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Paul Ferguson
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Rising Sun is an area control game that has a historical Japanese theme mixed with fantasy. This is another Dudes on a map, mini's on steroids game from Eric Lang. Rising Sun employs elements and mechanics from numerous other games that gel well together, without bringing anything new to the genre.

I have played only a handful of Eric's previous games, the most notable being, Chaos in the old World, Blood Rage, X-Com and Star Wars the card game. Of these games, I found that Star Was the card game was the best, it is a very well crafted and unique two player card game, that has very strong mechanics that combine timing and strategy very well. I get the feeling of late, that maybe Eric is stuck in the realm of focusing on having lots of miniatures in his games, and I feel it is taking away from creating some innovative and clever design.

Artwork/Production -

For those that love mini's this game has very well crafted and highly detailed figures, that an avid painter will easily spend hours being creative with. The version I played had the additional mat in place of a traditional card board game board, and it was a nice change, maybe more games will do this in the future.

The artwork for me is a little bland, especially on the main play area. The look is very washed out / faded and doesn't add much to the theme or immersion to the game. There is a lot of empty space on the board as the actual play area takes up less than half of the entire board.

Gameplay -

The game consists of three rounds, each being broken down into seven action phases. Each player gets a turn to choose what action they want to perform of which there are five different actions to select. The actions range from moving units, deploying units, adding cards/skills to your faction, gaining resources and betrayal. If you have established an alliance with another player, you get a bonus when they select an action and vice versa.

The area control component of the game revolves around winning the combat phase and gaining the respective province tile of which you are trying to collect different tiles to score up to 30 points at game end, though gaining a tile you already have will still score you up to three points, it won't add to your set collection. The combat phase boils down to a very simple auction phase. Players try to out bid each other to gain points by sacrifice, hostage taking, hiring Ronin, and gaining points for each unit, including your own, that were killed during the combat phase. The player that wins the combat for a province, has to give all the money they bid to each of the losers of the combat, and all the losers have to return their bids to the common pool.



Pros -

Easy to learn
Plays well
Overall production is very good
Lots of Minis (if you like that)
A decent area control game

Cons -


Feels more like an auction game than an area control game
Combat lacks excitement
There is too much open information
Feels like all the other Japanese themed area control games, but not as good
Other Area control games do it better
Feels like it relies on the minis to make up for lack of innovation or new game play
Need a suitcase to carry all the components

Conclusion -

If you have played a lot of area control games and specifically games like Shogun, Ikusa, Samurai Swords, Senji, you probably won't get much out of this. It feels too much like those games but doesn't push any boundaries and in fact, I feel like the minis are making up or masking the fact that their isn't much new here at all. It does the whole lets have different cards for seasons, yep, like all the Japanese themed games do. Lets have Ronin you can hire to help in battle, just like the other games. There is no problem with employing ideas from other games, but at least do something that adds to the genre and not just repeat the same ideas from 20+ years ago.

For those that have played Blood Rage, it's similar in some ways but improved in other aspects, with the map actually being a integral gaming element, but there is way more open information in Rising Sun which I feel hurts the overall strategic game play. For an area control game, I didn't understand the reason for the design choice to have so much information open to all the other players, and to me, makes the game feel more causal than it should, and it is more of a bluffing game than a strategic area control game. The betrayal action could have also had the benefit of being able to peak at your former alliance members information. You betray them, you peak at their hidden information, then break the alliance.

I can tell that Eric has put a lot of work into this game, but to what end? Other games do the same thing better but don't have the bling factor. It just takes all the bits from other Japanese themed area control games, rolls them together and produces a less strategic version of those games, it brings nothing innovative to the genre. It feels like Eric has played some Asian themed area control games and thought, lets do an Asian themed Blood Rage, with lots of auctions, less unknowns and the same stuff you have see before.

