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Draft-and-Draw the Happiest ‘Sunflower Valley’

Sunflower Valley cover
Studying Time: 7 minutes

Sunflower Valley cover

Create the friendliest village in Sunflower Valley crammed with homes, sheep, sunflowers, and railroad tracks.

What Is Sunflower Valley?

Sunflower Valley is a roll-and-write (or, actually, a draft-and-draw) recreation for two to five gamers, ages Eight and up, and takes about 45–60 minutes to play. It was launched at Essen this yr by Interest World, and is predicted to reach in the US someday in December via Extremely Professional with a retail worth of $30—CoolStuffInc has it out there for preorder now. The sport is family-friendly, with nothing inappropriate for teenagers; the guidelines are easy however there’s a considerably tough rule about connecting sheep and homes that could be slightly complicated for some gamers.

(There was a previous model of Sunflower Valley revealed in 2017 by Absolutely Analog, although it seems to be bought out.)

Sunflower Valley componentsSunflower Valley elements. (Pre-production copy proven) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

Sunflower Valley Elements

Observe that my photographs are of a pre-production copy and last element high quality differs barely—particularly, the completed cube are engraved as an alternative of simply stickered. My prototype additionally didn’t embrace a primary participant token, however that was simply substituted. The ultimate model can be a picket locomotive meeple.

Right here’s what’s included:

  • Cube board
  • 20 double-sided participant sheets
  • 5 dry-erase markers
  • 6 cube
  • First Participant token

Sunflower Valley different player sheetsThe totally different participant sheet choices permit for quite a lot of layouts. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

The participant sheets are all shiny cardstock, so you’ll be able to draw on them with the included markers after which erase them. I really like this concept for roll-and-write video games, which usually embrace paper sheets (typically with tiny golf pencils) as a result of it’s quite a bit much less waste. Not solely that, however having reusable sheets signifies that Sunflower Valley can embrace Eight totally different boards to play with: every sheet is double-sided with two totally different boards, and there are 5 copies of every model. This gives a number of layouts to play with.

Sunflower Valley diceCute homes, completely satisfied sunflowers, and cuddly sheep! (Completed cube are engraved as an alternative of stickered.) Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

All the things about the recreation is fairly cute. The cube faces depict homes, sunflowers, sheep, and railroad tracks, they usually’re cute little doodles. The boards are colourful hexes with some mountain areas and sunflowers in the borders. One good contact is that the sheets have small icons in every of the coloured hexes to assist colour blind gamers distinguish them (and match them up with the 5 cube areas on the cube board), although they’re fairly tiny on the participant sheets.

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Sunflower Valley is GeekDad Accepted!

Easy methods to Play Sunflower Valley

You’ll be able to obtain a replica of the rulebook right here.

The Objective

The aim of the recreation is to attain the most factors by intelligent placement of your doodles in your participant sheet.

Sunflower Valley starting setupMy beginning home, based on the setup sheet. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu


Give every participant a marker and a participant sheet, ensuring everybody has the similar letter. On the again of the cube board, there’s a beginning homes diagram. Seek advice from the village illustration on the backside proper part of their board, search for the matching village icon on the setup diagram, and draw a home in that hex in your participant sheet. Additionally, verify off two villagers at the prime left of your participant sheet—each home consists of two villagers.

Then, flip the cube board again over to its entrance aspect. Select a beginning participant, and provides them the cube and the first participant token.

Sunflower Valley game in progressGamers decide cube and place them onto the cube board. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu


Throughout every spherical, the present beginning participant will roll the cube, after which, in flip order, gamers will take turns drafting cube and drawing symbols on their sheets.

When it’s your flip, select one among the obtainable cube, and place it onto an out there coloured area on the cube board. You need to then draw that image in a free area of the matching shade. For example, for those who take a sheep die and place it on the pink sq. on the cube board, then you definitely draw a sheep in a pink hex in your participant sheet.

The six faces of the cube are: home, tremendous sunflower, sunflower, sheep, straight practice monitor, curved practice monitor.

Sunflower Valley player sheetFilling my sheet with comfortable sunflowers! Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

In the event you draw a home, you additionally examine off two villagers at the prime left; an excellent sunflower (depicted with a small individual) will get you one villager. Straight tracks should go straight throughout the hex; curved tracks bend in order that they skip over one hex aspect and hook up with the different—no hairpin bends right here!

In the event you’re pressured to decide on a colour that you simply’ve already crammed in your sheet, you continue to place the die there, however as an alternative, you draw a daily sunflower anyplace in your sheet, in any colour.

The spherical continues till all 5 coloured areas on the die board have been taken; then the cube and the beginning participant token are handed to the subsequent participant clockwise, and the course of repeats.

Recreation Finish

The sport ends when all of the areas on the sheets are crammed.

The scoring chart is alongside the backside of the sheets.

Sunflower Valley completed sheetMy accomplished sheet—not a nasty Valley Categorical! Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

1. You get three factors for each home that has a sheep related to it. That is maybe the most intricate of the guidelines, however right here’s the gist:

  • Every sheep can solely be hooked up to at least one home
  • Sheep could be hooked up to an adjoining home
  • Any sheep in a flock (a contiguous group) may be hooked up to any home in an adjoining settlement (a contiguous group)
  • A sheep adjoining to a home can experience alongside an hooked up railroad to a different home, assuming the railroads hook up with the homes (and may also move by means of the home to get onto one other railroad monitor, and so forth.)
  • Sheep can’t get onto railroad tracks with out passing via a home

2. For each home that does not have a sheep related, you lose 5 factors.

three. For every colour, the participant with the most sunflowers in that shade will get three factors. If there’s a tie for many, no one will get the bonus.

four. Every mountain is value 1 level per adjoining sunflower. (The identical sunflower may be counted twice whether it is adjoining to 2 mountains.)

