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Lanterns: The Harvest Festival» Forums » Reviews

Subject: An abstract family game reminiscent of dominoes. rss

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Jason Johnson
United States
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The Overview

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is a lightweight but well-crafted game. Players take turns earning lantern cards and favor tokens by placing tiles. Lantern cards are exchanged for honor. The player with the most honor when the game ends is the winner.

The Good

Gateway game. Easy to learn. New players can be taught to play in moments.

Subtle strategy. Simple enough for new players but strategic enough to keep veterans engaged.

Relaxing filler. Familiar mechanics make it genuinely relaxing to play.

The Meh

Mismatched colors. There was some initial confusion with the card and tile colors not quite matching. This is a minor issue that only affects the first game.

Pasted on theme. While consistent throughout the entire game, the theme could be easily replaced or removed entirely without affecting the core game play. Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is an abstract game at heart and this is common for the genre.

The Notable Mechanics

Lanterns for everyone. When a tile is placed all players receive a lantern card. Players must be mindful of which lantern cards they are giving their opponents.

Matching is optional. While matching edges is the best means of acquiring lantern cards, it can sometimes be more strategic not to. Tiles can be used to block your opponents, setup for future moves, or gain a specific lantern card. Other times you simply have no matching tiles.

Action & supply limits. To protect the game balance there are limits on player actions and deck sizes. These limits prevent players from hoarding lantern cards and spamming honor.

Only one favor token exchange can be made per turn. Only one dedication is possible per turn. Only 10 lantern cards can be held at once. By forcing players to space out their actions and plan ahead, player action limits provide a major part of the game's strategy.

The number of available lantern cards is based on the number of players. Various colors of lantern decks will become exhausted during the game. Exhausted decks provide players with a means of indirectly interfering with their opponents' dedications by denying them access to lantern cards they require.

Interestingly, there is no need for a limit on the dimensions of the board (and none were given). While playing your tiles in long lines would hinder your opponents, it would hinder you as well. Players are naturally driven to play their tiles in tight square grids to maximize their own scoring.

The Summary

If you are looking for a lightweight filler or family game, then Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is definitely worth trying.

2-4 players, 30 minutes
+ easy to learn & teach
+ quick
+ family game
+ quality components

For more information about Lanterns: The Harvest Festival visit

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