Author: Martin Wallace

Publisher: TM-Spiele 2000

Awards: none



Der Weisse Lotus is an interesting strategy game which is settled before the background of 14th century China. The players take up the roles of regional lords, trying to conquer the most valuable provinces.

At the beginning of the game each player receives some starting equipment: 3 combat cards, 6 influence cards, 16 building chips (Palaces, Temples, Castles, Villages and Rice-fields), and some variable markers. The gameboard is separated into a number of Regions, and as a preparation some neutral buildings (including 1 Palace) are distributed among a few of the provinces.

The game itself is divided into turns, which are subdivided into certain phases. The first phase is the placement phase. In this phase players are allowed to place markers into Regions which they want to conquer. Each turn they may place up to three markers into different Regions containing neutral building chips, and this maximum can be increase by up to two additional markers for each rice-field a player possesses. If a player is the only player who has paced a marker into a Region, he receives control over this Region without any further process and may exchange the neutral building for one of his own. If, however, several players are interested in one Region, a conflict arises. Players now secretly have to bid influence cards against other players, and the player against whom most influence is bid has to withdraw from this conflict. If more that two players are participating, the bidding of influence cards continues until only one player is left. This player gains control over the province. Important in this phase is the role of the Emperor. Emperor always becomes the player who owns most Palaces, and the Emperor may decide in which order the different conflicts are determined. Thus, players possibly have to save influence cards for conflicts they are especially interested in. Also, if there is a draw in the influence cards played, it is the Emperor who decides who wins the conflict. After all conflicts have been solved, the current Emperor receives one victory point.

In the next phase players may decide whether they want to start a revolt against the Emperor (this kind of revolt is traditionally symbolised by the White Lotus). This revolution-phase reminds a bit of the revolutions in the game Junta, although the revolution itself is much shorter. The players are asked whether one of them wants to start a Revolution, and if this should be the case all other players are asked to declare themselves for the Emperor or against him. After this, all the players secretly play combat cards, and whereas the Emperor may add 2 points to the total for each Palace he possesses, the leader of the Rebels may add 1 point for each Village he controls. The winning side is the side with the highest total, and all participants of the winning side get a benefit. This benefit is either a Region from one of the players of the losing side, or, since each player may only lose one Region, one victory point. After the revolt, the player with most Palaces becomes (remains) Emperor.

In the final phase of the turn new neutral buildings are randomly distributed into so-far uninhabited Regions. Furthermore, each player gets new influence and combat cards, their values depending on the buildings he possesses. So a Castle will bring him two combat points, whereas a Temple brings 3 influence points or a Rice-field brings one of each.

The game ends in the turn where the last Regions are settled, and now players can get additional victory points. Palaces, Temples etc. have different values when making the final calculations, and players can also score points for having occupied the largest area or for occupying certain special Regions. The player with most Victory points wins the game.

As it is usual with TM Spiele since the production of Krieg und Frieden, the graphical standard of Der Weisse Lotus is very high. The game uses very fitting Chinese artwork, and the whole appearance of the game perfectly reflects its setting. The good impression is also confirmed and upheld by the game itself, which offers a good level of strategy. Especially the rules concerning the different incomes certain types of buildings generate are cleverly constructed, and also the position of the Emperor is a quite good invention which offers a perfect playing atmosphere to the game. Furthermore, fans of games with a high diplomatic level will certainly like this game, since, as the rules correctly state, there is a possibility to introduce the possibility of diplomatic discussions and alliances into this game. This would - of course - greatly lengthen the average game duration, but it would nonetheless be a very interesting variant.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany