cover image for a review article reviewing card game unstable unicorns

Card Game Review: Unstable Unicorns

Card Game Review: Unstable Unicorns

Players: 2-8

Official Playtime: 30-60 minutes (for me, it was closer to 15 minutes for 2-player games and 20-25 minutes for 3- and 4-player games)

Released: 2017

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Unstable Unicorns from Unstable Games is one of those modern games that is almost a classic now. In this competitive card game, you will need to collect a full stable of cute Unicorns before your opponents!

Unstable Unicorns is another Kickstarter success - it raised almost 2 million USD for its campaign, launching this game to success even before its release. But how fun is it?

Let's find out how good and fun the Unstable Unicorns are!

 box and cards of the card game unstable unicorns

Disclosure: I own a copy of "Unstable Unicorns," which I bought myself. At the time of publishing this review, I don't have any affiliations with the game's creators. The opinions in this review are my own. Find the Review Policy here.

My Experience With Unstable Unicorns: I have played the game in multiple sittings - as two players, three players, and four. It's been with both - experienced and casual players. Therefore, the review does not account for playthroughs of 5+ players. 

"Unstable Unicorns," Explained to a 10-Year Old

You win by collecting a full stable of unicorns! 

You can collect unicorns by playing them from your hand, using magic and upgrade cards that let you steal, destroy, protect, or otherwise impact your or your opponent's stable. 

Oh, and everything is illustrated in a cute cartoon art style. There are many fluffy unicorns to be found! 

Skill Level - How Difficult Was it to Learn Unstable Unicorns?

Difficulty Rating: 2.5/5

  • The underlying mechanics are very simple, but this game has a variety of cards with effects, making it a game that you learn on the go;
  • After watching two 5-minute tutorial videos and reading the instruction book, I quickly understood the rules enough to start playing.
  • I would say the average board game player could learn the game from scratch in 10-40 minutes (by reading the included instructions + watching the tutorial).
  • There are official and several unofficial tutorial videos available on the internet, which can make the learning process easier.
  • Overall, the base mechanics of the game are straightforward, but some specific scenarios/cards could be explained better in the rulebook, so I give it a complexity rating of 2.5/5 (lower is better).

 cards and stable of one player of card game unstable unicorns

Player Count & Social Interactivity of Unstable Unicorns

Social Rating: 3.5/5

When playing Unstable Unicorns, you need to fill your stable of unicorns to win the game. That also means that you need to follow what happens in other players' stables. Of course, you can solely focus on your stable, but it won't get you the desired win in most playthroughs!

So, effectively, you need to interact with other players by hindering their stables, blocking their cards, and playing magic cards that can help you out!

That being said, social interactions increase significantly by playing with more players.

Best Number of Players

Best number of players: 3+ (4 is optimal)

To be honest, Unstable Unicorns does not shine when playing with 2 players. When playing with only one opponent, it feels very repetitive, and your actions/opportunities are limited. But to be fair, this is the case with many similar games, so it is is almost expected.

So, the game can be fully enjoyed when playing with at least 3 players. When you have 2 or more opponents, you need to pay attention to more factors, which allows for more strategic play.  

card deck of unstable unicorns. Basic Narwhal on top

What Did I Enjoy the Most About Unstable Unicorns?

  • Gameplay-wise, Unstable Unicorns is a simple card game you can play with almost anyone - from your adult gaming friends to your spouse and children. 
  • Stable mechanics (including downgrades and upgrades) are simple and fun.
  • When you know how to play the game, the setup is super quick.
  • Last but not least, I am a sucker for design, so I truly enjoyed the art-style!

What Could Be Better?

  • Objectively - Some specific scenarios were not fully clear, but otherwise, I did not find anything in particular that is objectively bad. The game is balanced, well-illustrated, and fulfills its function.
  • Subjectively, the two-player games seemed a bit dull. Yes, there are modifications for two-player games, but they do not change much. Then again, most similar games shine when playing with 3+ players.


Rating: 4/5

When playing the game for the 4-5th time, it starts to become repetitive, but overall, for a card game, Unstable Unicorns provides a relatively good replayability value.

1) There are many card types/effects that you most likely won't get the chance to use in a single playthrough.  

2) There are many ways you can impact the stables, so there are several strategies you can try - from using effects/upgrades/downgrades to focusing solely on your stable to sabotage.

3) By playing with more players, the game adds more possibilities and randomness, which allows the game to feel fresh.

4) Unstable Unicorns have a bunch of expansion packs available. So, if you like the game and want to have some more of it - there are options.

Given its Stable mechanics, many unique cards, and quick setup, I give Unstable Unicorns a replayability rating of 4/5 (or 3/5 for two-player games)

Components and Art of Unstable Unicorns

The Base game comes in a nice hard-cover magnetic box. In the box, you find the instruction booklet and 124 playing cards. The box includes additional space for adding more cards if you add an expansion or two.

The game is illustrated in a vibrant, cartoonish art style. The cards have a pretty wide variety of drawings illustrated in a cute, fun art style. 

There are cards that have duplicates, but not at the scale when it becomes repetitive. The cute, vibrant illustrations bring the game to life. 

Value For Money

Rating: 4/5

Given that the game (without shipping) costs under 20 USD and comes with 124 unique playing cards, it is a packed card game for this price.

The magnetic box adds a nice, premium touch to the package, so overall, it is a great value for money.

 some cards of unstable unicorns

Overall Rating and To Who Would I Recommend This Game?

Final Rating: 4/5

Unstable Unicorns is a great package overall, from the beautiful cartoony art style to many unique cards and relaxed gameplay.

This game is just right for easy and relaxed game nights. It has relatively simple rules, so there are only a few times when other players are bored waiting on other player to make a move.

It is an excellent choice for family game nights and with your casual board gaming friends.

In the meantime, feel free to explore what Joyful Games has to offer - from other board game reviews and board game tips to fun board and card games.


Looking for a new card game to play with your friends?

The Spheres of Life: Mythical Forest is a new competitive fantasy card game for 2-7 Players. From stunning design to fun gameplay, this exciting game can be a fantastic addition to your family and friends' game nights!

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