Unicorn Fever

RRP: £39.99
Now £30.85
RRP £39.99
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Unicorn Fever is a betting game where unwitting unicorns and their mindless desire to run on rainbows are exploited by unscrupulous citizen of the fairy realm, for profit… and glory! Each player is a wealthy bettor, determined to be recognised as a the most skillful unicorn-race wagerer of the Unicorn Racing Championship and hold the title until the next rainbow appears. Durin…
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Category SKU ZBG-LUMUNI01 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Clever tactical betting game
  • Beautiful artwork & components
  • Very high re-playability
  • Using magic cards to alter the outcome of the race
  • The sprint dice provide a fun level of randomness

Might Not Like

  • Rule Book is a hard read
  • Some people wont like the semi-uncontrolled chaos of the races
  • Simpler win conditions would be better
  • Wish the clan artwork was more diverse
  • Doesn’t work as well at 2 players
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Description

Unicorn Fever is a betting game where unwitting unicorns and their mindless desire to run on rainbows are exploited by unscrupulous citizen of the fairy realm, for profit... and glory!

Each player is a wealthy bettor, determined to be recognised as a the most skillful unicorn-race wagerer of the Unicorn Racing Championship and hold the title until the next rainbow appears. During 4 races, players will try to place successful bets to gain Victory Points and Gold.

To reach their goal, they will buy Contracts with unscrupulous citizens of the fairy realm to hire their services and turn the odds of the race in their favor, play Magic cards to straight up fix it, and try to avoid squandering all their hard-earned Gold and be forced to ask the Elf-Mob for Loans. At the end of the Championship, the player with the most Victory Points will be the winner!

>> GAMEPLAY

HOW DOES THE RACE WORK?
In Unicorn Fever the race is managed by an AI mechanism. When the race starts, you won't be able to perform any action: the unicorns will freely run and sprint on the board. All you can do is watch the race unfold, shouting and cheering for your favorite unicorn!

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS OF THE PLAYERS, THEN?
Players will perform 3 actions before each race, allowing them to fix the race with Magic, place Bets, hire shady characters to gain special abilities, or even perform combos between the above.
Since the action tokens available are limited, you will also have to read the intentions of your opponents and perform the actions you need before it is too late!

WHO WINS?
Players obtain Victory Points and money with each of their successful Bets over the course of 4 races. Bets can be placed on Victory (5VPs), or Podium (3 or 2 VPs). On average, unicorns with better odds run faster than those with the worse odds, but successful bets on slower unicorns pay better! Players must take risks and play wisely to turn the odds to their favor!

The story goes that whenever a rainbow appears all of the nearby Unicorns will cease whatever they are doing and race to the end and dive into the pot of gold. This attracted racing enthusiasts who fought over the title of "Great Horn" (the person who can make the most money and glory out of the race).

This is the very silly story setup for what is a more complex tactical betting game than you would be led to believe just by looking at the box.

Unicorn Fever is a 2 to 6 player game by Horrible Guild. You are placing bets, using magic cards to alter the outcome of the race, hiring clan members to assist you and hinder your competitors, and watching 4 very exciting races all in the hope of winning the title of "Great Horn".

On Your Marks…

When you open the rule book you may be surprised at how many rules there are for a betting and racing game. Quite a few pages are reserved for the set up and the changes for a 2 player game. However, once you have set the game up it becomes fairly obvious why everything is where it is.

What strikes you is how colourful and inviting the game is on the table. Everything screams play me from the adorable unicorn miniatures to the rainbow racetrack and the individual money and betting components.

Unicorn Fever is played over 4 rounds (races) and before each race commences all players will take 3 actions one at a time in turn order. The available actions are; to play a magic card, place either a winning bet or a show bet (1st, 2nd or 3rd), acquire a contract with one of the available clan members, become the first player, or a combination of these actions.

When you play magic cards, you lay the number of cards you are allowed to play face down onto any combination of unicorns. Some cards provide a positive boost such as adding 1 to their sprint or in the rare event of both sprint dice showing their colour, they will automatically finish the race to the next available highest place.

However, for every positive magic card, there is an opposite negative card that will slow the unicorn down or even cause it to place last. Each magic card has a letter in the top left corner and when the magic cards are resolved, just before a race begins, a negative card will be automatically cancelled out by a positive card with the same letter, putting both cards in the discard pile. These magic cards can really alter the outcome of a race.

Get Set...

