The Gameplay Of Unstable Unicorns Is Just As Magical As Its Name – Game Review

Unstable Unicorns - Cover Photo

Aren’t we all some unstable unicorns at certain moments? We sure are! I’ve heard from a friend of a friend that Unstable Unicorns are one bewildering family card game. Well, we would go wrong if we say it’s for family time only, since, you know, you’ll meet lots of surprises along the way, and let me tell you, you’ll love every single one of them. 

In this special review, you’ll get to know more about this strategic card game, the instructions, specifics, special editions & packs, particulars about the manufacturer, and many more worthy pieces of information. We’re so glad to share with you all we think about the game. The pros & the cons, and even our experience with the game (which, important to say, isn’t a one-time thing)!

  • Life history of Unstable Unicorns;
  • Unboxing & the cards;
  • How to play Unstable Unicorns;
  • Our game experience;
  • Where to buy & competitors;
  • Other packs;
  • FAQ;
  • Summarize;

Life History Of Unstable Unicorns

  • Illustrator: Ramy Badie;
  • Publisher: Unstable Games;
  • Releasing year: 2017;
  • Country of origin: China;
  • Box dimensions: 3.5 x 2.6 x 0.8 inches;
  • Number of players: 2 to 8;
  • Age range: 14+;
  • Playing time: 30 to 45 minutes;
  • Cards: 135;
  • Game type: strategic card game;
  • The objective: be the first player who collects a specific number of unicorns (which depends on the number of people playing) in your stable.
  • Other editions: Christmas pack, Nightmares, Adventures, NSFW, and more;
  • Official website: Unstable Games;
  • Ratings: 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon (25,543 ratings);

Unboxing & The Cards

The first impression of a card game is, hands down, created by looking at the box. 

Unstable Unicorns - The Box

This is how the front looks. A sturdy box, well-built corners, and in general a material that won’t be affected by a spilled tea, or some hits. If you want to compare it to another game, Unstable Unicorns’ box is quite more qualitative than Cards Against Humanity’s one. As you can see, the front of the box gives us the colorful name, the game motto, the contents, and the basic rules. 

Are you excited to see the back? Well you should, it’s pretty!

Unstable Unicorns - The Back Of The Box

The back is exactly as it should be. Not overfilled with information, but just enough to give us a glimpse of the game. There are some examples of the cards, the game website, and a few pieces of information about the manufacturer & the country of origin. It’s well-designed, everything is in its place, and it just perceives a good vibe. Now, let’s open it together, shall we?

Unstable Unicorns - Unboxing

As we already mentioned previously, Unstable Unicorns comes with a total of 135 cards. They are divided into 3 main categories of cards:114 black-backed cards, 13 Baby Unicorn cards & 8 rules reference cards. If you want to look at how the unboxing looks closer, here’s a YT video for you:

Now, I’m more than happy to show you all types of cards, how they look & what each of them does. There are 5 main types of cards: Unicorn Cards (Baby Unicorn, Basic Unicorn, and Magical Unicorns), Magic, Upgrade, Downgrade, and Instant Cards. 

Unicorn Cards

You’ll know what you have to do with a Unicorn Card once you see the horn symbol in the top left corner. Now, the color of the horn tells you what type of Unicorn Card it is:

Baby Unicorns

Unstable Unicorns - Baby Unicorns

Baby Unicorn cards have purple horns in the corners. These are the starting cards for each player. You can only get more Baby Unicorns only by using special effects from other cards.

Basic Unicorns

Unstable Unicorns - Basic Unicorns

Basic Unicorns have an indigo horn. They’re basic, you know, they don’t do many special actions.

Magical Unicorns

Unstable Unicorns - Magical Unicorns

They’re magical. It’s obvious. You’ll distinguish them by the light blue horn in the corners. Magical Cards have special effects & actions, which can send you one step forward in the game.

Magic Cards

Magic cards have stars in their green corners. Once you play a Magic Card, you immediately put it into the discard pile, since they have a one-time effect.

Unstable Unicorns - Magic Cards

Upgrade Cards

Upgrade Cards are distinguished by their up arrow symbol and orange corners. These cards always have positive effects and can be sacrificed after.

Unstable Unicorns - Upgrade Cards

Downgrade Cards

Downgrades have yellow corners and down arrows & they are the opposite of the Upgrade Cards. If you play it on another player’s stumble, it means you negatively affected them.

