Thursday, August 30, 2012

Every 100 Games Series - Lost Cities

I've gotten a bit behind on my Every 100 Games Review, but my 3,200th game played was Lost Cities. I first played Lost Cities several years ago, I'm thinking around 2007, when Krista and I were waiting for another game to end so we could get in. Now I own it, so here is the breakdown of the game.

The Stuff
Lost Cities comes with a board, which for game play purposes isn't really required, but it is nice to have. On the board you'll be placing discarded cards of five different colors, numbered 1-10. Each color also has 3 Hand Shake cards which are multipliers for scoring. These cards are nice big tarot sized cards, the art it nice, and everything is of good quality and fits in a small square box. You really can't go to wrong with the stuff.

Game Play
On your turn you play a card and draw a card. That's it. So the game itself if very simple to actually play. When you play a card, you must either play a card to one of the five expeditions (colors) in front of you and the card numbers must always increase, so multipliers must be first, then the 1, 2, 3, 4...okay you get the idea. You can skip numbers, but you can't ever go back below the last one that was played on your expedition. You then draw a card, either from the draw pile or one of the face up discard piles on the board. The round ends when the draw pile is empty. Each player then adds up their points on each expedition, minus the -20 that if started expeditions have, and the player with the most points after 3 rounds wins.

My Thoughts
Well, to say I love Lost Cities wouldn't be truthful, but I can say that I like it. There is plenty of luck in the game, but plenty of strategy as well. A big part of the game, at least in my mind, is playing chicken with your opponent. You try to hold out as long as you can with discarding a card they want, since once they've played a blue 4 you know they cannot play a blue 3. You can also, if you're willing to take a hit yourself, try and get that high valued card in order to stop them from getting it and thus getting negative points for that color expedition.

When I first played this game, I thought it was all right, but my wife really enjoyed the game. A few years went by and when I won a gift certificate to Thoughthammer, I asked her what game she'd like to buy and this was her choice. So she liked it enough to purchase it. Now that we've owned it and played it more, I've found I have gotten better at the game, so it does reward extended play and understanding the game more.

My Recommendations
I'm going to try a new section on these Every 100 Games reviews, the recommendation section. Where I make recommendations on specific types of people to buy and not buy this game.

The Gamer -  I'd say this is a play before you buy title. It's a two player game, it's fast, it doesn't see hardly any play at game days.
The Couple - This is a buy for the couple who wants to play games together. It isn't too mean, it plays quick, and if one of the spouses isn't much of a gamer, it is simple enough. Though the math can get a bit daunting for some people.
The Rummy Player - This is the guy that enjoys 500 rummy and collecting sets. This is the one that will enjoy this game. Numbers don't bother this player and theme doesn't either, so I'd suggest if your mom or dad or cousin enjoys playing rummy with you that they'd also like this game.
The Attacker - If you are looking for confrontation, dice rolling, screams and yells of your vanquished opponent, then this isn't the game for you. Just move along.
The Donkey - Are you kidding me? Donkey's don't play games. This one or another.

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