Disclaimer: This preview is from a prototype copy of the game that was provided by Royal N. Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game.
Game: LOTS: A competitive tower building game
Publisher: Royal N. Games
Design: Zachary Connelly
Art: Claire Donaldson
Mechanisms: Pattern building, dexterity
Number of Players: 1 – 4
Game Time: 20 – 30 minutes
Description: LOTS is a competitive building game where 1 to 4 construction pros go head to head in order to get points while building a tower together.
LOTS is not your typical dexterity game – in fact, it’s only a dexterity game because you’re building something, not because it’s the core of the game. The core of the game is related to how many points you’re going to be able to get.
At the beginning of the game, everyone rolls the die. This die tells you what your starting polyomino (Tetris-style 3D piece) is going to be. Everyone also gets a card with a one-time special ability printed on it. Then, you choose a first player and get started!
On your turn, you roll the die and grab another piece. Then, you pick between your two pieces and place it on the tower. But, be careful – you have to stay within the “footprint” that you’ve chosen as your base.
After you place one of your pieces, you get points based on two factors:
1 – Is your piece touching any blocks of the same color? If so, you get 2 per same-colored block you’re touching.
2 – Did you complete a floor? If so, you get 5 points per floor you completed.
If you knocked over anything while you’re placing your block, you remove those pieces from the game and you get no points for your turn.
Your special ability cards can help you to get additional points, allow you to “piggy back” on others’ points, or do other abilities to help you get ahead.
And that’s it! There’s a particular point threshold for each player count, and whoever hits that threshold first is the best contractor on the job!
Review: First off, we want you to know that the pictures you see are a prototype, 3D printed pieces and not final cards/footprints. We talked to Zach at Royal N. Games about what the final product would look like, and it looks pretty awesome. The pieces in the final game are wooden, the cards are made out of solid card stock, and the board is nice, solid cardboard. So keep that in mind as you continue reading.
LOTS is a lovely family-weight game – and that’s what you need to know when you come into it. It’s not going to be some big strategy title – and it’s not trying to be. It’s a simple to learn game that has a few moving parts. It’s great for kids that are learning about color recognition and spatial reasoning; it’s still a neat puzzle for adults because spatial reasoning is hard for everyone sometimes.
The art is fantastic – Claire did a great job, and I really appreciate that Zach really went above and beyond in terms of diversity. The architect card even has an individual in a wheelchair – how cool is that? Seriously, the art is absolutely charming and every card just gives me a big smile when I look at them.
Like I said in the description, dexterity is only a part of it. While you do get penalized for knocking down the tower, it’s not about that. It’s about looking at the big picture and building out the 3D puzzle in a manner that can help you to get the most points when all is said and done.
There are plenty of catch-up mechanisms in the game, which just makes it fantastic for families. They are both on the score track. The last person to go past the single block space gets the purple block, which they can play as a free action a later turn. The last person to go past the card symbol on the score track gets to draw another action card. These are just little things that help to keep everyone on a level playing field.
The variety of options for your footprint base adds another layer of challenge to the game. This is where the real challenge comes into play. The first level is just a 2×5 rectangle that you need to stay in, but the other footprints are all over the place, with random squares here and there, and that provides a whole new level of spatial reasoning.
Sarah played the solo mode, and she thought it was a clever implementation of this puzzly game. She enjoyed the difficulty of the puzzle and it fit perfectly into a short (20-30 minute) time frame, making it a solid option if you like to do solo-style puzzles but don’t have a lot of time.
Polyominos have taken the gaming world by storm, and it was only a matter of time before a 3D option came out. LOTS is the perfect solution for a 3D polyomino game – simple enough for kids to play, challenging for adults, all on a level playing field so that families can play together.
Kickstarter Info: LOTS is coming to Kickstarter on September 9th. You can back one copy for $25, or two copies for $48. Shipping will be charged in the pledge manager after the campaign is over. We’ll update with the Kickstarter link when this goes live!