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Subject: Play Test Report: 07/24/2011 rss

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We played a nice game of Sunrise City with 4 players yesterday at the Clever Mojo Games Play Test Event. We used the -1 Community Zones and the new Role Cards from the "Metropolis" expansion, but did not use the City Edge building tiles.

There were some unanticipated community zone placements where the +1 and -1 for the same zone-type were adjacent to each other. This lead to some interesting point manipulations. For example, a mixed use block building was placed so that half of it earned the +1 and -1 and the other half only earned the -1, allowing the building tile to score only 1 point. That's the first time that's happened and it was perfect to score a benchmark star on the score board. The -1 industrial community zone was also use to lower a player's earned points and score another benchmark star. Everyone felt that the combination of +1 and -1 community zones added a nice new depth to the game.

We also used the building caps as you two and I did at your last play test to indicate that the next floor was a bonus floor, but half-way through we began placing a number of caps on the building to indicate how many bonus points the next floor would earn. This worked out VERY well but we'll need to add a few more caps to the game as we ran out of them at one point. Again, everyone felt this was an improvement that made point counting much easier.

The new bidding system also got a big thumbs up. Players felt it gave the higher turn-order players an edge since they could cap almost any bid already on the board, but this was balanced by the fact that the earlier turn-order players would actually build first and might mess up the plans of the higher turn-order players to build on the zones they won.

Though all had played earlier versions of Sunrise City, two of the players had not used the new scoring system before. Both thought that it was a BIG improvement and a system that they had not seen before. Again, big thumbs up.

As has become typical, the ending scores were tight at 14, 13, 12, and 11. The winner was in third place going into the third round but some very nice plays with the two parks and rec blocks scored him benchmark stars twice in a row and he popped into the lead. I like it a lot when a player can use good plays to come from behind to win.

We needed one more building tile (because the Socialite chose to become an Architect (draw 2 buildings/keep one)) and one more zone tile (must have miscounted the extra zones needed to draw after placing al those community zones), so we'll need to add those to the production list.

Had a really interesting role card combo in round one. I chose the Zoning Commissioner (score double district points) and another player chose the County Supervisor (score equal district points when another player scores district points) so that other player's role benefited double whenever I used my own role bonus. He liked that a lot.

The game took a little longer than I had expected, coming it at 2 hours, but we did have a bit of table chat and design banter. I suspect 90 minutes or less will be the typical play-time for the final product with expansion. I love the way the game system grows organically to mimic city growth, with sky scrapers rising in the middle and neighborhoods cropping up on the edges.

Overall, this was the best game of Sunrise City yet. Very enjoyable!

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David Short
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Tucson
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I'm intrigued by Sunrise City. Looks like it has a lot of potential.

I have a question though. Your session report ends with a statement about the length of the game. You mention it played in like 2 hours, but that you are confident it will get down to 90 minutes. However, the BGG "Playing Time" now lists it as 45 minutes. Is this correct? If so, how'd you cut that much time in the few months since this session report?
 
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