Unpub: The Unpublished Card Game
Players: 3-8 players
Time: ~20 minutes
Times Played: 3
Unpub, the convention that highlights unpublished and soon to be released board games, has a card game with the same name. Unpub, the card game, is a party game for three to eight people that revolves around creating and designing board games based off of the theme, mechanic, or component listed by the publisher each round. Each round, the publisher chooses a card from their hand and selects one of the three elements listed on the card. From there, the designers (aka other players) will need to pitch their game to the designer. They can include elements on their own cards as well as a fabricated game title and elevator pitch. Whichever design the publisher likes the most wins the card from the publisher. First player to collect four cards, wins. The reverse side of the cards resemble contracts and when won, players will flip them over to signify their value as points.
Like most social party games, Unpub works best with a group that is good at thinking on their feet and doesn’t mind blurting out their thoughts. Unlike most social party games, Unpub does require the players to have an above-average knowledge of board game components and mechanics to play. Most cards are fairly simple to grasp just by what the words are but some players won’t understand the context of “Legacy” as a mechanic or what “4x” means. This isn’t a deal breaker as the card can just be swapped out but it’s something to keep in mind.
Games are typically short. While you’re pitching a game, this doesn’t mean you need to illustrate the entire workflow of mechanics and board layout. It’s more along the lines of pitching a Cyberpunk game that utilizes whistles as a press-your-luck mechanic because the sound mimics the lawless, oppressive society. Or something.
That’s the entire game. You go around, pitching ideas left and right until someone accumulates four contracts.
Unpub works best with four or five people. Anymore and the game will take forever. Even if you limit each player to thirty seconds for a pitch, with eight-players, a round will last almost three minutes. If the same person wins four times in a row (which is impossible since they’ll become the publisher after winning), the game will last twelve minutes. Not too shabby. But with them being a publisher, at minimum the game will take around twenty-one minutes (super streamlined). Honestly, the game isn’t fun enough for twenty-one minutes.
Unpub works best as a quick filler game where you play towards two contracts. Even then, the game has a very niche market and theme and isn’t one a would recommend. If you’re looking for a social game, there are just so many more out there with themes and game choices that won’t limit players like Unpub possibly can.
This is another game where you’ll know immediately if it’s for you and your group or not. It is not for me nor my group and I struggle to think of which group this is suited for. I will give the game credit for tying in with the theme and idea of the convention itself and the artwork for some of the cards is fun but besides the novel idea, there isn’t much else to support here.