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Board Game Review: Lanterns the Harvest Festival | Board Game


After missing a couple of weeks because of scheduling issues, the Forge Herald game center was back in action this week with a new game! Hitting the table for the first time was Lanterns the Harvest Festival.

Lanterns is a tile placing, set collecting game. Players will place tiles from their hand onto the board, in an attempt to collect Lantern cards. Those are then turned in for Honor.

The game is designed by Christopher Chung with art by Jason D. Kingsley, Alexy Kot, Christina Major, Tyler Segel, and Beth Sobel. Lanterns the Harvest Festival is published worldwide by Renegade Game Studios, Crowd Games, Foxtrot Games, Games Factory Publishing, Korea Boardgame Co. LTD, Matagot, Pegasus Spiele, and White Goblin Games.

It was published in 2015 and uses the hand management, set collecting, and tile placing mechanics. It suggested for 2-4 players with an average play time of about 30 minutes. Age recommendation is ages 8 and up.

Lanterns is a 2015 Mensa Select Winner.

Setup
When it comes to setting up a game, this one is fairly easy. You will need to separate out each of the seven Lantern decks and the Devotion decks. These are placed in an area reachable by each player. Then, shuffle the tiles and deal each player three. The tile with a gray back is placed is the middle of the table. Try to be as random as possible when placing the first tile as this tile determines who will be playing first.

After placing the first tile, each player receives a Lantern card that corresponds with the color facing them on the starting tile.

You are now ready to begin the game.

An example of Lantern (bottom) and Honor cards.

Gameplay
There are three things you can do in a turn and they need to be completed in order. First, you can trade in a Lantern card for a different one. This can only be done, however, if you have two fortune tokens (these are gained by placing tiles with platforms on them). Second, you can gain Honor by giving Lanterns for Devotion.

To earn Honor, you will need to turn in cards. Honor is earned by turning in one of each of the seven colors, three pairs, or four of a kind. Each Devotion tile is worth a different amount of points, so make sure you pay attention.

The gameplay area grows as you lay more tiles.

Lastly, you play a tile. This is the only part of your turn that is mandatory. To place a tile, you simply connect it to an adjacent tile and collect Lantern cards. To determine which Lantern card you get, look at the tile. The color facing you is the card you get. If you were able to match the tile to Lanterns of the same color, then you will gain a card of that color as well. The important thing to remember is everyone receives a Lantern when you play a tile.

Another thing to remember is how to gain Favor. As you can see in the picture above, some of the tiles have pictures on them. These are called platforms. If you play a tile with a platform or pair a tile to a platform, you gain a Favor token. If you are able to pair a platform tile to another platform tile, you gain two Favor tokens.

Example: Sheree plays a Tile that has white, orange, black and purple on it. She connects it to a tile that matches white. The color facing her is orange. This means she gets one white card (for matching) and an orange because that is the color facing her. Then, each player gains a card in clockwise order based on the colors facing them.

Gameplay will continue in this manner until all tiles have been placed. The tile deck will run out before you run out of tiles in your hand. That’s ok. Just keep playing until all tiles have been placed.

After placing all the tiles, you add up each player’s Honor. The player with the highest score wins!

Conclusion

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Lanterns the Harvest Festival is a beautiful game to look at. Each board tends to be different with the Lantern tiles making bright, attractive displays. It’s easy to imagine all these Lanterns floating on a lake in celebration of the harvest.

The rules for the game are simple and setup is easy to accomplish quickly. Even though you are building the board, the game never becomes too big for a small space. This could easily be a game you can take to the pub and enjoy a drink or two with.

Although designed for 2-4 players, it seems like four players are really the best for the game. This provides an excellent opportunity for strategy as you work to block your opponents from getting specific Lanterns.

With a running time of about 30 minutes, this game is easy to shuffle up and play again. This means it can work as a filler as your waiting for you players to arrive or as the game of the night as you play it a few times.

Everyone at our table said they really enjoyed it and would be willing to play it more. Which is great, because we don’t always all agree. In our opinion, Lanterns the Harvest Festival is a must have for your collection.

Score 9/10

 Patrick Cossel is the publisher of the Forge Herald. He can be reached at pcossel@gmail.com

© 2017, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.

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About Patrick Cossel,

I am a journalist and gaming enthusiast.

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