If you haven’t heard it already…I play games in my BCM 300 class and yes you heard that correctly! You may be wondering why games? What’s the point of playing games, what can you even learn they’re just fun to play….

Well games aren’t just about playing the game! I know as crazy as it may seem…we often miss the details that make the games worth playing. For example have a think about your favourite game, why do you like it? You can’t just say ‘because it’s fun’ what makes it fun. What about these specific games entices you every single time to play it?

Games are about creating an experience, whether that is tangible by the feeling from the product packaging, or the visual component being how pleasing the game looks. It could be how long or short the game is, how competitive the game can get because you’re versing your friends.

But the question for you is: what elements matter to make a game interesting?

Funnily enough, for me the one thing that has made me enjoy playing these games was a visually aesthetic one. As a graphic designer, I often look at the finer details and the elements that go into the design, packaging and branding of the game. I realised now after playing and immersing myself in so many games that I am drawn to games that are visually appealing.

Unstable Unicorns:

Unstable Unicorns is a turn-based strategic card game. This game is designed to create rivalry and destruction with your friends as your build your unicorn army.

The Unstable Unicorns came out in 2017 from Kickstart, a creative crowdfunding website that allows all of their creators to share their ideas / pitches for creative work and eventually communities will come together to fund them.

Players: 2–8 players
Ages: 14+
Length of Game: 30-45 minutes to play
Contents: 135 cards + a rule book and features a magnetic closure
Genre: Strategic Card Game
Publisher: Breaking Games, Self-Published
Designer & ArtistRamy Badie


The design:

When we started to setup the game, I was constantly getting distracted by the illustrations of the cards / baby unicorns. From touching the box to the cards, I was really surprised with the quality of the material for the game. I started noticing how gorgeous the smaller details were like colours, fonts which led me to absolutely loving the logo design as it was minimalistic but extremely creative.

The packaging even had a magnetic closure to the box which I remember feeling so blown away, something so simple made the product 100% better and felt so amazing to unpack. I leaned over to Alicia and even mentioned “wow, look how nice the graphic design of this is, I think this is by far the best packaging for a game I have seen.”


The Game Mechanics:

At first when I was learning the game it was a bit confusing just because I didn’t fully grasp the concept at first but I am the kind of person that will only understand a game by playing it. After watching everyone and participating I was definitely able to understand it better.

Inside the box were the cards as well as the instructions which were very simple to understand. The bonus of this was is each individual person who played received a reference card which is a tiny version of the rules. This made it x10 easier instead of constantly picking up the rules to read it if we were confused.

In the box:

  • 114 Black-backed cards
  • 13 Baby Unicorn Cards
  • 8 rules Reference Cards

Turns: players go clockwise around the table and complete 4 phases to end their turn. To end your turn you are required to discard the card you played and as many as you can. You can only hold 7 cards, the unicorn cards don’t count unless stated otherwise.

Cards: at the beginning of each turn if you have a card in your stable that requires the effect to be triggered at the beginning of the turn you must play it.
If you don’t have that card, then you able to draw a card for the deck.
There are 5 different cards you are able to get these are:

  • Add a unicorn to your army
  • Use magic to tip the odds in your favour
  • Upgrade your stable
  • Downgrade your friends stable
  • Neigh Card stops any action cards

Actions: you can then play a card from your hand depending on what kind of card you have. You are able to play one of the following actions:

  • Play a unicorn card from your hand;
  • Play a magic card from your hand;
  • Play a downgrade card from your hand;
  • Play an upgrade card from your hand;
  • Draw a card from the deck

Learning the game:

When I first started playing the game, it was the 3rd week of class and I heard of the game but never played it. I definitely found the first few moments of explaining how the stables work were a bit confusing but as I mentioned in the beginning I am the person that find it a lot easier to play the game. I find it hard to absorb someone else reading the instructions because I am trying to envision the game but also listen so it becomes a lot to digest.

One of the girls on the girls started explaining the setup of the table as we all helped to get the table ready. We organised our stables like the photo below with the nursery, desk and discard pile in the middle. We also received our baby unicorn cards as well as 5 black-backed cards.

I definitely think because there were so many elements like your 5 cards, then understanding what each of the cards mean became a bit intense when you’re just listening. As soon as we started playing and we all had no idea what we were doing it felt a lot easier to play because we were all in the same boat experiencing the game at the same time.

It was right after the first round everyone started getting the hang of it, we collected our unicorns and action cards, we started getting competitive because we wanted to win. We slammed our neigh cards to deny any action cards from attacking us and eventually a winner was announced by getting 7 unicorns.


My response to the game:

As this was the first time I played it, I definitely think it was a bit of a slow start. But as soon as I got the game it made it so much easier, it’s always the initial 10-20 minutes to learning a game that makes it slower. Once we all just jumped into it we are able to get a more hands on experience for the game and we can visually see all of the components we read in the rules / instructions come alive and work together.

Overall though, it was really great to play, I loved the designs of the cards & the simplicity of the game. Even though it has a lot of elements it essentially is just your unicorn cards & the deck, it happened to be that the cards had different actions which made it a lot more interesting.

I do wonder if the game would get repetitive after a few arounds of it, I think that is why the expansion packs exist to make it bit more interesting.

One of the biggest things I find as well is it does matter who you play games with because they too add to the overall experience of the game. A game experience isn’t just the table top game & all the elements inside the packaging it is also the people that play it and I had a really large group which made it really intense but enjoyable.


References

BoardGameGeek. 2021. Unstable Unicorns. [online] Available at: <https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/234190/unstable-unicorns/linkeditems/reimplementedby> [Accessed 25 March 2021].

Thecreativeindependent.com. 2021. Guide: How to make a tabletop game. [online] Available at: <https://thecreativeindependent.com/guides/how-to-make-an-indie-tabletop-game/?q=game%20mechanics&idx=tci&p=0> [Accessed 26 March 2021].

Truong, B., 2021. Unstable Unicorns Card Game Review & Ultimate Guide 2021. [online] Game Cows. Available at: <https://gamecows.com/unstable-unicorns-review/> [Accessed 26 March 2021].

Truong, B., 2021. Unstable Unicorns Card Game Review & Ultimate Guide 2021. [online] Game Cows. Available at: <https://gamecows.com/unstable-unicorns-review/> [Accessed 26 March 2021].

Unstable Unicorns. 2021. Rule Book. [online] Available at: <https://12ax7web.s3.amazonaws.com/accounts/2/homepage/UU_New-Rules_v1.pdf> [Accessed 25 March 2021].

Unstablegames.com. 2021. Unstable Unicorns – Unstable Games. [online] Available at: <https://www.unstablegames.com/collections/unstable-unicorns> [Accessed 25 March 2021].

Kickstarter. 2021. Unstable Unicorns. [online] Available at: <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ramybadie/unstable-unicorns> [Accessed 25 March 2021].

Youtube.com. 2021. How to Play: Unstable Unicorns in 3D. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kripqXxMg0> [Accessed 26 March 2021].

Youtube.com. 2021. Unstable Unicorns on Kickstater. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfU5eDZS-Eo> [Accessed 25 March 2021].

One thought on “We can play games in class?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s