Unstable Unicorns Review & Expansions Guide

When you think about unicorns you usually think about a legendary creature symbol of purity, light, and beauty, right?
Well, think again!

Unstable Unicorns redefines the figure of the unicorn, transforming it into a war weapon.
You’ll get the chance to annihilate your friends’ army with a bunch of cute but lethal unicorns.

The gameplay borrows elements from Smash Up and Munchkin. Being a Take-That type of game you’ll have to betray your friends in order to become the most legendary ruler of all magical creatures.

So are you ready to build your unicorn army as fast as you can, or will you succumb to your friends’ one?


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Game Overview

Unstable Unicorns is a card game focused on the combination of two adorable things: Unicorns and destruction!

Build a Unicorns Army, while destroying and betraying your opponents!

Game components

  • 114 Black-backed cards
  • 13 Baby Unicorn cards
  • 8 Rules reference cards
  • 1 Rulebook

How to play Unstable Unicorns

Goal of the game

The aim of this game is to build your Unicorn Army by placing 7 Unicorns (or 6 depending on the number of players) in your stable before everyone else.

The premise is very simple but you will face a heck of a journey through glitter, magic and cuteness to get there!

Setup

First of all, separate all the cards by type: Baby Unicorns, Rules reference cards and black-backed cards.

Each player must choose one of the Baby Unicorns and add it to their stable.
When everyone has got their first Baby Unicorn card, the remaining ones are placed in a pile in the middle of the table, which is called Nursery. This is where all the Baby Unicorns will end up when they are not in a player’s stable.

Shuffle the black-backed cards and deal 5 cards to each player; this will be the player’s hand.
The rest of the cards are put in a pile in the middle of the table, next to the Nursery.

Finally, each player may also take one of the reference cards if they have to reference the rules.
This game has some important terms, so the reference card is super useful! Kudos to Unstable Games!

Unstable Unicorns table setup image
Unstable Unicorns table setup

Turns

Players take their turn by going clockwise. Classic.

Each turn in this game is made up of 4 phases:

Beginning of turn phase
Any card a player possesses in their stable, that has an effect triggered at the beginning of the turn, will be activated here.

Draw phase
Guess what? Simply draw a card from the deck.

Action phase
Here’s when things get spicy. You can choose 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.

End of turn phase
To finally complete your turn you must discard from your hand any number of cards that exceed the limit of 7 (unless otherwise stated).

This is it.
Very straightforward turn phase, even though in each turn you’ll be required to be strategic on what card you play.

In fact, there are plenty of cards with different abilities and effects, as explained here below.

Cards explanation

Baby Unicorn

A Baby Unicorn card is dealt to each player at the start of the game. Because Baby Unicorn cards are stored in the Nursery and never appear in a player’s hand, the only way to add more to your Stable is to use a special effect from another card.

Basic Unicorn

A Basic Unicorn card doesn’t have any abilities or special effects. But they are cute at least.

Magical Unicorn

A Magical Unicorn card has a special ability that can help you win the game.

Magic

These cards have a one-time effect; if you play a Magic card during your turn, discard it right away.

Downgrade

These cards work as malus to your opponents. Add these cards to other players’ Stables to make them suffer ongoing negative consequences.
Until it is sacrificed or destroyed, a Downgrade card remains in a player’s Stable.

(You may technically add a Downgrade card to your own Stable, but it is done rarely and only in certain circumstances if you know what you’re doing)

Upgrade

The opposite of downgrade. These cards let you gain positive and useful effects.
You can add these cards in any player’s Stable, and until it is sacrificed or destroyed, they remain there.

Instant

This is the only card that does not need you to play it on your turn. The Instant cards in this deck are NEIGH cards, which can be played whenever another player plays a card to stop him.
During a single round, any number of Instant cards can be chained.

There you go. After this short explanation of all the cards, you should finally be able to jump into the game.

The first person to collect all the required Unicorns in the Stable wins the game.

Unstable Unicorns vs Unstable Unicorns NSFW

In 2019, a couple of years later the release of the base game, Unstable Games decided to publish the Not Safe For Work edition of it.

Unlike Exploding Kittens NSFW, this edition of the game is better not to carry at work, unless you want the HR colleague kicking you off from the workplace.
There are bucketloads of sex and drugs references and I’m pretty sure someone out there would find those pretty disturbing.

