Board Game Review! Lotus by Renegade Game Studios

Posted: February 16, 2018 in Board Games, Review
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

This week, we had two featured games. The first one was Lotus from Renegade Game Studios and the second was Love Letter: Batman from Cryptozoic and Alderac Entertainment Group, which you can find the article for – here.

Lotus on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

lotus-board-game-1-600x315

Lotus is a beautiful game that grows into a unique work of art every time you play.

Clear your head and take in the quiet strength of the Lotus garden. It takes skillful care and nurturing to grow these flowers to their full potential, but once picked, they provide their owner with wisdom. Beware, for there are others who will do anything they can to get their hands on these mystical flowers. You’ll need to enlist the help of creatures native to this land to take control of the Lotus garden and achieve true enlightenment.

Overview

The Lotus Garden has preserved its secret for centuries, but you have discovered the truth. The mystical flowers grown here will provide eternal life and everlasting wisdom to those who possess them. You must help the flowers grow to their full potential and pick them from the garden to harness their energy. Others are finding their way to the Lotus Garden and want these flowers for themselves. By enlisting the help of Guardian Insects, you may just have the strength required to take control of the Lotus Garden and ultimately achieve true enlightenment.

Rules

The rules are thorough and well written. The only thing that’s not clear in the rulebook is whether or not a player can place Wildflower petals in the player deck with an Exchange Petal Acton. Everything else is pretty clear and after a solid read through of the rulebook, I didn’t need to refer back to it except to remind myself of a rule.

I can’t find a reference for the players’ reminder cards in the rulebook either. I think it may have been an accidental omission or I may have overlooked it.

Lotus is designed for two to four players. We’ve found it plays best with three or four players, but it’s fine with two.

Components

The components for this game are very brightly colored and visually appealing.

Cards Back

There are four player decks and one deck for neutral flower petals. Each of the decks has a different back for easy identification. All of the cards are decent quality and as you can see in this picture, do not wear easily. This copy has been played probably close to 50 times.

Cards Front

The player decks have a player stamp in the top left corner of each card. Most of them have one stamp, but there are a few with two stamps which help you in trying to gain control of the flower it’s played on.

Flowers

There are five flowers, each with a different number of petals which is reflected in the upper left corner of each card – just above the player stamp. Each petal has a guide in the lower right corner of the card. This helps to line up the next petal. When a player completes a flower by placing the last petal on it, they can pick the flower and each petal will count towards their victory points at the end of the game.

Reminder Cards and Tokens

Each player has their own ‘Reminder’ card that gives a turn overview on one side and list of the special actions on the other. Each player also has their own set of Special Power Tokens, which are standard cardboard punch outs. Players earn their special power tokens if they have control over a flower being picked (or choose a token worth five points – see below). Once these tokens are obtained, they apply to that player for the rest of the game. These are powerful and can give you an advantage if obtained early enough.

Guardians

Each player begins with two Insect Guardian Tokens. These tokens help a player to gain control over a flower. The silver tokens are Elder Guardians that give a bigger boost than the regular Guardians. Having all three tokens is definitely a benefit for a player. These tokens are made of wood and painted to match the players’ deck colors.

Point Chips

The point tokens are standard punch out cardboard tokens. They can be obtained when a player has control of a flower that’s being picked. The player can choose one of the three special powers or a victory point token worth five points. It’s very possible to have control over a flower and not be the player that picks the flower. This is actually quite common.

Standard Size Double Sided Clear

Because this game is primarily a card game, I would definitely recommend using sleeves to protect the cards. You could use any standard size sleeves with any kind of backing, but I recommend sleeves with clear backs, like the ones in the picture above. This makes clean up much easier because you can sort the player decks much faster by looking at the backs of the cards.

Setup & Clean Up

Setup is fairly simple. Players will remove petals from their decks, based on the number of players in the game. They will need to remove either one or two of each type of flower petal. It doesn’t take long, especially if you hand each player a deck and tell them how many to take out.

You give each player their two colored Insect Guardians – not the silver one. You place the silver Elder Guardian tokens, the special power tokens, and the five point tokens to the side.

You shuffle the Wildflower deck and then draw four cards from it and place them face up in a row so that all players have access to them. Make sure you don’t put them in the Lotus Garden because that’s where the flowers grow! The Lotus Garden is the open space in the center of the table.

Clean up doesn’t take that long. It goes quickly if each player is sorting the flower petals they have in their possession and then giving them back to the other players. After sorting the cards, you put all the pieces back into their little bags and you’re done!

Game Play

Playing Lotus is easy – winning Lotus takes practice. The rules are simple enough. You must take two actions and you have three different actions to choose from. You can do two of the same action if you have the ability to do so. You can play one or two petal cards, exchange one or two petal cards, and/or move one of your Guardians.

Everything you do should be helping you gain control of a flower or pick a flower. You want to score as many points as possible and picking flowers helps with that, but so does being in control of flower when it’s picked. This is why Lotus is not so easy to win. You have to think four steps ahead of each other player and anticipate what they might do. You know how many cards they have of each petal because it’s the same as what you have. As petals are played, you can deduce who may have which petals still. You want to watch which flowers your opponent is moving Guardians to and what flowers they’re abandoning.

You also need to be careful with your resources and not play petals at the wrong time. If you play enough petals and miscalculate what an opponent has left if their deck and hand, you could lose a lot of points! Or, you could want them to pick a flower because you know you won’t lose control of it – which will give you the special power token or victory points, and all they’ll have are a handful of petals.

Once the last petal is placed on a flower, the flower is picked by that player. They will score each petal (worth one point each) at the end of the game. Sometimes, the player that picked the flower will also have control of it, and sometimes they won’t.

The end of the game is triggered when a player draws the last card in their deck. Each player, including the one that triggered the end game, will get one final turn. After the players have taken their final turn, the remaining incomplete flowers are collected by the players that control them. Then the players tally up their victory points. Each player counts how many petals they have from flowers they picked and add it to the number of victory points on the tokens they collected. The player with the highest total wins!

Conclusion

While it’s probably not a big deal for many folks out there, I’m definitely bothered by the Caterpillar’s design. They should have given it an arch like the art on the back of the card. Though, that’s more of a personal opinion on the design than an functional issue.

Lotus has been a favorite since the day I bought it. It’s simple enough to learn, but has a complex level of game play. It’s a game that forces you to think about what’s been played, what could be left in a deck, and how you can use that information to your advantage.

It’s a power struggle game or a game of giggles and growing flowers with overly pleasing aesthetics. Lotus is how you play it. Not many games out there can claim that.

What the Players Said

Paul – It’s fun, but not really my kind of game.

Wednesday – It’s easy to play.

Katie – It’s my favorite game! I love Lotus.

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

I own a copy of Lotus and have played it many times with lots of different folks. I even used it as a gateway game for someone that doesn’t do much gaming at all and she bought her own copy of it. I recommend giving this game a chance.

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more Dice Masters, HeroClix, and Board Game related content!

Board out and game on!

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