You have dreamed your whole life of adventure, exploration, and treasure…. You grab your compass, a map, pocket knife, some rope, and put on your best hiking boots. You were able to obtain funding from a wealthy benefactor so you're off to see the world, discover artifacts and treasures, and possibly make it rich. The rules may seem simple, but the decisions will be tough.
At the start of the game, you are going to place the expedition board in the center between the two players. Lost Cities (2019) has a 5 expedition board on one side and a 6 expedition board on the other side. So you have the option of a regular game or a long game. For a 6 expedition game you are going to shuffle up the 72 cards and give each player 8 face down. The remainder of the cards will form the communal draw pile. The rule book says the oldest player goes first. However, I personally feel you can decide this whichever way you deem fit (flip a coin, rock paper scissors, or just trade off). Play is easy to grasp as you are going to play a card then draw a card. You MUST do both in that order! The player that best manages different expeditions to explore Lost Cities (without overextending themselves) wins the game. Rounds last roughly 10 minutes and the rule book suggests you play 3 rounds.
Game play is fairly straightforward, or is it….. remember on your turn you are going to play a card then draw a card. Cards played can be used to start an expedition, continue an expedition, or be discarded. Let's discuss the cards for a moment as it is important to understand how to play them. There will be wager cards (they look like 2 people shaking hands) and card sets in each color numbered 2 through 10 and 3 wager cards. Wager cards can only be played at the start of the expedition once you play a number card; a wager can no longer be played on your expedition in that color. Number cards can only be played in increasing amounts. So if your expedition had a 3 played on it last, then you could play any card higher than that (never lower). If you can’t or don't want to play a card on an expedition, you can discard it. To discard a card, place it face up on the matching color on the expedition board. Now it's time to draw a card. You can either take a face down card from the draw pile or you can take a face up card from the discards on the expedition board (you may only take the top card). The round ends when the draw pile is depleted (as soon as a player draws the last card).
Do not let the simple rules and fast game play deceive you. There are so many tough choices to be made. Decisions, decisions, decisions….
Scoring is where things get fun. You know that benefactor that spotted you cash when you began? Well…... They want it back! So before you can even think about making some cash you’ll have to ante up the expedition cost (-20 points) for every expedition you started and each expedition will score on its own. Your round total is the sum of your expedition(s) totals. I’ll give you some scoring examples shortly but before I do I have a few things to note. Each expedition (color) has 3 wager cards that can be played. If one, two, or three wager cards were played at the start of the expedition then multiply by two, three, or four respectively. Also, if you happen to have played at least 8 cards in an expedition, you’ll get a bonus 20 points at the end. Check out some of the scoring examples below!
Sunday: 1 pm - 12 am
Monday: 10 am - 10 pm
Tuesday: 10 am - 10 pm
Wednesday: 10 am - 12 am
Thursday: 10 am - 12 am
Friday: 10 am - 12 am
Saturday: 10 am - 12 am