Posted: June 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


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!


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