Unstable Unicorns - Control & Chaos Rules

From Unstable Games Wiki


Give a Reference card to each player. Place any remaining Reference cards back in the box.

Allow each player to choose their favorite Baby Unicorn card and place it in their stable. Place any remaining Baby Unicorn cards in the Nursery.

UU-ChCo-014.png UU-ChCo-rules.png

Shuffle the black-backed cards (including any expansion cards you want to use) together to create the deck, then deal 5 cards to each player.

Whoever is wearing the most colors is obviously the unicorniest, so they go first!



Players take turns by going clockwise around the table. Each turn is made up of 4 phases.

  • Beginning of Turn Phase: If any cards in y our Stable have an effect that states "If this card is in your Stable at the beginning of your turn," they are triggered now. If you move to your Draw phase without triggering an optional triggered effect, y ou can no longer trigger that effect this turn.
  • Draw Phase: Draw 1 card from the deck.
  • Action Phase: Play a card from your hand or Draw an additional card from the deck.
  • End of Turn Phase: DISCARD until the number of cards in your hand does not exceed the hand limit. The hand limit is 7 cards (unless otherwise stated).


There are 5 types of cards in the game.

  • Icon-instant.pngInstant Cards can be played at any time any other player plays a card (unless otherwise stated). If an instant card is played, you may respond with an instant card of your own (even though you already played a card this turn). Any number of instant cards can be chained during a single turn.
  • Icon-upgrade.pngUpgrade Cards grant positive effects. You can play an Upgrade card in any player's stable. An Upgrade card in your Stable affects only your Stable (unless otherwise stated).
  • Icon-down.pngDowngrade Cards impose negative effects. You can play a Downgrade card in any player's Stable. An Downgrade card in your Stable affects only your Stable (unless otherwise stated).
  • Icon-magic.pngMagic cards have one-time effects. When you play a Magic card, it immediately takes effect and it then discarded.
  • Icon-basic.pngUnicorn cards. You can play a Unicorn card in any player’s Stable. There are 4 sub-types of Unicorn cards:
    • Icon-baby.pngBaby Unicorn cards are Unicorns that only enter a Stable from the Nursery. They are never added to the deck, a player’s hand, or the discard pile.
    • Icon-basic.pngBasic Unicorn cards are Unicorns. They don’t have any effects, but they might have a special place in your heart.
    • Icon-magical.pngMagical Unicorn cards are Unicorns that have effects. Some have triggered effects, while others have continuous effects.
    • Icon-ultimate.pngUltimate Unicorn cards are Unicorns that have powerful effects, but they always have a cost.


Here is a list of defined terms you will see in the game:

  • Set-Up Terms
    • Stable: The area in which you play Unicorn cards, Upgrade cards, and Downgrade cards.
    • Nursery: The area in which Baby Unicorn cards that are not in any player’s Stable are kept.
    • Deck: The stack of black-backed cards from which players DRAW during the game. This may include black-backed cards from any of the expansion packs.
    • Discard pile: The stack of black-backed cards that have been sacrificed, destroyed, or discarded during the game. Additionally, some card effects require cards to be moved to the discard pile.
  • Active Terms
    • SACRIFICE: Send a card in your Stable to the discard pile.
    • DESTROY: Send a card from any other player’s Stable to the discard pile.
    • STEAL: Move a card from any other player’s Stable into your Stable.
    • DISCARD: Send a card from your hand to the discard pile.
    • DRAW: Pull a card from the top of the deck and add it to your hand


Action Phase During your Action phase, you may do one of the following (unless otherwise stated):

  • Play an Upgrade card
  • Play a Downgrade card
  • Play a Magic card
  • Play a Unicorn card
  • DRAW a card

Stables and Effects Unicorn cards, Upgrade cards, and Downgrade cards have no effect while they are in your hand. Their effects are only active when they are in your Stable.

Triggered and Continuous Effects Some effects are only triggered by certain conditions.Triggered effects are always preceded by an “if” or “when.” Some triggered effects are mandatory (ex. “If this card is in your Stable at the beginning of your turn, DISCARD a card.”), while others are optional (“If this card is in your Stable at the beginning of your turn, you may STEAL a Unicorn.”). Any effect on an Upgrade card, Downgrade card, or Unicorn card that is not a triggered effect can be assumed to be a continuous effect. A card’s continuous effect is active as long as that card is in a Stable (unless otherwise stated).

