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Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky

RRP: £24.99
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RRP £24.99
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The harvest is in, and now it’s time to celebrate! The emperor has declared that this shall be the best harvest festival yet. In Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky, players act as artisans, decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns and launching fireworks to light up the sky. The player who earns the most honor has made the best impression on the emperor and wins. In mor…
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Category Tags , , , SKU ZBG-RGS0889 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • engaging
  • good for two players
  • good for three – four players

Might Not Like

  • the quality of the dice tray
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Description

The harvest is in, and now it's time to celebrate! The emperor has declared that this shall be the best harvest festival yet.

In Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky, players act as artisans, decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns and launching fireworks to light up the sky. The player who earns the most honor has made the best impression on the emperor and wins.

In more detail, roll dice and choose which colored lanterns players can fill on their scoresheets. Earn gifts to perform special actions, fill in additional colored lanterns, and create powerful combinations. Cover completed shapes with fireworks tiles to score points and put on a spectacular show!

Artisans Wanted

It’s time to celebrate! The Emperor has proclaimed the palace will host a grand harvest festival and invited artisan lantern makers from across Imperial China to fill the palace lakes with enchanting floating lanterns and paint the sky with awe inspiring fireworks. Rumour has it, that the most impressive displays will win the Emperor’s favour.

A Little Background Story

Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky is the much awaited sequel to indie publisher Foxtrot Games (makers of Fox and the Forest) 2015 hit game Lanterns: The Harvest Festival. Released in 2019 and designed by Chris Bryan, Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky features art by Beth Sobel, Jason D. Kingsley and John Shulters. Whilst set in the same world as Lanterns: The Harvest Festive and it’s expansion, Lanterns: The Emperor’s Gifts, Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky exchanges the original instalment’s tile based game play, and instead focuses on dice rolls and thought provoking score sheets. Designed for two to four people, with an average session taking thirty to forty five minutes depending on your group size, and aimed at players aged ten and upward (though if you have a small child who likes colour and patterns, younger players can enjoy the game with a little… our seven year old just needed help remembering the bonus moves, for example).

Just like the original Lanterns: The Harvest Festival and it’s expansion, Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky features vibrant artwork, easy to learn rules and quick game play.

Inside The Box

Firstly, I want to mention how travel friendly Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky is. It’s compact size makes it perfect for taking on holiday, taking to games nights at a friend’s house, or if you’re just very limited on storage space (such as myself, after my husband decided to indulge in purchasing the behemoth also known as Gloomhaven).

After removing the lid, inside you’ll find four large chunky dice, three double sided Emperor cards, forty eight firework tiles of various shapes, a decent sized pad of score sheets, an easy to follow rule booklet and a dice tray that shouldn’t be mistaken for a mere box insert! All that players need to add are pens/pencils of their choice to keep track of their lanterns and scores on the sheets provided.

Ready, Set, Roll

The basic premise of the game is to roll the four dice into the specially designed dice tray (which I admit to almost tossing into the recycling after mistaking it for a strangely shaped box insert), and choosing which coloured lanterns every player… not just the active roller… will be marking off on their score sheet. Players can earn bonuses and ‘gifts’ by utilising well placed lanterns, as well as gaining extra points by performing special actions. But be warned, some actions also help your opponents; which turns what appears on the surface to be a pretty and laid back game into one that’s surprisingly strategic.

Going a little more in depth, during their turn, players will start by rolling the dice and rotating the tray to not only choose the lantern colour they want, but also allocate colours to the other players. All players then mark the corresponding lanterns on their score sheet, which are depicted as coloured triangles. The next step for active players is to mark off or shade their bonus lanterns; which colours to shade are indicated on the right hand side of the score sheets.

Players work towards building up colourful displays of lanterns, and for additional points, should aim to create the shapes of the firework tiles that have been chosen for the session.

To gain further prestige, players also have opportunities to place their coloured lanterns around pavilions to collect gifts (which I can’t stop calling coins when we’re playing), which in turn can be used to purchase favours from the Emperor that affect all players. If activating one of the Emperor Gifts cards, all players will be shading an additional one, two or three lantern spaces, depending on what is indicated on the card the active player chose… the fact this step unlocks bonuses for all players, definitely adds to the strategic element of Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky.

Alternatively, they can aim to place their lanterns around platforms to earn bonus lantern sections, or work towards surrounding the several boats that are on the lake, to gain additional points at the end of the game.

Finally, back to those elusive firework tiles, if the active players has enough lanterns in the required formation, they can choose to launch a firework before finishing their turn. Each firework tile has individual points allocated, and these are added up at the end of the game.

Food For Thought

One commendable feature is how engaging Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky is, with every player kept focused on the game with actions to take even during other player’s turns, which is particularly invaluable when gaming with others who get distracted easily.

Another nice touch is that there’s four variations of the score sheets, featuring different lantern layouts and turn bonuses, which makes each game of Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky feel like a unique experience, and not a repetitive slog that some games with simple mechanics unfortunately fall pray to. There’s even further variation added by way of the firework tiles, that come in eight different formations but only four types are used during a session. All these features combined certainly add to the overall enjoyment and re-playability of Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky.

Final Thoughts

Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky is a brilliant game in it’s own right, and designer Chris Bryan has been respectful in honouring the feel of Christopher Chung’s original Lanterns: The Harvest Festival. However, if players are expecting a Lanterns 2.0, they are likely to be taken by surprise by what is a vastly different game mechanic. That isn’t a detraction from Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky though. This is an extremely enjoyable game, that’s strategic but not difficult. I’d genuinely recommend it for any gaming collection.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • engaging
  • good for two players
  • good for three four players

Might not like

  • the quality of the dice tray