I love playing board games, I love to discover little gems, games that do something unique and come up with interesting and well crafted ideas that change how games are played and how players interact. I get bored with games like this that don't push the envelope, don't take a risk and rely on a gimmick and feed into peoples material desire to have lots of little tiny minis at the cost of making a really good game. For me Rising Sun is an average been done before game, but If you haven't played many area control games, this is one to take a look at as it does everything well.
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Joel Berg von Linde
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Quote:
For those that have played Blood Rage, it's similar in some ways but improved in other aspects, with the map actually being a integral gaming element


What does that mean? How is the map not a gaming element in Blood Rage?
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Mike Beiter
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Interesting perspective.

This will be the first game of feudal Japanese strategy that I will play/own.
So to me, this game is filled with new and unfamiliar mechanics.

I may have to look into the other ones you mentioned to see how they measure against eachother.
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Wes Grollmus
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Blood Rage is one of my top 5 favorite games of all time, and I came into Rising Sun without much excitement. The theme, art, etc. just don't appeal to me that much.

However, after a couple plays, I think this is an excellent game that stands apart from Blood Rage in many ways.

I think my biggest surprise from your review is the "combat lacks excitement" comment. I couldn't disagree more. I think the combat in this game is extremely exciting and unpredictable. You can negotiate and plan for so many different outcomes, and then your opponents/allies can do unexpected actions to foil your plans. Likewise, I feel that you can become a master at manipulation, planning, and deceit to really surprise your opponents in battle.

We had a situation where 1 player won a battle with 2 bushi and no money. I killed my warriors and then took a strong monster hostage from the player with the most force, allowing the other player to win. That's crazy, exciting, tense, and unpredictable.

You can negotiate and manipulate players in one battle to set yourself up for a desired outcome in another bottom. There are so many options and strategies, I just can't understand how this isn't viewed as exciting. I always worry that the game is being played wrong when I see things like this, but that certainly doesn't have to be the case. To each there own.

I think the game is highly innovative, as it mixes so many different elements (area control, negotiation, bluffing, economy, politics, combat etc.) and does so very elegantly. Once you play this game, it's very easy to remember how it plays. It's easy to play, but very difficult to win, and that is rarely done well in a game.

I'm glad to have read your review and thoughts, but felt like sharing some of my own.
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Brett Smith
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wesg92 wrote:
Blood Rage is one of my top 5 favorite games of all time, and I came into Rising Sun without much excitement. The theme, art, etc. just don't appeal to me that much.

However, after a couple plays, I think this is an excellent game that stands apart from Blood Rage in many ways.

I think my biggest surprise from your review is the "combat lacks excitement" comment. I couldn't disagree more. I think the combat in this game is extremely exciting and unpredictable. You can negotiate and plan for so many different outcomes, and then your opponents/allies can do unexpected actions to foil your plans. Likewise, I feel that you can become a master at manipulation, planning, and deceit to really surprise your opponents in battle.

We had a situation where 1 player won a battle with 2 bushi and no money. I killed my warriors and then took a strong monster hostage from the player with the most force, allowing the other player to win. That's crazy, exciting, tense, and unpredictable.

You can negotiate and manipulate players in one battle to set yourself up for a desired outcome in another bottom. There are so many options and strategies, I just can't understand how this isn't viewed as exciting. I always worry that the game is being played wrong when I see things like this, but that certainly doesn't have to be the case. To each there own.

I think the game is highly innovative, as it mixes so many different elements (area control, negotiation, bluffing, economy, politics, combat etc.) and does so very elegantly. Once you play this game, it's very easy to remember how it plays. It's easy to play, but very difficult to win, and that is rarely done well in a game.

I'm glad to have read your review and thoughts, but felt like sharing some of my own.


Literally thought the same thing your saying above, this game the combat is crazy exciting so many things you can do to mess with peoples heads, and the really cool mechanic early on is loosing on purpose to get even more money for later battles in that round is just such a cool idea. I have no idea how a dice roll could simulate anymore excitement but to each there own. This seems like a typical "i played it once review and was lost so game sucks" which is exactly what happened with Bloodrage early reviews cause Rising Sun is a game THAT very much rewards multiple plays to see all of its hidden strategies.

