Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Sunflower Valley


Wouter van Strien

Hobby World

No. of Players:




G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Imagine you were in a place of unspoilt landscape, only lush meadows, deep-blue lakes and some spectacular mountains. What would you do? Would you just wander around, or would you settle down and perhaps marry? And then? Build a house, raise sheep? And your offspring? Would he or she still be content in the loneliness. And how would you travel?

Well, most of you will confess, that the human race would try to cultivate the land, build more and more houses, farm the animals and build up a street or railway system to travel from one space to another. That's our destiny and also the story of Sunflower Valley from the Russian publisher HOBBY WORLD.

In the game, every player starts with a player sheet of the same unspoilt landscape, divided into five different coloured areas with 5 hexagonal spaces each. The landscape is intersected by five mountains that cannot be cultivated, but the rest of the landscape waits for us to be discovered.

Every player is equipped with a pencil marker to draw houses, railroads, sunflowers, and sheep onto her or his player board. But of course you are not free to do so. In the beginning of each round, six dice are rolled to create a dice reserve. Then, one by one, the players choose one of these dice and claim a colour by placing the die on a still free space of the general playing board. This general board only serves us to memorize which colours have already be chosen in the round. As there is only one free space for every colour, a round has always five turns with one die left unchosen.

Of course, what you may draw is determined by the die, and you are only allowed to draw this same symbol on a free hex of the same colour the die was assigned to. At the beginning of the game you have enough choices, but soon after you will have to plan ahead, because the dice might not show the symbols you were looking for, or another player has already chosen a colour you wanted to pick...

That might be all the same to you, if there were not the final scoring at the end of the game. For then, it is important where you have drawn all those symbols, which ones are connected to others, and how many sunflowers you have next to mountains and in each coloured area respectively. Basically, it is a good idea to have many houses, but they must be provided with sheep. For this sheep and houses must be next to another or be connected through the railway system. And this railway system has another important function, as there is a scoring for long valley expresses with houses connected to each other with at least two railroads between the houses. Last but not least, there is a scoring for the sunflowers, one of them competitive.

In my opinion, Sunflower Valley is a lovely family-friendly world-building game. The symbols you have to draw invite to be creative. As I am not the up-and-coming illustrator star, I must confess that my own sheep are sometimes hard to distinguish from my sunflowers. But always, in the end, a lovely landscape arose. This is fun for the hell of it for young and old likewise. At the moment there are quite a lot of creative pen-and-paper games out there, but Sunflower Valley is probably the best of these games to play with smaller children.

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Copyright © 2018 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany