At a Glance: Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is a pretty chill experience. Gameplay and aesthetics are elegant, and everyone is involved on every turn.
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is a game for 2-4 people where players are decorating a lake with floating lanterns in order to be the most honored artist. On each turn, players place a lantern tile adjacent to another on the board. Each lantern tile has 4 sides to it that could contain any of 7 colors. Then players are granted color cards depending on which side is facing them. Therefore, everyone is involved on every turn. On top of that, the player who placed the tile that turn may gain a bonus card if he matches a side color-to-color with another tile. Then, if one of those matching tiles shows a floating platform, he gets a Favor token. Favor tokens are useful because they allow you to exchange a color card for another. The goal is to gain Honor by turning in different sets of color cards. The player with the most Honor at the end of the game is the winner.
One very attractive part of this game is the lack of major downtime. You will receive color cards on every single turn that correspond to where you sit at the table. The Honor tiles reward different types of sets, so there is some freedom in how you choose the avenue to victory. It is important to note that the Honor points decrease as you go for each set, meaning that the first person to turn in a set of 7 different colors will get more points than the 3rd player to do it. It can be a bit of a race at times because of this, but never feels stressful to me. There is something almost therapeutic about placing the floating lanterns on the growing surface. This is a beautiful and well-designed strategy game that finds that rare balance of being relaxing but not boring, engaging but not perplexing.
I mentioned how the downtime is attractive, well, this game is literally attractive. The cards and tiles are colorful and good quality. My favorite component might be the Favor tokens, which are wooden and look really cool. This is an excellently elegant game.
Check it out: https://amzn.to/2qx9eaD