no it isn't, but the few potential issues I can think of are either situational or a matter of personal taste for the most part.

d10-1 Time Factor - For some people the game may still go a little long. Unfair is certainly a light-midweight title. It might feel like a gateway in relation to complexity but its length puts it beyond that descriptor.

Early games will go longer than one might expect if the players are into reading all the cards and gazing at the art. I don't think the game has a major problem with AP except for the worst offenders but don't judge the game on its length in those opening games. I think most groups will cut the play time by a third to half once all the players are experienced and gone beyond the initial attraction to the cards.

d10-2 Take That - This will be the main beef some gamers will have with the game I think, because this aspect is built into its DNA and some of us prefer passivity in our games. Of course a group can agree to only use the nice powers of Event Cards or put the 'World Peace' Game Changer Card into play so they can still enjoy the experience.

It's also worth noting too that you can be targeted or get unlucky and still be in the running to win. My eldest son had his main Thrill Ride closed for 4 rounds in a row, denying him valuable income and he managed to eek out a 1 point win with some very good play.

I really can't think of too much else unless the theme is not to your liking, you are not a big fan of tableau building games or the mechanisms on offer are not to your tastes.

Will the game get samey after a while? To some degree it will because you will get familiar with many of the Attractions and Upgrades. You will be able to combine them to create slightly different attractions but you they will feel familiar. Of course for many of us, familiarity also brings its own comfort, so take from this what you will.

Different combinations of themes will also provide for a varied experience as well. For me, I think the 4 core Themes will provide a good 20 odd plays before you start getting tired of the same card sets. I believe there will be the possibility of some extra themes being added as stretch goals to the core game and of course expansions in the future will help keep the mix fresh.

What will never get old will be the need to adapt to the game state that is created with each game and the challenge of overcoming your opponent's plans and plays. This is at the very heart of our hobby.

The 2-Player Experience

I explored the game with only two players about a week after playing the game for this review. As an aside I have played it now 4 times in 2 weeks and I still want to play it again.

Knowing the cards fairly well and not needing to read them all that often, our game took 1 hr 15 minutes and that time just flew by. I'm really happy to report that the game was actually less aggressive and 'take-that'y' than the multi-player format. So this wasn't an issue at all.

But something else really struck me about the game with 2-players. It really offers something quite different to the 4-player experience. That is largely due to the fact that without all of the themes in play, the players really have to adapt to the theme combo being used and try to make the best of the cards in front of them. This is very exciting for the game as it means that the exploration and re-playability of the game is extended considerably. In addition to enjoying the game play, I found myself really enjoying the additional hurdle that the 2-player game experience offered.

For example, we played with the recommended Robot and Pirate themes (recommended for beginners that is). I didn't go for a thrill ride attraction due to an early Blue Print or two not requiring them...but by the mid game I realised that a lot of upgrades were for thrill rides and I was out of that loop and leaving Annie with no competition for them. It was really interesting and I think the game has even more legs than I thought it would as you explore the various combos and how they interact with one another.

If you are a fan of 2-player games or play most games with 2, then don't hold back on considering Unfair...it gets two big thumbs up from me and I can't wait to explore the full game and get those expansion themes in the future to make for so many different experiences.

The Final Word

How to sum up the experience that is Unfair? For me this is a real winner of a game and possibly the most enjoyable game I have come across in many a year. Having put some 4 hours into the game over a recent weekend I actually made the comment to my family that I will be very happy to have this in my collection and play regularly.

To put this in perspective, I have been gaming now for over 30 years, I have a collection approaching 900 titles, I am lucky enough to have the expendable income to purchase pretty much any game I wish to and I have almost 17K plays logged here on BGG. That all comes at a cost however. It is somewhat rare these days for me to be enamoured with a game, those days of heady excitement when I first found the hobby are happening less and less. I am fairly cynical these days about titles that are derivative of other designs and I tire of the same mechanics that I have already seen hundreds of times. In short I am harder to impress.

Unfair is a breath of fresh air. It is executed from a design standpoint extremely well. It looks a million bucks on the table and it combines well known mechanisms in such a way that they still feel engaging and rewarding, whilst adding a touch or two of its own. Beyond that the game has a spirit that shouts out 'this is a fun time'. I can't give it any higher praise than that really. meeple

Till next we meet, may your attractions draw the crowds and those Dagwood Dogs stay down on your Thrill Rides!


