Player count for this play was : 5
Game took approximately 2 hours to learn and play
This was a demo copy but had finalized components for the majority of the game
Due to this being an early demo copy, I can not say if these are all finalized components, but what we played with was impressive. The board is very colorful and beautiful with art around the islands. Each area on the map had a decent amount of space for each unit, but it did get very cramped when 4 factions were in the same zone. This was also due to the large monster figures that were very impressive to look at. As someone who recently got into miniature painting, the figures are more detailed than Blood Rage, but around the same size. I most look forward to painting the giant monsters as they are just so impressive to look at. Besides the miniatures and the board, Rising Sun continues to impress. Each player will get a faction screen to hide money during battle. The screen provides explains the faction power on the outside to the other players and inside the screen it provides all the info needed to play the game. We used the plastic coins that are coming with the game and they were very heavy for plastic. Players had a half of a Ying Yang token that is used to show who you have an alliance with. Overall I was very impressed that CMON was able to step up the components past Blood Rage levels.
I am writing this preview off of memory of the game rules. Please understand that I may have missed something or may have remembered something wrong.
The goal in Rising sun is to have the most victory points (authority) after 1 year. Each season will consist of tea time, action selections, and then battles for territory will take place and you will have a scoring phase. The first thing all players will do is a tea time or an alliance making session. Basically this is free for all, any negotiations can be made to make alliances. Each player can only make one alliance per year. There are benefits to having an alliance and to go it alone. Players will get income based on what is said on their faction screen. Players will place a temple and a basic unit to start the game. After the tea session, the action selection part of the game begins.
During action selection, players will take turns picking an action card that all players will perform. There are 5 actions that can be taken. You can take the recruit action to bring a new figure per temple onto the board. If you or your alliance member picked this action, you get to take a second recruit action. You can only place units where you have a temple. The Turtle Clan is special because their temples act like units and can move on the board. During the Recruit action, a player can place a Shinto in one of the 4 Kami locations. If you have the most in a Kami location, you will get the benefit from that Kami in between seasons A player can take the betray action, this causes them to break up the alliance and replace the former alliance member unit with one of your own. The unit replacing the other unit must be the same type of unit. (Basic, Daimyo (leader), Shinto (priest), and monster) If you are not in an alliance, you get to choose which units you want to replace from any faction. Players can move a unit by taking the Marshall action. If you are in an alliance, you get to move an additional unit. Players can earn extra income by taking Harvest action. If you are in an alliance, you get to a bonus for areas that you currently have control over. This can be extra coins and/or victory points. The final action you can take is to Train. During this action, players will have access to a market of skills and monsters that they can purchase. Each player starting with the player who selected the action gets to choose 1 to purchase and pay the cost. If you are in an alliance you, get a discount on the card you purchase. If you purchase a monster (I did many times), you will immediately place them on the board. I was the Dragonfly Clan and my power basically gave all my guys wings and they could go anywhere on the board and be summoned to any space on the board. Each clan power was very over powered, but that also made them very balanced. Everyone at some point during the game wished they had someone's power. There are 7 spaces that will be filled one at a time by action role cards. During a player's turn, they will get 2 cards to select a role from. They will place the card selected and everyone will perform that action before the next player picks the next action. 3 times during the action selection phase, player's will check who has majority in the Kami areas and receive those bonuses.
After all the bids have been decided, each faction will total up their strength for the area. (units + skills) The player with the most strength wins and the losers remove their units from the field. After all the areas have been resolved, victory points will be assigned to those who control the areas. Only some of the areas will earn victory points for the round. Before each round tokens representing each area will be placed on the area point track to see what area and how much you will receive. Once the 3 seasons (rounds) have been completed, players will total up final scores and the person with the most points wins the game.
So I went into the game with some hype because I have loved Eric Lang's previous games and I am a huge fan of the feudal Japan theme. Rising Sun met my expectations and surpassed them. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this as much as Blood Rage, but I think I enjoy it more. Blood Rage is a fast paced kill spree, while Rising Sun is methodical and fluid in it's feel. The action selection phase feels like Puerto Rico and the battle phase feels like Cry Havoc. Basically my favorite part of each game rolled into Rising Sun. We all knew the minis would be nice, but the level of detail has improved a lot. The alliances only last a round each time so it is not huge issue of who you pick, but it will definitely help swing things your way with a good alliance. Players are rewarded for trying to control as many different areas as possible during the game. This prevents someone from just setting up defenses in one area the whole game. Each clan felt very different in how they play without players having to learn specific game rules for each clan. I got very distracted by all the huge monster and tried to get them all during training. This resulted in me having few coins left for the actual battle and failing pretty hard. Even with my defeat, I had a great time playing and feel this game provides enough variety that I would not get bored of it soon. Sadly, I have to wait along with everyone else to get my copy when the kickstarter is delivered. Inside the box was a good insert that held all the retail miniatures. I think once everyone knows how to play, a game will take about an hour and a half including set up. This will get compared a lot to Blood Rage, but I feel each game has their own place in a collection. Which game a person will prefer is based on their style and flavor. I think I already prefer Rising Sun over Blood Rage as I enjoy the battle system and action selections. I am giving this game an early 2 thumbs up and will be a strong contender for game of the year for whatever year it is released in.