As a big fan of Unfair, the somewhat nasty board game about building a theme park, I almost couldn’t wait to dive into the first Unfair Expansion, often called the Unfair ABDW Expansion.
This expansion for Unfair contains four new theme decks and new Game Changers which can be freely mixed and matched with the six theme decks that come in the base game. Each of these new decks offers some new gameplay element that didn’t exist before.
Disclosure: Good Games Publishing kindly sent us a copy of the base game of Unfair and this expansion to check out. Links in this post may be affiliate links. Using these links doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps support this blog and our podcast. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
What do you get with the first Unfair Expansion?
The Unfair Expansion: Alien B-Movie Dinosaur Western, was designed by Joel Finch and features artwork from Nicole Castles, Lina Cossette, David Forest, Naomi Robinson, and Yoma. It was published in 2019 by Good Games Publishing. You require a copy of Unfair to use this expansion which plays two to five players with games taking one to two hours depending on the player count. This expansion has an MSRP of $34.99
The ABDW expansion for Unfair features four new theme decks for Unfair that can be freely combined with the decks in the base game, as well as any future decks that Good Games Publishing releases. The expansion also includes a number of new Game Changer cards and an upgrade pack of replacement cards that correct some balance and printing issues.
For a look at what you get in the box for this Unfair Expansion, check out my Unfair Alien B-Movie Dinosaur Western Expansion unboxing video on YouTube.
This expansion comes in a long thin box that contains a skinny rulebook which is a surprisingly large twenty-five pages. The book is clear and easy to read and excellent for reference as it is broken up so that each new theme deck, and each new Game Changer, has its own section. Another nice touch is the full summary of play in the back of the book for those who haven’t played the core game ina while.
The box also contains a plastic card holder style tray containing the four sealed decks and a baggie of already punched tokens. The tokens are nice and thick and include new randomizers, alien influence tokens, a UFO standee and a Dinosaur standee, as well as some hex tiles that are added to the board when using either the Alien or Dinosaur decks.
Interestingly the insert has slots for five decks. I will say that after using this expansion I didn’t keep this insert or the box, but rather managed (with some work) to get everything to fit into the base game box.
What does the Alien B-Movie Dinosaur Western Expansion add to Unfair?
The main thing you get with the Unfair ABDW Expansion is four new theme decks, each of which adds a new gameplay element to your games of Unfair.
Alien: The Alien theme deck adds a new resource to the game, Alien Influence. A number of attractions, events and upgrades provide players with ways to generate Alien Influence. The main use for this is to be able to purchase high star value advanced technology attractions and upgrades. These new cards can only be purchased with Alien Influence and not coins.
In addition to this, there’s a system for Alien Abductions which adds a new phase to the end of each round. During this phase, any Park Employees that have an Alien Influence token on them are removed from play and shuffled back into the Park Deck (note, not discarded).
B-Movie: This theme deck includes a mash up of other themes and rewards players for having multiple themes on the same attraction. There’s also a new attraction type, the Shop. The biggest thing added by the B-Movie theme deck is Panorama Scoring. Along with this is a new option to pay an extra three coins to skip a space when building an attraction.
Many attractions in the game are part of Panoramas and when built in the right order, and when Panorama Scoring is active (which is so far only when you use this B-movie deck), you receive end game victory points for any Panoramas containing at least two matching cards, with bonus points earned for completed Panoramas.
Along with this is a new Attraction type, the Billboard. These are placeholder attractions that generate one point of fame but can be replaced by any other attraction during the event step, perfect for saving a spot for a Panorama.
Dinosaur: The Dinosaur theme deck is very much a high risk, high rewards based deck. The dinosaurs themselves are mostly upgrades that you add to your other attractions. You can never have more than one dinosaur on an attraction and if you do end up with more than one the larger star power dinosaur stays and any lower star value dinos must be discarded.
When using this deck a new Dino Rampage step is added at the beginning of each round. During this step, you have to roll the dice for each dinosaur you have in your park. If you roll high enough, nothing happens, but if you get unlucky and roll low the dinosaurs will rampage. What this means depends on the dinosaur but usually involves them closing one or more attractions and moving around your park which can cause you to lose other dinos as noted above. Some of the dinosaurs will even escape your park if they reach the gate.
Another thing that the Dinosaur theme deck adds is replacement Park Entrances. These are Super Attractions except they don’t require you to have 5 stars in your park before you build them and they are gates that replace your original main gate.
Western: The Western deck is just a well rounded easy to use deck. There is a new card type, Development, which goes to the left of your park with your employees. The developments in this deck make your park bigger, allowing for more guests and an additional attraction including the ability to build two Super Attractions.
