Lotus is a beautiful game released recently by Renegade Studios, in which players take turns laying cards to create up to five different types of flowers ranging from the three-petaled Iris, to the seven-petaled Lotus. Harness the energy of the Lotus Garden and achieve true enlightenment as the winner in this light and delightful game, Lotus.
Lotus (with gorgeous art by Chris Ostrowski by the way, who also did art for Covert as well as FUSE) is a 2-4 player game in which players take turns either placing petals, cycling their hand, or moving their tokens called Guardians around the flowers in the Lotus Garden. Each player has their own draw deck, and the last round begins when a player draws the last card from their draw deck. Whichever player has the most victory points is the winner of Lotus.
Each player at the beginning of the game is given their deck and their two Guardians in matching colors. A separate deck called the Wildflower deck is placed in reach of all players and four of its cards are placed face up – if a player would like to draw cards from the four face-up Wildflower cards instead of their deck, they made do so during the Draw Cards phase of the game.
The starting player is the player with the greenest thumb. On a player’s turn, they may do two actions. These two actions may be done in any order, and a player may choose to do the same action twice. The choices of actions include:
- Playing 1-2 petal cards onto the same flower,
- Placing 1-2 cards from a player’s hand to the bottom of their deck and then drawing the same amount from their deck, and
- Move a Guardian token from a flower in the Lotus Garden to another flower, or from your supply to a flower.
After a player has a done their two actions, they enter the Draw Cards phase in which they draw from either their deck or the Wildflower area so they may have four cards in their hand. The player then passes turn clockwise.
When a flower has reached its required number of petals (indicated by the number above the Guardian symbol on the petal cards), players gain points for the end of the game.
Players first see who has majority rule of the flower. Whoever has the majority number of Guardian symbols on the petals plus their Guardians is the player with the majority. This player may choose to either take a five-point token for the end of the game scoring, or take a Special Power token. There are three power tokens:
- Elder Guardian – Player earns their silver Guardian token, which is worth two instead of one during the majority rule decision.
- Enlightened Path – Player may have five cards in their hand instead of four.
- Infinite Growth – Player may play three or more cards if they choose to play petals on their turn
Whoever placed the final petal card to complete the flower earns the opportunity to Pick the Flower: that player takes all the petal cards from the flower they completed for the end of the game. Each card is worth one victory point each.
The game continues until a player draws their last card from their deck. All players, including the player who drew their last card, gets one final turn. Players then add up their five-point tokens, plus their earned petal cards. Whoever has the most points is the winner.
What I liked:
- The game is very easy to learn and teach. The rulebook was very easy to follow, even down to the font type (which I love and need to learn what it is…).
- The game has a co-op variant for four players, which is a nice option for those who prefer cooperative games.
- The artwork is very serene and peaceful. You almost feel calmed by playing the game, just from looking at it.
What could be better:
- I fear for the replay-ability. Once I earned the three Special Power tokens, it was a simple game of draw cards and play cards. This simplicity can be nice, but it can also prevent long-term game play. Perhaps in the future expansions will become available to prevent this from happening.
I had a great time playing the game. I think I could have played it twice in a row, just to keep myself in the peaceful moment of the game. I enjoyed it, and I think you will too. I give Lotus an A-.