The Lost Cities card game takes you on five fantastic journeys. A treacherous adventure to the Himalayas. Trekking deep into the Brazilian rain forest. Sojourning into a parched desert and diving into the ocean for unimaginable treasure. Finally, descend into an ancient volcano where generous rewards lie waiting. That is, if you are successful! Financial ruin and little reward are in store for those who stumble and lose their way.
How the Game is Played
Place the game board between you and the other player.
Decide on how many rounds to play. Three is recommended which should give you around an hours worth of gaming.
Shuffle the cards and deal 8 cards face down to your opponent and yourself. The remaining cards are placed next to the board.
Players decide on the expeditions they want to go on. An obvious choice is when you get a few cards belonging to a particular expedition.
The numbers go from 2 – 10 and you must always put down a higher card than the last one. The numbers do not have to be consecutive.
Cards are placed just below the image on a board representing one of the available expeditions. You can only place cards on your expeditions, not your opponents.
The numbers on these cards will be tallied up at the end. Twenty points, the cost of the expedition, will be deducted. The remaining amount is your profit. What is left will be multiplied by the investment cards if there are any present.
When a card is put down a new one is picked from the top of the expedition pile or the top card from one of the discard piles.
Lost Cities Discard Pile & Investment Cards
During the game you will often have cards you don’t want or can’t use. Place a card you don’t want on the corresponding picture on the board. So a card belonging to a desert expedition goes on the desert space. Then you can pick up a new card from the expedition deck or from another discard pile. You can’t play the new card though till your next turn.
Each expedition has three investment cards. These are the cards with the handshake symbol on them. They have to be played before placing the first numbered card down. If you happen to get all three during a game before starting a particular expedition you may put all of them down before going on that adventure.
These investment cards will multiply the outcome of an expedition. If you wracked up a total of 20 points after the costs of the expedition were deducted one investment card will multiply it by two. Two investment cards by three and three investment cards by four.
Lost Cities Scoring
When the last card from the expedition deck is used up the round finishes and the scoring begins. Your score minus expedition costs (-20 points for each expedition) and how much you invested up front will determine how well you did.
Let’s have a closer look how this works. The following player went on three expeditions in a one round game.
* Desert Expedition. Cards 2,4,7, 8 and 10.
That’s 31 points minus 20 for expedition costs. So that’s a profit of 11 points.
* Ocean Expedition. Investment card and cards 5,6,7 and 9. That’s 27 points minus 20 points. That’s a profit of 7 points which is doubled thanks to the investment card. So it’s 14.
* Himalayas Expedition. Investment card and cards 2,3,5 and 6. That’s only 16. So it’s 16 minus the 20 expedition cost which is -4. This is doubled because of the investment card to a -8.
So that’s 25 – 8 leaving him with a score of 17.
Lost Cities: Conclusion
Lost Cities is a simple yet fun game. Each set of expedition cards have a graphical story to tell. This game is great for those times when you’re waiting for other players to join you for the big game. Since the game is small it’s also perfect for those who will be travelling a while with a friend or playing with other travelers they meet.
Lost Cities Card Game
The German version of the game is significantly cheaper. While the instructions are probably in German you can easily download the English rules on-line. The cards and board should be no different to the English version.