SNAP Review – Unmatched: Sun’s Origin

[Andrew] Anitra, let’s cut to the chase on this week’s SNAP review. We’re going to be taking a look at the latest release from Restoration Games in their Unmatched line, Sun’s Origin. But before we get into it, I just want to pause and mention that the characters in this box, Oda Nobunaga and Tomoe Gozen, were real people. Unmatched is at its best when it’s blending history or legend with their incredible mechanics, and I definitely think that’s true here, as well.

[Anitra] Totally. But before we get into this game, we want to encourage you to go read a little bit about these two figures in Japanese history. We’ll link to Wikipedia articles in the show notes, for convenience, but feel free to do a little research yourselves. I don’t think we know enough about the history of eastern Asia, and a lot of it is really interesting!

(more on Oda Nobunaga) (more on Tomoe Gozen)

[Andrew] Sure is. Let’s get into it!

[Anitra] This is a SNAP review for Unmatched: Sun’s Origin.


Sun’s Origin is a two-player standalone box in the Unmatched series. It features two characters – Oda Nobunaga, and Tomoe Gozen. Like we said, both of these characters were real people in Japanese history.

[Andrew] Nobunaga was a daimyo in the 16th century and Tomoe Gozen was a female samurai in the 13th century [Editor’s note: 12th century]. Unmatched as a series supports 2-4 players, although only two can play with just this box. And a game of this lasts about half an hour. There’s one board in the box, a multi-level map of Azuchi Castle.

Nobunaga and Tomoe figurines on the map from Unmatched: Sun's Origins


[Anitra] Here we are, again, talking about the art of Unmatched. We put up a shelf in our house to put our Unmatched boxes on because the art is always amazing, and it’s no different here.

[Andrew] For this set, Yuta Onoda used his experience in Japanese illustration to visually delight us, capturing the calm intensity of a clan daimyo in Nobunaga, and the ferocious battle-tested nature of samurai Gozen.

Subtle details abound, all the way to the color saturation on the card art reflecting the card type: blue for defense, red for attack.

[Anitra] It’s detailed and gorgeous, as all Unmatched art should be.

Oda Nobunaga: Spring the Trap card.
Tomoe Gozen: Fearsome Strength card.


[Anitra] We’ve talked about the mechanics of Unmatched at length in other reviews (check the show notes) so we’re just going to cover some differences here.

[Andrew] Unlike some of the other sets which introduce new mechanics on the board, like the doors in the Little Red and Beowulf set or the high ground in Battle of Legends Volume 2, the only new mechanics in Sun’s Origin are the unique abilities of Nobunaga and Tomoe.

[Anitra] Nobunaga and his two Honor Guard are melee characters. When the Honor Guard attack or defend while in the same zone as Nobunaga, they get a +1 bonus to their combat values. In addition, Nobunaga and his Honor Guard have flanking. An opposing fighter is flanked when they are adjacent to two or more fighters under the control of the player playing Nobunaga’s player. Cards have all sorts of effects when a player is flanked.

[Andrew] Tomoe Gozen has no help, but she is ranged. She has an ability called Attack of Opportunity. Any time an opposing hero leaves Tomoe’s zone, maybe forced out by Tomoe with a card ability, they take a point of damage.

Fire and Flames; Pragmatism; Patience and Strategy
A few of Oda Nobunaga’s cards


[Anitra] So what did we expect in this set?

[Andrew] I was excited for this set. Like we said at the top, I’d much rather have characters like these, who were real people, or even legends like Achilles, or Yennenga. Sets like the Marvel sets are cool and fun, but there’s something about Unmatched that really shines with characters closer to real life.

I really prefer the larger boards for the four player sets, but I love how multi layer boards – and what I mean when I say that is the idea of there being height on the flat board. They work really well with ranged characters, and I definitely wanted to play with that, too.

[Anitra] I always like seeing a female hero. So I knew I’d try Tomoe Gozen the most.

Tomoe Gozen figurine with cards: Five Against Thousands; Piercing Shot; Flash of Steel; A Worthy Opponent


[Anitra] But let’s talk about what surprised us.

[Andrew] I actually found taking advantage of Tomoe’s abilities was way harder than I expected. Melee fighters would just charge in, so it was tricky to figure out how to get her abilities to work, especially since she had no help. I had the most success playing keep away with her, especially since, again, she had nobody to put between her and my opponent’s characters.

[Anitra] I was actually surprised to not find any surprises built in to this board. It was really nice to work with a set that didn’t make me work so hard to figure out that extra layer of strategy, of where you want to be and when, for what advantage. Figuring out how to use Tomoe effectively was hard enough!

I think you need to do two things with Tomoe – spend most of your time staying at a distance, hopefully in a multi-zone spot that lets her hit a lot of the board with her ranged attacks. But occasionally you should use her maneuvering to do quick hit-and-runs to take advantage of cards that give her bonuses for being adjacent to her opponent. And don’t worry about running down her deck. If she’s forcing melee characters to chase her, they’ll have to spend more cards than she does.

[Andrew] With Nobunaga on the other hand, he had two honor guards, and they both had six hitpoints. His ability to give his honor guards bonuses works really well with flanking. And so, charging in with him was a really effective strategy across multiple sets. We tried with a lot of characters, and he was really effective.


Unmatched: Sun's Origin

[Andrew] So, let’s talk about recommendations. Obviously, we love Unmatched, do we recommend Sun’s Origin?

[Anitra] I think we would recommend Sun’s Origin, but only if you’ve played Unmatched before. The strategies for Tomoe and Nobunaga are both pretty challenging, and I don’t think they’re a great fit for a newbie.

[Andrew] See, I kind of disagree with that. I think Nobunaga’s strategy is pretty obvious!

[Anitra] I mean, you think so!

[Andrew] Unmatched: Sun’s Origin is a great complement to an already amazing set of characters in the Unmatched universe. We do recommend starting with one of the four character packs or one of the three character Marvel sets if you want characters that are popular in modern culture.

[Anitra] We’re going to give Unmatched: Sun’s Origin four rising suns out of five.

And that’s Unmatched: Sun’s Origin, in a SNAP!

Find it at Restoration Games, from Amazon, or ask for it at your local game store.

The Family Gamers received a copy of Unmatched: Sun’s Origin from Restoration Games for this review.

This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?

SNAP Review - Unmatched: Sun's Origin
  • Rising Suns


Age Range: 9+
Number of Players: 2
Playtime: 20 minutes