Before you play the game, you’ve got to understand the context of game play.
An underground Church struggles to survive, and the State desperately wants to stop it.
Players in the game are loyal to one side or the other. One person is the Pastor, and always loyal to the church. Another is a police office, and always loyal to the State. The other players?
Well, their loyalty changes throughout the game based on the cards in front of them and in their hands. These experience cards are green (loyal to the church), red (loyal to the state), or green and red (wild and can be used either way).
It sounds a bit confusing, but it’s not once you get the hang of it!
This game takes 6-12 players, so is perfect for a large family or small group setting!
The game Unauthorized comes in a sturdy box, which holds everything you need. It includes:
- 12 role cards (these are double-sided, with a female on one side and a male on the other)
- 1 Dealer card (to help the dealer remember what to do)
- 2 reference cards (to help everyone else!)
- 97 experience cards
- A rule book
All the cards are colorful, and the size of traditional playing cards. Some of the cards are only used with larger groups, and these are clearly marked on the back like this:
Learn How to Play
If you don’t like trying to figure out how to play on your own, there’s a video to help! You can find it here.
We didn’t watch the video, and just dove into game play after reading the rules. Bryan’s Grandparents were in town and his sister was over, so it was a great time of family fun!
On our first attempt, we didn’t play correctly. But, after passing around the rule book a bit and some discussion, we figured out where we went wrong, and started again!
Here’s a picture of Grandma and me playing Unauthorized:
Each game consists of four rounds, and takes about half-an-hour. The first game seemed to take a little longer then that, but we were still trying to get the hang of it! Subsequent games took just under thirty minutes.
At the beginning of each game, each player is assigned a role. These roles don’t change during the game. You’ll always have at least one Pastor and one police office. If you have larger groups, a second of each is introduced.
The other/neutral roles are:
Each role has a special power, which can be used to influence people to support their side.
The Pastor gets dealt seven green experience card, and the police officer seven red. The rest of the experience cards get shuffled, and the neutral players each get seven random cards.
Each player looks at his or her hand, and decides which color has the majority. Whichever color it is, that is where the player’s loyalty lies.
But, as cards get exchanged and new ones drawn, the loyalty can change. You must always play cards to support the side you are currently loyal to.
The game says players aged 12 and up, but we discovered younger children can definitely play. As long as they can figure out which side they’re loyal to (so being able to determine the majority of seven cards), they can play.
Follow the Round Rules
For each round, players follow the rules specified in the rule book. The dealer starts, and play moves to the left. After each player has played, the round is over.
At the end of the fourth round, it’s time to declare a winner. If the majority of the players support the Church, and at least one of them isn’t imprisoned, the Church wins. Otherwise the State wins.
What We Thought
I enjoyed the game, though I was a bit disappointed the experience cards didn’t come into play more. They have all sorts of incredible life experiences on them, but in the game all that really matters is the color.
So I decided to use the cards to inspire some discussions. Why would “Church Hypocrisy” lead someone to support the State?
How could “Public Persecution” inspire some people to support the Church and others to support the State (it’s one of those Wild cards!)?
Why is having a “Family of Faith” important for those who support the Church?
There’s a ton of great material here, and I wanted to get the most out of it!
Here are some words used to describe the game by some of my children:
“It was really fun!”
“I liked being the police officer and executing someone!” (A special part of being the Police Officer – but this one can only be used once in a game.)
“I want to play it again!”
All in all, we really enjoyed Unauthorized, and will be pulling it out again to play in the future. If you have enough players, I highly recommend this game!
To see what other families are saying about the game Unauthorized, please click on the banner below.