Unfair, the board game, Written and Designed by Joel Finch,Illustrated by Mr. Cuddington Produced by Good Games Publishing
- Reviewed by Jason Elliott from PaladinElliott Productions
Throughout this review, I will have Special Notes and some will say "From Kim", referring to the wonderful Kim Brebach. It is because of him that I have a review copy, to give all of you wonderful players insight into why this is going to be a great game to add to your collection. These notes will be noting changes as this game makes its way through Kickstarter. Through your support it will become a better version with the upgrades and additions that Kim and the Good Games Publishing Team seek.
What are the recommendations for this game?
Number of players: 2-4
Time of game: 25 minutes per player (this will be longer for new players, and shorter with experienced players)
Age recommendation: 12 years and up
The back story:
Each player is the head of a theme park in this city. Only one theme park can reign supreme. You will need to build the greatest one, no matter what. The time frame for this building will be over 8 turns (it is recommended that first time players use the Game Changer "First Date" to make the game 6 turns). The first 4 turns the city will seek to help you and be known as the Funfair. Then, the city planning office will close down, as the city will turn against you, and the remaining 4 turns will be Unfair. You will need to be very effective in using money to purchase and upgrade the attractions that lie beyond your front gate. You will need to consider how much money you have left at the end (every two coins is one point). You will need to consider building a Showcase attraction and upgrading it. You will need to consider hiring Staff to assist you. You will need to consider drawing events for special abilities to favor your building. You will need to consider drawing blueprints which are bonus point conditions; failure results in a loss of ten points but accomplishing them means a higher end game score. You might need to take an unfair loan for a boost of money, but in doing so, you will have to pay it back at the end of the game in victory points. Finally, you will have to leverage all of this with your opponents being unfair to you (you to them) as you will all have the opportunity to undermine other players amusement parks. This game will be, in many ways, (speaking from experience) UNFAIR!
What comes in the game? (Note: Basing this off the prototype copy)
1 game board
4 themed packs of cards, which are Jungle, Robots, Pirates, and Vampires
In each of these themes you will find:
1 Theme overview card
1 Main Gate card
1 Loan Marker card
3 "Funfair" City Event cards
3 "Unfair" City Event cards
5 Blueprint cards
13 Event cards
27 Park cards
2 Showcase cards
4 Player Reference Sheets
30x "1 coin" tokens
26x "5 coin" tokens
20x "25 coin" tokens
6x "125 coin" tokens
1 Starting Player Marker
1 Current Step Marker
1 City Planning Closure reminder card
3 Game Changer Cards
1 Game Box
Special Note from Kim:
We will be adding a molded plastic insert (tray) with room for each deck. For those of you who are familiar with the game Smash Up, it would be similar to the one in that game. It will have room for sleeved and unsleeved cards. There will be a pencil for scoring. There will be a plastic base to hold the Admit One (starting player) token. Other upgrades that will be likely or definite include: better card stock, thicker reference boards, and thicker tokens. So remember, the copy for review is a pre-production print copy.
What is the end game objective? What am I striving for?
The end game objective is to have the best Amusement Park in the city. This will be determined by the number of attractions, their upgrades and your staff. You will build your park by bringing in guests, which will bring in money to purchase upgrades. Each card that brings in guests will have a star on it, this indicates the number of guests that are brought in as a result of playing that card, which in turn indicates the amount of money the attraction (or staff member or event will bring in). You are allowed a maximum of 5 attractions (this includes one Showcase attraction), so you will need to upgrade these attractions to make them more profitable. Each card you can use for an attraction or upgrade has an icon(s) in the upper left corner, for every icon in your attraction at the end of the game, you earn more victory points. For example, if I play the attraction Swinging Ship + Lockers & Coat check + Superior Quality + Flag Pole, then this attraction and upgrades is worth 20 victory points (see page 11 for the chart in the review copy). You will total all of these points up, and add points for Staff members, add a point for every two coins, and add or take away for blue prints to achieve your final score. The one with the highest score wins.
How do I set the game up?
First- select an appropriate number of themes based on the number of players (consult book), then set aside any cards not needed
Second- Each player gets 1 Main Gate (face up), 1 Loan card (face down) 1 double sided player reference sheet, and 20 starting money.
Third-place the rest of money in easy reach of players, separate cards by type and set up decks on their spot on the board.
Fourth- count out 4 Unfair city cards to be used, place the City Planning Closure on top of these four cards, count out 4 Funfair city cards to go on top of the closure and Unfair cards.
Fifth-deal 5 Park cards to each player (reveal if a player has no attractions to redraw), deal 2 Showcase cards to each player, reveal 6 cards from Park deck to fill the 6 spaces.
Sixth- starting player is determined, choose and play game changers now.
So, can you give me some more card info?
Unfair Game Changers: You could choose one before the game starts, right after setup is complete, and have that affect the game completely.
Unfair Blue Prints: These cards are similar to Ticket To Ride's Destination Tickets. The top half will have a condition to be met and if you do so you will receive the points dictated. If you fail to do so, you will suffer a points penalty. Some cards will have an additional challenge that can only be attempted if you complete the above. You will not be penalized for failing a lower challenge. The difficulty of these cards can be easy, medium, difficult, and insane.
