I’m playing a board game every day this month and blogging about it (I did a similar challenge last year). Feel free to join me during my Every Night Is Game Night: My Daily Play & Blog Challenge. And tweet me with what you’re playing these days!
My family and I celebrated Mother’s Day with a delicious lunch at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants. It was hours of good eats and good laughs and we were wiped out when we got home. Thankfully, my wife and I had enough energy to play a quick game of Lotus, one of my Christmas presents from last year.
Lotus is a card-driven game of area control and hand management from Renegade Game Studios, which has recently published a few stellar titles, including Lanterns, Clank!, and FUSE. I was immediately drawn to Lotus’ artwork, which is gorgeous, and the elegant gameplay. Players have a hand of cards representing flower petals and they can either lay up to two of them down on the table, exchange cards in their hand with their deck, or move one of their guardians (tokens) onto a flower petal. Flowers require a different number of petals to complete them and once they’re complete, the last player to place a petal will “pick” the flower and keep the cards for victory points.
This is what I love about Lotus: the area control for each flower is based on each card’s icons. Players have icons on their cards representing the number of influence they have on the flower and there are “wild” flowers that can be played onto flowers, but they do not have any icons. When a flower is complete, the player with the most influence receives a special power or a token worth 5 victory points. Remember the guardians? If a player has a guardian on the flower, then it’s worth 1 additional point.
The special powers are a terrific feature of the game. Normal hand limit is 4 cards, but when a player unlocks the Enlightened Path card, they can hold up to five cards. There’s an Elder Guardian worth 2 influence points that can also be unlocked, as well as an Infinite Growth that allows players to place 3 or more petal cards at a time.
Lotus is one of the best-looking games you’ll see being played. As the flowers are laid out, it really looks like a garden growing on your tabletop. Unfortunately, that beauty is fleeting: once a flower is completed, it’s taken off the play area into piles of victory points. It’s better than your standard filler game, with more depth than expected, and one that I’ll never turn down an opportunity to play.