The Western deck is all about quality upgrades and includes a new type of quality upgrade with the theme cards letting you build quality upgrades for free.
The final unique aspect of this deck is that all of the Western Panorama cards can be played in any order. While this means you can easily build a large panorama, there’s also no way to ever complete that panorama.
In addition to four new themes you also get a number of new Game Changer Cards in this expansion, these include One For The Pot, which adds an additional theme deck to the game and is especially useful when playing two players, Prescience, which lets you see upcoming cards in the City Deck, Lunch Special, which makes for a shorter game, and more.
Is the ABDW Expansion for Unfair worth picking up?
As you can read in my Unfair Review, I’m a huge fan of Unfair. This Unfair expansion is exactly what I want out of an expansion, it adds to the existing game without changing it significantly. It gives me more of what I love, adding replayability and more gameplay options to one of my favourite games.
The new game changers are a welcome addition to Unfair. I love having a set of dials in my games where I can adjust the gameplay based on who I’m playing with and the amount of time I have. I really appreciate that there’s something here to make the game shorter and something else that can be added to mitigate some of the nastiness of the game without eliminating it completely, in the form of the Prescience card.
I love the fact that with that Prescience Game Changer the bad things are still going to happen but you know what they will be ahead of time so you can plan for them and take actions to mitigate any possible losses. Then there’s the Djinni’s Bargain where each individual player gets to choose if they want to take part in the City Events at all. While you won’t have to deal with the Unfair cards, you also don’t get the benefits of the Funfair cards.
As for the new decks, they are all welcome additions to the game.
Of the four new decks, I like the Western theme deck the most. It’s a very balanced deck that doesn’t really have any new rules that you need to learn to use it. It combos well with the other decks and even simplifies the Panorama system if you are using it. I feel like from now on every game I play of Unfair should have this deck included, and the designers seem to agree as it’s now listed as one of the recommended starting decks for new players.
My next choice would be the Alien deck. I really enjoy the whole Alien Influence system and the high value rides and upgrades you can earn with it. Plus we love telling stories about how the Aliens are integrating into our parks. And there’s always someone who will shoot the moon and try for the no-alien stuff whatsoever blueprint or the have all the alien stuff blueprint.
As for the Dinosaur deck, I don’t love it, but I know people who do. This is a high risk deck that can get you a ton of stars early, but there’s always a chance your dinosaurs will rampage. While there are some cards to mitigate this there’s no way to completely remove the risk. For me, that risk just wasn’t worth it in the games where I used Dinosaurs, but I can totally see how this push your luck element will appeal to some players. I fully expect that there are people out there for which the Dinosaur theme deck is their favourite.
This leaves me with the B-Movie deck. After repeated plays I just found this deck to be somewhat boring. While I do dig the theme cards and I love the shop attraction, the rest of the deck was merely okay. It didn’t thrill me in any way. My other disappointment with this deck is just how hard it is to complete Panoramas.
After using this deck several times we did doing some research and realized that for each of the core game decks you need a specific Super Attraction to complete their panorama. Since these are randomly handed out at the start of the game, your ability to complete a specific panorama is highly limited. Added to this every single Panorama takes at least one unique card, with some needing more than one. That’s a lot of fishing and hoping someone else doesn’t build or hold on to the card you need.
Now I will say the Panoramas Scoring can lead to huge points, so they shouldn’t be easy, so I understand why they are so hard to build. Overall though we found that trying to complete them was more frustrating than fun.
In the end, my only real complaint about the ABDW Expansion is the fact that while you can technically get everything into the base game box it’s a very tight fit and you have to do it just right. This is made worse if you choose to sleeve your cards. Enough people have had a problem with this that Good Games Publishing has a page on their website showing how to store the game properly.
Overall I was really impressed by what this expansion adds to Unfair. I enjoyed every single one of the new decks, though I did like some more than others. Each deck is unique and does its own thing and all of them integrate with each other and with the existing decks well. I also appreciate the added Game Changer cards.
If you’ve got a copy of Unfair and you enjoy it at all, just go out and pick this up. This is one of those expansions that everyone should pick up. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a “must have” expansion, as it doesn’t do anything to fix the base game (because it doesn’t need fixing), I would say it’s a “why wouldn’t you get it?” expansion. With more options, more ways to adjust the game, and new combos, everything here just gives you more to love in Unfair.
I love discovering a board game expansion that just gives me more of what I already like in a game. In most cases, this is all I want. More options, more things to discover and more interactions. I don’t always want a full set of new rules or a bunch of changes to an existing game.
To me, the Unfair Expansion: Alien B-Movie Dinosaur Western is the perfect kind of expansion.
What’s your favourite board game expansion? Let us know in the comments below!