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Subject: Project Gaming Unplugged reviews UNFAIR rss

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Austin Kennedy
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If you'd like to see the full review with pictures, check out this link: [geekurl=http://projectgamingunplugged.com/2016/08/30/game-reviewkickstarter-preview-unfair/]Unfair [/geekurl]

Normally, I don't review a game until it's available to the general public in retail stores, but I was fortunate enough to get a pre-release copy of Unfair at GenCon so I could review it while the Kickstarter campaign was going on. I got to play it a few times this past week, so I will share with you my thoughts:

UNFAIR (2016/17; Depending on when it comes out to retail stores) - Designed by Joel Finch; Published by Good Games Publishing & Cool Mini or Not/ 2-4 players and takes about 60-90 minutes depending on the player count.

Have you ever wanted to build you own theme park? Well, in Unfair, that's what you get to do! In this card game, each player is in charge of their very own theme park and can build it any way they so choose. You want to build scary roller coasters? You can! You want to build easy going rides? You can! Want to have a Freak Show at your park? You can! Players will not only be able to build park cards from their hand to make rides, but they can also upgrade their rides to make their attractions worth more points at the end of the game. But be aware! Bad events can happen, closing attractions and even demolishing rides. Players can also play event cards on each other to ensure their opponents don't win.

The game is played over 8 rounds. Each player begins the game with a Gate card for their park that they play face in front of them.

During the game palyers will be building up to 5 attractions to the right of the gate and hire staff members on the left side of the gate. Every player will have a starting hand of 5 park cards, as well as 2 showcase cards. They will also receive 20 coins and one loan card that they can use to take coins from the bank if they're desperate for cash (and it's most likely going to happen, ha!)

Before I tell you how a round is played through, let me tell you what you're trying to work towards. At the end of the game, you will score points for the size of each of your attractions (rides, food outlets, sideshows,etc.). The size of your attraction will be determined by how my upgrade icons you built onto it. You will also score points from Blueprint cards that you can acquire throughout the game.

Blueprints are pretty much secret objectives you will be trying to complete throughout the game. If you complete them, you get the points listed on the card, if not, you will lose 10 points. You will also score points for coins (1 for every 2) and staff members who will give you the points listed on their card.

Each round has 4 phases: Events, Park, Guests, Cleanup.

Events Phase: Each player draws an event card from the event deck.

These event cards will have 2 choices on them (one will give them a pretty good bonus for the round, and the other will usually prevent a bad thing from happening to them). Then a city event will be flipped over.

There are 8 of these in the game, and act as a game timer. 8 City events for the 8 rounds. These city events will affect all players. The first 4 will be good events (giving players extra money, etc.). The last 4 cards will be bad (closing attractions, etc.)

Then players, in turn order, can play event cards from their hand.

Park Phase: In turn order, players will take turns taking actions. They will get 3 actions to play per round. There are 4 actions to choose from:

Draw - You can take one of the 6 cards face up from the market and put it into your hand. You can draw 2 cards from the park deck (which have attractions, upgrades, staff, etc.) and keep one of them. You can draw 2 cards from the blueprints deck (which have secret objectives) and keep one of them (Blue prints can only be drawn during the first 4 rounds of the game). You can draw 2 cards from the events deck and keep one of them. Or you can discard a card from you hand and draw 5 cards from the park deck and keep one of them. (Only park cards and event cards are counted for your 5 card hand limit at the end of the round)
Build - You can build a card from your hand or directly from the market on the board into your theme park. To build a card you pay the cost in the right hand corner. Cards you can build are attractions, upgrades, staff members and super attractions. (you may only build one super attraction per game) With upgrades, you can build as many as you like on one attraction. You can even build the same type of upgrade, just not with the same title. Demolish - You can use an action to remove a card from your park, possibly making way for a new attraction (since you can only have 5 in your park). If you do demolish an attraction, all of it's upgrades will be demolished along with it.
Loose Change - You can use an action to take coins. You can take as many coins from the supply for as many attractions you have (which would be up to 5 coins).

