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Unstable Unicorns An Unlikely Hit

Kathleen Thometz

Posted on January 6, 2019 17:55

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Playing card and board games is a great way to have screen-free family time!

Having some family time, be it dinner, movie night, or just hanging out, is challenging unless you lock up everyone’s phone. However, playing a board or card game solves the screen problem because you can’t do both.

There are three types of games—games of luck, such as Candyland and Sorry—games of skill, which would be Chess and Blokus—games of luck and skill, such as Scrabble, Risk, and matching games. Little kids love the first, fancy people the second, and everyone the third.

When my kids were little I didn’t play a lot of games with them because they often cried when they didn’t win. What I didn’t realize was that playing a lot would’ve taught them sportsmanship, as well as a bunch of other life skills, all while creating memories of fun times.

So I’ve tried to make up for lost time by purchasing several games to play over each winter break. My family is a tough crowd, so we have a few pricey board games, still wrapped in plastic, from last year.

This year we played Guess The Artist, for all of five minutes. While it is lovely to look at, it is essentially art flash cards. I enjoyed Do You Look Like Your Dog, a fun matching game, which I bought because I love dogs, happen to look like my dog, and it reminded me of playing Mixing Match-Ups with my sister.

We were split on Rushmore; those who are good at thinking on their feet enjoyed it but the others, I realized, prefer strict rule-based games. So it was Unstable Unicorns that pulled my family off their phones and around the table, in spite of themselves. It’s complicated enough to keep you engaged but allows for chit-chat amongst the players.

Although everyone complained about it, we persisted in playing daily for a solid week. The creator of the game, Ramy Badie described it as “a strategic card game that will destroy your friendships but in a good way.”

I didn’t like that you could too easily, strategically, demolish someone else’s unicorn army with a well-placed card, so I chose to play a more positive game, discarding my downgrade cards when the opportunity arose, and occasionally stopping an action, to another player, that I thought was unduly vicious. This strategy paid off because goodwill was shown me in subsequent games. So, this nice gal didn’t always finish last.

What are the qualities of a good game? The play should be fast enough to keep people off their phones; has a mixture of luck and skill, and there’s player interaction within and outside your turn. But what makes a really great game? One that can be played over and over again, doesn’t take too long, and allows you to make memories with the other players.

Kathleen Thometz

Posted on January 6, 2019 17:55

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