Released in 2017 after funding on Kickstarter, Unfair is a card management software for 2 to 5 players, designed by Joel Finch and published by CMON e Good Games.
The setting of the theme parks is strangely unusual in board games: over the years we have witnessed several experiments, many of which were unsuccessful and among the best known exponents we find Steam park e World's Fair 1893. The most famous and highest scoring title on boardgamegeek is Unfair: let's see together what it is.
Setting and Materials
Each player of Unfair is an entrepreneur engaged in the construction of an amusement park.
Different thematic decks will characterize the cards of the game: among the six settings available in the basic statola (pirates, robots, vampires, jungle, ninjas and gangsters) we will select some to mix together before starting the game.
From the game decks we will draw events, projects to be carried out and above all, the “Park” cards that will be added to our park: they represent attractions, improvements, employees and resources.
Some of them report a particular theme, others are "neutral" but can be thematized later through the upgrades. Nothing prevents us from inserting two or more different themes in the same attraction: for example, we can build the roller coaster of the vampire-pirates, or the theater of the ninja-robots.
The materials, as always when it comes to CMON, are of excellent workmanship. The graphics of the cards are also excellent, with beautiful illustrations, a clean layout and clear symbols.
The match ad Unfair it lasts eight game turns, punctuated by a deck of eight “city” events that affect all players. A track in the center of the board marks the phases of the turn: after the “global” event, players can play their personal event cards and then choose (one at a time) the three actions to perform. These include drawing new cards (from event, project or park decks), earning coins from your attractions or the ability to play “park” cards, from your hand or directly from the common market.
Our amusement park has five construction slots for attractions (each of which can be upgraded with an indefinite number of "upgrade" cards) as well as unlimited slots for employees and resources.
At the end of each shift the gates open wide and visitors will flock to our park, buying entrance tickets and rewarding us for the investments made.
The player with the most points will win the game, counted based on the number of icons present on each of the attractions built, adding additional points deriving from projects and other cards, and removing any negative points (from loans taken or from unrealized projects).
The score table rewards those who make many upgrades on the same attraction: focusing on a single carousel, however, is a risky choice since numerous cards from the event deck can close it (temporarily) precluding us from taking money at the end of the turn.
While appreciating the management of cards and liking the theme of the title, unfortunately Unfair we didn't like it. The game setting is not supported by dynamics that make it tangible and the system designed could be used for any other setting.
The idea of mixing different themes is nice (albeit not original, we had already seen it in Smash Up) but this has no effect in terms of the game: so forget about crazy combos and unexpected interactions between cards from different decks.
The random component is predominant: the cards drawn from each deck heavily influence the course of the game and their effects range, depending on the case, from useless to completely unbalanced. By drawing from the project deck, for example, we could find an objective with requirements that we have already met, or one that we already know is impossible to complete, all completely randomly.
As the game title suggests, "misconduct" is a constant in Unfair and mainly practicable with personal event cards, which can involve destroying opposing cards, closing attractions and even “stealing” cards from other players. With the attraction points always visible and with such possibilities of direct interaction, the second half of the game is reduced to a vulgar "bash the leader", with the player in charge who will suffer constant oppression until his park appears sufficiently scaled to the eyes of opponents.
Finally, the duration of the match seemed too long considering the repetitiveness and the lack of depth of the title.