Sunset Over Water – A Kickstarter Board Game Preview

You are an artist that will be trekking throughout the wilderness in search for landscape features that buyers are demanding. From cashing in on commissions, achieving daily goals, and keeping your own personal stash of paintings on hand, you’ll earn renown. Earn more than your rivals, and you win the game.

Sunset Over Water


Sunset Over Water

DesignerSteve FinnKeith Matejka (solo variant), Eduardo Baraf
ArtistBenjamin ShulmanBeth SobelHelen Zhu
PublisherPencil First Games
Type: card game, set collection, art

Official:
1-4 players, 20 minutes, ages 8+

My Opinion:
1-4 players, 25-35 minutes, ages 8+

Takeaway:
Absolutely gorgeous light set collection game, will work well as a filler, pleasant gameplay, perfect gift for nature lovers and artists.

On Kickstarter Now

 


I reviewed a prototype copy of the game. Overall quality will be improved in the final copy, and there may be changes from the prototype version.

In the Box

  • 60 landscape cards
  • 32 planning cards (8 per player)
  • 4 artist tokens
  • 30 commission cards
  • 7 daily goal cards
  • 10 solo variant cards
  • 4 quick reference cards

The first thing I noticed upon opening the box was just how lovely the game is. The landscapes are gorgeous, the graphic design is clean, the iconography intuitive. I really appreciate the amount of thought that went into the little details. For example, the artist figures vary and these variations are depicted in the player’s planning cards as well. These are things many people wouldn’t even notice, but it is such a nice touch.

Landscape cards make up the 5×5 wilderness you will be moving across. These are also the cards you will take to represent the painting you painted in that space.

Sunset Over Water Landscape cards
Landscape Cards

Each player chooses a new Planning Card each day which dictates player turn order (the time listed is the time you wake up), movement direction and distance, and number of paintings you can get that round.

Planning Cards
Planning Cards

You will sell your paintings to receive Commission Cards. The commission cards show what features your paintings will require in order to cash in on the commission. There are also Daily Goal cards that will have goals like being the last person to move diagonally or last one to not sell a landscape. These change every day.

Commission Cards

 

Gameplay

You start the game with your planning cards face down in front of you, your meeple in the middle of the 5×5 wilderness, with daily objective and first set of commission cards visible. All players simultaneously draw 3 cards from their planning deck, choosing one to use, and putting the rest in any order in the bottom of the deck. Everyone then reveals their planning card then takes their turn in the order determined on the cards. The earliest riser goes first, second to wake up goes second, as so on.  Sunset Over Water setup

On a turn you will:

  • Move – up to the number of spaces and in a direction shown on the planning card. You can only move in one direction (no turns) and you cannot move through blank areas.
  • Paint Landscapes – take landscape cards that you have hiked across, up to the number shown on your planning card. You can take landscapes you started or ended on, but never one that another player is on.
  • Sell Paintings – turn in any paintings for commission cards, following the requirements on the card.
  • Check for Daily Goal – if you fulfilled the requirement for the daily goal, you get the card, even if someone has claimed it before you. This card stays with the last person to qualify for it each day.

Once everyone has gone, landscape, commission, and daily goal cards are replenished and the next day begins, starting a new round. This continues until the 6th day is completed, after which scores are calculated by adding together renown received from commissions, daily goals, and any unsold landscapes you may have.

Experience

My teenage daughter put it best: “I love this game. It’s relaxing and soothing, and yet I still get to crush my opponents.

The art is just so lovely. With it you can make the imaginative leap of trekking through nature, trying to find the perfect spot to paint what people want to buy. And then sabotaging your rivals by cutting them off, leaving them stranded in the wilderness. OK, it isn’t quite that cutthroat, but you can thwart opponents by trekking across their path limiting their movement, or picking up landscapes you know they’ll want. The good news is you’re artists, the sun is shining, and you’re out enjoying nature. You simply can’t get upset about some friendly crushing in a game like that.

Despite its relaxed tone, turns are snappy and game play moves quick. It is simple to play as well as to teach. It was picked up easily by all those I played with, which included those not familiar with hobby games and children as young as 8. To see just how easy it is, check out the Learn & Play video I made with my 8 and 10 year old children.

The solo variant was not as exciting to me. It was fine, It just felt like too much was left up to chance. My first game I scored really well, while my second game was low, and my third in between. The reason was simply bad luck in the cards that came out. There is a way to help with this, where you discard more commissions in order to get ones out that you can use, but the payoff felt too big for it to really help. I only played three times, so there may be more strategy there that I was missing, but that was my initial experience. I also didn’t feel challenged, since the goal was simply more points. Personally, I need something more to challenge me to strive in a solo game. Perhaps for others who enjoy this sort of solo play, it would feel much different.

Sunset Over Water

Conclusion

Sunset Over Water is beautiful, both in aesthetic and design. It has a graceful simplicity that is pleasant to play, but with a touch of strategy to keep you engaged and striving to win. 

I feel this game will have a wide appeal, and I like that it is accessible to such a variety of people. It can be used as a filler on game night as well as taken to lunch with non-gaming friends, and be equally at home in both places. Children will pick up on it easily, but it may not have enough action for your more wiggly little ones. It would work well for a family game night with older kids, however.

I’ve tried to come up with some cons, but other than my lukewarm reaction to the solo variant, I cannot think of any. Obviously, if you do not like light games, this is not the game for you. But if you are looking for something quick and light, I can definitely recommend Sunset Over Water.

Back it on Kickstarter now.

 

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