Player Targeting Cards use specific terminology when referring to players.

Any player' refers to any single player, including you. Any other player' refers to any single player, excluding you. Each player' refers to every player, including you. Each other player' refers to every player, excluding you. Any number of players refers to as many players as you choose, excluding you.

Order of Resolution: The Effect Chain Sometimes, the effect of one card triggers the effect of another card. When this happens, each effect is considered its own link in an effect chain. You must resolve the effect of the first link before moving on to the next link in the chain. All links in the chain must resolve before gameplay continues.

There are times when multiple effects may trigger simultaneously, such as during your Beginning of Turn phase. All of these effects are considered to be a single link in the effect chain. Any targets of these effects must be chosen before this link in the effect chain resolves. If any of these effects trigger the effect of another card, another link is added to the effect chain.

If multiple triggered effects require a target, the same card may not be selected twice in the same link. If there are not enough cards to target, you may only trigger as many effects as you have options for targets. You must select targets for mandatory effects before selecting targets for optional effects.

No player can win until an effect chain has been completely resolved.

Resolving Instant Cards Whenever any player plays a card, any other player may respond with an Instant card. If a player chooses to respond, their Instant card is placed on top of the card to which they are responding. This creates a pile. Once a pile has been created, you may only ever respond to the top card of the pile. If multiple players attempt to respond to a single card, the player who responded the fastest adds their card to the pile and all other cards played in response are returned to their players' hands.

Players may continue to respond to each new top card in a pile until all players have declared that they do not intend to respond any further. When determining the order of resolution for a pile, always start at the top of the pile by first resolving the card that was played most recently, then resolve each consecutive card in order. Each time a card is resolved, one or more cards is removed from the pile, presenting an opportunity for the new top card of the pile to be responded to again.

Card Effects with Multiple Actions When a card effect requires multiple actions, those actions are sometimes separated by "and," "then," or "If you do." When resolving card effects, always perform multiple actions in the order in which they are listed on the card. If a card says "and," you must perform both actions.

If a card says "then," you may only perform the second action if you successfully perform the first action.

If a card says "If you do," only perform the second action if you choose to perform the first action.

Impossible Actions If you have a card in your hand that requires you to perform an impossible action, you may not play it. Sometimes, however, the effect of a card in your Stable or a card played by any other player may require you to perform an impossible action. If this situation occurs, disregard that action. Some impossible actions include:

  • DISCARD when you have no cards in your hand
  • SACRIFICE a card when you have no cards in your Stable
  • SACRIFICE a card that cannot be sacrificed

Play vs. Bring Directly into Your Stable "Play" specifically refers to playing a card from your hand during your Action phase or playing an Instant card at any time. If you "bring a card directly into your Stable," you do not "play" that card. This means that any card that is brought directly into your Stable cannot be Neigh’d.

Immunity Some cards specify that they can’t be "affected" by certain things. Cards can be "affected" directly or indirectly. Direct effects target a card individually or as part of a group. Indirect effects require a player to target a card or perform an action that affects a card. If a card states "this card cannot be affected," it is immune to both direct and indirect effects.

Pull vs. Choose When you "pull" a card, it must be picked randomly. When you "choose" a card, you can look at your options and pick whichever card you want.

Searching for Cards Some card effects allow you to search the deck or the discard pile for a card (ex. "When this card enters your Stable, you may search the deck for a Downgrade card and add it to your hand."). Once you have retrieved that card, you must reveal the card you chose to each other player before adding it to your hand.


The first person with the required number of Unicorns in their Stable wins. Each Unicorn card counts for 1 Unicorn (unless otherwise stated). If a player reaches the required number of Unicorns while an effect chain is active, that player is not declared the winner until all links in that effect chain have resolved.

2 – 5 Players: 7 Unicorns to win

6 –8 Players: 6 Unicorns to win

If the deck runs out of cards before any player reaches the required number of Unicorns in their Stable, the player with the most Unicorns wins.

If two or more players tie for the most Unicorns in their Stable, each tied player must add up the number of letters in the names of all the Unicorn cards in their Stable. The player with the most letters wins. If two or more players tie for the most Unicorns and the most letters, everyone loses.