Take the journey of an entrepreneur with Unicorn Startup Game

Founding a startup, developing a product and bringing on trusted team members, all while dodging unforeseen events. This is the life of an entrepreneur, and a pair of Montreal board game creators want to bring a little slice of that to anyone brave enough to play.

The Unicorn Startup Game is a new card game invented by Phillippe Dallaire and Pamela Daoust. It’s a card game for billion-dollar ideas, say the pair.

Hilarious fake startups, realistic events (too hungover to code after a night at the pub) and unexpected turns round out this dice-based game where players first choose a card representing the startup they have to build. From there they have to sell the number of units their card dictates. The first one who does so wins.

To sell units players must develop their product, ponie up cash for developer talent, advertise their product, deal with investors and more.

“Like every other entrepreneur, I cant sleep at night and I always think about my projects, so I created this game,” Dallaire, 32, told MTLinTECH. “I thought it could be really fun way to show what happens in the life of a startup entrepreneur for someone who doesn’t know.”


The game will hit Kickstarter for its crowdfunding campaign on September 28. The pair will look to raise a minimum goal of $20,000 and a stretch goal of $100,000 to pay for more individual card design. The game will retail for about $30.

Dallaire’s partner in crime, Daoust, left a full-time job working communications and marketing to work full-time on Unicorn.

Part of the inspiration for the game, she said, is the hit HBO series Silicon Valley. They wanted to inject some of that same hilarity into the game that the show so perfectly nails. As such, a player might be given the task to run startups like “Doggy Drone Walker,” where a drone walks dogs, “Grandma Scheduler,” which allows someone’s grandmother to schedule events into their calendar or “Exploding Pineapple Lock,” a bike lock that explodes acid juice when tampered by thieves.

“We’re really having fun just working on everything and creating this game,” said Daoust, who has a penchant for travelling around the world to surf waves. “It’s so much fun.”

Players must pick an “event” card each turn, much like chance or community chest in Monopoly. They can dole out shares in their company, take on risk and decide whether to take loans, start a crowdfunding campaign or take venture capital.

Moreover, once a player has money they can hire people who either help in product development or sales. Players also pick up bonuses, which can be positive or negative. The majority of them are negative. A player can use a negative attack bonus to prevent another player from winning the game (stealing IP, anyone?).

Dallaire has worked within the startup world for several years, first within a web agency and then working for various seed ventures. The first time he took a trip on a plane he jumped out of it (sky-diving).

Perhaps the risk is in his and Daoust’s DNA. After all, they both left full-time, paying gigs to work on the game.

The game seems creative, funny and entertaining. The only thing we’d like to see is for the team to make the card content even more funny and ridiculous. Silicon Valley is such a rich show because it completely tears down characters and mercifully pokes fun at the real people they’re based on. It would be good to see more of this in Unicorn. Dallaire and Daoust made clear to us that humour is, in fact, one of the biggest motivators for this game.

For now it seems like a fun game and a safe buy on Kickstarter.


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