Guests Phase: This is pretty much the income phase. During this phase, players will get money for the guests in their park. To determine how many guests, players will count how many stars they have in their park. Star points are located at the top right corner of the park cards. Add those up, and you will get that many coins. However, you can only earn as much as your park capacity will allow (which is stated on your gate card) Each player begins the game with a capacity of 15 stars, but there are cards that you can play that will increase your capacity. If one or more of your attractions are closed (flipped over by nasty events), you will not count those stars during the guests phase.

Cleanup Phase:

Discard cards from the market and refill it.
Discard events in play.
Turn any face down cards (closed attractions) in your park face up.
Discard cards from your hand until you have a hand limit of 5.
Pass the starting player marker clockwise.

And that is how a round is played. After 8 rounds, players will add points from their attractions, blueprints, staff members and coins.

I wasn't sure exactly what kind of game I was expecting from this. I do know that I was very intrigued because of the theme. I mean, who doesn't want to build their own theme park? I will say that the theme is very strong here. I love games that have different and unique themes. Sure, I guess pirates, zombies, and vikings are cool, but it does get old after awhile. So bravo to Joel Finch for coming up with a fun theme! And it comes through very well.

Judging by the theme alone, one could think that this game could be like Rollercoaster Tycoon, or something like that. But it's not at all. It's a fun, take-that card game. The only game I can really think of that I can compare it to is Boss Monster. I guess because you are building cards into your theme park (where in Boss Monster you're building up your dungeon). But that's really where the comparisons end.

There is lots to enjoy about this game! The main reason being.... YOU GET TO BUILD YOUR OWN THEME PARK!!! But the gameplay is satisfying as well. I loved choosing which attractions to build. And I thought it was cool to upgrade your rides, by adding a water element to a rollercoaster, or adding a loop to it.

There's also different strategies to employ. Do you just work on one attraction in your park, building as many upgrades as you can? If you have 25 upgrades on one attraction, that's 310 points! That's crazy! (and not the easiest thing to do). Or do you draw a blueprint card and go for the goals listed on those (like building 2 thrill rides with specific upgrades). And if you see that one of your opponents is doing well, you can play event cards on them to make it more difficult for them.

You can also take out up to 4 loans during the game. Each loan will get you 5 coins, but each time you take a loan out, it will cost you 10 points at the end of the game. So if you use all 4 loans, that's minus 40 points! But it could be worth it if you're building a giant attraction. I like that this game has those kinds of decisions. In our first game, I was behind the other players by quite a bit, but because I didn't take any loans out, I ended up winning the game because the other players both lost 20 points at the end.

I also really like the variability in this game. There are 4 different theme decks. Robots, Pirates, Vampires and Jungle. You use all 4 decks in a 4 player game, but if playing with 2 or 3, you get to choose which themes to use. That's cool!

Also, you can play the game with variants.

You can play the game in just 6 rounds instead of 8, you can choose to NOT play with the cards that screw with other players, or start the game with a super attraction already built. Games that come with multiple ways to play are awesome!

My favorite part of the game for me are the blueprint cards. I just love games with secret goals and objectives, and I usually push my luck and draw more than I can handle, but boy do I have fun trying to achieve those goals.

And also the little touches the game has, like the carnival looking coins, and the first player token is a ticket! That's cool!

A couple more things I like about the game: I love that there is a way to keep track of all the phases in the middle of the board, and of course having player aids for each player and a score card to make end of game scoring much easier!

These are things that every game should have! The artwork is well done, and does a great job evoking the fun theme. The city event cards are a great way to keep track of the rounds, and a fun way to change things up each round. The first 4 rounds you're going to be like "Oooooh, yay! Thanks for the extra money!" And in the last 4 rounds you're going to be like, "Awwww crap! A storm! I have to close a ride!" That's fun!

A couple of minor quibbles: I think the game could run a bit long for some people. I played with 3 players every time and felt that it was a pretty decent length. Around 75 minutes. I think 4 players would drag the game a bit, but I don't like games with lots of down time. However, remember that you can choose to play the game with only 6 rounds instead of 8, so I guess you could play the game in 6 rounds with 4 players if you think the game would take too long.

The other thing is a nitpicking annoyance: Set up and tear down is a bit of a chore. Once you open the 4 decks, you have to sort all the cards into their proper decks (events, parks, blueprints, etc.), and then after the game, you have to separate the cards by their theme decks. But again, I think that's nitpicking, but I'm just noting that just in case that would be a problem for some players. It's not for me.