When it comes to judging NSFW material I know it’s strictly subjective, so for me it’s difficult to suggest whether you should buy this edition of the game or not.

My general recommendation would be: if you don’t have kids running around the table while playing the game or if you aren’t that kind of person who gets disturbed if you see a horse with a phallic-shaped horn on its forehead, I’d say go for it!

Other than obscene material, there’s also a ton of fun material in there! Laughing is assured!

I played it few times, with different groups of people and we always had a great time.

(This game includes all the cards of Unstable Unicorns NSFW expansion pack, apart from one card: Dirty Mind)

Conclusion

This game is the definition of pure chaos.
Since each card has its own rules and powers, be ready to do a lot of reading, especially during your very first matches.

Because of this, it might seem a pretty long game to play: my first match lasted 2 hours. But once you get along with the cards and the mechanics, the matches will become much shorter, lasting around 40-60 minutes.

The more players, the more chaotic the game will be. I won’t hide that I don’t really enjoy this game with more than 5 players because it really becomes very long, repetitive, and too chaotic. But I assure you, it’s a lot of fun if played with small groups!

I suggest buying card sleeves to protect the cards, which can be ruined very easily.

The artwork is very cute and simple. Beware though, more than once I found myself looking at a unicorn thinking “Oh this one’s so cute!!” then after reading its power, horror came to my face “Gosh…That’s brutal!” lol

So before buying this game there are three questions you should answer:

  1. Do I like Take-That/Friendship Breaker type of games?
  2. Do I like chaotic gameplays?
  3. Do I want to spend 2 hours for my first matches?

If you answered “Yes!” to all three questions, then go ahead and buy immediately this game! If not, there’s one last question you could ask yourself:

Do I want to destroy my friends with an army of cute but lethal Unicorns?

Answer it and make your own conclusion! Nothing left for me to say, except good luck building your army, and beware, nothing less than brutal will come from this otherwise very cute game!


Unstable Unicorns Amazon thumbnail

UNSTABLE UNICORNS
2 – 8 players | 30 – 45 mins | Age 14+

Unstable Unicorns NSFW Amazon thumbnail

UNSTABLE UNICORNS NSFW
2 – 8 players | 30 – 45 mins | Age 21+


Unstable Unicorns Expansion Packs

If you like the game and you want to add even more replay ability and fun to it, keep reading here below, as there are some expansions you might like!

All of these expansions add 54 cards each to the game, including unique Unicorns and magical spell cards in order to pursue the path to victory by following different strategies.

Unstable Unicorns: Adventures Expansion pack (2020)

Pack your bags and embark on an exciting adventure! Will your journey leave you swimming in gold or plunging to the depths of Davi Jones’s locker?

This is the latest expansion pack that can be added to the base game and it contains new characters, magic cards, upgrades, downgrades and instant cards.

The two most important add-ons to the game are:

  • The introduction of cards that let you choose between different actions, like a proper Adventure seeker!
  • New Instant cards that aren’t the classic NEIGH cards.

Sneak peek to the new cards

Unstable Unicorns Adventures expansion pack - Magical Unicorn card example
Unstable Unicorns Adventures expansion pack - Magic card example

Buy or skip it?

Hands down, the best and most balanced expansion pack released so far, thanks to the variety of the newly added cards.
This is how an Unstable Unicorn expansion should be made, it’s a 100% must buy!


UNSTABLE UNICORNS: ADVENTURES
2 – 8 players | 30 – 45 mins | Age 14+


Unstable Unicorns: Unicorns of Legend Expansion pack (2018)

Unicorns from realms near and far have heard your call to arms and quested to join your army!
Provision your forces with a variety of battle-hardened Unicorns and potent magical spells and obliterate all who stand in your way!

This expansion adds new cards flavoured with a bit of RPG theme to your base game.

They have designed and drawn all the cards with that purpose in mind, without changing too much the core mechanics of the game.

Sneak peek to the new cards

Unstable Unicorns Legends expansion pack - Magical Unicorn card example
Unstable Unicorns Legends expansion pack - Upgrade card example
Unstable Unicorns Legends expansion pack - Magic card example

Buy or skip it?

I personally love this expansion because of the artwork of the cards as an RPG lover.

Generally speaking, this expansion doesn’t really add much to the game and I would only buy it for collection purposes.


