Publisher: Pencil First Games
Game by: Steve Finn, Keith Matejka, Eduardo Baraf
Artist: Beth Sobel, Benjamin Shulman, Helen Zhu
Duration on box: 20 minutes
Age recommended on box: 8 +
Time to learn: 10 minutes
Sunset Over Water Board Game Review
Imagine waking up each morning to trek through beautiful scenic landscapes, stopping to paint a lush, tropical sunset over a waterfall, then returning to civilization to sell your painting for generous commissions. The only thing which could make this scenario any better would be to paint and sell more than your not quite as talented opponents. Sunset Over Water is beautiful game with a relaxing theme, and amazing landscape art. The game combines awe-inspiring art, and a relaxing theme with enough strategy to satisfy your desire to out-paint your opposition.
Just how will the best selling painter be determined? Sunset Over Water is a set collection game taking place over six days (rounds) with three phases per day. First, players simultaneously plan for their day by selecting a planning card. The planning cards are revealed and it will dictate what time players leave for their trek through the wilderness, which direction they may hike, and how many painting they may paint on that particular day.
Players take their treks in turn order determined by the time indicated on their daily planning card. Once out on their trek, the active player will “paint” (collect) their allowed number of landscapes, again determined by their planning card. After completion of their trek the active player will attempt to match their landscape symbols to the visible commission cards and collect their Renown (victory points). Each round also offers one player the opportunity to complete the daily goal, which is always the last player to take a specific action each round. Daily goals also offer Renown.
Finally a cleanup phase takes place to replace Daily Goals, Commissions, and Landscape Cards. After the completion of the sixth round, Renown points from Commission and Daily goals are totaled. Players are also able to add Renown points from their unsold landscapes. A Kickstarter stretch goal also offers a mini-expansion which introduces Muse Cards. Each player is dealt a special Muse Card at the beginning of the game. Whomever matches the most landscape symbols on their Commission Cards to their Muse Card in the end wins an additional three Renown points. In our plays, we were all so close, these cards often determined the winner of the game.
If you are a fan of beautiful, natural spaces, you will find the art in Sunset Over Water exquisite. The scenery on the cards are picturesque and I often caught myself drifting off into the landscapes. We found this game to be well-balanced and a unique take on the set collection mechanics.
Despite the scenic theme, Sunset Over Water, is still a think-y game and you will not be able to win without a well-crafted plan. You will want to “paint” (collect) landscape cards based on what symbols are required on the available collection cards, and your opponents will probably have a similar plan. Your planning choices determine who goes first, which direction you can move, and how many landscapes you can paint in a given day. You might think you have the perfect plan for the day, until another player sets out on their trek earlier and steals your landscapes, or even creates a break in the wilderness path, blocking you from moving the direction you would like. This keeps the game interesting while you reevaluate your plans on the fly.
I may have mentioned this a few times, but this game is gorgeous.
A quick, filler game which with enough strategy to keep gamers interested.
No game is perfect, but for my tastes this one comes close. The only con I have is when teaching the game to my non-gamer mother and sister, there was some whining about “how many things there were to remember” in the game. This might however, be a reflection on the players, and not the game. Love you sis!
Gateway Game Score: 7/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
This review was written by Fifi McFluffins, who was smitten with Sunset Over Water.