Want to unearth the secrets of the world? How about racing to discover the remnants of civilizations from ages ago?! If so, then Lost Cities: The Board Game from Thames & Kosmos is the board game for the inner explorer in you.
Lost Cities: The Board Game was released on March 2015 alongside with it’s sister product Lost Cities: The Original Card Game. The setting of Lost Cities: The Board Game sets you and three other players as leaders of research teams ready to embark on wondrous adventures to discover ancient cities from an era long forgotten.
Lost Cities pits each player in a race to explore as much as possible on up to five expeditions. You have five pieces, one researcher and four explorers. The goal is to advance all your pieces to collect and progress throughout the five lost cities. In order to progress, movement is decided through cards you are dealt with and must be played with strategy involved and depends on the situation. Determining what cards to hold on to, where to advance, and what to discard makes for skilled explorers. The winning condition comes from points at the end of each expedition, counting all the artifacts collected, where the pieces are on the board, and checkpoints reached.
In order to advance your pieces in Lost Cities, you have to play cards that match to the corresponding city color, and value. To advance along the same path you must play a card that is of equal value or higher value. Also along the path you can collect green tokens that might be laying on the play spaces. This is where you can stop your opponents dead in their tracks from collecting points. You can also stumble upon shortcuts to gain a bigger lead. Stair tokens can advance a piece one place forward along the play area. The checkpoints, which are denoted by blue tokens with the red numbers, award you points based on the number displayed in red. Therefore, there are many ways to get points and score big.
A game’s length depends on how many expeditions, or rounds, the players agree on. Lost Cities can be played for a quick run of one expedition which can run for a little less than 30 minutes while a normal play-through consists of three expeditions. An expedition ends when five pieces cross the Bridge and it doesn’t matter which path it’s on. When the expedition is over, players add points depending on how many artifacts were collected. Points are then added OR subtracted depending on where all your explorers and researchers are on the board.
The researcher, the bigger piece, counts as a double-point multiplier, so if it ended up on a 15 value space in the Blue path, it would count as 30. Depending on how many artifacts each player has collected can also add or maybe even deduct points as determined on the artifact counter on the top of the board. It’s very important to make sure your explorers are in the right places when an expedition is coming to an end.
As a board game aficionado, I find Lost Cities: The Board Game very charming and also offers a perspective on how you have to consistently manage and react to everything going on. The player pieces are wood-carved pieces and feel awesome to pick up and place. Its pretty cool that they look like mini Indiana Joneses as well! Lost Cities: The Board Game offers a lot of strategy and plenty of resource/placement management that can keep the game fresh. My only negative comment is that I wish that the tokens could be stored in the packaging a little more neatly. There are no dividers or bags to store for them. Once you read through the rulebook and have everyone on the same page, Lost Cities: The Board Game feels like a solid addition to any game night.
I’m looking forward to playing it again!