It is possible to play and win Unfair by simply building as efficiently as possible toward your blueprints, your ride height, or your end of game coin total. These are the foundations of how to play and win Unfair.
But the spice of Unfair comes from the many cool combinations between City events, player events and park cards that enable players to get ahead or solve challenges thrown at them. If done right, this can give you extra efficiency, great surges of fortune, or utility plays that make the seemingly impossible plays possible. Thematically this is you as a theme park manager making the most of every possible opportunity to get ahead of your rivals. Mastery of this will help you win more than your fair share of Unfair.
In playtesting, we noticed players quickly learn the power of stockpiling event cards and timing their play to optimise their effects. A hand of Events also gives the appearance of defensive or counterattacking potential, to deter other players from targeting you. Or you can assemble a range of aggressive effects against a runaway leader if needed. With a 3 or 4 Event cards, we saw players quickly discover the combos possible between them.
Groups' approaches to playing Unfair changed dramatically as they first played or watched the power of the many combo plays. They tend then to consider the value of playing every card as a one-off boost, attack or block, against the potential power of perfect event timing or combos those same cards might enable. So after 3 to 5 games, we saw players start to explore the full depth of Unfair's tactics and strategies and all the tricks and delicious decisions you can make as you decide between small immediate gains over harder-to-assemble combos.
Without spoiling every secret of Unfair let’s take a look at some of the types of combos to be found.
Money enables all of your building and hiring in Unfair, and it converts 2-for-1 into game-end VPs. So, as in life, a good flow of income is critical throughout the game. But money doesn't grow on trees in Unfair... unless you disguise them as epic theme park attractions boosted by tricks!
In the early game all the extra money you earn is invested into building starred attractions and upgrades to raise your income per turn, hitting first 5 stars to allow building of super attractions, and then to 15 stars to fill your park’s Guest capacity. Once you hit that limit, usually in the mid to late game, you really need to find ways to increase your capacity or squeeze more money from the Guests you have in the park. Or both.
You also have Big Al's Financial Services to offer 20 coins, available at any time, help buy your way into opportunities that might arise while your cash reserves are low. But the word on the street is that he and his boys are kind of unforgiving, to put it politely.
The Funfair city events offer various ways to boost your income from turn to turn. Whilst unpredictable, they can offer various combo opportunities for the agile theme park manager.
Some staff members boost your income outside of your Guest capacity limits when you have certain attractions in your park, and really crank the cash when you have multiples of them.
But many player event cards also offer temporary ways to boost your park stars, Guest capacity, and the income you can earn from them in a turn. You get one event free per turn and can spend park actions to draw and choose from more.
They can be played in isolation for their boosting effects - nobody will begrudge you these little advances - although maximising their timing for optimal effect is key.
It’s important to see that the beneficial top half is an opportunity cost if you play the other defensive or aggressive half of Event cards. Sometimes the right call is to use that attack / block effect, and sometimes it's better to use the top to boost your way beyond any misfortunes.
The best way to do this is by combining effects to amplify your gains. When you are low on coins, many of your 24 Park step actions will be spent drawing Event or Blueprint cards to chase. As you use Park step actions to draw events you get a choice between 2 cards drawn (that’s a choice from 4 effects). And this gives you scope to be build up potential combos, defence or utility cards so they can be played in sequence for big gains.
Let’s look at some of the money combos.
The Sponsorship Deal event allows you to make an extra coin per guest within your guest capacity limit. By itself its OK in the early game (say +5 coins), good in the mid game (maybe +10 coins) and potentially great in the late game (maybe +15 coins or more). But if you play it with a successful Media Blitz it gives a big early game boost, or you can turn a late game round where half of your attractions have been closed into another great income round despite the closures. Add a Festival Permit in the late game where you may have over 20 guest stars to lift your capacity to 25 and you can score up at 50 coins income from 3 cards (16 coins per event).
Likewise Viral Marketing is a great early game way to score your maximum capacity as income (minimum 15) at the cost of 2 event cards (7.5 coins per event), and it is effectively doubled by Sponsorship deal to 30 coins minimum for 3 event cards (10 coins per event). Add a Festival permit again and you are looking at 50 income minimum from 4 event cards (12.5 coins per event).
Your normal Guest capacity of 15 can be raised higher still if you have boosted your capacity using a Larger Capacity resource, or built a Picnic spot, or have hired the First-aid Attendant.
