Base Game Review
Play Time (Box): 30mins
Play Time (Goof): 15-30mins
Producer/s: Foxtrot Games & Renegade Game Studios
Designer: Christopher Chung
Lanterns is beautiful (which sounds like poor English but I promise it’s correct). Seriously beautiful. The colours are so dynamic and I’m not going to lie, I literally wanted this game because it’s stunning to look at.
I knew a bit about it, sure. I watch Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop religiously and they do an episode on it. (You can check the video out here). But I don’t buy everything I watch on the show. This one, on the other hand, I just couldn’t help it.
Let me explain why.
After the first time I played Lanterns, I have to admit I wasn’t impressed. Then I re-read the rules and played the game properly – it took my breath away (it’s like two pages… so disappointed in myself).
The game is really simple to learn (don’t let my above paragraph fool you) but there’s a beautiful level of strategy in it which relies on you watching what cards your opponents have, what cards you can’t afford to give them, what cards you need, what cards are available to be played, and how to actively exchange your favour tokens.
This game screams “family game” to me. Yet more hardcore gamers wont find it dull. It is one of the most relaxing competitive games I’ve ever played, and I’m including Tsuro. Seriously, we played it at three in the morning the other day and I was pretty much ready for bed right after. In a pleasant, green tea sipping kind of way.
Lanterns is a bit of a filler game. You will rarely sit down to the table to play only Lanterns. And once you’ve had a game, you’ll probably want to move on to something else. I actually haven’t had anyone ask to play a second game in a row with this one, which is very strange given we’ve played back to back Tsuro, Sushi Go, Coup, and even bigger games like Pandemic.
As in depth as the strategy aspect can be, it’s incredibly abstract. Most casual or family gamers simply wont bother with much more than laying down tiles, and most hardcore gamers will find there’s so much to keep a track of they’ll fall into Analysis Paralysis.
Lanterns is a fun filler game which everyone will enjoy. Don’t expect to go into it with a competitors mindset, at least not for your first few games- it’s a very different way of thinking. But over time I imagine players will naturally build up their skills. It’s the sort of game I imagine Iro from Avatar the Last Airbender enjoying.
Also, did I mention it was beautiful?
I got my copy through Tabletop Wonderland
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