Image Courtesy of misskatja



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Edit - Added a section on the 2-player experience.
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Paul Bradley
Australia
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Excellent write-up, Neil.
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Craig Somerton
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I don't play to win - I play for enjoyment and social interaction.
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Awesome review mate.
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John Burt
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Quote:
Customising the Experience - Joel and his team of play testers have also considered the reality that not all gamers are built the same. You may have a group that really doesn't like 'take that' in their games for example. So the game comes with a selection of 'Game Changer' Cards. These allow the game to be altered in some way to meet the desires of the group. This is a great idea and one that makes the game pretty flexible in meeting the preferences of gaming groups.


This game is definitely on my radar, but I have some concerns about the conflict interaction, since my group are definitely not into take-that. You say that the 'World Peace' Game Changer Card eliminates that, but you also say that take-that is built into the game's DNA, so my question is, does the game lose something when played peacefully? Have you played any games with the 'World Peace' Game Changer?
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A. B. West
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I can make a comment here. I have played Unfair and I think the game really hinges on the interaction of event cards. They are fun-loving thematically, but it does feel mean to play and receive. I think it would be a duller without the interaction, but probably functionally fine.
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Pete Wrigley
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Nice review! I have been a play tester and I couldn't agree more. Truly a fun game.
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quill65 wrote:
This game is definitely on my radar, but I have some concerns about the conflict interaction, since my group are definitely not into take-that. You say that the 'World Peace' Game Changer Card eliminates that, but you also say that take-that is built into the game's DNA, so my question is, does the game lose something when played peacefully? Have you played any games with the 'World Peace' Game Changer?


I have playtested Unfair a bunch of times. I have played it with the 'World Peace' Game Changer, and I've also played games that didn't have much take that, without the Game Changer. And the game doesn't lose anything - it just has a stronger focus on building. The decks you choose initially and the Super Attractions you build also drive how much "take that" occurs in the game.

My wife (who has played in most of my 2 player and 4 player games) is not into take that. She generally scores a lot through blueprints, which requires specific card combinations at the end of the game. So she primarily uses Event cards to get the cards she needs or to protect herself from losing cards. (Every type of attack has a defense card that will block it - Security Guards block an Intrusion event, Safety Certificate blocks an Inspection event.) This is a tactic that works well, because a lot of the Unfair City Events are able to blocked by the same cards.

You only have a limited number of actions and actions spent chipping away at others parks takes away from your opportunity to score points. The Event cards have a choice of action, so by removing an upgrade on a park, you lose the ability to earn more money or search for a card you need. So the reality is that there is a greater incentive to build than to break others stuff. With the Game Changer, you only use the beneficial part of the Event card, but it doesn't feel constraining.

(I have also played games with two "take that" people and two "not take that" people. The aggressive people spent the games having fun, breaking each others park but came 3rd and 4th...)
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
Thanks for the kind words. Some reviews are hard work and others are a joy to write. This was a case of the latter.
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Great write-up Neil!

Neil Thomson wrote:
2-Player Action - I'm not qualified to make this point with any authority as I haven't played it with only 2 people yet. But I think for me the game would be diminished to some degree as the 'take that' would be more confrontational than if it were more spread around.

For this reason I think the game's sweet spot (for me) is probably 3-4 players but I could be proven wrong on this point.

I've played with 2, 3 and 4 player - and they do all play differently. I found 2 player to be more focused City Events and getting Super attractions or staff out. The effect of the early City events and the Super Attractions events seem greater in a 2 player game. I think the 2 player 'take that' was more opportunistic or strategic - I'm going to close your Super attraction OR I'm going to take your staff member.

I found the downside of 2 people is that you lose some of the variety. This is probably most noticeable with the blueprints. If you have a heavy blueprint strategy, then you are more likely to see the same blueprints come around in a 2 player game than in a 4 player game.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
I quite like this with 2 players.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
I am really looking forward to trying it with 2 players and introducing it to a few more friends this weekend.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
This review makes me want the game now!

I will probably blindly back this tomorrow based purely on this review - well done Neil, my wallet will not be thanking you (but in time maybe my inner gamer will?)
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
Mossquito wrote:
This review makes me want the game now!

