Renegade Game Studios / £25 / 2 – 4 Players / 20 – 30mins / Age 8+
Clear your head and take in the quiet strength of the Lotus garden. It takes skillful care and nurturing to grow these flowers to their full potential, but once picked, they provide their owner with wisdom. Beware, for there are others who will do anything they can to get their hands on these mystical flowers. You’ll need to enlist the help of creatures native to this land to take control of the Lotus garden and achieve true enlightenment. – Renegade Game Studios
I kept seeing beautiful pictures of this game on social media, especially Instagram. So I had to investigate further. Growing pretty flowers to score points sounded like a calm and peaceful game, something we would enjoy playing as a couple.
Lotus is indeed a very pretty game. You can play as one of four different colours/guardians and get a set of matching cards. You also get some wooden tokens – your elder guardians, they are really nicely made. The artwork on the cards, the flowers, is stunning even if the cards are not the best quality I have seen, no linen finish for instance. It is nice that each player gets an action/special powers summary card. You only need to read the rules once and you know how to play, so these cards are a great reference check when needed.
The objective of the game is to score the most points by completing flowers. Nice and simple. You do this by taking any two actions on your turn:
- Play one or two petal cards from your hand to a single flower
- Exchange petal cards
- Move a guardian, one of your wooden tokens, from your supply or from one flower to another.
There are 5 types of flowers in Lotus, all needing a different number of petal cards to complete. Iris – 3 cards // Primrose – 4 cards // Cherry Blossom – 5 cards // Lily – 6 cards // Lotus – 7 cards
Unless it is a wildflower card from the neutral deck a petal card will have icons depicting the players guardian on and will determine who controls the flower once completed. The wooden guardian tokens are placed on flowers to increase your control. If you complete a flower you gain the petal cards to be scored at the end of the game. If you have the most control of the completed flower you can earn a 5 point token or a special power token.
The special powers add an interesting twist to the game. In fact it would be a little bland without them.
- The Elder Guardian, silver token, counts as two guardians when determining control
- Enlightened Path, now hold 5 petal cards in your hand
- Infinite Growth, now play 3 or more cards to a flower
We play Lotus most often as a couple. It really is a peaceful game with only a little backstabbing, no ‘ha, take that‘ actions. It can get a little frustrating when my husband keeps scoring all the flowers I have set up. I think that just means I am terrible at playing and need to change my strategy! We have played a 4 player game and although it was fun I really like this game with just Mike and myself. It is a quiet game, we tend to talk through our actions so we are not completely silent when playing and as such feels a little personal when playing.
I think this game would appeal to the shy and quieter members of a gaming group. There is little player interaction, but plenty of planning for your next move. It would also be great to play with your partner, especially if you are introducing them to the boardgame hobby.
Once multiple flowers are growing this game does take up a large amount of table space. In fact it gets tricky keeping track of your play area with elder guardian tokens and scored petal cards. So we have created handy player mats you can download and print – Lotus Player Mats
So why do we keep this game? As a couple it is great to find balanced games we can play together. We like to sit down and play Lotus quietly of an evening. It has strategy, but it is light enough not to tax your brain after a day at work. It is fun looking at your hand of petal cards and thinking do I start the 7 card flower or go for the little 3 card flower? Once you have gained the special abilities the game does move quicker. I tend to grab the Enlightened path, (to hold 5 cards in my hand) and Infinite Growth, (to place 3+ petal cards), as quickly as possible. I then ignore my silver Elder Guardian and grab the 5 point tokens to boost my score.
The scoring takes place right at the end of the game, so you want to maximise points every single turn. Once you finish a flower, the petal cards are placed in your scoring area. So a whole pile of 5 point tokens can look promising, but at 1 point per card a large deck of scored petal cards is a game changes. It makes for and exciting end of game count up to see who has won.
Lotus may not be a very challenging game and it may be almost silent to play, yet it has it’s charm. It takes a few plays to really understand and because the players petal cards are shuffled you have to consider your tactics each time you play. If you like Patchwork, then Lotus has similar aspects, with the added bonus of being 4 player when needed.
We recommend this game for your collection if you want something with light weight gameplay, beautiful artwork, and a great game for couples on date night.
BGG – Lotus
Renegade Game Studios – Lotus
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Reference Piggy Time – as a thank you for reading our review, please enjoy this picture of our Guinea Pigs, Scampi & Buddy with the game Lotus 😉