It reminds me of the old theme park games on the commodore 64 (I am painfully old!) and how amazing it felt to build a great rollercoaster with all the bells and whistles.
Publisher: CMON Limited
Publisher: Good Games Publishing
Designer: Joel Finch
Artist: Nicole Castles
Artist: Lina Cossette
Artist: David Forest
Artist: Philippe Poirier
Game Type: Tableau Building
Game Type: Hand Management
Game Type: Card Drafting
Initial Year of Release: 2017
Age Range: 14+
Expected Playtime: 50 – 125 Minutes
Number of Players: 2-5
Theme and What is it?
Tasked with building the greatest rollercoaster in the world but who will you have to step on to make it happen. Anything goes in this fast-paced theme park game where managing your hand and your park is almost as important as trying to sabotage everyone else’s parks.
Let’s look at this fantastic tableau-building game that will certainly have you saying “that’s so Unfair” more than once.
Each round consists of several phases that are handily mapped on the main board and you follow the phases using a small plastic rollercoaster meeple. The rounds start by drawing an event card and then a city event to see what will affect players this round. Then the players get to play events from their hand. As the game goes on you will have further opportunities to draw event cards and you can play as many events as you like from your hand in each event stage. This is where most of the backstabbing happens! The event cards themselves normally have two halves, one being benefits to you and your park, the other being negative effects to other players. You must choose which effect to use every time you play an event.
So, will you be the first player to play a negative effect to benefit yourself… because if you do you’ll probably have a target on your back for the rest of the game. But that’s half the fun of Unfair.
Once the events phase is complete you move into the action phase. Each player only gets three actions per round meaning your decision making is crucial. Will you take a card from the communal board or draw cards blindly from the park draw deck, events deck or blueprint deck. Or will you play a card from your hand increasing your park size or quality? There are several other things you can do in your turn but you get the point. You use this phase to either build up bulling cards of building a better park… or both if you can balance it.
After all, players have taken their actions you collect money for your illustrious park based on its star rating and any other effects that are in your tableau. Managing the amount of money you receive each round is also vital as you won’t be able to build anything without a decent pot of cash.
The board is then cleared and refilled, and you go again.
This continues until the City Event deck runs out and the game ends. Have you managed to build the best park or has your opponents scuppered your efforts using Unfair means!?!
I followed this campaign while it progressed through Kickstarter and loved the look of it from the very beginning. I felt the designers had a solid grasp of the gameplay and how the game would progress. They also had great scope for expansions, but you will hear more about that from us in a future article.
Game Build Quality
The build quality of Unfair is outstanding. The card stock for everything including the board, decks, and components is exactly as I would expect it to be. The quality of the phase marker mini is also great, I’ve seen some amazing paint jobs that really make this mini pop off the table. Obviously, that’s not required but it just always blows me away at how creative people can be.
There are multiple park styles in the base game including pirates, gangsters and many more and each set has their own complete tableau that all the rides can slot into. If you are lucky enough to build a finished tableau you will see how much work went into making this game as beautiful as possible and helping you immerse yourself into the theme park world.
Unfair is so much fun and so brutal all at the same time. You can be walking on sunshine one minute and scrabbling around on the floor looking for spare change the next. The pendulum can swing in or out of your favor from one turn to the next depending on how you’ve played… But that just adds to how amazing Unfair is. If you manage to dig yourself out of your hole and clinch a victory, you’ll remember it for a long time.
Age Range & Weight
The age range and play time are very accurate. The tactics involved in Unfair are surprisingly deep and would easily fly over the heads of younger children.
Play time itself is very much based on the experience of the players. The first few games we had certainly took the 120 minutes, but we very quickly started shaving that time down.
I feel like I’m gushing too much over Unfair but it is a very solid card drafting, hand management, tableau-building game that you’ll get a feeling of pride and satisfaction from playing. It reminds me of the old theme park games on the commodore 64 (I am painfully old!) and how amazing it felt to build a great rollercoaster with all the bells and whistles.
I have happily recommended this game to a lot of people and I recommend it to anyone reading this article. It’s a great game with tons of replayability. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
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