UNSTABLE UNICORNS: UNICORNS OF LEGEND
2 – 8 players | 30 – 45 mins | Age 14+


Unstable Unicorns: Dragons Expansion pack (2018)

This expansion adds dragon-themed Upgrade, Downgrade, and Magic cards, along with all-new Unicorns to battle. Who will rule the skies over your Stable?

These Dragon-themed cards are ready to be shuffled in the base game deck to add more aggressive gameplay mechanics to it.

Also, there’s a new lineup of cute Baby Dragoncorn cards! But don’t let them distract you, as they are here to bring chaos.

Sneak peek to the new cards

Unstable Unicorns Dragons expansion pack - Magical Unicorn card example
Unstable Unicorns Dragons expansion pack - Downgrade card example

Buy or skip it

If you like Dragons you might want to get this expansion, as simple as that.

In terms of gameplay mechanics, this expansion doesn’t really add anything new, so it’s probably recommended to spend your money elsewhere before getting this Unstable Unicorns expansion pack.


UNSTABLE UNICORNS: DRAGONS
2 – 8 players | 30 – 45 mins | Age 14+


Unstable Unicorns: Rainbow Apocalypse Expansion pack (2018)

Kill your enemies with kindness…or a massive plague. This expansion pack contains 27 adorably destructive cards and 27 that are full of apocalyptic mayhem!

This is one of the expansions that brings a lot of new things, though I can’t really say they are all good.

First off, let me start by saying what I didn’t like the most about this pack.
There are 24 Magical Unicorns cards here, but 12 of them are literally the same as the base game. I don’t know the reasons behind this choice, but I’d expect to see unique cards from an expansion.

The main mechanic behind this expansion is the idea of bringing an apocalypse to the table that destroys everything.
In fact, most of the new Magic cards have this effect:

SACRIFICE all of your Unicorn cards, then DESTROY a Unicorn card in each other player’s Stable. Search the deck for a “…..” card and bring it directly into your Stable. Shuffle the deck.

This is a game-changer effect; just imagine if one of the opponents have 5 or 6 Unicorns in the Stable and with just a move you could wipe them all out!
Don’t get too excited though, as this is a double-edged sword. The playtime of each game will be increased a lot and also, with the majority of the new cards having this effect, the game will become kind of boring after a short while.

Sneak peek to the new cards

Unstable Unicorns Apocalypse expansion pack - Magic card example
Unstable Unicorns Apocalypse expansion pack - Magical Unicorn card example
Unstable Unicorns Apocalypse expansion pack - Upgrade card example

Buy or skip it?

This is a tough call.
If you want a very unpredictable and unstable game this is the expansion for you.
The artwork of the new cards is awesome and it contains the 4 Unicorns of the Apocalypse, which are truly badass!

On the other side if you like playing this game without spending the whole game night on it (easily 2/3 hours), don’t bother buying it.
I also didn’t like the fact that some of the cards were the same as the base game. Didn’t see that coming.


UNSTABLE UNICORNS: RAINBOW
2 – 8 players | 30 – 45 mins | Age 14+


Unstable Unicorns: NSFW Expansion pack (2017)

This expansion isn’t safe for work, but it will certainly satisfy your dirty mind.
The NSFW expansion comes with optional drinking and stripping rules (in case the obscenities and sexual humour aren’t enough to tickle your fancy).

This is the dirtiest expansion out there and it brings an NFSW flavour to the base game.

It contains some hilarious cards that make the game spicier! Not recommended if you play with kids.

Sneak peek to the new cards

Unstable Unicorns NSFW expansion pack - Magical Unicorn card example
Unstable Unicorns NSFW expansion pack - Downgrade card example

Buy or skip it

If you own the base game and want to add a bit of spicy to it, this might be a good choice! You can always play the base game if you have kids around.

If you own already the NSFW edition of the base game, skip it. All the cards here are included in that base game edition (except one, Dirty Mind).

Gameplay-wise, this expansion doesn’t add anything. It is just dirtier.


UNSTABLE UNICORNS: NSFW
2 – 8 players | 30 – 45 mins | Age 21+


Hey, have you tried Unstable Unicorns or any of these expansions? Favourite and least favourite one?

You have an entire comments section if you want to let us know your thoughts!

Catch you around, bye! 🙂