And like Bloodrage will have combos that will seem overpowered but really are just one of hundreds of good combos that can win you the game.
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Randy Espinoza
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wesg92 wrote:
I think the game is highly innovative, as it mixes so many different elements (area control, negotiation, bluffing, economy, politics, combat etc.) and does so very elegantly. Once you play this game, it's very easy to remember how it plays. It's easy to play, but very difficult to win, and that is rarely done well in a game.
Huh..The real review is in the comments.
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Paul Bauman
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Espinoza wrote:
wesg92 wrote:
I think the game is highly innovative, as it mixes so many different elements (area control, negotiation, bluffing, economy, politics, combat etc.) and does so very elegantly. Once you play this game, it's very easy to remember how it plays. It's easy to play, but very difficult to win, and that is rarely done well in a game.
Huh..The real review is in the comments.


Ok, give me a break. You mean the review you agree with is in a comment...
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azza rein
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This is interesting. Given the rate at which new games enter the market, many board gamers would not have played older gems. Hence mashing together what old games do well, and slapping great production values on it, tends to work.

In some sense 'innovation' can be a misnomer in terms of a clear historic time progression. As a new gamer the question is should I play rising sun, or one of the older asian themed area control games -- not whether rising sun innovates relative to them.
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Casey Smith
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I used to play a ton of diplomacy, and I think that they went to great lengths to make sure you are not SOL if you are alone. As much as I enjoy Diplomacy, it’s a 60 year old game that could some polishing.
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Randy Espinoza
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Frohike wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
wesg92 wrote:
I think the game is highly innovative, as it mixes so many different elements (area control, negotiation, bluffing, economy, politics, combat etc.) and does so very elegantly. Once you play this game, it's very easy to remsember how it plays. It's easy to play, but very difficult to win, and that is rarely done well in a game.
Huh..The real review is in the comments.


Ok, give me a break. You mean the review you agree with is in a comment...
Not really. In my opinion, this single paragraph I quoted actually has arguments behind its claims, more than the original review which is mostly a list of “statements”: combat lacks excitement, no innovation, too much open information (what does this even mean?), etc, without much analysis or supporting arguments.

I think the original review is looking at this game with area-control tinted glasses (in a dudes-on-a-map-battling sense) while ignoring some very important features of the game, like its replay value, the role of special powers or the importance of the Kami phase (it’s not even mentioned!, which is weird given that the control of the shrines is pretty much pure area control).
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Yuda Kaizar
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itmo wrote:
If you have played a lot of area control games and specifically games like Shogun, Ikusa, Samurai Swords, Senji, you probably won't get much out of this.


What are the comparisons between all these games including Battle for Rokugan and Rising Sun? Since RS is my 1st Japan-themed area control game, I would love to know the differences Thank you
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Tilou
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Espinoza wrote:
Frohike wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
wesg92 wrote:
I think the game is highly innovative, as it mixes so many different elements (area control, negotiation, bluffing, economy, politics, combat etc.) and does so very elegantly. Once you play this game, it's very easy to remsember how it plays. It's easy to play, but very difficult to win, and that is rarely done well in a game.
Huh..The real review is in the comments.


Ok, give me a break. You mean the review you agree with is in a comment...
too much open information (what does this even mean?)


I asked this myself.

OP?
 
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Stan Sevcik
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, OP. More than anything it seems it's just not the kind of game you were expecting, more sneaky bluffing and negotiation than tactics. This fact does not surprise me at all as Eric said Rising Sun would be a spiritual successor to Diplomacy.