Unstable Unicorns - Downgrade Cards

Instant Cards

These are the cards with the red exclamation point symbols. The meaning of Instant Cards is that they can be played anytime you want, not only on your turn. 

Unstable Unicorns - Instant Cards

How To Play Unstable Unicorns?

We showed you the cards and the box, and now it’s the rules’ turn! How do we start playing? Obviously, you should complete the setup first. Here’s how to do it:

The SetUp

You should know that each player will have their own stable. Let someone deal the cards, and they should give each player one Baby Unicorn for their stable. If there are any Baby Unicorns left, place them in the center of the table, making the Nursery deck.

Next, shuffle the other cards, and give the other players 5 face-down cards. Place the remaining cards near the Nursery Deck, facedown, and that is the Draw Pile of the game. Next to the draw pile, during the game, you will place the discarded cards. Typically, this is how the table setup would look:

Unstable Unicorns - Table Setup

The Gameplay

After you’ve finished with the setup, you shall continue with the gameplay. Each turn in the game is completed in 4 main phases: the Beginning of Turn phase, the Draw phase, the Action phase, and the End of Turn phase. Let’s talk about each of them:

The Beginning of Turn phase: 

This is when you look through your cards and play a card if it mentions anything like “the beginning of the round’ since after you start drawing, you can’t play it anymore.

The Draw phase: 

As the name states, you have to draw a card in each turn from the draw pile.

The Action phase:

You can play one of the cards from your hand (Unicorn, Magic, Downgrade, or Upgrade) or draw another card. After playing a card, of course, you will also complete the actions on them (hopefully in your favor).

The End of Turn phase:

It’s the final phase of your turn when you have to discard cards into the discard pile until you reach the hand limit, which in normal scenarios is 7. In other words, you have to discard cards until you have only 7 cards left in your hand. But, if you have fewer than 7 cards, you have to draw cards until you reach 7. Clear?

The End Of The Game

Each player’s goal is to reach the specific number of Unicorns in their stable. Now, the required number of unicorns depends on the number of players:

  • 7 Unicorns to win if there are 2 to 5 players;
  • 6 Unicorns to win if there are 6 to 8 players;

If the deck runs out of cards before someone has 6 or 7 Unicorns in their stable, the player who has the most Unicorns wins. 

Here’s the official PDF to explain the rules meticulously: Unstable Unicorns Rulebook.

Our Game Experience: Was It Fun Enough For Only 3 Players? 

Unstable Unicorns - Game Experience

It’s okay. I gotta admit it. I don’t have that many friends. My 2 besties and I wanted to play Unstable Unicorns, and I’m glad we did! I dealt the cards, and of course, started following the rules. I dealt everyone with one Baby Unicorn card, including me, and built the decks *Nursery, Draw and Discard). I let the player to my left begin, the male of the group. 

Since everyone had their rule card, he saw that he had to go through 4 phases on its turn. He started by taking a look at his cards, drew a card (which we will show below), went to the action phase where he played a card and followed its action, and last but not least, he drew 2 cards to reach the hand limit of 7. 

Unstable Unicorns - Game Experience Card 1

Well, he didn’t have to think much. We were already only 3 players. 

Next, my female friend continues. She followed the same steps, and the card she played in her Action phase was literally the coolest! It’s called the ‘Safe Sex’ card and made us two return our Baby Unicorns to the nursery deck. Sadly, we had no other choice.

Unstable Unicorns - Game Experience Card 2

Guys, it was finally my turn, and let me tell you, luck was on my side. First of all, I got to draw an Instant card, which meant that I could stop a player when using a card. I knew I was gonna need it later. The best is yet to come. I had some good cards in my hand. This is what I played in my action phase:

Unstable Unicorns - Game Experience Card 3
Unstable Unicorns - Game Experience Card 4

Yeah, I enjoyed doing this. Shuffled the deck, and found my pretty Unicorn card, which took place on my stable. The game went like this for several minutes. We got loads of Instant cards, Unicorns, and completed actions (such as attacks, or getting protective cards). Now, we needed 7 Unicorns to win, right? Well, it was the moment we all got 6 Unicorns when the game got competitive as hell. 

My instant cards helped me a lot. Anytime they wanted to play their card, most likely Unicorns, I played my Instant loves to stop them from playing. Anyways, I couldn’t win either. Unfortunately, I drew some downgrade cards (Dragon’s Curse, Dragon Skies, and similar ones), which didn’t help me at all.

