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An academic game of negotiation & personal goals.




UNFUNDABLE is a 5-player tabletop card game about the competitive yet collaborative world of academic research. It is played in 3 free-form rounds of negotiation, in which all players are constantly engaged. (There's no waiting for other people to finish their turns!) It was designed as an engagement tool between scientists and college students. But it is also a quick, casual game that anyone can enjoy. It requires no background knowledge in research or tabletop gaming.


What makes UNFUNDABLE unique?

It's easy to play. With free-form rounds, few moving parts, and one central mechanic of negotiation, UNFUNDABLE is easy to learn and easy to play.

It's portable. UNFUNDABLE consists of only cards & tokens, packaged in a conveniently sized box so you can take it on the go.

It's a conversation starter. The game includes a post-game discussion printed right on the cards—adding a layer of friendly conversation in educational settings or at home.

It's an active, social experience. With no turn order, each round is a free-for-all of negotiations. You must combine your luck with your powers of persuasion in order to win.

It's as competitive as you want to make it. In UNFUNDABLE, multiple people can win. That means your group gets to decide how competitive each game is. Do you want to help each other win, or is everyone in it for themselves?

How do I play UNFUNDABLE?

In UNFUNDABLE, players become academic researchers. You all work at the same university, each leading your own health research lab. Unfortunately, you have 3 years before one of you gets fired. To survive, you must prove yourself by publishing Papers, which is very hard to do on your own. It's up to you to figure out how to work with others while still looking out for yourself.

You have two objectives in this game:

  1. Avoid having the lowest number of Papers at the end of the game.
  2. Accomplish your secret Personal Goal.


At the start of the game, each player gets a Lab Card of a different color. This gives each player a steady supply of Resource Tokens of their own color. Each player also gets a secret Personal Goal card, which assigns them an individual win-condition. One player's Personal Goal might be to have the highest number of Grants at the end of the game, while another player's Personal Goal might be to get everyone else to collaborate with them on a single Grant.


At the start of each round, players make sure they have 5 tokens of their own color. Then, the dealer draws 7 Grant/Event cards for the table. Grant cards offer rewards that will help you win. Event cards can positively or negatively affect all players. After all the cards are on the table, each player grabs 1 bonus token of their choice, and then negotiations begin.


Getting Papers and accomplishing your Personal Goal both require Grants. Getting Grants requires turning in a mix of Resource tokens. If you want a Grant and its associated Papers but you don't have all the required tokens yourself, it's time to find collaborators. Can you figure out a way to divide up the required resources and the rewards that will please everyone involved? Can you work with other people while still getting enough Papers to avoid losing?

A round ends when there are no Grants left, it's not possible to get any more Grants, or negotiations have broken down. The table is swept clean after each round, and the next round starts with 7 new Grant/Event cards. After 3 rounds, the game ends. The player with the lowest number of Papers loses. Anyone else who didn't accomplish their Personal Goal also loses. Everyone else who accomplished their Personal Goal wins!

For more info visit the official UNFUNDABLE website or BoardGameGeek.


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Average Rating 0 reviews
Publish Date October 21, 2019
Edition 1st
Department Games
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More Info UNFUNDABLE web site

Why buy this?

  • Fun, quick intro to the behind-the-scenes world of research.
  • Compact, portable design consisting of cards & tiles only.
  • Active social gameplay, with no turn order and no waiting.


  • This game contains a premium upgrade called UV Coating that makes the printed components more durable.
  • This game contains laser cut components. Laser cut items will have a slight amount of soot around the edges, which can easily be wiped off; and will have a campfire smell for about a week after you open them.


See It In Action

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Ratings and Reviews

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Own It Played It Fun Priced Well High Replay Value Well Written Rules Nice Artwork


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