Likewise any of the Funfair City events such as A Gourmet Convention, A Seniors' Club, A Film Festival or Public Curiosity which increase your Guest star total this round can help in the above money combos. So consider the benefit of waiting for these for a turn or so against the immediate benefit of the little boosts you get by playing events in isolation. Good timing pays off in Unfair. The aptly named Fortune Teller can help you make the right call or hunt down the right attraction type with a turn’s early warning to capitalize on her accurate reading of future City cards.
You can earn more money from clever utility plays too. Celebrity Guest closes all but one of your attractions and then triples your income from whatever guests do visit you that turn. It’s a great play to make if you have 1 main attraction. But it’s satisfying to play after someone closes some of your attractions, essentially wasting their card while you rake in the coins. Better still, a carefully timed Giant Wad of Cash or Technician can reopen other heavily starred attractions to triple your income from them too. Even if you cannot reopen attractions for your Celebrity Guest, you can always use Reconfigure to move up to 3 well-starred upgrades from a closed attraction onto your open attraction, while fulfilling a Blueprint or two and boosting your end of game Victory Points from having tall attractions. And if you do all this with the Snack Seller in your park and a well-built Ride you will reap huge rewards.
So the rewards from comboing money cards certainly stack up - but you need to weigh up holding out for big combos later against the need for smaller bursts of money as soon as you get the card so you can get your permanent guest stars building at a steady rate every turn while avoiding the need of loans. It’s your call. Your play.
In Unfair everyone gets a baseline of 8 Events actions and 24 Park step actions to play. But you can get more actions through staff members, super attractions, some City events and drawing Event cards. Gaining additional actions is a key way to get ahead of your rivals. You can build, search for, or stockpile more stuff ready for powerful combos or end of game Blueprint points.
It’s also great to build things for free.
Attractions like Seafood and Eat It, The Natural Order, Animatronic Show, and Le Tapis Rouge each allow an action to build the theme upgrade from its own theme pack, netting you its benefit for just the cost of an action. This saves you money while gaining a useful effect along with another icon on the attraction. Simple and sweet.
Some effects even save you an action while getting you a free upgrade. The Amusement Arcade, the Robot theme and the Unusual Bequest event each enable an immediate upgrade build for free - perfect for another expensive theme or Quality upgrade, saving you 12 to 25 coins while bumping you one icon closer to victory. These free actions are a key to the action economy at the heart of Unfair.
Super Attractions like Jungle Queen & Robopocalypse 2057 earn you a free upgrade build every turn. Robopocalypse 2057 fuels itself from the park deck, albeit a little randomly - but it triggers the abilities of any upgrades that it builds too. The Jungle Queen allows whatever free build from your hand you like anywhere in the park, ideal for completing more than your fair share of Blueprints. Look for expensive cards and those with "after-build" effects to really reap its rewards.
These after-build effects are where many of Unfair's Event search effects really start to shine. You can always use actions to take cards from the Market to use with free builds, or draw them from the park deck.
But events like Special Offers, Dumpster Diving, First in Line all give you more control over what you take to hand than a standard draw of 2 park cards, and do so right there in the Events step without using up a Park step action. Recycling gets you the best of 3 cards to upgrade for free immediately.
All of these are ideal to use to find something expensive and needed to build for free. And they can help you reach your 5 guest star threshold early so you can get an extra round of use from your powerful super attraction.
A mid-game Treasure Trove combined with the "discard a card to draw 5 and keep 1" Park step action is another great way to refill your hand with things you can build for free. It's great for fuelling your Jungle Queen, Blackbeard’s Revenge or MegaFactory bonus builds.
Some events are useful by themselves but really shine when the game or a rival messes with you.
Renovation & Celebrity Guest are both great cards to play after some of your park has been temporarily closed down. Hopefully you also gain the satisfaction of watching your rival's face drop as they realise they wasted their attack (and the positive top half of that Event card) without hurting you at all!
And flipping to the dark side you have the notorious Groundskeeper + Renfields Stakehouse destructive combo that earns you cash for everything you destroy. But you had better be prepared to defend that against all comers once people see you assemble that engine, unless of course you are playing catchup to a leader.
So Event card effects and Park card abilities can be combined for even larger (some may say Unfair) boosts, which with good timing can far outstrip misfortunes that might occur to, or be dished out by you. This tends to tilt players deeper into defensive and combo-building territory, making attacking a player seem more and more likely to be a waste of that card's almost certain boost effect. Attacking becomes more about occasional surgical or combo-busting strikes, or perhaps some coordinated attacks if one player has built a powerful game-winning theme park.
What are your most memorable Unfair combos?
- Last edited Sat Jul 1, 2017 12:20 am (Total Number of Edits: 4)
- Posted Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:34 am