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Subject: Uncover a mysterious garden in Lotus! rss

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Bert Hui
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Lotus has a beautiful thematic story and the in-game artwork to match! In Lotus, you are cultivating and harnessing the powers of the mystical flowers found inside the mythical Lotus Garden! I’ve always thought to myself eternal life could be kind of cool, and now I can reach it by winning at Lotus! Game play mechanics in Lotus are pretty simple. Every player has her own deck of cards to draw from. Players start with a starting hand of four petal cards and may perform two of the following actions each turn:

x Play Petal Cards
x Move a Guardian
x Exchange Petal cards

There are five different types of flowers with varying numbers of petals required to be completed. Playing a petal card means you can either start a new flower if the flower petal you had in our hand is not yet in the garden or you can add on to an existing flower. Your goal is to complete the flower in the garden by being the person to lay down the last required petal for a flower. When you complete a flower, two things happen:

x The player who placed the last flower petal completing the flower gains the petal cards as points
x The player who has the most influence on the completed flowers gains a bonus reward of her choice

Players gain influence on a flower by playing petal cards from their hands. Each flower petal in your deck contains either one or two guardians. Once a flower in the garden is completed, count up the number of guardians each player has. The player with the most guardians has the most influence and chooses either 1) a special power not yet owned or 2) extra victory points. Play continues until one player’s deck runs out of cards. Points are scored once that occurs.

I enjoyed Lotus as it’s a very friendly game to introduce new game players to area control and set collection/trick-taking games. Card players who play games like gin rummy will be familiar with the concept and will have a breeze picking up that concept. The special powers include things like unlocking an Elder Guardian worth 2 influence rather than the usual 1 or being able to play more cards per turn or just having a larger hand size to have more cards to choose from. Unlocking these special powers early can give players an advantage over their opponents, but will you? Or will you try to gain additional victory points instead of the special powers? I’ve played both ways and have won both ways, so it’s testament to how well-designed Lotus is because whatever strategy you pick is situational. My favorite part of this game is the number of decisions players can make figuring out how to have the most influence and then after that, determining if players want special powers or want additional victory points. Victory points immediately put you ahead, but special powers allow you get earn victory points easier. Lotus allows for different players and play styles to win and so each game can keep changing depending on how players want to play. It’s a great game with high replayability in a gorgeously-themed game sure to attract experienced and beginner gamers alike.
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