Title: Sunrise at the Studio
Designed By: Eduardo Baraf, and Steve Finn
Art By: Laura Bevon
Published By: Pencil First Games
Player Count: 1-4
Time to Play: 20 Minutes
Let me introduce you to the second game of today's Pencil First Game's crowd-funding launch, Sunrise at the Studio, a delightful, small box, card drafting game where the art of pottery takes center stage. Designed for 1-4 players, this gem combines the joy of arts and crafts with strategic gameplay. It's easy to learn, and quick to play. Plus, the compact box makes it ideal for on-the-go gaming, whether you're at a café or a friend's place. Here is it compared with a large cat for scale.
What's purr-ty cool:
Mechanics and player interactions:
A game of Sunrise at the Studio spans three days, each with three rounds. Players start a round by drawing four cards, then take an action they haven’t used that day. There are only three action choices so each one is used one time per day. These actions involve keeping, passing, or discarding resource cards. Since each action is a one-shot deal per day, players must carefully strategize their moves and determine which cards they want to keep, or which cards they absolutely do not want to give to their opponents. I like that because players can pick a different action than other players, every round players have a different number of cards available to them based on their actions and the actions of others. This means that in some rounds one player may have more or less actions available to them than other players. In the end, everyone does get an even amount of cards by the end of the day, but the spacing out of when they get them during the day is neat. It allows you to try and complete projects faster or slower in order to score objectives.
One of the game's high points is the advantage cards. When completing a pottery project, players can select bonuses like starting new projects or earning unique advantages. These advantages include special projects, coffee beans, or extra point-earning opportunities at the game's end. This aspect is particularly appealing as it encourages players to pursue personal goals rather than just opting for the highest-scoring pieces. You also have to time your advantages well. Sometimes it's worth it to draft big new project pieces, but sometimes, it's good to get advantages early so you know what kinds of pottery pieces you might want to try and create during the game to score bonus points. The special pieces you can make from advantage cards also offer higher point values for less required components, which is always a plus!
One small thing:
One little thing that I loved that I want to point out just because it's cool is that the player mats are double-sided. One side has reminders on it for how to convert resources, and what to do when you finish a project. The other side just has the action spaces and the art. It's nice that after you learn the game you can flip the board to the side without all the extra graphics and just enjoy the pretty image.
A fresh, new theme:
Besides being into board games, I also love all things arts and crafts. It's exciting for me to see a game dive into the world of pottery. "Sunrise at the Studio" fills a unique niche in the board gaming realm, allowing players to explore pottery-making through various clays, glazes, and firing techniques. I hope to see more crafty games come out in this line of games in the future.
The cat's meow:
"Even this kind of pottery is not safe from my cat-self. One or two pieces definitely got knocked off the table while Jacqueline played. I'm not sorry about it." - Solo the Spokescat
Disclosure: Pudgy Cat Games was provided a copy of this game in exchange for a review, however, this review reflects the honest thoughts of the author.