One thing I would disagree with though - I think that both Diplomacy and Rising Sun are strategic games, it's just a different kind of strategy than you might be used to. It goes less along the lines of positioning and material and more in the direction of alliances, betrayal and honor.
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Eric Matthews
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Ya the only thing that troubles me is that neither negotiation nor alliances are really even mention in the review, and that is the real core of the game. SO I just can't tell if the reviewer played with people who totally ignored the negotiation or if it was just left out of the review for some other reason.
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Mark Winfred Ang
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tilouboy wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
Frohike wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
wesg92 wrote:
I think the game is highly innovative, as it mixes so many different elements (area control, negotiation, bluffing, economy, politics, combat etc.) and does so very elegantly. Once you play this game, it's very easy to remsember how it plays. It's easy to play, but very difficult to win, and that is rarely done well in a game.
Huh..The real review is in the comments.


Ok, give me a break. You mean the review you agree with is in a comment...
too much open information (what does this even mean?)


I asked this myself.

OP?

I think he means the part where before battles take place, everyone shows how much coins and ronins they have. Finding out your opponents don't have coins or them finding out you're broke means battles tend to become less tense than when you don't know what exactly your opponent is hiding that could turn the tables.
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Luka Kovač Plavi
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You still don't know how much they will bid with, so I don't see a problem.
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Tilou
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blakraven66 wrote:

I think he means the part where before battles take place, everyone shows how much coins and ronins they have. Finding out your opponents don't have coins or them finding out you're broke means battles tend to become less tense than when you don't know what exactly your opponent is hiding that could turn the tables.


But the OP doesn't say tense, they say strategic. How can having more info make something less strategic?

Quote:
but there is way more open information in Rising Sun which I feel hurts the overall strategic game play
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Paul Bauman
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Espinoza wrote:
Frohike wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
wesg92 wrote:
I think the game is highly innovative, as it mixes so many different elements (area control, negotiation, bluffing, economy, politics, combat etc.) and does so very elegantly. Once you play this game, it's very easy to remsember how it plays. It's easy to play, but very difficult to win, and that is rarely done well in a game.
Huh..The real review is in the comments.


Ok, give me a break. You mean the review you agree with is in a comment...
Not really. In my opinion, this single paragraph I quoted actually has arguments behind its claims, more than the original review which is mostly a list of “statements”: combat lacks excitement, no innovation, too much open information (what does this even mean?), etc, without much analysis or supporting arguments.

I think the original review is looking at this game with area-control tinted glasses (in a dudes-on-a-map-battling sense) while ignoring some very important features of the game, like its replay value, the role of special powers or the importance of the Kami phase (it’s not even mentioned!, which is weird given that the control of the shrines is pretty much pure area control).


Not really. In my opinion he just disagreed that the combat lacked excitement and explained that he thought it was exciting. He enjoyed it. The OP explained that he didn't enjoy the game in the context of other games he enjoys. He was actually quite clear about this.

To barge in and delegitimize the original review with a snarky valuation of a couple of paragraphs of a retort is just... honestly rude, but also seemingly par for the course in almost any slightly negative review thread on this site.
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Casey Smith
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Frohike wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
Frohike wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
wesg92 wrote:
I think the game is highly innovative, as it mixes so many different elements (area control, negotiation, bluffing, economy, politics, combat etc.) and does so very elegantly. Once you play this game, it's very easy to remsember how it plays. It's easy to play, but very difficult to win, and that is rarely done well in a game.
Huh..The real review is in the comments.


Ok, give me a break. You mean the review you agree with is in a comment...
Not really. In my opinion, this single paragraph I quoted actually has arguments behind its claims, more than the original review which is mostly a list of “statements”: combat lacks excitement, no innovation, too much open information (what does this even mean?), etc, without much analysis or supporting arguments.

I think the original review is looking at this game with area-control tinted glasses (in a dudes-on-a-map-battling sense) while ignoring some very important features of the game, like its replay value, the role of special powers or the importance of the Kami phase (it’s not even mentioned!, which is weird given that the control of the shrines is pretty much pure area control).


