There is a great scene in the Andy Griffith show with Andy sitting in the Mayberry Mayor’s office and they are trying to decide on using Japanese Lanterns or balloons for the Apricot Festival. One councilman says that Japanese Lanterns are so doggone commonplace at Apricot festivals and he wanted to use balloons. At first glance Lanterns may seem like another commonplace game in the tired tile laying genre. I put the game through some heavy play this past weekend and I have one word for it, TIGHT.
You can tell this game was designed by someone who knew what they were doing. Each game I won was done so by only one or two points. I love that in a game. The greatness of games like Star Wars The Queens Gambit are that they are always close nail biters and so is this game. Nail Biting may be rare in a game like this that is far more abstract than Star Wars Queens Gambit but nevertheless I enjoyed it.
The game has several features that make it slightly more interesting than Carcassonne. Tile placement is critical because you end up giving a lantern card of a specific color to the player based on the edge he is facing. Lots of Delicious Decisions for the gamer to enjoy. Placing special tiles with platforms allow you to take a wooden Fate token. These fate tokens can be traded for a card of your choice to fill in what you need to make a dedication and take a point scoring tile.
This game was getting a lot of play at BGG FAM and I didn’t get a chance to play it. But I did play Splendor and I didn’t see what the big deal was about the game. Nice pieces but bland. Lanterns wins against the two. Lanterns is not Ameritrash and while the ages say 8 to adult there is something very adult and sophisticated about this game, it doesn’t go into the geek realm. This game if it could get proper exposure could really take the Bridge crowd by storm. I see it as an adult game to be played with martinis. This is not a game for basement dwellers, grunge babies, or worshipers of plastic figures. Ward Cleaver would play this game and that is good news for gaming whose focus has been on the Man Child Still in Middle School for far too long!
The balance in the game is beautiful! Just enough to do to keep it interesting, simple yet deep, nice components and the tight scoring make it a big winner!
I have always enjoyed the Two Player Kosmos series and Heave Ho! is no exception. It was Sunday afternoon, I was wearing my new plaid Kilt and as Thurgood set aside his bagpipes it was time for a little Tug of war Scottish style!
Thurgood played the Glenfiddich family and was doing well. he was 3 spots away from pulling the whisky barrel to his side to win the game. Thurgood also had the distinct advantage of Nessie pulling the rope on his side!
I could see the barrel slipping away. My mouth watered for a taste of the GlenLivet that lay waiting for the victor inside the barrel. Of course, when Thurgood and I played we always wagered a bottle of GlenLivet. I could not stand a loss of that magnitude. I must collect my wits about me and formulate a plan for my team to win!
My team was no slouch, I played the Bowmore family and my top team member at the moment was Helga Bowmore. She was ugly as sin, but a sweet gal and a hell of a good cook and could tug a rope like nobody’s business but it was not enough at the moment and the whisky barrel was slipping away!
Not to be outdone in the female department Thurgood played a fine Scottish lass with a Heave Ho! which meant we did a tally and moved the whisky barrel and it went another notch toward Thurgood, who was already looking for his favorite whisky glass in anticipation of tasting the Glenlivet.
Two more tugs and I was done. I would be toast! Thurgood smiled and made a nightmare play!
All female contestants were called home and it was a game for the men! This meant I lost the star of my show, HELGA!!! NO!!!! It did not look good for me at all!
Another Heave Ho! from Mr. Pigtails! He gave it all he had as his hat flew off his head!
The barrel now only one step away from my defeat!
As I drew a card and filled my hand. The stars all seemed to align at once and smile down on me! I could almost hear the cork popping out of teh Glenlivet bottle as I smiled and played the one card I needed!
I played the glorious Monstrous card! Which simply means Nessie got tired of this little game of Tug of War and ate all the team members on Thurgood’s side. Giving me a Glorious victory and truly another Epic Moment in Gaming!
It was Saturday June 17. Not in real time but in game time. In real time it was around late December 3am I was drinking a Gin and Tonic while Thurgood moved a French Force into the town of Quatre Bras.
An unexpected move but I saw an opprotunity here. Wellington had been marching his force from Brussels along the road headed to Quatre Bras and it was a perfect opportunity to strike a little terror in the French forces.
Wellington invaded Quatre Bras and as I took a sip of my Gin and Tonic I could almost imagine the sweat on Napoleon’s brow as he got the news of Wellington’s move. Thurgood certainly didn’t expect that I would leave Brussels undefended and was taken aback as the forces were lined up on the battle map.
My plan was simple. Scorch the Earth. I planned to fire my artillery in the center and move the Infantry unit on the left flank and the infantry unit and the right flank to engage.I fired the artillery. I was firing at long range. I rolled 3 six sided dice and I needed a 6 to hit.
The first roll was a “1”, obviously a misfire. The second roll was a “3” a miss. But the final and third roll hit, a “6”
The hit reduced the French infantry unit in the center to a combat value of 3.
Meanwhile on my right flank bullets were whizzing past bobbing heads. There were misses all the way around on both sides. However on the left flank an unsettling situation was brewing. The French cavalry unit was inflicting some whoop ass on the English Infantry unit.
The cavalry unit hits on a 5 or 6 and had rolled two 5’s in a row reducing the combat value of the English unit down to “1”
Thurgood smiled as his brutal cavalry unit almost destroyed my infantry unit. I was in trouble big time and since I was down to a combat value of “1” I had to make a morale roll.
I had to send Wellington over to the left flank to pump up the spirits of the lads. Wellington would give me a +1 to my morale roll.
A sip of the Gin and Tonic and it was time to roll. I could hear Wellington saying,
“Keep calm and Carry On, stiff upper lip and all of that rot, what would Matt Thower do?”
I hoped for the best and rolled the die.
A “3”!!! Nooooo, I needed at least a “4”…but wait Wellington gives me a +1 that makes “4” and the infantry unit much like Popeye eats a can of spinach and fights on inspired by the words of Wellington! Back to the center flank the artillery was on a roll and a final 6 knocked out the center line forcing the French retreat as Wellington takes Quatre Bras in a glorious battle.
So ends another EPIC MOMENT IN GAMING (echo)