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Card Game Review: UnNatural Selection

“Who would win in a fight?” is an age-old question that has dominated barroom discussion for generations. On another level, nature itself constantly tests the question as species die out due to invaders or simply not being prepared. UnNatural Selection from RnR Games takes both of these perspectives and smashes them together in a no-holds-barred battle for supremacy best illustrated by the chicken throwing eggs at a viper. UnNatural Selection is a party-judging game along the lines of Apples 2 Apples or the infamous Cards Against Humanity. The youngest player starts out as the “judge,” dealing three Creature cards to…

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“Who would win in a fight?” is an age-old question that has dominated barroom discussion for generations. On another level, nature itself constantly tests the question as species die out due to invaders or simply not being prepared. UnNatural Selection from RnR Games takes both of these perspectives and smashes them together in a no-holds-barred battle for supremacy best illustrated by the chicken throwing eggs at a viper.

unnatural selectionUnNatural Selection is a party-judging game along the lines of Apples 2 Apples or the infamous Cards Against Humanity. The youngest player starts out as the “judge,” dealing three Creature cards to each player. These cards feature art by Matthan Heiselt that is approachable, cartoony, and often hilarious (such as the shrimp with a bowtie or the bunny with a hammer). With over 170 cards, it will statistically be rare that a player is stuck with the same hand. Players pick a Creature from their hands and lay them face down on the table to be mixed with one another and a bonus card from the deck.

What sets UnNatural Selection apart from all of the others is its Modification stage. Each Creature card also features a “Mod Ray X5000,” a modifier printed upside-down on the blue sides of the card. Two more rounds follow as players add modifiers such as “shy” or “covered in BBQ sauce” or “boneless” to the Creatures. When it is all over, the judge chooses who would survive. The rules encourage subjective choices and suggest players should loudly comment in hopes of swaying the judge’s opinion. The winning Creature’s player gains the card. First to win three to five cards, depending on number of players, is the overall champion.

The standard gameplay is strong, and UnNatural Selection also comes with several variants to change things up. The judge may choose to play a Challenge Event Card at the beginning of the round, clarifying what it is that the Creatures are competing to win. Rather than survival, the decision might be based on the “Worst cab driver in Times Square,” “First to get a job as a circus act,” or Winner of a dance-off.” This makes previously weak cards potentially very powerful and may serve as grounds for heated discussion.

UnNatural Selection is a game for two to ten players aged eight and up. Rounds are very quick and the flexible number of wins is able to make the game last as long as players wish, with standard games lasting fifteen to thirty minutes. UnNatural Selection is a great game for laughs, creativity, and not needing to focus too much while being able to let the imagination and rules-bending go wild as players eagerly work to show why a woozy pet rock would outlast a docile Einstein.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.
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