Not really. In my opinion he just disagreed that the combat lacked excitement and explained that he thought it was exciting. He enjoyed it. The OP explained that he didn't enjoy the game in the context of other games he enjoys. He was actually quite clear about this.

To barge in and delegitimize the original review with a snarky valuation of a couple of paragraphs of a retort is just... honestly rude, but also seemingly par for the course in almost any slightly negative review thread on this site.


So many gamers fit the comic book guy from Simpsons sterotype... worst. game. ever.
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TJ H
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I wonder how many thumbs and GGs he could have earned if he wrote a review blindly praising components (with some pretty pictures) and innovative, exciting gameplay...

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Casey Smith
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xlist21 wrote:
I wonder how many thumbs and GGs he could have earned if he wrote a review blindly praising components (with some pretty pictures) and innovative, exciting gameplay...



People that obsessively hitting refresh on a forum about a certain product don’t usually do it cause they think the product is terrible.
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Sky Zero
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A game from CMON that focuses on minis and plays mostly the same to many other games...I'm shocked.
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Tuomas Mansikka
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Frohike wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
Frohike wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
wesg92 wrote:
I think the game is highly innovative, as it mixes so many different elements (area control, negotiation, bluffing, economy, politics, combat etc.) and does so very elegantly. Once you play this game, it's very easy to remsember how it plays. It's easy to play, but very difficult to win, and that is rarely done well in a game.
Huh..The real review is in the comments.


Ok, give me a break. You mean the review you agree with is in a comment...
Not really. In my opinion, this single paragraph I quoted actually has arguments behind its claims, more than the original review which is mostly a list of “statements”: combat lacks excitement, no innovation, too much open information (what does this even mean?), etc, without much analysis or supporting arguments.

I think the original review is looking at this game with area-control tinted glasses (in a dudes-on-a-map-battling sense) while ignoring some very important features of the game, like its replay value, the role of special powers or the importance of the Kami phase (it’s not even mentioned!, which is weird given that the control of the shrines is pretty much pure area control).


Not really. In my opinion he just disagreed that the combat lacked excitement and explained that he thought it was exciting. He enjoyed it. The OP explained that he didn't enjoy the game in the context of other games he enjoys. He was actually quite clear about this.

To barge in and delegitimize the original review with a snarky valuation of a couple of paragraphs of a retort is just... honestly rude, but also seemingly par for the course in almost any slightly negative review thread on this site.


I have to agree with Frohike. Doing a negative review about a hyped game seems to sometimes not be allowed. Especially if it's a big KS-hit; like Scythe, Blood Rage or Rising Sun.

I would sincerely hope that BGG can remain the place, where one can find also negative reviews of the sort which will take the effort to highlight also some positive aspects about the game, as was the case with OP's review.
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Charles Mesa
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I disagree with the "combat not being exciting". I found it to be quite enjoyable and found that battles can go in many ways. No monster so far has stood out as too strong as they all have counters or can be used to bait opponents. As for the too much open information i'm assuming you mean force, ronin, and coins being open info. I also gotta disagree on this as not having this info available simply gives an advantage to the player with better memory. Having all this information open puts all players on even footing especially when playing with more casual players.
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Dave Maynor
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Please post again after a few more plays. Appreciate reviews, even negative. But I think sometimes seeing if the opinion still stands after you gain more familiarity is really important.

I only ask because as I was teaching this game this weekend, i had one clear person who really didn't enjoy it. And a lot of his complaints where too much open info, so he felt combat was completely deterministic. Have more coins = win.

Now, his ally didn't think this. And his ally suffered form him not planning his war reparations, or calculating the order of battle resolution's and such. They suffered for it. But I am not sure if his dislike led to his disinterest in that portion of battle strategy or if his lack of battle strategy (just didn't 'get it') led to his dislike of combat. So I would be interested to see if your experience mirrored his overall.
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