Ok sure, I went there (and yes that movie was wet, stinky, smelly garbage) but I gotta keep this naming convention up! Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is a beautifully designed 2-4 player tile placement and set collection game from designer Christopher Chung.
The game is a very light game that takes aspects from games like Tsuro and Splendor and brings them together in a unique and contemplating fashion. The game is based around placing tiles that in turn give you lantern cards. You are going to collect these cards until you are able to trade them in for points, the player with the most points when the last of the tiles are laid wins.
While this game didn't make quite the splash that games like Codenames and Pandemic Legacy did, this game is a refreshing, almost filler, game that is definitely worth its rather cheap price tag.
The game is very much based around the actions of yourself on your turn, yet the actions of other players also effect your gameplay. You are required to keep the lanterns you have acquired out in front of you for everyone to see, so there really isn't alot of luck involved.
Remember I said this game took aspects of Splendor? Well it really does. The game requires a certain degree of forward thinking to really get the most out of the strategy in Lanterns. If you just play each turn as it comes up you may find yourself running out of time and being outrun by your opponents.
This game is so simple, this is definitely one of the lightest games I own. I mentioned it was almost a filler in a bigger package which is the feelings I share with games like Tsuro and Splendor, where the only thing hindering them is the size of the box. If I was able to, this would be a game I keep stashed in my pocket, ready to break out at the drop of a hat.
I found myself at a point with this game where I will play it almost day after day. That being said multiple games of Lanterns in a row really doesn't feel like an option. If I can relate it to TV, this game feels much more like a weekly release than a weekend binge watch.
The components of this game are hit and miss. Some gorgeous, while some lack in comparison. The little boat that indicates the active player, while almost redundant, is just adorable. The lantern cards are so vibrant, making collecting them a delight. I actually find myself a little bit disappointed every time I had to trade them in for the rather lack luster devotion tiles.
Some games that are quite easy to play, like 7 wonders suffer from the "But what am I meant to be doing" conundrum that Lanterns actually avoids quite efficiently. Teaching this game is as simple as going first and showing people what to do the first turn, as you gain more options as the game progresses.
The theme is solid here, you are a bunch of artisans decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns for the upcoming festival. That's pretty much where the flavour ends though. The favour and devotion aspects don't exactly add much in terms of story and really only serve as gameplay mechanics (And good ones at that).
Lanterns has no issues accommodating for less than 4 people, you simple remove cards to adjust the balance. That being said a win (whether over 1 person or to that person) is rather dissatisfying and I wouldn't suggest this game unless you have 2 other players ready and raring to go.
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is a beautiful game for those that want a light strategy game that is incredibly easy to teach. Will it scratch the itch of those wanting a deep strategy endeavor? No, however if you want to ease non gamers into the hobby, this isn't a bad option.
Have you played Lanterns? Do you agree with our review? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and please like us on Facebook and Instagram!