However, after many fights, mercifully, I reached 7 Unicorns. This is how beautiful they looked together:

Unstable Unicorns - Game Experience 7 Unicorns

Yeah, as you can understand, I was the first to have 7 Unicorns and won the game. The two continued the game to see who would be the first, and the other girl won as well. Who runs the world? 

Where To Buy & Competitors 

The game has many good features. One of the best ones is that it is available in many shops, and you can easily go purchase the game in your favorite shop. Here are some ideas:

Unfortunately, it’s not one of these games under $10, but I mean, it’s worth it! To continue further, here are Unstable Unicorns’ competitors:

Exploding Kittens – $24.93

Exploding Kittens - Competitor

Exploding Kittens is for sure a good competitor. It has a total of 56 cards, including Defuse, Attack, Exploding Kittens, Nope, and more. They all mean different actions, and just like Unstable Unicorns, Exploding Kittens the whole game is a great competitor. What sets them two apart, is that Exploding Kittens can be played by kids as little as 7, and by 2 to 5 players.

Llamas Unleashed – $9.00

Llamas Unleashed - Competitor

Just like Unstable Unicorns, Llamas Unleashed has a total of 135 cards. It has similar cards, such as Unicorns, Upgrade & Downgrade,  Magic Cards, and so on. This time, you have to collect 7 Llamas to win the game, or even Alpacas, Rams, or Goats. Llamas Unleashed can be played by 2 to 8 people, ages 14+, just like Unstable Unicorns. 

Rainbow Pirates – $19.95

Rainbow Pirates - Competitor

A game that has a quite different style from Unstable Unicorns, but has one similar goal: building your stable, by using Unicorns, or colors. Rainbow Pirates has a total of 120 cards, which can be color sequences, black card groups, or Rainbow Pirates. Has very unique gameplay & set of cards. It is a game for people over the age of 7 and can be played by 2 to 5 players at once.

Other Packs Of Unstable Unicorns

Even if it had no other extra pack, it would still be fun. Since it has other editions & expansions, so, why not talk about them? 

1. NSFW Base Game – $19.97

Unstable Unicorns - NSFW Base Game

Still don’t know what NSFW means? Well, it’s the ‘Not Safe For Work’ edition of Unstable Unicorns. It has a total of 114 cards, and it’s supposed to be played on its own. As the name says, this is the very-adult version, meaning there are inappropriate jokes & drawings on the cards. No wonder why it’s ages 21+ only! 

2. Christmas Expansion Pack – $12.00

Unstable Unicorns - Christmas Expansion Pack

A Christmas game is always a good idea. This one’s an expansion so you know you gotta add it to the base game (either the main game or the NSFW). The Christmas Expansion Pack brings new Character cards, Magic Cards, Upgrade Cards, and Downgrade Cards, and guess what? All 36 cards are holiday-themed., they’re all about Christmas! 

3. Adventures Expansion Pack – $15.00

Unstable Unicorns - Adventures Expansion

The Adventures Expansion Pack is another cool extra pack. It has 54 extra cards of all categories, which bring amazing adventures to the game. There are extra actions, challenges, and traits for you. The game age and the number of players are the same just as in the main game (ages 14+, 2 to 8 players). 

We showed you 3 of them, but we’re happy to tell you that you can find other packs, such as Nightmares pack, Unicorns Of Legend, Dragons, Rainbow Apocalypse, and more. You’ll love every single one of them. 

Summarize: Is Unstable Unicorns Fun?

Unstable Unicorns is, hands down, mine and my close friend’s one of the most favorite card games. It honestly brings magic. Brings people closer. Makes us forget about phones and anything technology for a while. Most importantly, we get to use and develop our skills and see what a competitive spirit we have within us. 

To make it easier for you, here are the pros and cons of the game:

What we loveWhat we don’t
Cute and very adorable artwork;
Has a bunch of other expansions & editions;
It’s simple to set up;
Not complicated instructions at all;
More about strategy and not luck;
A high level of replayability;
Has super qualitative cards & very sturdy box;
Doesn’t have a high price based on the quality;
A game can last longer than you expect at certain times;
The unicorn theme can be a turn-off for specific people. 

Well, it’s okay to be an unstable unicorn sometimes. 

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