This copy was gifted to me by a distributor; however, I always strive to provide honest opinions in my reviews.
Game at a Glance
The unicorns in the Queendom have made a nuisance of themselves, so a unicorn purge has been declared. In Kill the Unicorns you must collect unicorns and sell them to the gnomes (just don’t ask what they do with them).
The game takes place over 4 rounds in which players blindly bid on available unicorns. Prior to bidding players attach scheme cards onto the available unicorns. These cards have many different possible effects from adjusting a unicorn’s value or color, or they can affect the bidding mechanism. In addition to the scheme powers, each player has an asymmetrical ability they can use to upset others’ plans.
After this, Hunt Cards (valued 0-4) are used to blindly bid on unicorns, then the cards are revealed & the winner determined. But before the winner can collect their mono-horned prize, a scheme card attached to the unicorn takes effect (if any were attached to that unicorn). These cards can cause a lot of chaos and even affect who gets to take the unicorn to the gnomes.
There is also a Black Market where players may shop for color-changing tokens, fake horns, and even the ability to turn in a worthless unicorn in exchange for paté.
The winner will have the most points at the end of 4 rounds. Some unicorns are more valuable than others, but the real points come in the form of set collection.
- Gameplay: Excellent. The combination of blind-bidding and traps is well-executed and adds a lot of tension and fun to the game. This is a highly interactive game with a lot of take-that tempered with humor. There is a bit of a social deduction aspect – shrewd players may be able to guess at their opponents’ intentions and react accordingly. The game length feels appropriate as turns are fast-paced and the game lasts 4 total rounds.
- Art & Style: Excellent. The artwork is cartoonish and sets a humorous, slightly off-color tone for the game which is a clever way to take the edge off of the potentially dark subject matter. I think the illustrations are well-done and the bright colors are very inviting. The theme is certainly unique – rather than gazing in awe at the majestic unicorn, we must treat these goofy creatures as environmental pests. It’s a fun spin on the fantasy genre and I found it refreshing.
- Accessibility: Excellent. The actions are simple and the rulebook is clear making the game easy to learn and teach.
- Components: Adequate. The cards are a nice weight. The box is an unusual cube-shape which is interesting; however, I feel the box could have been condensed into something with a smaller footprint. The cube shape makes it somewhat awkward to store on my game shelf and seems like a strange design choice. It certainly does stand out though!
- Replay-ability: Good. Variable player powers and a changing lineup of unicorns add a lot of replay-ability to the game.
Tabletop Mom’s Opinion
When I originally heard of Kill the Unicorns, I judged it. I assumed it would be another version of the ubiquitous Uno-clones that rely on raunchy cartoon humor or silly puns. These types of games rarely work well for me or my group, so when I heard there was a game with cartoon illustrations themed around killing unicorns, I was prepared for the worst.
Fortunately I misjudged this game. Yes, it’s a card game with a silly cartoonish theme, but the gameplay is nothing like I expected.
Players can and should utilize social deduction and bluffing in this game. It is highly interactive and I always felt like I had some control over my strategy even when I completely misjudged my opponents’ intentions and suffered the consequences.
In my plays I spent time trying to figure out what our opponents were up to based on previous cards played and their current sets. Sometimes it was obvious, but occasionally I was led into traps and ended up with a worthless urine-soaked unicorn. Nobody wants a unicorn that peed themself. The combination of blind-bidding and scheme cards work very well to create a fun, social experience. The Scheme Card reveal always seem to elicit some good-natured hollering, laughter, and face-palms. It’s a fun dynamic.
Kill the Unicorns is a game I would suggest to my gaming group as a palette-cleanser in between heavier games, or for something fun to squeeze in when time is short. I have had a lot of fun killing unicorns, and would happily play it again.
Tabletop Mom Recommends this as a filler party game for groups that don’t mind a bit of take-that. It also works well for a family game with children (although I would not play with kids much younger than 9 years old).