Lanterns Dice Review

The sky is being set ablaze with beautiful fireworks. The water is like a mirror, reflecting all the colorful lanterns floating in honor of the annual harvest festival. Players are competing to put together the best display and earn honor from the emperor. Are you ready to play Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky?

Pools of Color

The original Lanterns, released in 2015, is a beautiful tile laying game that fills your table with lanterns in 7 different colors. Lanterns Dice from Renegade and Foxtrot Games, follows in the footsteps of the original game in a new roll and write format.

Each player is given a unique player sheet filled with lantern pools in 6 different colors. The active player will roll 4 dice with colorful lanterns on each side. These dice are rolled into a purple plastic tray that will be used to assign the dice to different players. The active player will turn the dice tray, pointing specific dice to the players at the table (between 2 to 4 players).

Players will shade a pool on their sheet that matches the die they pick or get assigned. Shading in a pavilion on the sheet will allow players to receive gifts from the emperor. Shading in both parts of a platform will allow you to shade in an adjacent pool. While much of Lanterns Dice has players shading in a single color, the game really awards players that can chain together powerful combinations.

Impressing the Emperor

Players can collect gifts during the game and turn in 1, 2 or 3 gifts to take an Emperor Action. It’s very satisfying when these actions lead to additional bonuses. Emperor Actions can be spent on any player’s turn, not just when you are the active player.

One of the goals in Lanterns Dice is to create a beautiful fireworks display in the night sky. Players want to group together shaded pools in order to claim firework tiles that are in the middle of the table. These polyomino cardboard tiles cover 3 to 5 squares in different configurations. You want to be the first to claim these tiles because they decrease in point value as they are taken.

Fireworks will award players the number of points shown on the tiles. Players also receive points based on their second largest shaded area of pools and 4 points for each boat that is surrounded by 4 shaded pools.

Light Up the Sky

Lanterns Dice is an excellent medium-weight roll and write game that gives players lots of opportunities to make combinations. Even when you don’t get the colored die that you need, there is still so much that can happen on that little player sheet if you plan ahead. The game comes with double sided Emperor Action cards that add a slight variation to the game.

While I’m a big fan of the bright colors, chunky dice and great gameplay, I feel like the players sheets are the most frustrating part of the game. The colors on the sheets don’t have the vibrancy of the dice and in dimmer lighting, it’s very common for a person to ask for confirmation on specific colors. The yellow looks like orange and the purple looks like red in certain lighting. It’s even more of an issue when playing with people that have color blindness like my son. The colors on the player sheets feel muted and the light purple pattern behind all of this can really clash in some lighting conditions.

For many people this may not be a big deal. But for people with vision issues, this is a real barrier to playing this game. We’ve found that playing in good lighting and making sure players feel comfortable asking for help can take care of this issue. We’ve also found that felt tip markers work really well on the sheets while #2 pencils usually have us questioning which pools we filled in later in the game.

Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky is an excellent game that brings together the beauty of the original Lanterns while creating something new in one of the hottest genres of 2019. As a big fan of roll and write games, Lanterns Dice has definitely earned a place on our family game shelf.

You can pick up Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky from your local game store or online on Amazon today.

Highs

  • Chaining together the right combinations feels excellent
  • Lots of player decisions with the random nature of the dice thrown in
  • Simple to teach without being too basic

Lows

  • The colors on the player sheets have some issues
  • Wish the game came with felt tip markers