Unrest Board Game Review – Asymmetric Hidden Roles and Bluffing in a Dystopian Police State


Publisher: Pandasaurus Games

Designer: Brendan Hansen

Artists: Jor Ros, Peter Wocken

Players: 2

Play time: 10-20 Minutes

Suggested Age: 10+

Category: Asymmetric, Hidden Information, Bluffing, Deduction

Concept and Storyline

In the dystopian world of Unrest, an oppressive Empire controls the populace over five districts. But a scrappy Rebellion plots in secret, gathering intelligence and sabotage to incite an uprising. Players take sides in an utterly engrossing battle of wits playing out over a series of rounds.

Despite the asymmetric odds, Unrest creates an electric back-and-forth dynamic. The push-and-pull struggle evokes a thrilling narrative arc as players duel for dominance. Can the rebels strategically complete secret missions under the empire’s watchful eye? Or will the empire sniff out and quash their insurgence? The stakes have never been higher in this stealthy cat-and-mouse conflict.

Presentation and Components

Unrest delivers top-notch production value, from the striking authoritarian imagery on the district and power tokens to the facedown rebel cards used for hidden information play. The stylized design and intuitive iconography make gameplay smooth while creating full immersion in the Orwellian setting.

Seeing the board unfold with vibrant districts under empire control juxtaposed with scattered facedown cards harboring secret rebel plans is a visual treat. The high quality components are built to last through countless games of tense dystopian duels.

Gameplay Mechanics

Unrest distills the asymmetrical conflict into a lightning fast but intellectually engaging formula. The scrappy rebels strategically coordinate facedown disruption plans on their turn. The powerful empire attempts to predict and undermine these efforts through surveillance and disruption on their turn.

This creates sizzling rounds of bluffing, deduction and surprise twists as plans unravel or sneak past imperial defenses. Completing hidden objectives to liberate districts creates an overarching meta-struggle beyond individual rounds, leading to immense replayability.

Easy to learn butdifficult to master, Unrest delivers white-knuckle mind games every time. Despite moderate luck in card draws, victories feel hard-earned through skillful play calling and quick wits. With great interaction and near-perfect information asymmetry, Unrest hits the sweet spot for head-to-head duels.

Final Verdict

Tense back-and-forth battles full of hidden plots, surprising betrayals, and narrow triumphs await in Unrest. Equal parts strategic challenge and thematic immersion, Unrest provides the ultimate battle of wits for two. Its innovative asymmetric design stands shoulder-to-shoulder with modern classics like War Chest and Undaunted in delivering an unforgettable head-to-head experience.

Unrest proves looks can be deceiving – underneath its slick dystopian style lies intricate gameplay full of agonizing decisions and clutch moments. For an evening of deception, deduction, and drama with a friend, accept no substitutes. Unrest is the definitive game of undermining authority through stealth and subterfuge it promises to be!

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