Eduardo Baraf is a game maker from Mountain View, California and the founder of Pencil First Games, LLC. His love of games has driven him to design and develop numerous board and card games. Eduardo also has a game review and industry YouTube channel: Gaming with Edo.
The following interview is about the board game Sunset Over Water, a game he developed with designers Steve Finn and Keith Matejka.
Jason (GameGobble): You’ve previously worked with designers Steve Finn and Keith Matejka, and artist Beth Sobel on the game Herbaceous. You’re working with them again on Sunset Over Water. Share some of the ways this team stands out to you.
Ed: Don’t forget Ben Shulman our graphic designer! I think the biggest thing that stands out to me is that we all have very complimentary skills and trust each other to make great decisions for the game. Helen Zhu also joined to create some amazing meeples in the game.
Jason: In Sunset Over Water, each player is a landscape painter trying to become renown through commissions, daily goals, and the paintings held at the end of the game. What is the story behind this fascinating theme?
Ed: This has a whole lot to do with Herbaceous. The team had an incredible time on that project and wanted to work on another game in a similar fashion. That meant we wanted the project to start with Beth’s art. We shot some ideas around and then Beth come up with some inspiration pieces. Quickly we all fell in love with her landscape work and decided to base the game around that art. From the get-go Steve wanted the player to be traveling through the landscapes, so a landscape painter (or photographer for a while) was a natural fit. Originally, the codename for the game was “Nature Hike.”
Jason: Sunset Over Water has different card types that provide randomization during gameplay. But each player gets to make some interesting decisions too. What was your intention in balancing the amount of luck vs. strategy involved?
Ed: Sunset Over Water always had the same audience/player as Herbaceous in mind. We wanted to make a game Herbaceous players could easily transition to, so while there are more mechanics in the game (it isn’t quite the simple, beauty of Herbaceous) we wanted to make sure the experience was more than a taxing strategy game.
Sunset Over Water is a game that should be easy to teach, play, and one where you can hold a conversation with your friends.
Jason: There is a one-player option designed by Keith Matejka called Wanderlust. While the basic premise and game components of Sunset Over Water are used, there are also rule modifications and special cards for solo play. How would you describe the one-player experience?
Ed: Keith has always done a great job making single player versions of a game that feel like the main game, but also stand alone. This is not simply a 2-player game with automation for one of the players. The use of the cabins and new solo goal cards created an interesting, puzzle experience out of the base game mechanics Steve designed.
Jason: What is one thing you want gamers to know about Sunset Over Water?
Ed: Sunset Over Water is a gorgeous, set collection game where players travel through the woods painting landscapes. It is a great game to pull out with friends and family after dinner or before a heavier gaming session.