I have grand visions of my family becoming a family who plays board and card games together, as my children are getting old enough to understand more and more games we are slowly adding to our collection (one can only play Shoots and Ladders so many times). Today I’m going to tell you about Unauthorized, a new game from Chara Games.
First, a little bit about the company. Chara Games creates board (and card) games for families with Christian themes. This is a neat idea that provides learning opportunities for your own family as well as opportunities to open up various Christian topics of discussion with others in a relaxed, casual way.
Unauthorized is a card game for 6-12 players ages 12+. It comes packaged in a sturdy box that should hold up well through plenty of use. The cards themselves are high quality and full color. I’m quite impressed with the quality of this product, especially coming from a pretty small company.
The box contains 12 double-sided role cards, 1 dealer card, 2 reference cards, 97 experience cards and the rulebook. Several of the experience cards are labeled to be used with 8+ or 10+ players. Basically, the expansion packs are included!
The theme of the game is the underground church. Each player is assigned a role and decides if they want to try to be aligned with the state or the church (unless they draw pastor or police which have a set alignment). During the game, certain cards are played face up and others are in each player’s hands. The object is to end up with as many people on the side of your chosen alignment, and you use your actions to manipulate other players’ alignments without necessarily giving yours away. You can make guesses based on face-up cards but don’t know what players hold in their hands (the cards each player’s hand determines his/her alignment).
The game is pretty quick to play once you learn how to play it. There is a bit of a learning curve the first time to play, especially in figuring out how to set it up. With only four rounds, it takes about 30 minutes to play.
We had a bit of a challenge finding situations where we had at least six people old enough to play this game to try it out but we managed to make it work a few times and learned some things along the way.
What we learned:
- If playing with kids, it really works best to play with kids who already know at least a little about the underground church in places where Christianity is (or was) illegal. While kids who don’t know anything about the underground church can certainly follow the rules and play they just won’t really get the game. It is far more fun to play with people who understand the theme. This would be an excellent activity to incorporate into a study of the underground church and places where Christianity is (or has been) illegal.
- You really do need six players and the more the better. We tried playing with five players since finding six is a bit of a challenge. We had one person play two roles so that there were six “players” even though we only had five actual people. While possible, this definitely caused a bit of confusion and the game was much smoother and more fun with six people. Even more players would make it more fun and more interesting.
- Age matters. The box says ages 12+. I had heard that people successfully played it with children as young as eight. My almost-8-year-old wanted to play. She understood the rules and was able to follow along, but she didn’t really get the object or theme of the game and wasn’t able to strategize at all. She played a police officer and did enjoy putting everyone in jail. This is similar to #1 and perhaps if we had done a study on the underground church before playing she would have been more engaged but I think the strategy aspect would have still been a bit beyond her ability.
Overall, this is a fun game and I love that it is quick and you don’t need hours to sit down and play. My 12-year-old thinks it could be fun for her CC Challenge class to play during lunch. They get about 40 minutes for lunch so it would be just right. It would also be great for youth groups (especially while studying about places where Christianity is illegal) and small groups. I would suggest only playing with at least 6 players and people old enough to understand the theme of the game and the strategy it takes to play effectively.
I am thrilled to have this game as part of my collection, I’m thinking about keeping it in my car and pulling it out whenever a random opportunity presents itself since it is such a quick play and small enough to carry around!
What is your favorite family game? Have you tried anything from Chara Games? Please share in the comments!
This is a Review Crew review, click the graphic below to see more reviews of Unauthorized.