Unfair City cards: These cards will affect the entire table for a given turn. An example is A Health Scare: Inspection, Close all Food Outlets. This will affect everyone's Food Outlets. These will be negative to the table.
Funfair City cards: These cards will affect the entire table for a given turn. An example is A Trade Show: Draw two Blueprint cards. You may keep one or none.
Unfair Theme cards: These come in four themes, Vampire, Robots, Pirates, and Jungle. These cards help you determine your deck and setup based on the number of players in a game. An example is that in a four player game, you use all four decks.
Unfair Gate: Each player will receive one of these cards. With this card starting the game, you will know the Park Limits and Capacity, along with it being able to receive one guest (1 star).
Unfair Loan cards: You may be hard up for money, and here is a way to take a loan of 5 coins. Every time you do this though you will have to pay back 10 victory points (not money) at the end of the game. You will flip the card when you take the first loan (if you do), and then turn the card appropriately based on the number of loans you have taken. The maximum number of times you can take this loan is 4 (which means you will have to pay back 40 victory points at the end of the game).
Unfair Showcase cards: These are the super attractions. You can only have one built at a time, and by doing so you cannot exceed the 5 total attraction limit. These cards will have more than one icon, will be able to receive more guests, and have a special ability. The cost to build these cards are much higher, because they are more powerful!
Unfair Event cards: These cards will have two abilities, one at the top, one at the bottom. The top one will be a benefit to your park, and the bottom will negatively impact someone else's park. Use these at the best possible moment!
Unfair Park cards: This deck will have Attractions, Upgrades, and Staff members. The attractions are your bases if you will, that allow you to place upgrades upon them. This is your core of gaining money when guests arrive (star values), and then the core for obtaining victory points at the end (counting the icons on these cards). The staff members are cards that have victory points on them, and special abilities that can be used by the player who played them. You have to watch out through the game though as other players will be trying to get rid of these cards to hurt your amusement park!
Now to play:
1. Beginning of every round, every player will DRAW ONE EVENT.
2. Next is a CITY EVENT. The CITY EVENT is GLOBAL RULES for THIS ROUND. First half of the game is FUNFAIR CITY, and the second half of the game is UNFAIR CITY. You will reach a point where BLUEPRINTS will be CLOSED, due to a card from THIS STACK.
3. Each player in turn order can play ONE EVENT CARD. Continue each player playing ONE EVENT CARD at a time, until EVERY PLAYER PASSES (you can pass and then play when it comes around to you again, as long as the other players have not all passed as well).
4. During PARK ONE, in turn order, each player will TAKE ONE ACTION.
5. During PARK TWO, in turn order, each player will TAKE ONE ACTION.
6. During PARK THREE, in turn order, each player will TAKE ONE ACTION.
7. PARK FOUR only happens if a player has unlocked this through an event, and it will happen for that player only.
8. GUEST STEP, this is where your money is generated! You first look at your capacity because that will be the maximum amount of money you can receive for this step. Then you count stars on OPEN attractions. If an attraction is CLOSED, then everything associated with it doesn't count for this step. You count up your star values, and that is the money you collect.
9. CLEANUP STEP, discard all cards from market and refill it, discard any event cards still in play, reopen your closed attractions, discard down to 5 cards in your hand (which is hand limit-you count Park and Event-you don't count Blueprints and Showcase, and move the starting player token to the next in clockwise order.
So, I know I can only do one action on a Park Phase, what can I choose from?
DRAW ONE CARD from the FACE UP six cards on the game board (refill when you are done), or
DRAW TWO CARDS from the UNFAIR PARK stack, and KEEP ONE, DISCARD the OTHER, (you can discard both) or
DRAW TWO CARDS from the UNFAIR BLUEPRINTS stack, and KEEP ONE, DISCARD the OTHER, (you can discard both) or
DRAW TWO CARDS from the UNFAIR EVENTS stack, and KEEP ONE, DISCARD the OTHER, (you can discard both) or
DISCARD ANY ONE CARD from your hand to DRAW FIVE cards from ONLY the UNFAIR PARK deck, keep one and discard the rest, or
BUILD FROM HAND or BUILD FROM SIX FACE UP CARDS on game board, you pay the cost in money to do so.
1. You can't have more than one super attraction.
2. You can't have more than five total attractions.
3. You can't repeat upgrades (same name) on the same attraction (with the exception of Quality upgrades).
4. You can't build a Showcase (super attraction) until you have at least five stars in play.
5. You may build upgrades on a closed attraction.
TAKE A LOAN, by following the instruction of the UNFAIR LOAN card and turning it to the appropriate side.
DEMOLISH, to remove an attraction, to make way for something better. All upgrades on the chosen Attraction are demolished as well.
TAKE LOOSE CHANGE, you will gain 1 coin per attraction in your area, whether they are open or not.
When does the game end?
Game is over at end of eighth turn. Count attraction plus all of its upgrades to determine your score on the chart. Repeat for all of your attractions. Apply all bonuses that apply, positive and/or negative. Be sure to count your money, as every 2 coins count for one point. Highest score wins!
