Published on September 24th, 2014 | by Nicole Jekich2
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival Coming to Kickstarter
It is time to celebrate the coming of fall and a successful harvest season, but don’t expect to gather wool, wood and grain in this game. Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is all about the celebration! Players are the well-fed harvest workers looking to join the festivities and decorate the lake with colorful paper lanterns to impress the emperor. Make colorful and patterned lantern dedications to the emperor and gain his favor. Decorate your way to victory!
The images featured in this article are of a prototype version of Lanterns: The Harvest Festival and do not reflect the final quality, images or design of the game. Lanterns will come to Kickstarter on October 7th and for more details and to follow the game’s progress, visit: http://lanternsgame.com/)
The designs and depictions in Lanterns’ art are made to capture attending a seasonal festival in Imperial China. There are lake tiles covered in many, small lanterns which will grow the board and give it a festive feel. The players are collecting individual lanterns and will arrange them by color and in certain patterns that will give them the most favor. We have heard from the designer that the art and quality of the pieces are subject to change depending on the success of the Kickstarter (Coming Oct 7th) and one of those changes will have new lantern cards which will have a unique shaped lantern paired to a certain color. Having the added identifier makes games friendly and more easily accessible for colorblind gamers. Here is a preview image of what those new lantern cards will look like:
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival will be a cheaper, pocket-sized version of a tile building game. Unlike the big boxed games of Suburbia and Carcassonne, all 100+ pieces for the prototype fit into a small sandwich bag. Even with the smaller components (the longest side of a lake tile and lantern card is 2.5 inches), the iconography is easy to read. I also feel Foxtrot Games is answering my cry for more diverse games that feature a theme with the production of Lanterns because it doesn’t feature castles, farms and other Medieval-centric events and markets that currently dominate and flood the game industry.
The game begins with a starting tile randomly placed in the center of the table. Positioning around the tiles is key as each player will be associated with a side of a tile facing them the same way Keyflower does. Whenever an active player places a lake tile, each player will draw a corresponding lantern color based on color of lanterns on the lake tile side facing them. Each time a player draws a lantern card, it remains in front of each player so that every player knows what lanterns a player has in their possession at any given time. Gameplay is arranged in a series of turns and each player will do the following on their turn: 1) Exchange a Lantern then 2) Dedicate Lanterns and 3) Place a Lake Tile. All those actions are optional except for playing a lake tile. Each player must place a lake tile on their turn and draw another lake tile at the end of their turn if able.
Since players are receiving lantern colors on their turn as well as other players’ turns, your lantern collection will grow quite quickly. Making dedications means turning in a series of lanterns in a pattern either 4 of a Kind, Three Pairs or Seven Unique which means one of each lantern color. As players dedicate lanterns on their turn, they will collect the corresponding dedication token (which are organized in decreasing value) which counts as their victory points at the end of the game. Players will be competing to place their lake tiles to give them lantern colors they need to compete a dedication; to prevent their opponents from drawing a specific lantern card.Players are also encouraged to match lake tile sides with the same lantern colors to gain extra lantern cards and to gain favor if one of the cards in the match contains a platform.
The game progresses quickly and with public lantern collections it is easier to thwart opponents’ plans for dedications, however it is just as easy for your opponents to do the same. The first couple games are quick and very easy to follow. It’s great for people looking for beginner friendly tile or market games.
As a lover of tile-based games and set collection games, I had high expectations for Lanterns: The Harvest Festival. I wanted a game that went beyond just matching colors and I feel Lanterns does a great job including gameplay beyond that limitation. Players gain lanterns for their set collection depending on how they orient and place lake tiles and paired colors gives that active player a bonus; however, matching colors isn’t always the best strategy as it could give other players the colors they want for their dedication.
In a 2-player game, their is less scarcity and denial of lantern colors and it was very easy to get what I wanted. This tile game definitely works better with more players as certain lantern colors could run out and become unavailable which is another great strategy to when considering where to place your next tile. With such simple mechanics and gameplay, Lanterns becomes a game focused around paying attention and timing. Card counting isn’t needed as the lake cards aren’t standardized and the lantern collections are public knowledge so most players know what lanterns everyone needs for a dedication. It’s an engaging game that is easy to master and at the end leaves players with a beautifully rendered game board filled with colorful patterns of lanterns.
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is coming to
Kickstarter on October 7th is on Kickstarter now and a base game will be $24. To preview their Kickstarter page and offer feedback please visit the page here.