Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Festival of color

Lanterns: the Harvest Festival is a simple, relaxing game in which players collect lantern cards of different colors by playing tiles, and trade different sets of lantern cards in for points. The playing pieces are lovely to look at, contributing to the serene nature of the game.

Tiles have a color on each side, and are played adjacent to one another in a common grid. You can play a tile anywhere, but if you match a colored side of your tile to one already in play, you get a lantern card of that color. In addition, you get a card for whatever colored tile side is facing you, and your opponents get a card for the colored edge, so a major aspect of the game play is paying attention to what cards you are giving your opponents, and trying not to give them anything too useful.

Some tiles have illustrated platforms in their center, and if you play a tile with a matching color adjacent to a tile with a platform, you get a favor token. These can be spent to trade a lantern card for one of another color, which is an important ability when you're trying to put sets of cards together to earn points.

Lantern cards are traded in for points in one of three possible combinations: four of the same color, 3 different pairs of the same color, or one each of seven different colors. Points are represented by tokens whose value gradually decreases as they are claimed, so the first player to cash in a set of four gets more points for it than the second player to do so, and so on.

Play proceeds until all the tiles have run out, after which players get one final turn to cash in their lanterns before the scores are added up.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) a light, pleasant game that's good for an evening with non-gamers, or when you're not up for something more complicated.

Lanterns: the Harvest Festival official website
Lanterns: the Harvest Festival on BoardGameGeek

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