Lost Cities – the board game

Lost Cities is a board game designed by Reiner Knizia and published by Rio Grande Games.

Players compete to explore one of five lost cities, moving along a track by playing numbered cards to get closer to the goal. The closer you get, the more points you score.

It’s a nice quick game, easy to learn and fast to play. It’s possible to play with either three rounds or one, and a one round game is a good way to finish an evening when there’s not enough time to play a longer game, or a good way to start when waiting for a tardy player.

There are 110 cards, with two sets numbered 0 to 10 in each colour. To take a step along a path you play one card, and then to take another step you must play a card of the same value or higher.

Turns are quick, either playing a card or discarding, then drawing to refill your hand.

As you move along the tracks there are certain bonus tiles, either extra points, free moves or artefacts (worth points at the end of the game). The bonus tiles are randomly dealt at the start of the game, and great attention needs to be taken of them to ensure victory.

You have five playing pieces to move along the tracks, one is larger than the others, and worth double points. It’s important to send this piece along your best scoring track, to maximise its value. A piece that only moves a couple of spaces will lose points, so don’t start along a track unless you are sure it is possible to move a fair way along it.

The game finishes when all cards are used, or when five pieces have crossed a bridge (about 2/3 along a path). Then each player scores their points, and a winner is declared.

This is a fun game to fill a spare half hour / hour. It’s unlikely to hold up to many repeated plays, and it’s not going to replace your favourite game any time soon.

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