5. The participant with the most villagers will get 5 factors; second most will get three factors. Ties go to the participant with the most homes, then the most sunflowers. If there’s nonetheless a tie, no one will get the factors.

6. The Valley Categorical bonus (proven at the backside of the cube board) provides you factors for chains of homes/settlements which are related by at the very least 2 railroad tracks between them.

Add up your rating—highest complete wins, with ties going to the participant with the most homes, then the most sunflowers, then the most villagers.

Why You Ought to Play Sunflower Valley

I really feel like the reputation of roll-and-write video games has simply been steadily growing these days, at the least amongst the board recreation group I comply with on Twitter. Welcome To… was an enormous hit (and a little bit of a variation as a result of it used playing cards), however there are a number of different titles which were popping up. Sunflower Valley provides a few its personal enjoyable twists to the style, so I’m calling it a “draft-and-draw.”

In lots of of those video games, all of the gamers work off the similar set of cube (or playing cards)—any person rolls, however everybody will get to decide on concurrently and there may be overlap in the decisions. In Sunflower Valley, you draft from the pool of cube, so flip order issues quite a bit, and it additionally permits for some hate-drafting, when you like that type of factor. For example, when you’re paying consideration and also you discover that the participant to your left actually wants a curved practice monitor in blue, you possibly can take the final curved monitor or take something in any respect and place it in blue simply to stymy them for a spherical. (Simply keep in mind that since the first participant passes each spherical, they’ll get their probability at payback.)

And, in fact, there’s the drawing. If drawing joyful sunflowers and little sheep on a hex board doesn’t attraction to you, I assume I simply can’t provide help to. You don’t have to have the ability to draw nicely—so long as you’ll be able to distinguish your sheep out of your homes out of your flowers, you’re superb. Nevertheless it is numerous enjoyable to embellish your participant sheet, and when you’re a compulsive doodler then Sunflower Valley provides you a variety of alternatives to do exactly that. I’ve had some youngsters determine that every part was going to be cats as an alternative of sheep, or gamers who made all their homes actually fancy, and I’ve had gamers who simply wrote “S” for sunflowers and left it at that.

Sunflower Valley finished sheetThese sunflowers obtained just a little overexcited. Photograph: Jonathan H. Liu

When it comes to technique, it’s a bit about enjoying the odds and a bit about your capability to map issues out. The 2 issues that you must look ahead to particularly are getting sheep to your homes and spacing out the homes and practice tracks for the Valley Categorical. You don’t need homes with only one monitor between them, as a result of that doesn’t get you any factors and simply wasted an area. And also you undoubtedly don’t need homes that haven’t any sheep related, as a result of then you definitely’re dropping 5 factors—getting the most villagers solely zeroes out one home. In fact, in most video games I’ve performed, sheep are briefly provide. I really feel like we get sheep lower than as soon as per roll (although in fact they need to be about one per roll, statistically), so often, it’s the first participant who will get a sheep if any present up. We’ve even had gamers handle to take additional sheep even once they had sufficient; sheep aren’t value any factors in themselves, however should you can deny sheep to an opponent who has too many homes, that’s successfully an Eight-point distinction.

The opposite elements—putting sunflowers subsequent to mountains, and making an attempt to have extra sunflowers than different gamers in every shade—are somewhat simpler to understand, although it’s arduous to win on these alone. It may be a technique to attempt to refill some colours as shortly as potential, although, as a result of then any time you select that shade, you get to only draw a sunflower anyplace (probably filling up yet one more shade, and so forth). It does imply chances are you’ll not get as many homes and tracks, however at the least sunflowers are by no means unfavorable. (Plus, they’re fairly!)

I do want the sheep-connection guidelines have been a bit simpler to elucidate, as a result of that’s all the time the longest a part of the guidelines rationalization, and typically it takes gamers one playthrough to actually perceive what’s happening there. I additionally assume the recreation might use a bit of extra clarification on a few of the guidelines—like what occurs in case you have a house-track-house-track-house? Does that qualify you for the Valley Categorical bonus for simply two homes, since the first and final home are separated by at the very least 2 tracks? Or in the tie-breakers for many villagers, if the first and second place tie all the approach down and get zero factors, does that imply the third participant with even fewer villagers truly wins and scores the factors? We ended up simply house-ruling these questions, however it might be good to have this stuff said up entrance earlier than you start enjoying so everyone seems to be agreed.

Regardless of these questions, I’ve actually loved enjoying Sunflower Valley and have taught it to loads of totally different gamers. I really like the drawing facet, and I like the dice-drafting as a result of it provides you extra participant interplay than some roll-and-writes the place you’re primarily enjoying solitaire after which evaluating scores at the finish. Right here, you’ve gotten an incentive to observe what different individuals are doing: did anyone simply get extra villagers than you? Has anybody outpaced you in sunflowers in the blue zone? What number of sheep does that participant want for his or her homes?

Whether or not you’re a long-time fan of roll-and-write video games otherwise you’ve by no means performed one earlier than, Sunflower Valley is usually a pleasant (and delightfully cutthroat) recreation that’s as cute as you need to make it. Search for it in shops in December (should you weren’t fortunate sufficient to snag a replica from Essen)!

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Disclosure: GeekDad acquired a pre-production copy of this recreation for assessment functions.

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