Review: Sunrise City – a city, where the sun truly rises

Sunrise City - packaging

Maybe you did not know, but there is a place on Earth, where sun rises first. Only, when its rays tickle people through windows, it can go on its daily journey across the sky towards other capitals such as Moscow, Prague and Paris.

That said the city was chosen, because the gods live here. Over the years, there are already hundreds of thousands of them and all are ruled by a great lord. And such a divine city with the influx of sun needs houses of various types and functions. You got to heaven after death among other designers and your moving to was only a matter of time. Now you’re here and it’s time to show God, how to build a city! Believe it or not, he doesn’t know it!

Sunrise City game will put you at the head of one such construction. If its really happening somewhere in the sky, we can not be sure, because eventually you end up at the table. Its creator is named from . We previously presented a great sci-fi game Alien Frontiers (review) from these guys. This time everything takes place under the auspices of , publishers of Exile Sun (review) or Island Fortress (review). Color-rich graphics were added to the game by illustrators Chip Nixon and Chris Kirkman.

Sunrise City - game is ready

Box where Sunrise City is located, will surprise you, when you first pick it up. For its smaller dimensions it has a really respectable weight. Its whole stomach is almost completely filled with a pile of cardboard components, who will create game board by overlapping each other, a little scoring board ranging from number one to star symbol meaning ten.

The most important part for a game creates pack of sixty large double tiles of buildings. You can find a house with colored background drawn on each of them. The color determines its zone (residential, industrial, commercial) and are supported by trio of circled numbers – one bonus for each side and one main in the center.

Other pieces are smaller and represent multicolored zones, five community buildings and one city hall, where your building efforts begin. The game also includes sixteen roles cards, seventy wooden stars (yes!) and twenty floor tags.Other two types of components can be divided according to the color of players – it is a nice pile of wooden voting tokens and also one pawn for monitoring points on the star board.

Sunrise City - game in progress

At the beginning of the game, you lay a town hall in the middle of the table. Somewhere farther away you prepare shuffled piles of zones (with an added and mixed five community tiles) and also buildings. Next to it all, a scoring board will be located, with stars tokens laying near. Now, players choose their color, take all six voting tokens and figurine in the shape of miniature cap, which immediately goes into one of four skyscrapers on the scoring card. Each player also gets four role cards. He chooses only one and sends other three to his neighbor. Selection (draft) proceeds as long until each has player has three cards. The remainder will not be used in the game.

The entire game lasts only three rounds, each of them divided into four phases. First players draw four random pieces of zones and same amount of buildings tiles and put them in front of them. You will also have to use one of three your selected role cards for one particular round. Now, you choose who you want to be at your discretion, but try to select best suited role for actual round. In addition to special skills, each card has also a number in the upper part, that determines order for the remainder of the round. Each phase begins with the player, whose role shows the lowest number.

Also second phase will be played in the order specified by roles. As we said earlier, zones are of different types. In addition to each color, you can find also water or sidewalks on each of them. These places make basis for buildings, which will you build a little later and make the city grow to the sky. And that is also reason, why you have to pay attention to place them in the right position and combination according to buildings tiles, you received little while ago.

Sunrise City - game in progress

During the phase, players take turns in placing square zones until all off them are played. New pieces may be attached only to the neighborhood of other zones and at least one side of each tile must follow sidewalk to be accessible. Besides zone, you can receive also one of the five community building tiles. Then you must play it immediately and get a refund in the form of yet another zone. In the following rounds, building will be limited to one side of the town hall – first player choice.

Playing tokens is also your first chance to get some victory points. At a time, when you create/extend district by attaching tile (= area of more than one tile of the same color), you get immediately so many points, how many zones of the same type is adjacent to newly-installed piece. You mark your point in column on scoring board. Whenever you reach the top of the climb with a star, you take one star from the bank, fall down and to begin a climb again.

Connecting bridge between site preparation and construction of buildings itself constitutes a phase, where players use their six wooden chips to bid. Players gradually mark vacant zone with their chips, telling they would like to build there. More players can (and will) make offers on the same zone, creating a stack of chips. The only situation, when you can not add a token to a zone, is when it was previously locked – there are two tokens of the same color directly on top of each other. Winner of the bids for each zone is the token, that lays on the top! This will be the only one left in place, while all others are returned to their owners.

Sunrise City - game in progress

Based on winners of bidding phase, you can now finally begin construction. To do this, use elongated doubletiles with buildings, you have received at the beginning of the round. The only limit is the sky, so it is definitely not over by raising first floor. But that ground floor alone has limitations, because in addition to color zones (building can be built only on site with the same background), you must also pay attention to sidewalks. Tile can not be build across water. This condition applies only on first level and disappears as you reach higher floors.

And what do you get for the correct placement of the building? First of all, there are main points for a tile (printed in the middle). Bonus points are rewarded only, if you managed to occupy spot, where you have your bidding token. In addition you can provide earnings also for other players, when you build on their token.

