Age target: 8+
UNLucky Adventurers is rated for ages 8 and up, however, it was really easy to jump into, and I could see it being played with younger kids if you wanted to give it a try.
There is reading involved since the cards tell you what to do, so kids should be able to read or have a helpful adult handy, but that’s also part of the beauty of this game’s mechanics. Each card tells you exactly what to do and what your roll outcomes are, so there aren’t really any mechanics to memorize or track. If you can read (or have someone help with reading) and recognize numbers up to six, you can play the game, which is perfect for kids. There’s no getting bogged down with mechanics, you just need to track the cards in your hand.
UNLucky Adventurers is a card game RPG set in your typical fantasy world – there’s medieval themed items, potions, spells, etc, but the twist is that it is all hilariously unlucky and the party has, in turn, started to look out for themselves to survive the adventure.
The items are just as likely to hurt as help. For example… in my last turn of one game, I rolled poorly on my final card and accidentally killed off my mage… with a spork.
On top of that, your fellow party members could help or hurt you depending on the roll with their cards – there’s a 50/50 chance that your companion could grant you or lose you a card depending on how they roll with their Ultra-Amazing Dagger of Doom.
UNLucky Adventurers felt like a quicker and easier analog of Munchkin crossed with War, and it was an awesome combo.
And, I want to say, the flavor text on each card is a big part of the mood for this game! There’s a ton of funny notes on the cards (I think the trap card one is my favorite) that made us chuckle as we were fighting Rattlediles and trying to not fail our check against “Definitely Not Poison”.
Your character in UNLucky Adventurers is drawn from a character deck. It’s a random selection for each game, and each character gives you a unique ability that can help you succeed in a potion check, draw extra cards, etc once per game.
One game, maybe you are a trader and get a bad first hand, so you force another player to trade cards on your first turn. Then, maybe the next game, you get a hunter that time and save your ability for when you draw a beast encounter.
This adds a bit of unique strategy between players, and it helps to shake things up each game so you prioritize different actions.
Goals and basic gameplay:
Your goal in this game is to be the last player with cards still in their hand. For the basics of the gameplay, each turn, you draw a card, and then either do what it says or play a card from your hand.
It definitely gets more complicated than this because of what the cards say, but, at its core, it is really easy to understand and play the game. The cards tell you what to do, and you are trying to keep hold of your cards while whittling away the other player’s hand.
In UNLucky Adventurers, your attacks (using items, potions, weapons, or spells) are just as likely to hurt as they are to help. Your Uncontrollable Fire Spell could let you steal your opponents cards… or you may have to discard from your hand. It all depends on how you roll (which is a very cool integration of a card and dice game). Each card is its own high-stakes decision that makes for fast play and some make-or-break moments.
Strategically played actions:
To counter the helpful/hurtful attacks, there are also action cards! These let you shield, manipulate turn order, get some extra cards, and more so you can defend against those bad rolls and stay afloat.
There were several times that I got down to only a couple cards while my husband had a full hand after rolling well against me, and I was able to turn things around for myself with a well placed trading post card to steal his hand.
Whereas the attack cards were pretty high risk to use, these action cards were the treasures of the game that you sought to collect and use to turn the tide or save your skin.
Blunders and beast encounters:
In addition to facing the other players, you may also run into some trouble from the deck itself! You could find yourself against a blunder (turns out you shouldn’t have picked a fight with the tavern owner….) that makes you discard part of your hand or a beast encounter that you must face with whatever you already have at your disposal (and hopefully be able to claim some treasure at the end).
Having some antagonism from the deck was fun so you never quite knew what you’d pull. It added to the high stakes feel of the game and, especially if you’re playing on teams, gives players a collective target to work towards.
UNLucky Adventurers had a lot of fun ups and downs, easy to understand mechanics, enough strategy to where you needed to think about what you were doing, and hilarious cards. Games were quick and lighthearted, and I think this would be a great addition to a family game night – we definitely plan on pulling this out for future gaming get-togethers with friends and family.
Where to find a copy:
UNLucky Adventurers is starting crowdfunding in May 2022 and can be found here!
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions, try the game because of this post, or have played this game before! And, stay tuned for future articles by following TTRPGkids on social media (links are at the top right of the page if you scroll all the way up) or by signing up for the monthly newsletter!