Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 17 May 2018

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Sunset Over Water

Game: Sunset Over Water

Publisher: Pencil First Games

Designer: Eduardo Baraf, Steve Finn, Keith Matejka

Year: 2018

Sunset Over Water comes from the same team of designers, artist and publisher who released Herbaceous - a small card game which has gained a lot of praise. For us, Herbaceous was pretty but not a super impressive game, but seeing all of the eautiful artwork in Sunset Over Water made us set aside those concerns and give the game a try.

Sunset Over Water is a game about hiking to a perfect spot, painting idyllic landscapes and then either keeping those paintings for you personal collection or selling them on comission to buyer who are looking for that perfect combination of landscape features.

In Sunset Over Water, each player simultaneously selects an action card from a hand of three. The action card dictates what time you wake (ie. the order you will take your turn), which direction and how many spaces you can hike, and how many paintings you will make along the way. Then in wake-up order you each move the pawn in your chosen direction and take painting cards. Going early can be an advantage as you take cards out of the 5x5 grid - these gaps could block future players. In addition, you'll get first pick of the commissions. However, going last means you have more chance of being the last person to achieve the daily goal.

This game is so confident in the quality of its artwork that they even enclose a postcard in the box!
The action cards appear to be really well balanced, with early cards giving less movement and allowing you to paint fewer paintings, in general. Sometimes your choice of card seems to be really important, particularly when you're poised to fulfil a lot of commissions that your opponent's are also chasing. However, at other times, especially with two players, I've often just played the cards that will get me the most paintings, because ultimately paintings equal points, and most cards give you a good choice of movement directions which gives you options even when other players cause gaps in the grid.

Sunset Over Water has very simple rules that are easy to grasp, meaning that it can be taught to any audience. The set collection is an easy mechanic to convey to new players, who are unlikely to be completely out-played, even in early games. I'm excited to teach this gme to my parents because the art will be appealing and the game is quick and simple, without too much confrontation, at least with two or three players.

Sunset Over Water doesn't seem to shine at the two player count. With two players we've found that you don't really have to consider the moves of the other person, it feels like there should be another mechanism for blocking the other player. With three players, you definitely need think more about what other players might be aiming for and whether you want to go early to take the comissions. We've not played with four players, but I imagine that the board is really crowded when it still remains at 5x5 - I am concerned that constanly getting in each others way would just make it too frustrating for me.

Sunset Over Water with two or three players is a relaxing game and the artwork should be appealing to a lot of players. I've also played it as a solo game and found it interesting, but a little too easy. Over all, we'll probably keep Sunset Over Water as we do still need fillers and smaller games in our collection, but generally, I'd prefer a slightly more thinky game. For the Yellow Meeple, Sunset Over Water is a 6.5/10.

Sunset Over Water was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available for an RRP of £23.99 at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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