When you place a winning bet (for the unicorn to finish the race first) you place your money on the token of the unicorn you think will win. If that unicorn does happen to win you will receive the money you placed multiplied by the odds for that unicorn.

In addition, you will receive 5 glory points. If the unicorn does not win you lose your money and do not receive any glory points. Some action spaces also provide bonus glory points.

A show bet provides money and glory points if the unicorn you betted on places 1st, 2nd or 3rd. However, the money you win is only double the bet you placed. In addition, you receive fewer glory points of 3 for an early show bet and 2 for the late show bet.

The contract cards can be the difference between winning and losing the game. At the beginning of each round, 3 contract cards are displayed and when they are taken, they are not replaced until the next round. These cards provide modifications to the game rules such as money placed on a bet is not lost if your unicorn doesn't win, a winning bet is successful even if your unicorn comes in 2nd place, or extra glory points if a certain unicorn finishes the race in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place.

In addition, a few of these cards provide glory points in the top corner of the card which is included in the end game scoring.

Go

After all, players have had 3 actions you prepare for the race by passing the 1st player token to the player who selected that action, then resolves all of the magic cards placed onto the unicorns.

Finally, you shuffle the race deck of cards and away they go. The cards in the race deck have a series of numbers that line up with the odds for each unicorn. You turn over the top card and move each unicorn to the appropriate number of spaces. Then you roll the sprint dice and move the unicorn whose colour is shown on the dice 1 extra space.

You repeat this process until all of the unicorns have finished the race. This section of the game provides real excitement as it is somewhat out of everyone's control and any unicorn (even the one with the worst odds) could win. There are extra spaces after the finish line so that if two or more unicorns finish the race at the same time then the unicorn who goes the furthest past the line wins the draw.

Collect Your Bets And Pay Your Tax

Once each race is finished payments are made to the owners of the unicorns in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. After this, bets are paid out along with glory points. A little sting in the tail is the glory tax. After every race, all players must pay a tax on the amount of glory currently in their possession. You then adjust the odds for each unicorn according to if they placed better or worse than their current odds.

For any unicorn that placed better their odds go up once, whereas for any unicorn that placed worse their odds would reduce by one. Unicorns that finished the race in the same position as their odds would have no change. Finally, you adjust which unicorn/s goes into fever mode. This mode is always activated for the unicorn/s which have the worst odds and provides various boosts to assist this unicorn to do better in the next race.

Go Again

You play 4 identical rounds of Unicorn Fever before the game ends and each round culminates with an exciting race. If at anytime during the game you run out of money or don't have enough to pay your taxes you can borrow money from the Elf Mob. When you borrow the money, you receive a loan card which must be paid off at the end of the game, with interest of course.

Who Is The Great Horn

This is where the game can lose a few people. The winner is declared the person with the least amount of loan cards. If two or more players have the fewest (or none at all) loan cards the first tiebreaker is glory points, if there is still a tie then the money is the final divider. I understand and appreciate why it is done this way but trying to explain it to the more casual board gamer or younger player is difficult.

Other areas of concern with the game are the player count. The game loses almost all of its appeal with 2 players. With 3 or 4 the game runs well with some level of control over the outcome of races. At 5 or 6 the game can descend into chaos.

So best to choose who to play this game with. I personally love the chaos at the higher player count and also like the control at 3 players but not everyone I have shown this game to enjoys the lack of control.

There are five sets of clan cards from which two sets are chosen and shuffled for each game. The artwork on these cards is good but there is not enough distinction between each clan. In addition, the font type is hard to read. That is also true for the magic cards.

I would place this game almost into the medium weight for complexity which may be a problem for some people as the graphical style definitely makes it look like a light family weight game.

Final Thoughts

Despite these slightly negative points I really enjoyed Unicorn Fever. I found it quick and exciting with lots of choices to be made. The races are unpredictable with some real jump up and down moments when the unicorn with the worst odds somehow wins the race. The box says the game is suitable for ages 14 plus and I would agree with this. There is so much re-playability with this game and I look forward to teaching it to as many people as possible.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Clever tactical betting game
  • Beautiful artwork & components
  • Very high re-playability
  • Using magic cards to alter the outcome of the race
  • The sprint dice provide a fun level of randomness

Might not like

  • Rule Book is a hard read
  • Some people wont like the semi-uncontrolled chaos of the races
  • Simpler win conditions would be better
  • Wish the clan artwork was more diverse
  • Doesnt work as well at 2 players