Updated: Nov 20, 2019
What a calm and relaxing title. And it’s appropriate too because this is a calm and relaxing game. OK, there may be occasions when another player collects a scene you’d have liked to have picked up, but this is not generally a game where players will be at each other’s throats.
In Sunset over Water (designed by Steve Finn, Beth Sobel and Eduardo Baraf, and is published by Pencil First), players are painters collecting scenes for the commissions they hope to pick up by moving around a 5 x 5 grid of attractive picture postcard landscapes. Each turn, players select a ‘planning card’ from the three they have drawn from their individual identical decks. These specify the time the artist gets up in the morning (which, as you’d expect, determines turn order), the direction and extent of movement and the number of landscape cards the player can pick up on their turn. Players will be collecting landscapes to meet the requirements specified in the commissions set out at the start of each turn. It is the commissions that will score them points, though there will also be a ‘daily goal’ that will give 2 points to the qualifying player.
This is not a deep strategy game where players will feel obliged to agonise over every move. As a result, it plays quickly, with a game for 2–4 players taking around 20 minutes. This makes Sunset over Water a good filler, but the game’s theme and attractive look mean that this is also a game with table appeal that will always attract people to want to give it a try. In the unlikely event that you can’t find someone else who wants to play this, the game comes pre-packaged with the rules and extra components for a well-designed solo variant (entitled Wanderlust, by Keith Matejka).