Sunrise Lane and Rondo are on a boat – Gus and Co

???? King Knizia strikes again! Sunrise Lane brilliantly modernizes the very abstract Rondo to make it a new, impactful game.

Sunrise Lane

⚠️ warning : In the interest of transparency with our community, we would like to point out that this article reflects our personal opinion on the game. We have not received any compensation from the game publisher. We have this I purchased and tested the game independently, without any commercial connection with its publisher. The reviews presented here represent our honest and unbiased analysis of the game based on our own experience.

In the crowded landscape of board game publishing, there are only a few authors who manage to establish themselves permanently through talent and inventiveness. Among these few big names, the German Reiner Knizia occupies a special place. Dubbed the “King of Family Games,” the catalog includes more than 700 titles with simple and effective mechanics and intuitive rules. Ingenious, Lost Cities, Blue Lagoon… so many fun little nuggets that will appeal to both experienced and novice players.

Reiner Knizia, the author of board games? You mean the gentleman who produces games like a German board game factory? Reiner Knizia, the man who designed more games than there are… grains of sand on the beach. Reiner Knizia, the author of board games, who has been developing them since the beginning of time and will probably continue to do so until the heat death of the universe. But let’s go back to one of his “new” titles, Sunrise Lane.

Some of you may know the predecessor of this newborn: a man named Rondo, laid in 2012 by the famous author Reiner Knizia. Remember, this abstract game of placing pieces on a board with a visual… shall we say, not very appealing (translation: ugly). Certainly a promising concept, but compromised by perfect ergonomics that significantly limited its appeal.


Sunrise Lane trayAfter

Respect for the playful DNA, targeted improvements

There, a brave publisher, Horrible Guild, decided to take the Rondo bull by the horns and bring out the Sunrise Lane butterfly! And what a metamorphosis: the profound gameplay is retained, the aesthetic defects are eliminated. The perfect game? Not quite, but almost!

Except that now, and this is the subtlety, each player has their own constructions in a unique color. No more passive placement of anonymous tiles! Here we are masters of our little kingdom.

Let’s start with the obvious: the real estate development theme brilliantly replaces the boring tiles of yesterday. Colorful material, figures that clatter happily when stacked… Even those most resistant to the wonderful world of board games will be forced to recognize the beast’s charm!

From now on, the board is divided into districts with different majority rules. Some prefer vertical construction while others reward horizontal employment. Points are also awarded for the longest chain of buildings.

At the end of the round, each player can target the districts and objectives that best suit their overall strategy, rather than just optimizing their immediate profits. However, we will regret the lack of an auction mechanism or resources to give substance to the issue of real estate development. Still, the main goal was to add real tactical depth to the original system without adding complexity to its accessibility. On this point the bet paid off. But we still remain in a game with a very… copy and paste theme.

Neat presentation, high-end equipment

If the remake of Sunrise Lane shines above all by refining its gameplay with its only two possible actions (drawing, placing), we should not neglect its undeniable aesthetic and material qualities. Where Rondo suffered from a dull and cold appearance, Sunrise Lane features a colorful and warm artistic direction, with a city-building theme that will likely appeal to a wide audience.

Note that the material shows attention to detail. The small buildings made of solid plastic stack up contentedly. The satin touch cards glide comfortably through your fingers. Particularly noteworthy is the box, which is much more compact than its predecessor and can be conveniently stored on the shelf. In short, good mid-range at a reasonable price.

But be careful when talking about (beautiful) cards: unfortunately, due to the thick paper used in their (Chinese) production, they tend to fold. We have to be vigilant.

Sunrise Lane and Rondo are on a boat Gus

1703574629 705 Sunrise Lane and Rondo are on a boat Gus

Sunrise Lane, verdict

Or: conviviality and finesse: the trademark of Knizia.

Playing a game of Sunrise Lane is like putting on a good old comfy hand-knit sweater (see our Winter Personality Test released this Sunday 24th). It’s the season. The plastic pieces in the palm, the silky rustle of the deck, the placement of the buildings with a light, satisfying click as they stack… it all adds up to a regressive and enveloping experience, a far cry from the flashy stuff of big Kickstarter productions.

As far as the rules go, you can get started right away. The only possible actions are drawing two cards or playing a card to build. The goal ? Optimize your immediate investments and anticipate the final majorities. Simple and effective… only in appearance!

Because behind his good-natured exterior there are countless tactical possibilities. Where do you have to play now to score the most points? Because yes, you have to plan for the long term! Aim for big results immediately or expect final majorities? This is THE question that will be on your mind during the game. Don’t forget the points for the longest chain of buildings! Simple gameplay at first glance, but terribly sneaky in action. The Knizia paw in all its glory!

Hardware tray from Sunrise Lane

Ultimately, Sunrise Lane bears this signature that is so characteristic of Reiner Knizia’s best creations. Behind a supposed sociability and a claimed accessibility lies a subtle strategic depth. The game will appeal to both casual players looking for a smooth and easy game, as well as experienced competitors looking for a challenge.

I appreciate the fluidity and liveliness of the gameplay. Nothing complex, but tactical enough to keep you engaged and tense until the end. And with the spatial dimension of the board, it also represents a pleasant change from the abstract classics.

The improvements made since Rondo are relevant, especially the addition of a game-end countdown, which opens up more possibilities. The icing on the skyscraper is that the construction is neat.

In short, Sunrise Lane is flawless for me. I highly recommend it to fans of abstract games! And to everyone who is looking for a game that is simple, exciting and elegant.

A small, fluid, familiar gem of a game that can be played in a few intense minutes and unfolds a beautiful level of playful richness. And if you are an avid connoisseur of Rail Adventurers, you will certainly notice some similarities that are quite acceptable: cards played to lay rails, buildings and connections.

So no, let’s be honest, Sunrise Lane certainly isn’t incredible, but it’s still a very good title. Something to keep young and old busy during the holidays. An excellent reinvention of its 2012 predecessor.

Very good !


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sunrise Lane and Rondo are on a boat Gus

  • creation : Reiner Knizia
  • Illustrations : Francesco De Benedittis
  • editing : Horrible Games (Gigamic for the French version)
  • number of players and players : 2 to 4 (runs well in all configurations. More control at 2, more tension at 4).
  • Recommended age : Ages 8 and up (good estimate)
  • Length of time : 30 to 45 minutes
  • Theme : City
  • Main mechanics : maps, construction. To learn more about the different game mechanics, click here.

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Article written by Loic. Originally from Brittany, Loïc was recently exiled to Switzerland (particularly because of his chocolate). lives and breathes board games. He is always ready to pull out cards and boards to have fun and share his boundless passion. As a real gamer, his motto is: “A little game between two bus stops? “.

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