Foxtrot Games//Renegade Games Studio / £20-£30 / 4 Players / 30mins / Age 8+
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is a tile placement game set in imperial China. Players act as artisans decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns. The artisan who earns the most honor before the festival starts wins the game. – Renegade Games Studio
I wanted this game based purely on the box artwork. The colours and design drew me in straight away. I have also come to learn you can not go wrong with a game published by Renegade – they have a great catalogue of games. So the game made it out of the games shop and into our collection. It took us a while to get to grips with the mechanics. This is a tile laying game where you score points by dedicating a pleasing arrangement of lanterns to celebrate the harvest. But beware, the placement of your tiles could help the other players score points. These days Lanterns is one of our go to games.
The components are simple, yet nicely made. The sturdy cardboard tiles and wooden tokens are lovely. We are not too keen on the smaller lantern card size. Similar to the original tiny Ticket To Ride cards, boy were we happy to exchange those for normal size playing cards with the expansion upgrade! There are ways around it. On Board Game Geek one user has replaced the lantern cards with little gems of the same colour – very cute. The small cards are still good quality and are standing up well with lots of plays.
The artwork appears to my designer side. It is colourful and thematic. The lantern cards are all different colours and shapes, that should help with those who are colourblind when playing. A few of the tiles have images in the centre, if you play this type of tile you gain a favour token. The images have pandas, dragons, koi carp and flowers. These favour tokens are used to exchange lantern cards to a colour of your choice. Perfect for snagging a high scoring dedication token.
The object of the game is to lay tiles and gain lantern cards. When you place a tile you gain a lantern card of the colour pointing towards you. If you match up colours on a tile that has already been played, you get a bonus lantern card. Getting multiple lantern cards on your turn is a great way to build towards the dedication points. However, your opponents also get a lantern card of the colour that is facing them. You need to be careful not to give away points. Your opponents will also change your tactics each round as you adapt to the cards you end up with. Stay alert and seize every opportunity.
Once you have a set number of lantern cards you can hand them in to get a dedication token that scores points;
4 lantern cards of the same colour
3 pairs of lantern cards
1 lantern card of each colour
As you dedicate lantern cards the points available go down. Keep an eye on what other players might be going for. You can go for the highest scores, but they take time. Often you can go for multiple lower scores and claim the win! Just be careful, you can only dedicate once per turn, so there is no need to hoard lantern cards. Also, if there are no lantern cards of a particular colour in the stack, it cannot be claimed. Try and line up the tiles so this situation faces your opponent and they get no lanterns from you! Keep a close eye on the lantern cards you gain from other players turns. They all add up and you can claim different dedication points than your original plan – hopefully with more points.
The Lanterns boardgame works really well as two player. Mike and I play it all the time. There are no fighting tactics. Sure you get annoyed when someone takes the dedication tile you were after, but there are plenty of others. Lanterns also works well with 3 or 4 players. There is not much difference in gameplay with more people, yet there is the bonus of taking a bit longer between turns. You get to look through your cards and plan the perfect move.
We can recommend this game for couples and for those new to gaming. It even works on a low key games night when you want to play something a little more relaxed. The last round can get a little cut throat. Once the last tile has been placed you get one more go to scrape together cards for a final dedication. You may think you have the win in the bag when someone then pops up, exchanges favour tokens for different lantern cards and BAM, swipes the win! Super fun.
We keep coming back to this game for the simple game mechanics. We adore the relaxed gameplay, yet we appreciate the thinking needed at every stage to maximise on your points.
If you are bored of Ticket To Ride with new gamers, break out Lanterns instead.
If you want a game to play as a couple with a glass of wine, then Lanterns is for you.
Renegade Game Studios – Lanterns
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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 Lanterns 😉