As a member of the Homeschool Review Crew, I have the opportunity to review a lot of homeschool curricula; books. Every once in a while, we do have the chance to review some non-book items and have a little bit of family fun. My family got to play a game called Unauthorized. The game, Unauthorized, is the latest game from Chara Games, the creators behind Commissioned and Three Seeds.
Husband and wife team, Patrick (Pat) and Katherine (Kat) Lysaght, are gamers, but not in the contemporary sense (ex: electronic). They love playing and designing tabletop (board) games. Pat’s love of playing games is what sparked the creation of Chara Games and it was not long after, that Kat was “on board” and enjoying playing games herself. One of the first games they developed was with the idea of making one that everyone in their family would enjoy playing together. They wanted everyone to be included.
That spirit continues with Pat and Kat running Chara Games LLC (together), which they founded in 2014. Chara means “unshakeable joy” (Biblical Greek) and that is what Pat and Kat want players to experience when they sit down together and play one of their tabletop games. The company mission is “building games that create joy by developing relationships with God and people.” All of their games have a Christian theme, so the foundation is set for players to fulfil the company mission. Just a note, you do not have to be a Christian to play or enjoy any of the Chara brand games.
Unauthorized requires a minimum of six people to play and can accommodate 12 players per game. It is geared towards players, ages 12 years old and older, and takes about 30 minutes to play. Our players ranged from 10 to older than 50. 😉 Each game comes in a gloss covered box, which includes 12 double-side role cards, three reference cards, 97 Experience cards and a rule-book.
Unauthorized gives you a taste of the “what if”? Through the Experience cards, players are challenged with themes like ‘What if my faith is not strong enough?’ when a family member dies or State appeal with thoughts like ‘What if the State isn’t so bad?’ with government handouts and state education. Could you be swayed from one side to the other? a little bit of good vs. evil, light versus dark; you must pick a side. Whichever side you choose is the one you must pull for when playing your cards, even if your hand does not lineup with your personal way of thinking.
There are 12 player role/characters:
There are two Pastors, two Police and one each of a Clerk, Counselor, Matchmaker, Merchant, Musician, Rebel, Teacher and Thief. Each card has a male and female on one side of each card. The cards have descriptive information about the roles with the name of the character, whether or not they are neutral or loyal to the church or the state and their unique role power. A couple of description examples are:
Teacher is neutral with the ability to Draw 1 card. Look at it and give it to the player of your choice (into their hands).
Pastor is for the Church with the ability to discard 1 face up State (red) card (or Wild played as State) in front of any 1 player. May influence anyone while imprisoned.
Thief (I like the Thief card) is neutral and has the ability to randomly take 1 card from a player’s hand and place it in your hand.
Police, obviously are for the State and are immediately instructed to imprison a Pastor. They may also imprison other players and perform public executions.
As a player, you are loyal to the majority of your cards and not your personal loyalty. “You play your cards towards the side you represent.” If there is a tie with your cards, you are loyal to the State. The Wild Card allows you to choose your loyalty. Once you play the Wild card (Church or State) that is how it is deemed. The State wins if there is no Christian majority or if all of the Christians are imprisoned.
This video explains best how to play Unauthorized.
I am glad a video tutorial is available to help people understand how the game is played. Chara Games has tutorials for their other games too. It was helpful, because understanding the rules did take a bit of time. I usually give the instructions to River who translates for me (ex: games rules, directions on how to use certain electronics, etc.).
The two reference cards/reminder cards were helpful in reminding us of the order of the game.
We all root for the Church in our lives, but I will admit there were some who enjoyed playing for the State. After all, it is a game and not real life. Regardless, the Experience cards gave us something to think about. There are people who do live under regimes where those experiences are real. The Experience cards led to some good conversation leading the 30 minute game to sometimes take longer to play.
Something I really like about the Chara Games is that they require you to think. They are not passive games; roll the dice, move however many spaces and pick up a card.
As a family of five, we are one short a person to play Unauthorized. We enjoy playing games, so I requested to review Unauthorized when I knew my sister would be in town. Although it took us a few attempts to get a rhythm and understand how to play the game (no learning curve, just regular rhythm), we enjoyed ourselves. Since the minimum number of players is six, we will not be able to play Unauthorized on a regular basis. I guess we need to have more company come to visit, because Unauthorized is a fun game to play.
Unauthorized is available from Amazon for $14.99.
Hashtags: #hsreviews, #ChristianBoardGames and #StrategyGames