Rising Sun: First Play Review

An enormous package recently hit the doorstep at Storm’s Gate. Hidden within was a treasure from the East: the Rising Sun Kickstarter from Cool Mini or Not. With beautiful Japanese artwork by Adrian Smith, and game design from Eric Lang, it promised a great deal. Not only that, but this Kickstarter did the unthinkable and actually shipped early.

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In the Box

In terms of miniatures, there are 5 clans, each with their own unique sculpts and flavour. Each player gets 1 Daimyo (leader), 3 Shinto (like priests) and 6 Bushi (warriors). There’s also a host of monsters that can be bought during the game. Every sculpt is stunning. I’ve seen pictures which suggest the plastic can be bendy, but these arrived in good condition. It seems the British winter isn’t warm enough to damage them. The board, counters and cards are all high quality and easy to understand.

Gameplay

Your first game is a learning game.

Don’t take the first game too seriously; there’s a lot to learn and you’re going to make mistakes. Once you’ve got your head around the mechanics, you’ll be able to maximise the abilities of your clan and update your play style accordingly.

Essentially, you’re trying to conquer as much of the map as you can, gaining points and advantage from a variety of methods. Shinto beseech the gods for favour, Bushi fight beside their Daimyo, and monsters such as the river dragon lend their aid for a price. Cards might upgrade your Daimyo in battle or give other benefits such as regular point scoring or generating income. It’s handy to save some coin for the battle phase at the end of each turn because a strategic hostage-take or deploying a force of mercenary ronin can turn the tide.

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It’s quite a long game at 90 minutes to 2 hours but since everyone gets to act in each player’s turn, nobody is sat with nothing to do. Honour, alliances and betrayals keep the theme running so it’s far more than a bunch of game mechanics with a theme slapped on top.

Differing clan abilities and a wealth of random cards keep a good variety so it looks like the replay value will be quite high. Upcoming expansions further increase this, even adding a 6th player.

Should I Buy This Game?

It’s definitely a hit. There’s a hefty price tag (Element Games are currently offering preorders at £89.99) but the component quality is worth the price. In terms of gameplay, the chances are that this is not going to sit on the shelf gathering dust – it’s something you’ll likely go to time and again.

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