Rolling with Benny and the Lantern Dice

Rolling with Benny and the Lantern Dice

July 29, 2019 1 By Ryan Sanders

Benny reviews the roll and write Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky, from Renagrade Game Studios

Hi friends, welcome! Today we are looking at lighting up one’s world in the sky and on the lake. The emperor has asked you to step your game up from just floating lanterns for the harvest festival, now he would like to see fireworks also! 

In Chris Bryan’s game that’s just what you’re doing! I’m a fan of the way Favelas works, though haven’t had a chance to play it. In Favelas as well as Lanterns Dice you are working on a spatial puzzle. 

In Lanterns Dice, you roll dice, then write on spaces. You will also have the chance to place firework polyomino tiles on your sheet. Your die roll provides each player at the table a die, which you have some control over by turning the dice tray. Then you mark out a triangle matching the color on your sheet. This can lead to some fun combos when you fill in both triangles with the Square, Platform, on them, then you can shade an orthogonally adjacent triangle. Pretty cool how that all works. You can also receive Gifts by shading a triangle with a Pavillion, Circle, on it. The Gifts can be used to activate the Emperor cards in values 1, 2, 3. They have an effect such as being able to fill in more triangles. Again, combos are present! Get those Gifts, then flip them for more effects. Gifts can additionally be used to reroll the dice by spending 1 for each reroll. 

This game deserves credit for thinking through the development and looking at options. The double-sided emperor cards are a great idea and give 8 combinations of cards for play. Also having a variety of polyomino shapes to choose from is very helpful. Additionally, though the player sheets have the same lake that you are coloring in, the turn bonuses for when you are the dice roller, are different on sheets A, B, C, D. So make sure each player gets a different letter on their sheet. 

Additionally, your focus is on scoring in 3 areas: filling in both triangles of each space orthogonally adjacent to the Boats. There are 4 of those for a possible 16 points. You will also score points for the printed value of the fireworks polyominoes. Your last area of concern is the pools. Each time you fill in a pair of triangles, you start a pool. Each pool is expanded by the other orthogonally adjacent squares. You get to score 1 point for each square in the second biggest pool. This includes pools that have fireworks tiles laid over them. 

I really enjoy this one. Foxtrot, Renegade, and Chris have a hit on their hands! You can see the influences of euro games especially Uwe’s most recent trilogy. Lantern’s Dice really stands on its own though where those games can feel like ideas, this is a complete game ready to pick up and play!

Until next time, friends, be kind and enjoy some roll and writes!

Full disclosure: The copy of Lanterns Dice I own was a gift from my good buddy Derik Duley who sent it to me via amazon.com. Also, despite the proximity, I have never met Chris Bryan in person. Maybe one day I can fix that. He seems like a really cool guy and he’s doing a lot of cool stuff in game design right now. 


About the Reviewer: Benny is the game designer behind Yakitori and Bones of the Caribbean. Lover of roll and write games, husband, and father of three. When Benny isn’t playing or designing roll and writes, he can be found gardening in his fruit and vegetable garden. Benny Sperling can be found on Twitter at @benny275.