If, like me, playing games is something the family share and something that brings everyone together (bar the occasional competitive outburst) then you are always on the lookout for something new. We tried Sunny Day at the Games Expo because it looked friendly and the table was free. Five games in we were still playing and wondered if we should let someone else have a go! We did in the end leave the table – however, we came back again the next day when games fatigue had kicked in and we needed something straightforward.
Sunny Day is by Manu Palau (who specialises in educational games) and is published by Ludicorn. Ludicorn’s aim is to make games for the whole family to enjoy and it fits the bill in this respect. It is a quick filler game and can literally brighten up your day. It is a very simple game to pick up and play.
The aim of the game is to make pictures, collect tiles and score points. The game has a dual mechanism, which we quite like, and you have to make pictures to get tiles. Then, you put those tiles in your personal area and use them to make more pictures.
To set-up the game you first of all make a board of tiles 5x6. This is done by shuffling the tiles and placing them randomly. Leftover tiles are placed in a stack face-down. This is your drawing pile. You then deal each player two tiles which they keep hidden in there hand.
You then choose one of these hand tiles to place on the board and match up with one of the types of picture - windmills, ice cream, umbrellas, sun, clouds and clover. Depending how many pictures you match up, you then take up the corresponding tiles and then remake it in your own personal pile. The more sides you match, the more tiles you collect, the bigger your personal pile, and so on…
As the game continues, your board of matching tiles in your personal area grows. Each match gives you a point at the end. If you match an ice cream or a sun you get to take up a bonus – this could be a two-point sun, a one-point rainbow, or if you are unlucky a grey lightening cloud that is worth zero points. At the end of your turn you pick up one more tile to add into your hand. The game continues until all of the stack of tiles has been used.
There are a few points to note for Sunny Day.
- It’s easy to get your hand tiles and your personal area tiles confused. This goes for adults and children. I had to be quite disciplined with myself in keeping my hand tiles separate.
- If you cannot go you must reveal your tiles and swap them for new ones. You do not have a go on this round. In reality this has never happened to us.
- If you can’t place the tile in your personal area, you lose it – again. The chances of this are quite low as you can branch out on all sides.
- When you score, you count the tiles AND the pictures for points. We didn’t realise this for quite a while. I don’t think it affected the outcome much however, as there is a correlation between the number of tiles and the number of pictures.
- Completing a sun or an ice cream in the personal area does not get you extra bonus points.
- If there is a tie the player with the most tiles in their personal area wins.
Sunny Day is a very cheerful game, full of sun, ice cream and rainbows. It makes you feel cheerful and it genuinely feels quite sad if you get a grey cloud and lightening.
I find Sunny Day a little repetitive after a while. However, as it is a fun, quick game it will remain a favourite for those after tea – before bed moments. A game can be played in around 15 minutes if you are decisive.
If you are playing with younger ones you can simplify the game by getting rid of the personal area. Tiles that are matched are just collected and counted at the end.
Apart from shouting at people who have forgotten to take the second card ‘again!’ there is not too much interaction. Sometimes frustration at people taking your perfect match before you get to have a go leaks out.
The main problem we seem to have – as referenced above - is forgetting to take an additional card ready for the next go. Or, forgetting which ones are those that you collected instead of those that are in your hand. Sunny Day is an engaging game though and does getting you thinking and weighing up options because of the dual mechanism in the game.
Final Thoughts on Sunny Day
I enjoy playing Sunny Day, although I suspect my family love it a little more than I do. It’s very solid for all occasions and I enjoy playing it even if it isn’t my first choice. I would like to see some kind of expansion to make it more complex as it has good potential to be something more. For the family though, it really hits the mark.