How to Play Unstable Unicorns: Rules and Step-by-Step Instructions

Niestabilne jednorożce is a game for 2-6 players. It’s easy to learn, but tough to master. To play, you’ll need an Unstable Unicorns set and at least one other person (or unicorn). The object of the game is simple: be the first player with six stable unicorns in your stable!


Unstable Unicorns is played with at least two players but can have up to six depending on how many decks you print out and use/buy. To start, each player needs their deck plus one other deck for every three additional players over two. All cards should be shuffled together into a single deck and placed face-down in the middle of the table. This is referred to as “the draw pile.”

The object of the game is to have six unicorns in your stable that are “stable” before any other player(s) do since this will give you points at the end of the game.

Unicorns can be gained by using their special powers when gaining a new card from “the stack”. The stack has one deck for every two players plus an extra deck if there are three or four more decks than two players (so, seven decks total with five to nine people). Each player starts out only having access to one unicorn which they must use each turn unless it’s not possible due to another player taking up all rooms on the table. To gain a new unicorn, discard all cards into either one discard pile beside your draw pile or into a “discard pool”.

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Each player starts with a deck of cards and one unicorn. All the unicorns are different colors to make it easier for players to know which is theirs, but they’re also all worth points at the end. If you have two decks plus three or four more depending on how many people are playing, then each person needs seven stacks total (two decks per stack).

The Card Types

There are four different card types in Unstable Unicorns that determine what actions you can take during gameplay, how many heart points you start/lose per round, whether or not an action is mandatory when played (such as turning someone into a “Coward” if they don’t already have a Coward Card), etc.:

  • Items Cards – these give immediate benefits like extra turns, stealing other people’s items/actions for your own use, etc.
  • Actions Cards – these are played immediately when drawn and do not require other cards to be used with them unless otherwise stated on the card itself since each Action Card has different effects such as stealing someone’s items/actions or turning people into “Cowards” if they don’t already have one in their deck (which forces them to skip a turn).
  • Heart Cards – these increase your number of heart points that round but can also lower it through penalties like losing half your current number of hearts for discarding another person’s item/action among other things so make sure you pay attention whenever anyone plays an action against you even if it doesn’t seem relevant at first!
  • Coward Cards – which force you to skip a turn and draw three cards on your next one unless you already have the “Skip A Turn” Action Card in your discard pile (which requires another card, such as an Item or Heart card, in order to use).

What Are the Special Abilities on Cards?

There are many different types of unique card abilities. The more common ones include “+30 Hearts” (which is worth 30 points), “-15 Apples” (worth 15 negative points) and “+0 Scissors” which has no effect at all. There are also rarer ones like “Gain one Unicorn”, “Skip Your Turn,” or “+75 Unicorns.” One that often confuses players is “+15 Hearts”. This means it’s a positive modifier to your hand’s score but not just any random fifteen hearts will do, you must gain exactly fifteen total hearts in order for this point modifier to work instead of getting fourteen then gaining another later down the line when they’re worth less than before.

What Are the Game Colors?

Unstable Unicorns is primarily black, white, grey (for some of its unicorns), pink (for hearts), red (apples) blue (scissors). The only exceptions are “The Flow” which has orange instead of red on it since it’s a different shade than pure red; the special ability “+15 Hearts”, which is purple-ish/violet; and “+0 Scissors,” which is light green with little bits of dark green speckled throughout like pepper flakes. Also, there’s no official comma in front of “-15 Apples.” I just put one here for readability purposes because that was how someone wrote it when they asked me for rules clarification.

The Flow art from the Kickstarter campaign shows one pink heart and a greenish-teal eye with a red pupil.

However, in the actual game it has two orange hearts instead of one and no eyes at all just an outline where its face should be which is why I have to take points off for inconsistency here because that’s not how “The Flow” was originally depicted (although this could simply be due to artistic freedom/budgeting concerns). Also, “+15 Hearts,” while rated as black on BGG despite having purple coloring; however, other expansions like Unstable Unicorns: Artistic Integrity clearly depict them as such so there may still be some doubt about their color since they’re already inside another card set which has the same symbol.

How Many Cards Are There?

Currently, there are one hundred and ten unstable unicorns in total which is more than enough for a normal game but if you want to play with less then I would recommend using at least 36 or 48 instead of just doing 50 like most people seem to do (which isn’t recommended because it’s too few).

However, this can still be problematic since “+0 Scissors” only come three per deck so if everyone chooses not to use them because they don’t need them then each player will have four extra ones left over before reshuffling occurs again causing an unfair advantage making some players feel as though their chances of winning were reduced by luck rather skill.

Also, “Skip a Turn” comes a total of three per deck and would only be available to use consecutively if everyone chose not to do so which is why I think it’s probably best that you play with fifty cards instead in order to avoid the same issue.

How to Play Unstable Unicorns?

You can find the complete rules here to read at your convenience although they’re also summarized step-by-step in this article as well with pictures attached to each section below.

Step One – Shuffle & Deal Cards

Each player is dealt seven cards face down then three more are placed next to them forming the discard pile which everyone has access to due to how many people are playing (up to four). Players must always draw from their own deck first before using any others whether or not there are other decks available since some abilities require discarding another card so pay attention during gameplay whenever someone draws/discards something that might be relevant to your own cards in play.

Step Two – Turn Order & Special Abilities

There isn’t a forced order of which person plays first but whoever has the most heart points (not negative modifiers) goes first and then each subsequent turn is determined by who has the least number of hearts that round starting from second place to last place if necessary so try not to be at either end unless you’re just trying to lose quickly.

Anyone with special abilities such as extra turns/replays, stealing other player’s items or actions, using their powers twice per turn instead of once, etc., should announce it immediately when they get them since anyone else can deny players access to any item/action required for their ability like turning someone into a “Coward” (which forces them to skip their turn and draw three cards on the next one) if they don’t have a Coward card themselves or by taking away/stealing someone’s only Heart (which reduces your number of hearts that round from seven down to six, five, etc., with four ending in immediate loss).

Step Three – Play Cards & Winning

The goal of Unstable Unicorns is simple: get rid of all your cards first. You can accomplish this through any means necessary such as playing an Item Card which gives you another action immediately when played OR discarding an Action Card like “Coward” at any time during your turn on yourself or anyone else who isn’t already immune/resistant to its effects (through items like Shields) so try not to use it on yourself unless you’re already at the last heart.

However, there are also Action Cards that don’t have to be played immediately when drawn so keep an eye out for them since they can help you get rid of your own cards more effectively by allowing players to combine their powers in different ways with combinations such as “Coward” + “Skip A Turn” (which forces everyone else to skip a turn and draw three new cards) or even stealing another person’s items/actions if they haven’t used both yet during this round!

Step Four – Draw & Reshuffle

Once every player has either run out of cards themselves OR forced someone else below seven hearts through Coward means then reshuffle all remaining discard piles into one big deck and redistribute seven cards to each player. Repeat step one on the next round starting with turn order through special abilities until all players have exhausted their decks entirely either due to discarding them or not being able to draw anymore at which point whoever has the least number of hearts wins!

How Do I Score Points?

Each unicorn is worth a certain amount of points at the end of the game. So, if you have all six unicorns in your stable and they each have a value of three points, then you will get 18 points added to your total score (if there are no negative modifiers). It should be noted that some unicorns aren’t as valuable as others because their stat may not be met as easily as another’s. For instance, “The Flow” only has two hearts which makes it harder to gain than most other cards since the most start with four hearts. This means that The Flow isn’t very valuable since even though its point level is high compared to others at the end of the game, it’s harder to gain and thus isn’t as valuable.

What It Takes to Win?

There are several ways for each player (or unicorn) to lose: not getting any stable unicorns or another player reaching 20 points first. The way that this happens depends on how many players there are and what modifiers they have from cards like positive ones like “+15 Hearts”, negative ones like “-15 Apples,” and neutral ones like “+0 Scissors.” To win the game, you need at least one other person playing with you (unless everyone has disconnected). If only two people remain by some chance when time runs out, then neither of them is a winner and they must play in the next round.

What Happens When Someone Reaches 20 Points?

If you reach twenty stable unicorns by the end of your turn then this means that you’ve won. You can also win if no one else has at least 20 before the time runs out in which case it’s a tie and everyone with at most 19 must play again in order to break the tie or neither is declared winner. However, there are ways for players who don’t have enough points yet to prolong their chance of winning even after they run out of turns like using special abilities on cards like “Skip Your Turn” (which allows them to take another go) or “+15 Hearts” (to increase their hand score). If all other options fail then whoever has more negative point modifiers loses instead of having a tie.

What Strategies Do People Use to Win at Unstable Unicorns?

There are many strategies that can be used to win at Unstable Unicorns. One strategy involves focusing on one stat in particular and trying to gain cards with a high point level, but not too much of another or else it’ll have negative modifiers making it less valuable than others until you get them later down the line when they’re worth more points.

Another method is playing neutral unicorns early so they don’t modify other players’ hands while still being able to cash in their own cards for stable points as quickly as possible.

Yet another way would be gaining hearts first instead of other types because this will allow you access to better card abilities such as “+30 Hearts” which allows someone’s hand’s total score (including all bonuses) from 0 to 60 which is four times higher than the starting score of 15.

How Many People Do You Need to Play Unstable Unicorns?

You need at least two people to play Unstable Unicorns. In a world where everyone has smartphones, it’s difficult to find someone with the same board game as you so this requirement is recommended for those who have trouble finding others in person since they can still enjoy themselves even if only one friend comes over and brings their deck of cards with them.

However, more than four players may be required depending on how many decks are available or if there’s enough room for a larger group.

You could also just use your imagination and pretend that all other unicorns except yours have disconnected making it feel like you’re playing against yourself which isn’t any less fun! If no one else wants to play after time runs then whoever has the most stable points wins automatically.

Is There an Age Limit?

Unstable Unicorns is mostly targeted towards teens or adults, but it can be played by other ages as well if they are mature enough to understand the rules and concepts that come with the game. The only thing you have to worry about when deciding whether your child should play Unstable Unicorns would be how many cards will likely offend them due to their crudeness since some people might find vulgar jokes in poor taste while others may find them hilarious so judge accordingly based on what kind of sense of humor you think your kid has before letting him/her start playing. There’s also an NSFW version that contains more adult-oriented content making it unsuitable for anyone 18+ so you might want to avoid that version if it’s for a younger family member.


Unstable Unicorns is a fun and competitive board game that can be played by anyone as long as they have the required amount of players, decks, or just one other person to play with. If no one else wants to participate then it’s possible for someone who has the most stable points at the end of each round to win automatically so there’s never any need for a last minute rush! The only thing you should consider before playing Unstable Unicorns would be how much profanity/vulgarity might offend your child if they are old enough to understand what types of jokes are likely contained within because some people may find them hilarious while others could feel uncomfortable seeing such content in their living room.

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