TITLE : Lanterns
Have you ever had the pleasure of playing a competitive tile laying mechanic on a board
game? So many games use this mechanic in different way from Betrayal, which has you
building a haunted mansion waiting for the “haunt” to start destroying friendships, to the
infamous Carcassonne, in which your resource collecting abilities will net you dozens of end
Lanterns take pieces of that, amazing artwork, and a complex strategy, and shakes things up
by allowing the player to not only control their fate, but the fate of each other player.
Lanterns can play two to four players, and each time I’ve played it we’ve gone with four. The
biggest change really is the ability to mess with the other players, or take that one card
everyone needs by placing the perfect set of festival lanterns. The object of the game is to
use the colored lantern cards to purchase honor points by completing either three pairs, four
of a kind, or one of each of the seven different colored lanterns. You can buy as many cards
as you can afford, but only one individual honor card per turn.
Each player is given three tiles, and the board starts with a beautifully designed lantern
festival boat in the middle. Each card has colored dots on each of its four sides, and when
played each player will get the corresponding color that faces them as long as there are any
remaining in the draw pile. If you manage to match a color, so say white on white, the person
who played it gets that card additionally. This means with a perfect play, there is the chance
to obtain up to 5 cards for the current player, and each other player would get 1. The
chances of this happening are slim to none, but often the player who goes will receive a
minimum of two, most likely three if they are blessed to have a perfect match on two of the
Additionally, there are favor tokens which can be used to trade in the colors you have with a
color you may need. You gain favor by placing a tile with a picture on it (I.E. Panda, Dragon,
Etc) and matching a color with an adjacent tile. If you match a favor card to another favor,
you are able to get two which is perfect, as you need two favor tokens to do a trade in.
The game is played until all tiles are placed, and each player is then given one final turn to
purchase honor tokens, and the scores are tallied.
The main reason I love this game is in all the times I’ve played it, the scores are always close.
This is the type of game that involves a lot of strategy, a little luck, and that I have yet to see
a blowout in. Since the points are relatively similar, most games end with all players being
within 2-3 honor points of one another, leading to the feeling that you can win next time with one more push. I enjoy competitive games, but loves games that can be so close that one
move different, or a single card can change everything
The artwork is beautifully designed including very basic art work, components, but better
than anything, the stock on the tiles and tokens are very good. They manage to stay together
well, utilizing the ability of the player to not bend or break them. The box artwork is also
crisp and eye catching, which is difficult to do in an age where there is a million and one
board games on a shelf that you want to buy.
Overall I love the design, the mechanic, and the replay ability, as the game has an infinite
amount of possibilities, which means every time you crack the box open, it will be a
completely different game.
It plays quick, allowing it to be either a filler game, or the perfect game to start your night
with. Most games are done within 30 minutes at most, even though it can feel like it was a
shorter game than that.
I highly recommend this game for anyone who enjoys strategy, thinking on your feet, and
enjoys a good competitive game that can be played by people of all ages. Yes it may be a bit
complicated for the young ones, but with a bit of help, and a lot of creativity, you’d be
surprised what they can come up with.
If you are interested in ordering this title, or any other board game/comic book, please reach
out to the Comic Hunter on either Facebook, by calling them locally, or drop on by anytime.
We would love to make sure we get you into the right game for you and your group.