Unstable Unicorn Rules to help you learn how to play

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How to Play Unstable Unicorns Rules Guide

Check out our easy to read Unstable Unicorns Rules Guide.

Players: 2 to 8 | Game duration from: 30 mins | Game Complexity:

What is the objective of the game Unstable Unicorns?

The objective of Unstable Unicorns is to be the first player to collect 7 unicorn cards in your play area (stable). For 6 – 8 players: Only 6 unicorns are required. You race to collect unicorns by playing special effect cards that improve your chances or hinder others by reducing their ability to collect unicorns or destroying their unicorns.

Setting Up Unstable Unicorns Game

  • Shuffle the black-backed cards (including any expansion cards you would like to use) and deal 5 cards to each player.
  • Place the remaining cards face-down in the table centre to form your deck.
  • Leave space for a discard pile next to your deck. Cards that have been sacrificed, destroyed or discarded will be discard here during the game.
  • Each player chooses a Baby Unicorn card and place it in their Stable (play area in front of them)
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Baby Unicorn Cards
  • Form the Nursery by placing remaining Baby Unicorn cards in a stack on the table.
  • Any Baby Unicorn cards not in a player’s Stable are placed back in the Nursery
  • The first player to go first is whoever is wearing the most colours!
Unstable Unicorns Setup

The Important Terms:

Stable: The play area where you play Unicorn, Upgrade and Downgrade cards
Nursery: The stack of Baby Unicorn cards on the table.
Deck: Black-backed card stack where players draw from during the game.
Discard Pile: Black-backed card stack which cards have been sacrificed, destroyed or discarded during the game.
Draw: Pull the top card of the deck and add it to your hand.
Discard: Move a card from your hand to the discard pile.
Sacrifice: Move a card in your Stable to the discard pile. This term is used for Unicorn, Upgrade and Downgrade cards.
Destroy: Move a card from any other player’s Stable to the discard pile. This term is used for Unicorn, Upgrade and Downgrade cards.
Steal: Move a card from any other player’s table in to your own. 

Step by Step Unstable Unicorns Rules

Unstable Unicorns Rules

Players take turns to play special cards that help them collect the needed number of unicorns to win the game.

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Turn Play

Players take turns going clockwise. Each turn involves 4 phases: Beginning Phase, Draw Phase, Action Phase, End of Turn Phase.

Beginning Phase

Any cards in your Stable that take effect in the beginning of the turn are triggered. Optional effects during this phase cannot be triggered once you move to the next phase.

Draw Phase

Draw 1 card from the deck.

Action Phase

You may do one of the following: Play an Upgrade card, Play a Downgrade Card, Play a Magic Card, Play a Unicorn Card or Draw a Card.

End of Turn Phase

Discard cards from hand till you do not exceed the hand limit of 7 (unless otherwise stated). End your turn.

Winning Unstable Unicorns

For 2 – 5 Players: first to collect 7 Unicorns, wins.
For 6 – 8 Players: first to collect 6 Unicorns, wins.
Each unicorn card counts for One Unicorn unless otherwise stated.
If the deck runs out before a player wins, the player with the most Unicorns wins.
If two or more players tie, each tied player totals the number of letters in the names of all their stable’s Unicorn cards. The player with the most letters wins.
If two or more players tie for the most Unicorns and letters, everyone loses.


Unstable Unicorns Card Types

Unstable Unicorn Instant Card Rules

Instant Card

Playable any time any other player plays a card (unless otherwise stated). If played in response to your played card, you may respond with your Instant Card (even though you already played a card this turn). Any number of Instant cards can be chained in a single turn.

Unstable Unicorns Upgrade Card Rules

Upgrade Card

Creates positive effects. Playable in any player’s
Stable. If played in your Stable, it affects only your Stable (unless otherwise stated).

Unstable Unicorns Magic Card Rules

Downgrade Card

Creates negative effects. Playable in any player’s Stable. If played in your Stable, it affects only your Stable (unless otherwise stated).

Unstable Unicorns 1

Magic Card

Creates ONE-TIME effects. Immediately takes effect when played and is then discarded.

Unstable Unicorns Unicorn Card Rules

Unicorn Card

Playable in any player’s Stable. 3 sub-types of Unicorn Cards are described below.

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Baby Unicorn Card

Only enter a Stable from the Nursery. Never added to the deck, a player’s hand, or the discard pile.

Unstable Unicorns 3

Basic Unicorn Card

Unicorns with no special effects.

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Magical Unicorn Card

Unicorns with effects. Some are triggered and some are continuous.


Card Effects

Stable Effect Cards

Unicorn, Upgrade and Downgrade cards have no effect while in hand. Effects activate only when they are in your Stable.

Triggered and Continuous Effects

Cards where effects are triggered by certain conditions. Any effect on an Upgrade card, Downgrade card, or Unicorn card that is not a triggered effect has a continuous effect. A continuous effect is active as long the card is in a Stable (unless otherwise stated).

Effect Chain – Order of resolution of effects

When a card’s effect triggers another card’s effect, each effect is a link in an effect chain. Resolve the first link’s effect before progressing to next link. Resolve all links before gameplay continues.

Multiple effects triggering at the same time are treated as a single link in the effect chain. Targets of these effects are chosen before this link in the effect chain resolves. If any of these effects trigger another card’s effect, another link is added to the effect chain.

If multiple triggered effects require a target, you cannot target the same card twice in the same link. If insufficient cards to target, trigger as many effects as you have targets. You must select targets for mandatory effects before selecting targets for optional effects. No player can win until an effect chain has been completely resolved.

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Card Effects with Multiple Actions

Resolving card effects with multiple actions by performing them in the order which is listed. If a card says “and,” perform both actions. If a card says “then,” perform the second
action if you successfully perform the first action. If a card says “If you do,” perform the second action if you choose to perform the first action.

Impossible Actions

If card in your hand requires performing an impossible action, you may not play it.
Sometimes, the effect of a card in your Stable or a card played by any other player may require you to perform an impossible action. If so, disregard that action.

Other Rules to note

Play vs. Bring Directly into Your Stable

“Play” refers to playing a card from your hand
If you “bring a card directly into your Stable,” the card is ‘PLAYED’.

Immunity

Some cards can’t be “affected” by certain things. Cards can be “affected” directly or indirectly. Direct effects target a card individually or as part of a group.
Indirect effects require a player to target a card or perform an action that affects a card. If a card states “this card cannot be affected,” it is immune to direct and indirect effects.

Pull vs. Choose

To “pull” a card, it must be picked randomly. To “choose” a card, you look at your options and pick the card.

Searching for Cards

Some card effects allow you to search the deck or the discard pile for a card. Once retrieved, reveal the chosen card to all before adding it to your hand.


Unstable Unicorns FAQs

How many cards do you start with in Unstable Unicorns?

Shuffle the black-backed cards (including any expansion cards you would like to use) and deal 5 cards to each player.

Can you draw from the discard pile in Unstable Unicorns?

No. Cards are drawn from the deck. Cards that have been sacrificed, destroyed or discarded are placed on the Discard Pile during the game.

Do you have to discard a card in Unstable Unicorns?

Before ending your turn, you discard cards if the number of cards in your hand exceeds the hand limit of 7 cards. Discard till the hand limit is reached.

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