Another floor can continue again only, if the two colors on the newly laid tile coincide with buildings in the floor directly below it. The exception to the rule is in purple versatile pieces, that counts as a joker in both directions, when placing them or placing on them. At higher levels, you can build any buildings, but both construction area shall be located on the same floor. You will be receiving only basic points, bonus can not be obtained here, because there is no bidden. This way designer encourages players to spread the city. Instead, you get points for floors and this profit increases with height.

Sunrise City - game in progress

Last way to get points is a neighborhood of community buildings. Once you add building of the same color to one of the eight fields around a community building (eg cathedral), you get points according to number of the same color buildings surrounding the municipal structure.

In case you are unable to place any of the remaining pieces, you must pass. Once everyone finishes building, round ends and another begins. At the end of the third round winner is the player with the most scoring stars, each marking ten victory points. In case of a draw, figure position on scoring track decides.

Sunrise City lets you build skyscrapers. It’s up to you, on which floor it all stops. The higher you build, the more points you get. But it’s not just about height. You must also correctly use bidding tokens in a place, where you can build and get handful of bonus points. And especially you must prepare fertile ground of color zones from the very beginning of the round, because this is only way, you’ll ever be able to construct some of your buildings.

Sunrise City - game in progress

Every phase of the game has a really high importance for players. Right at the beginning of the round, you have a good look at pieces you draw and plan all your moves. Placing zones and buildings is governed by rules you should keep in mind. Fortunately, these are very simple and quick to get used to, because they are completely logical and make sense.

So you can rest assured, Sunrise City is a simple game suitable even for beginners. It has no demanding rules, yet offers plenty of interesting ways to compete against each other.

Because you can easily get lost in counting floors during the game, manufacturers provided also indicators of the level for a better overview. On each even floor, you should put a floor marker to easily see, which level it is – one on the second floor, two on the fourth, three in the sixth. In addition to increasing clarity, you also get an idea of how many bonus points you get, if you build a new building there (same as number of level tokens).

Sunrise City - tiles

In two players, there is one interesting addition for a good gaming experience, we recommend using (as stated also in the rules). Players are still taking turns in placing bidding tokens, but they play two instead of one stone per turn. This provides a much more strategic options and also a chance to lock a zone immediately, which is great and can be used even in more player, if you like.

Sunrise City is nicely playable in all of the recommended numbers from minimum two to all four participating opponents. In none of those numbers, you can not complain about the lack of opportunities to place your tiles, because their number is directly proportional to amount of players. At the beginning of the round with multiple opponents, you have more choice, but everything will be just as busy in the end. The phases are moving quickly and players are involved almost at all times.

We totally forgot about the role cards in all this description. These allow players to further individualize their moves and improve their vision of future rounds. Your decision is guided by tiles, your are holding in hand. And roles are perfect way to get ahead, if you use them well.

Sunrise City - cards

For all the praise is yet to be attributed to superior craftsmanship, that begins by using non-traditional components. Whether star tokens alone for counting points or caps for marking floors, which are actually a bit of a bonus. But we should also speak on the thickness and quality of the pieces themselves, which are remarkable.

Sunrise City is well done game, where everything revolves around skyscrapers, floors and various types of buildings. It does not contained a clearly defined board and provides freedom instead. But you must also ensure in bidding phase to occupy advantageous scoring positions. But over everything the game retains simple rules and is just entertained for demanding players, families and beginners, who are entering into the world of board games .

DesignerIsaias Vallejo
ArtistChristopher Kirkman, Sarah "Chip" Nixon
PublisherClever Mojo Games, Game Salute
Year Published
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players
(29 voters)
Playing Time60
Mfg Suggested Ages10 and up
User Suggested Ages10 and up
(7 voters)
Language DependenceModerate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
(9 voters)
CategoryCity Building
MechanicAuction/Bidding, Layering, Open Drafting, Tile Placement, Variable Player Powers
ExpansionSunrise City: Bonus Roles and Buildings, Sunrise City: Nights!
FamilyCrowdfunding: Kickstarter, Crowdfunding: Spieleschmiede, Theme: Art style – Art Deco
Primary NameSunrise City

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Sunrise City – a city, where the sun truly rises
Final word
Sunrise City is an excellent family game with surprisingly easy rules. First, you have to prepare building land with zone tiles, connected with sidewalks and separated by fishponds. On these colored bases, buildings are places in second stage of the round. And they must match color of the ground and its therefore not entirely simple to find a proper spot for your construction. Players are fighting for these places using their auction tokens and only owner of the last one lying on the top can build and collect points there. Houses grow to breathtaking height, when you gain more points for floors. Thanks to this elevation, the whole game board starts to look amazing soon. Each player can influence his chance from a role of one specific citizen, whose players are dealt at the start of the game and chosen for each round. Match is quick and players alternate in phases, so they are basically not waiting for each other too long. Balanced experience is waiting in every player number game is designated for and you even do not have to fear longer game time, because whole building is over sooner, than one hour passes by. Sunrise City will tingle you on your retina with its beautiful looks starting by wooden start up to those incredibly thick building and zone tiles. So if you will not get startled with its price tag (its a toll for getting such high processing quality), then you should not resist its charms, because its an excellent building game.
Reader Rating0 Votes
excellent processing
roles for each round
buildings with more floors
auctions for building lands
interesting point awarding
family game with simple rules
great even in two
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