Unauthorized is a 20-30 minute social deduction game by Chara Games for 6-12 players. It is themed around the underground church in a totalitarian state.
Each person will get a role card. There will be at least 1 police, 1 pastor and a number of neutral cards such as a merchant or musician. Each player receives a hand of 7 “experience” cards which are used to influence you and others to either the state or the church side. The pastor gets 7 green church cards to start, the police are given 7 red state cards, the remaining players receive 7 cards at random.
For Round 1, each person plays two of the cards from their hand to the table in front of them. The cards in front of each player will show where their allegiances lay as someone with more red cards may be sympathetic to the state. Next each player will take their individual turn which will consist of one of four possible actions.
- Role Power, the unique ability printed on each person’s role card.
- Speak to a Neighbor, which allows you to look at an adjacent player’s hand of cards
- Seek Parole, in which a jailed person must show loyalty to the state to be allowed out of prison.
- Conduct a public execution, which is a police ability to rid the game of a suspected church member to quash their influence. Careful though as the player may be seen as a martyr and posthumously influence others to the church.
During Round 2, the starting player (Dealer) shifts a space or two to the left based on the number of players. Then each player passes one card from their hand to the player on their left and then plays a card face up in front of themselves. Then each player will take their turn again starting with the new “dealer” again choosing from the four actions.
Round 3: The Dealer shifts again, and each player passes one card from their hand to the player on their right this time, plays one card face up, then will take their turns as usual.
Round 4, the last round, the dealer will shift one more time, then each player passes one more card from their hand to any one player of their choice, then plays one card face up. Next each player takes their last turn after which the game ends. Each player’s allegiance will be determined by the cards they have played in front of them as well as the cards in their hand with the state winning all ties. Each player reveals their cards, players with more red than green cards are on the side of the state, players with more green cards are sympathetic to the church. Whichever faction has more players under it’s influence wins.
My first thoughts after playing this game were that it was too simple and quick. Having played it a few more times I am convinced that it is indeed and very quick and simple game but not too it’s detriment. It holds the suspense of not truly knowing who you can really trust with your message. Try to influence your friends and it might bring them to your side but the may have already been under the influence of the other side and now know where you stand. All this in 30 minutes or less. Because of it’s higher player count it is quite a bit harder to get to the table at a regular game night, but it is great for use at larger events especially youth groups or small groups. And because of it’s short play time you have plenty of time after for a discussion or lesson about the persecuted church and what they go through on a daily basis.
The box is a nice small package so it does not take up much space anywhere and is easily transported. The price is easy and well worth it for a game that gives this much, quality, experience, and fun. I definitely recommend this game, and anything else by Chara Games to anyone helping with or running youth groups and other church groups. Chara Games has a few games now, each are amazing. They produce good games with christian themes. Unlike many other Bible games which are usually just regular games printed with bible themes, their games are quality games built from the ground up. Check out our review of their first game Commissioned as well.
For the parents:
Violence: Police can conduct public executions, but this is purely mechanical.
Drinking or Drugs: None
Horror/Occult: Imagining what the church goes through often in countries similar to the one portrayed is a scary thought.