“The harvest is in, and now it’s time to celebrate! Players act as artisans decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns. The player who earns the most honour before the festival begins wins the game.”
In Lanterns: The Harvest Festival, by Christopher Chung and published by Renegade Game Studios, two to four players will sit around the table and have their own hand of three tiles illustrating various colour arrangements of floating lanterns. When you place a tile onto the lake, all players (you and your opponents) receive a lantern card corresponding to the colour on the side of the tile facing them.
Players gain honour (points) by dedicating sets of lantern cards – three pairs, four of a kind, seven unique colours – when a player makes a dedication they collect the dedication token (with a score printed on it) from the top of the corresponding token pile. The points in each dedication token stack is in descending order of value so future dedications earn fewer points.
If you place a tile and any of the lake tiles in the colour match contain a platform (including the newly placed tile), you will receive a favour token for each Platform in the colour match. At the start of your turn two favour tokens can be cashed-in to allow you to trade one of your lantern cards for a different-coloured card from the supply – this can be immensely useful in helping you prepare for a dedication.
Once all lake tiles have been placed and everyone has been given a chance to make a final dedication, the player with the most honour at that point wins the game and pleases the Emperor.
Player Count: 2-4
Time: 30 Minutes
In another of our regular board game spotlights, Zatu Games traipses across the empty, cold parquet floors of its suburban bungalow, lost in a stupor, blurred vision suddenly coming into sharp focus on Lanterns: The Harvest Festival, the 2015 release from publisher Foxtrot Games and designer Christopher Chung.
Lanterns is a game in which players decorate a lake with pretty lights, giving it possibly the nicest theme since Hot Chocolate Owlet Rodeo: Everybody Wins Twice.
A game for 2-4 players, Lanterns is all about collecting sets of lanterns by placing patterned lake cards. Players are given a hand of three lake cards, each showing a multi-coloured pattern of lanterns. Another lake card is placed in the centre, and oriented so that the red side faces one player, and other, less rouge sides face the remaining players.
Each turn, players may place a lake tile of their own. If one of the sides on their card matches one of the sides on the adjacent tile, they gain a lantern of that colour. Equally, all players gain a lantern matching the colour of the side of the new tile facing them.
There are also two optional actions: dedications and exchanges. Players may use dedication cards, which show a number between one and ten, to return a corresponding number of lanterns. Doing so with lanterns in certain sets (several of the same colour; one of each colour) gains them honour, which they can use to exchange lanterns to create more sets. It’s a cycle as vicious as a bladed bike.
The game is, essentially, a much more complex, luminally themed dominoes.
Foxtrot Games is an independent board game publisher, owned by games designer Randy Hoyt and game artist Tyler Segel. They pride themselves on publishing beautifully designed but accessible board games.
The publisher's other two games include World's Fair 1893, where you act as an organiser of the fair and must send supporters out to gain favour with influential people in order to secure the bigger exhibits.
The companies' third game is called Relic Expedition, a jungle exploration game in-which you must explore, collect treasures and avoid wild animals!
Christopher Chung is the founder of Flash Forward Games. Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is was his first game, and he is now working on a number of new prototypes.
Chuck a bulb into the sea and buy this game from Zatu today!