I played this with my brother, nephew, and my buddy Dan. All of them loved the game. In fact, even though I like the game quite a bit, they all liked it way more than me calling it one of the best of the year. So I think there is a big audience for this game. If you like games where you get to create something of your very own, and also screw your opponents over during the process, you should definitely check this game out. Also, if the idea of building your own theme park appeals to you, then this one is a no-brainer.

It is on kickstarter right now. It successfully funded in one day, so you will be guaranteed a copy once you back it!

I think the mechanics are solid, the theme is very fun and well integrated with the gameplay, and comes with lots of replayability. Unfair is a good time!



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Evan
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You've got the time count at 60-90 minutes depending on the player count, but I've heard 25 min per player as a standard quote. Assuming four players, that puts you at 1:40 for a play session. However, I've heard two things that suggest to me the time required could be higher than that. First, I hear that AP could be a problem in this game as the player is overwhelmed with choices, both in terms of Event cards, but also in terms of what to build, what to buy, and whether to diversify their attractions. Second, I hear that the cards have a lot of text on them which a) makes players want to read them and share them with the group, but also b) forces players to constantly look at other players hands to see what they have acquired. This suggests to me that the game could easily take over two hours to play with four players. If so, it might be hard to get to the table for repeated play sessions. Thoughts on that?
 
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Austin Kennedy
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Yes. I could definitely see this game taking over two hours with 4 players. Because I don't really like down time in games, I hardly ever play games with a full player count. This is a great 2 and 3 player game. Only play with 4 if you don't mind down time, and or playing with quick thinking players. But there is a variant that lets you play 6 rounds instead of 8, which I would recommend with 4 players. Also depends on the players you play with. There are certain people in my gaming group I wouldn't play this with because of AP, but I also have some people in my group that would be great for this one. It is a good game design though.
 
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John Rudolph
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4 theme decks in the base game. On the Kickstarter version they have unlocked a 5th theme pack and are on the verge of unlocking a 6th pack. Those 2 extra packs will cost extra with the retail version, as they will be expansion packs.
 
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Doug O
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Putzmanrudy1 wrote:
4 theme decks in the base game. On the Kickstarter version they have unlocked a 5th theme pack and are on the verge of unlocking a 6th pack. Those 2 extra packs will cost extra with the retail version, as they will be expansion packs.


I don't think this is a true statement. I read the Kickstarter info as -- A total of 5 theme decks in all copies (KS and Retail) currently. A possibility of a 6th (Gangsters) to be included in all copies if the SG is attained. I read it as ONLY the Theme Teaser cards are KS exclusives.
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John Rudolph
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If you read the FAQ at the end of the page that asks why to do Kickstarter over retail it says that you get 6 themes instead of 4. So what am I reading wrong?
 
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Graham Gass
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Putzmanrudy1 wrote:
If you read the FAQ at the end of the page that asks why to do Kickstarter over retail it says that you get 6 themes instead of 4. So what am I reading wrong?


Backing the Kickstarter helps them reach the stretch goals that will add 2 packs to every copy, retail or Kickstarter. If you buy it in retail the risk is that they don't reach the goal and nobody gets the Gangsters included in their copy.
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Pete Wrigley
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Just a quick word on downtime. Its pretty minimal as each player gets to do one thing then play passes to the next. In the games I've played I have been thoroughly engaged between actions by what the other players are doing. Once you have a few plays under your belt the game gets a lot quicker.
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Paul Long
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If this is most people's first or second game, then it will take longer than 90 minutes. ("Ohh What does that do?") You are probably better playing the First Date Game Changer which shortens the game to 6 rounds. But after everyone has played once or twice, I find it settles into quite a quick pace.

During the Park Step (the main building part of the game), there is no player interaction and the main decision is which Event or Blueprint card will I keep. We find that actions continue around the table while people make that decision.

Once everyone is familiar with the cards, the length of a game is dependent on the Events step. Some games lead to hoarding of Event cards near the end of the game which can lead to one or two longer Events Step. But this is the time with the maximum player interaction, so everyone is generally aware of what is happening (and thinking "Don't pick me, don't pick me" Or if you have Instant Karma "Come on, pick me, I dare you")
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Kim Brebach
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Flame112 wrote:
Putzmanrudy1 wrote:
If you read the FAQ at the end of the page that asks why to do Kickstarter over retail it says that you get 6 themes instead of 4. So what am I reading wrong?


