Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sunset Over Water Kickstarter Preview



Quick Look:

Info:
Designer: Eduardo Baraf, Steve Finn, Keith Matejka
Artists: Benjamin Shulman, Beth Sobel, Helen Zhu
Publisher: Pencil First Games, LLC
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 1-4
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 20 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
WARNING: This is a preview of Sunset Over Water. I was sent a prototype version of the game. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.



Review:


Rules and Setup:
The rule book was done by someone who knew what they were doing. It was easy to read, it gave me the information in the order it needed to, and it laid out the information so I could easily go to the section I might have a question about.  Setup is includes placing a 5x5 grid of landscape cards, laying out the appropriate number for commission cards (depending on number of players) and putting the next card face up on top of the deck only to be used for the next round, putting out daily goals and flipping over the top card,  and playing tokens on the middle landscape card.  Players will take their planning cards and a reference card.

My favorite component in a game is typically a reference card, and the one for Sunset Over Water does all it needs to in order to follow play and know what to do next. You play six rounds and follow different phases of play.

Phase 1: Planning - Draw 3 planning cards and choose 1 to play and simultaneously reveal the chosen cards.
Phase 2: Trek - Each card has Wake up time which determines player order of play, moving direction, number of spaces of movement allowed, and the number of cards you can pick up. Earliest time goes first, and will hike, paint, sell, and collect daily goal.  (only the last person to accomplish the daily goal will receive the card to redeem points.) You will need to match your cards icons to those cards on the commission cards to gain the points noted on the card.
Phase 3: Clean Up - Replace all landscape cards, flip over a new daily goal, and move commission cards over and replace the number to fill in any empty spaces.

Points are counted by adding commission cards, daily goal cards, and unsold landscapes (1 point per 2 features).






Theme and Mechanics:
Loving the outdoors, you hike and paint different landscapes you encounter for six days.  Each day you hike a different number of locations, and paint a different number of paintings.  At the end of each day you sell your paintings to earn renown.  Maybe those painting will be worth a lot of money someday.

The theme really held true throughout the game as you get to see different landscapes while hiking in different directions.

The biggest mechanic seems to be set collection, as you get points by collecting certain cards that have different features on them.  You will then match those features to cash them in for points with the commission cards.  You might think the cards with the most features on them will be worth the most renown, but this doesn't seem to be true in all cases.  What makes this mechanic work the best in the game is you have to plan on which features to get at that time as commission cards will come and go. A commission card requiring just one feature on it is worth four points, another commission card requiring three different locations with a certain feature will give you six points.  The spread of points isn't huge, and seems like the true focus should be what card to paint so you can cash in on that commission card.

Next, grid movement is used and works great as you can move over someone else, but can't land on the same location.  Also you will narrow down the directions you can move depending on your planning card.

To make the game fair, simultaneous action selection is used so no one has an advantage over anyone else. Everyone has the same cards and will use them at different times, yet no one will know who goes first, what direction one might move, or what paintings might be taken before they go themselves.

Ultimately, the mechanics work great together.



Artwork and Components:
The artwork combines many different landscapes that you would see while hiking different locations.  Nothing is wrong with the art, but to me, it seems like it has a photography feel to them more than a painted feel to them.

The icons are all done well. Though with the landscape features icons, I did get mixed up with the coast and waterfall icons as they are of similar colors and both represent something of water.  The art on the card actually matched the icons, meaning if it had mountain and sunset feature icons, the art will be of mountains with a sunset.

It was nice to have all the player tokens different shapes.



The Good:
The game is straight to the point, but still makes you think about different options, and the options of all other players.  Great theme that hasn't been used much in gaming.  It's a short and crunchy enough game.  There is a solo mode, and it also played very well.  The Commission cards' points worked well with the art needed to fulfill them due to the number of landscape cards that would fulfill  the requirements.

The Bad:
Seems like with six turns, the game ends quickly.  Because there are only five different feature icons, many of the cards seem like the art is very similar throughout play.  Nothing extremely new as far a mechanics in the game.

Final Thoughts:
This is a clean game that is easy to learn and play. It causes you to plan ahead as you are trying to decide if you want to go first, if you want to move in a certain direction, if you want to move a certain number of spaces, and if you want to pick up more or less cards.

Players Who Like:
I would recommend this game to those who like filler games, those who enjoy the outdoors, and for those who enjoy great art in games.


I am giving Sunset Over Water a 7.5 out of 10 super meeples.

7.5 10

Check out Sunset Over Water on:

         

On KICKSTARTER between now and October 16, 2017.


About the Author:
Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up.   He continues his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games.  Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.

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