We here at To The Table will be starting a new series: Designer of the Month. Each month. we will dedicate an entire month to one game designer that has we think hat has been influential in the hobby. Some of the entries for the month of May will be for games by Reiner Knizia.
Reiner’s games range from bidding games like RA to area control games like Tigris & Euphrates, set collection games like Money and many things in between. Also, all of his games seems to have a little twist that makes you think and stay on your toes!
Without further ado today’s game is Lost Cities…
Lost Cities is a 2 player game in the Kosmos 2 player line. In Lost Cities the two players will go on expeditions within the 5 colors/suits in the game.
In the game you will find a deck of cards
A board for the discards
Before I go into a quick game play overview, let’s talk about the cards found in the deck.
In the deck you will find 5 different colored suits with numbers ranging from 2-10. The numbered cards represent you going an adventure trying to find and explore that color’s ruin or monument (the 10). Also, in each color, you will find 3 handshake cards. Handshakes are played before any numbers in a color. These cards will multiply your score 2X, 3X or even 4X your final score in the color, positive or negative.
Game play overview
You will start with 8 randomly dealt cards from the deck. On your turn you will:
A: Play or discard a card
B Draw a card
A. If you decide to play a card, you must play that card on your side of the board underneath the the color’s discard pile.
1a Starting/continuing an expeditions
Going on expeditions is the way you score points. Whenever you play your first card in a color, you will earn -20 points. Throughout the course of play, your goal is to play cards to bring that -20 into a positive score. When playing number cards, they must ascend in value, not necessarily in sequential order. Any numbers skipped this way can’t be added in latter.
In order to play the handshake cards, they must be the first cards you play before any number card. The first one doubles, the second one triples and the third will quadruples your total score in that color. Handshakes are safe discards after you play your first number in each color.
a2. Discard a card
Discard a card to the appropriate discard pile
B. Draw a card
When drawing a card, you can either draw from the top of the deck, or one of the already discarded cards (except the card you just discarded)
These two steps are repeated by both players until the last card of the deck has been drawn. Any cards remaining in your hand mean nothing.
Each player will now score their expeditions. -20 points to start each expedition, count all the numbers in that color. Hopefully, you scored more that 20 points! The multiply the final total by the number of handshake cards. (1= X2, 2= X4, 3= X4)
Ex Blue: 6+8+10= 24-20= 4 X 1 handshake= 8 points in Blue
Red: 2+4+5+6+9+10= 36-20= 16 X 3 handshakes= 64 in Red
Green: 2+3+7=12-20= -8 X 2 handshakes= -24
Grand Total= 48
Important: If you manage to have 8 or more cards in an expedition, you gain 20 bonus points for that expedition
After combining your scores together, you will get your total score for the round. Continue playing in this manner until you either play 3 full rounds, or as many as desired. The player with the highest score at the end wins!
My Thoughts: I think Lost Cities is a fun 2 player game. Quick and easy to learn . It might be an easy game, but I think there’s some subtle strategies within the game. You tend on watching what your opponent is doing and try not to give them certain cards. Timing is also very interesting, because you can control the speed of the game by whenever you draw cards. Drawing from the deck speeds up the game, and drawing from the discards gives players more time.
Lost Cities was my first Knizia game. From there I got RA, Medici, and Money. To this day, Knizia is one of my favorite designers!