How does the counting icons work for scoring?
At the end of the game, you look at each of your columns. A column will be an attraction at the base, and then upgrades will be stacked on top (above it) for scoring purposes. You will add up all the icons in one column, and then add that score to additional columns.
Special Note: You made need to turn an upgrade card to the side to read a special ability, and you will still be able to stack the icons for counting purposes. An example of this would be the Idol of the Clenched Fist (Upgrade Feature 1 Star) and you could have this turned to the side to have the reminder text "Events cannot force you to discard from your hand".
For counting all of the icons in a column (we will call these groups)
group of 1 =5 points
group of 2= 8 points
group of 3 = 12 points
group of 4 = 16 points
group of 5 = 20 points
group of 6 = 25 points
group of 7 = 31 points
group of 8 = 38 points
group of 9 = 46 points
group of 10 = 55 points
group of 11 = 65 points
group of 12 = 76 points
group of 13 = 88 points
group of 14 = 101 point
group of 15 = 115 points
group of 16 = 130 points
group of 17 = 146 points
group of 18 = 163 points
group of 19 = 181 points
group of 20 = 200 points
group of 21 = 220 points
group of 22 = 241 points
group of 23 = 263 points
group of 24 = 286 points
group of 25 = 310 points
Are there any variations for this game?
There are the Game Changer cards. These come as three cards that are First Date, Grand Opening, and World Peace.
Special Note from Kim:
For your first play, just like with regular players, we recommend playing with the First Date Game Changer-an introductory rule variant of just 6 turns with Super Attraction and Difficult and Insane Blueprints removed. It will ease players into the full game.
The Grand Opening card takes effect before the game start. "Reveal your Showcase cards to the player on your left. They choose a card for you to start the game with, already built into your park for free.
The World Peace card states: You cannot use Event Cards or Park card abilities which affect other players.
Using any one of these Game Changers creates a different game experience. Couple that with the number of players in the game, and the different theme decks to be used (Jungle, Pirates, Robots, and Vampires), and no game will be the same twice.
Some game results and comments we have collected:
This information is based on an initial game played by four frequent board gamers. The ratios of strategy and luck make it fun. I averaged the numbers and the ratio looks like this: 34% strategy and 66% luck. We really liked the decision tree that occurs in the game. We also liked that the event cards can help you or hurt someone else (you choose). We think this game is well set up for expansions to come. We think a theme deck that is all about screwage would be fun too. The flavor text on the cards had many, many, many laughs throughout the game. Our overall average (using a metric like BoardGameGeek) was 7.4 out of 10. This game mitigates luck better than a lot of games out there right now. We really liked the art and how the themes were played out through the art. It really felt like you were building an amusement park. Having six cards in the open is a good extension of your hand throughout the game. The First Date Game Changer is good for not only non-gamers, but for everyone to learn the game. It is nice that the First Date allows for a shorter game.
We think the Mayor's Nephew Card (Vice President) might be underpriced (we did take into account that the card would make for an easy target-such as Head Hunting). We felt that the easy and medium blueprints (at least some of them) were harder than expected, or that they were too much of a challenge based on their rating (although that may not be the case in an eight turn game). We thought that the cost of the Quality Cards might warrant having victory points attached to them, or a slighter higher star rating. Some players felt that the game ran very long, especially considering that it was only 6 turns.
This game has really changed what we all thought of when it came to amusement park games. What Unfair has going for it, is that it makes no apologies for being a "go get em" game! If you play this game then you are willfully saying that you know you could be messed with, that you could be messing with other players, and that the city will go from being your friend to being your enemy!
If you scored a game solely on laughter, then this game scores high. There were moments of take that, or I will get you back, or that card is too powerful so let me do something about it. Yes you could play this game with the World Peace Game Changer, but where is the fun in that? We play games where a common factor is what you can do to the other player, and this game delivers!
We think players who like building their own personal kingdoms will enjoy this. Players who like games where the play is lighter, and easily picked up will enjoy Unfair. We believe younger players will need good instruction on how to play, so the closer you are to the lower end of the age range the more you should invest yourself in teaching the game slowly, methodically, and completely, so that all can enjoy it. This is a game where even if you are ganged up on, you can prevail. We had the situation where my wife was beat on for three turns, and yet won that game!
Unfair is a game, where you will find yourself saying at least once, "that is unfair!"
Unfair's Kickstarter starts Tuesday, August 16th, 2016
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Thank you so much for reading this report on Unfair!
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RET. SSG Jason L. Elliott (PaladinElliott)
- Last edited Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:30 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:55 am
Sounds like more of a luck driven game or was I reading your stats wrong?
Sounds like more of a luck driven game or was I reading your stats wrong?
it's a pretty low luck game. no dice rolls and there is a market of cards available. There is "luck" in what city card might flip but you know the first 4 will be good and the last 4 will be bad, and you can plan for those bad ones.
- Last edited Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:15 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:14 am
I agree with Desiree. In the plays I've had luck wasn't a huge factor. It really is a great game. Well balanced, engaging and fun!