Backing the Kickstarter helps them reach the stretch goals that will add 2 packs to every copy, retail or Kickstarter. If you buy it in retail the risk is that they don't reach the goal and nobody gets the Gangsters included in their copy.


Graham is correct here. We are trying to add the 2 extra decks, of 56 cards each, into the main game for Kickstarter backers and people who buy it in retail.

By backing Unfair you get more bang for your 50 bucks by adding 50% extra content into it.
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kbrebach wrote:
Flame112 wrote:
Putzmanrudy1 wrote:
If you read the FAQ at the end of the page that asks why to do Kickstarter over retail it says that you get 6 themes instead of 4. So what am I reading wrong?


Backing the Kickstarter helps them reach the stretch goals that will add 2 packs to every copy, retail or Kickstarter. If you buy it in retail the risk is that they don't reach the goal and nobody gets the Gangsters included in their copy.


Graham is correct here. We are trying to add the 2 extra decks, of 56 cards each, into the main game for Kickstarter backers and people who buy it in retail.

By backing Unfair you get more bang for your 50 bucks by adding 50% extra content into it.


I think I'll wait for retail so I can save some cash, since it will inevitably go on sale for a better price somewhere. No exclusives or bonus expansions for Kickers kinda dissuades me from backing. Also, if I wait I might get a better selection of reviews. I'm always a little distrustful of games that pay the Undead Viking his usual review fee.

Game does look cool though, so it's certainly going on my "to play" list. Perhaps a Tabletopia port in the future?
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Désirée Greverud
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broken clock wrote:
kbrebach wrote:
Flame112 wrote:
Putzmanrudy1 wrote:
If you read the FAQ at the end of the page that asks why to do Kickstarter over retail it says that you get 6 themes instead of 4. So what am I reading wrong?


Backing the Kickstarter helps them reach the stretch goals that will add 2 packs to every copy, retail or Kickstarter. If you buy it in retail the risk is that they don't reach the goal and nobody gets the Gangsters included in their copy.


Graham is correct here. We are trying to add the 2 extra decks, of 56 cards each, into the main game for Kickstarter backers and people who buy it in retail.

By backing Unfair you get more bang for your 50 bucks by adding 50% extra content into it.


So once those unlock there is no incentive, outside of support and getting the game early, to back the project, since it will inevitably end up on sale at some store eventually.


If all you want is the rewards and the "extras" then you are (mostly) correct. (there are the teaser cards which won't otherwise be available for months or years in their respective expansions).

And the Good Games guys have been quite clear that they are perfectly ok with people buying the game at retail if they don't feel they are getting enough to warrant backing the Kickstarter.
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Joel Finch
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broken clock wrote:
I think I'll wait for retail so I can save some cash, since it will inevitably go on sale for a better price somewhere. No exclusives or bonus expansions for Kickers kinda dissuades me from backing. Also, if I wait I might get a better selection of reviews. I'm always a little distrustful of games that pay the Undead Viking his usual review fee.

Game does look cool though, so it's certainly going on my "to play" list. Perhaps a Tabletopia port in the future?

We're glad to have your interest and support for the game, whether at Kickstarter or retail (FLGS need love too). Thanks!

It's worth noting that buying at retail means you'll have no influence over the amount of content in the final box - that's the major advantage that Kickstarter support gives us, the ability to include more content for the same price. Plus a strong showing at Kickstarter will make it a lot easier for us to progress the expansions (less time required at the day job).

There are a range of reviews available for Unfair already, listed on the Kickstarter page. There are many unpaid reviews, both video and written, that will give you a good sense of how different people are reacting to the game.

There will likely be a Tabletopia version at some point - I find their creator tools don't suit Unfair because it needs to define the card back image on a per-card basis, which makes the card setup time-consuming, so I'll wait until the cards are completely print-ready before embarking on that process. There is an unofficial Tabletop Simulator version in the Steam Workshop though, if you want to take a look there, and the PnP files are available here in the files section, in case you haven't already seen them.
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