Sunrise City, by Isaias Vallejo, is a new release for 2012 from Clever Mojo Games, and was being run at Gen Con 2012 by the wonderful gang from Game Salute. It is game of city development where players combine their efforts to build a common city, but are also competing to gain the most points. At its core Sunrise City is a tile laying game with similarities to both Carcassonne and Alhambra, but it rises above both of those games literally and figuratively! I say figuratively because, in my opinion it is a better game than either, taking many of their strengths and removing most of their weaknesses. While it still retains the random tile drawing element of those games it mitigates the luck somewhat through drawing multiple tiles at once. I say literally because the game builds both horizontally and vertically allowing players to build glorious cardboard highrises into the heavens!
Players also draft city “officials” like the Mayor, Crime Boss, and Banker to determine turn order and what special ability each player will gain for the turn, Players place zoning and community tiles that will lay the foundation for the construction of buildings and the progress of the city. They then engage in a unique bidding system to acquire sites for their buildings later in the round. When the construction begins players must either build in areas in which they control some of the lots or add a level to an existing building that matches the color coding. All of these actions earn players points on a scoreboard that ranges from one to ten. The ten is indicated by a star, known as a benchmark. Players passing this mark gain one star towards their score while players landing exactly on it earn two stars. Given that each star is worth ten points, the key to winning is preventing your opponents from landing on the star while doing so yourself. This leads to some interesting decisions between what is possible now, and what may be possible on your next turn or turns. While all players are trying to accomplish the same goal, it is the manner in which they do so that adds the flavor to Sunrise City.
Lets get right to it. I rate Sunrise City a solid 8.0 out of a possible 10. I and everyone that I have played this game with have enjoyed it immensely! My wife rates it even higher than I do at an impressive 8.5. Hint, hint fellas, at least one gamer wife approves! Honestly, I would rate it even higher, but I prefer my strategy games a little heavier. I would say that it qualifies as a light-medium weight game that will satisfy casual and hardcore gamers alike. The rules are relatively easy to grasp and once you are comfortable with them, the game can be taught to a new player with little difficulty. It plays fast, at about a half an hour play time in a two player game and lengthening to approximately an hour with four. I enjoy the different types of decisions that you are faced with throughout a game of Sunrise City. There are times that the correct play is to not score a district in zoning when the opportunity is there as it will cause you to miss the benchmark during the construction phase. I am a sucker for any game with a drafting mechanic and as such drafting the different professions at the start of the game is one of my favorite parts. I like the sparring between players that occurs during the bidding phase as you scramble for available space, as well as speculate on locations where others may build in an attempt to gain some of their bonus points. I enjoy the complex puzzle of the construction phase as one tries to choose a building order that gives the most chances to land directly on the benchmark and receive the bonus points. Lastly, I just plain enjoy the building the city and seeing how it turns out at the end of the game. All of these elements combine into a wonderfully dynamic game that provides a challenging and entertaining gaming experience
I highly recommend Sunrise City as a light, fun and replayable option for your gaming group, but even more so as a great game for the whole family! I am looking forward to spending some quality time in Sunrise City for years to come.
If you are interested in Sunrise City check out the link!