I will probably blindly back this tomorrow based purely on this review - well done Neil, my wallet will not be thanking you (but in time maybe my inner gamer will?)


I am nothing more than a servant to the niche masses my good man. laugh

I'll be backing a copy for the BorderCon Prize Table and perhaps a few more for friends.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
Quote:
The artwork to the game is fantastic and my partner even commenting when playing for the first time yesterday that it made her want to go to a theme park!


I still really want to go to a theme park!!

Great review for an amazing game - can't wait to play it again this weekend! meeple
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
Befefig wrote:
quill65 wrote:
This game is definitely on my radar, but I have some concerns about the conflict interaction, since my group are definitely not into take-that. You say that the 'World Peace' Game Changer Card eliminates that, but you also say that take-that is built into the game's DNA, so my question is, does the game lose something when played peacefully? Have you played any games with the 'World Peace' Game Changer?


I have playtested Unfair a bunch of times. I have played it with the 'World Peace' Game Changer, and I've also played games that didn't have much take that, without the Game Changer. And the game doesn't lose anything - it just has a stronger focus on building. The decks you choose initially and the Super Attractions you build also drive how much "take that" occurs in the game.

My wife (who has played in most of my 2 player and 4 player games) is not into take that. She generally scores a lot through blueprints, which requires specific card combinations at the end of the game. So she primarily uses Event cards to get the cards she needs or to protect herself from losing cards. (Every type of attack has a defense card that will block it - Security Guards block an Intrusion event, Safety Certificate blocks an Inspection event.) This is a tactic that works well, because a lot of the Unfair City Events are able to blocked by the same cards.

You only have a limited number of actions and actions spent chipping away at others parks takes away from your opportunity to score points. The Event cards have a choice of action, so by removing an upgrade on a park, you lose the ability to earn more money or search for a card you need. So the reality is that there is a greater incentive to build than to break others stuff. With the Game Changer, you only use the beneficial part of the Event card, but it doesn't feel constraining.

(I have also played games with two "take that" people and two "not take that" people. The aggressive people spent the games having fun, breaking each others park but came 3rd and 4th...)


Thanks Paul,

You convinced me to back it!
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
quill65 wrote:
You convinced me to back it!


I suspect the art, gameplay and theme convinced you to back it. I just tipped you over the edge.

We introduced it to some new players last night and they had a great time playing it. No Game Changer, but there was very little take that. There was some big money and big rides (Robopocolypse strikes again).
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
Thanks for the detailed review, Neil. Really helps give the flavour of the game.

Didn't get a chance to play this at BorderCon, but given the theme, the 'Straya-factor, the quality art, and the deck-building gap in my collection, it's an auto-back on KS for me.

Look forward to playing & hope that a 5th player gets unlocked in the stretch goals!
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
Hi folks,

Played a 2-player game for the first time today. Loved it and thought it added much to the experience.

Added a section on my thoughts to the review above.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
Neil Thomson wrote:
Loved it and thought it added much to the experience.


Thanks for adding your thoughts on 2-player mode, Neil.

Joel and I have played rather a lot of 2p games as one might imagine. They are a much more gentle experience than with 3 or 4. Take That just doesn't work so well when there's only one other person at the table. We've tended to be playing decks that are being tested so it's rare that we sit down and just pick any two decks that we feel like, but it would definitely add a degree of nuance.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
Really enjoyed the review. It is well written with a ton of information!

Unfair is a really fun game and I completely agree that it plays really well at 2p.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
This review conviced me to back the game.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
Since you've now played it 2-players, you might want to also update the "Biased" 2-player section.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
okami31 wrote:
Since you've now played it 2-players, you might want to also update the "Biased" 2-player section.


Yep good point - edited.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
Could you compare this to other games you've played that had a similar feel? Just trying to get a better sense of how it plays.
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Re: Unfair - A (Kickstarter Preview) Detailed Review
rbf1138 wrote:
Could you compare this to other games you've played that had a similar feel? Just trying to get a better sense of how it plays.


Not really no. I think the game is quite unique in the way it plays and in its combination of mechanisms. For me that is a major strength - there isn't much else on the shelf that offers up a similar experience.

I like that.
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