Thrift Treasure: Lost Cities

Thrift Treasure: Lost Cities

If it’s a good deal on a game at our local Goodwill, we’ll usually buy it. We may not get around to playing it right away, but it’ll eventually hit the table. Last year we noticed a game by a company that we had written about before, Rio Grande Games. Boxcars became such a favorite that we eventually named it as one of our Top 10 Games of 2014 (2nd place)!

Fast-forward to this past fall when we’re attending our local gaming convention. Between longer games, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to try a quick card game that was one of his favorites – so much so that he had also purchased the iOS app and played it daily on his phone. It turned out it was the exact same game I had purchased many months before; Lost Cities. I guess it is time to break out the copy I bought.

We may not play our Thrift Treasures right away, but we always end up getting them to the table. Lost Cities was one we wish we hadn't waited so long! - SahmReviews.com

In Lost Cities you are each taking on the role of an explorer trying to complete an expedition (or five). A custom deck of tarot-sized cards is included with five different colored suits. Each suit has one each of the numbers two through ten and three ‘shaking-hands’ cards.

We may not play our Thrift Treasures right away, but we always end up getting them to the table. Lost Cities was one we wish we hadn't waited so long! - SahmReviews.com

Each player is dealt a hand of eight cards. On your turn you can take one of two actions: play a card to your expedition area in front of you or discard a card to the middle on the supplied game board.

We may not play our Thrift Treasures right away, but we always end up getting them to the table. Lost Cities was one we wish we hadn't waited so long! - SahmReviews.com

You and your opponent are each working on your own sets of suits (each representing an individual expedition). To play a card you must play a number higher than the previous one you laid down in that suit. If you haven’t begun working on that color, you can play any card to begin, but remembering that your next card must be higher. If you have a lower card in your hand (or draw one later), that will be a perfect discard card.

We may not play our Thrift Treasures right away, but we always end up getting them to the table. Lost Cities was one we wish we hadn't waited so long! - SahmReviews.com

After you have played or discarded one card, you then draw a new card from the deck or take one of the top-most cards on the five suited discard piles.

We may not play our Thrift Treasures right away, but we always end up getting them to the table. Lost Cities was one we wish we hadn't waited so long! - SahmReviews.com

Each expedition has a cost of 20 points associated with it, so you have to make sure the total of the cards you lay in a series exceeds that amount or you will score negative points for that adventure. If you are confident you will exceed a total of 20, you may elect to play a “shaking hands” card to the beginning of the pile. This card represents additional investments you are making in your journey. Complete it successfully and you will multiply your total by 2x/3x/4x, depending on the number of investment cards you played before beginning the trek.

We may not play our Thrift Treasures right away, but we always end up getting them to the table. Lost Cities was one we wish we hadn't waited so long! - SahmReviews.com

Players take turns until the last card is drawn from the deck, which ends the round immediately. Each expedition is scored individually and the total of up to five (if you attempted all suits) is your score for the round. The game is typically played over a predetermined number of rounds (3, 5, etc.).

Taking note of how many cards are left in the deck will help you decide which cards to play and which to hold. You might also decide to draw from the discards to delay the end of the game until you have time to play all the cards you wish. Your opponent may see that you are spread too thin and purposely draw from the main pile to end the round quicker, potentially causing you to have failed expeditions. As you can see, it is more than just the luck of the draw. The order you play coupled with the timing of the end of the round all play into the hidden strategies of the game.

Lost Cities is no longer offered by Rio Grande Games, but is still available new from Kosmos on Amazon. At well under $20, it is very easy to teach and the short rounds (about 5 minutes each) keeps the play moving along. This is a newer game by a very popular game designer, Reiner Knizia (Village, Too Many Cooks), so I wouldn’t expect to see too many copies at your local thrift store. It’s a nice light card game that travels well and will appeal to the non-gamer in the group!

Scott

About Scott

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as SahmReviews.com, GiftCardCollector.com and a number of other online properties. He also is an occasional writer and full-time board game fanatic.

17 comments on «Thrift Treasure: Lost Cities»

  1. Brad R says:

    Great grab! highly rated 2 player game over on BGG. hope to get it for the wife and I sooner or later.

  2. Trisha says:

    This game sounds really interesting and I love that players take on the role of an explorer. I could see myself getting into this if I owned it. I’m sure my nephews would enjoy it also.

  3. Stephen says:

    I’ve heard some good things about this. Glad you got a chance to check it out. I don’t really have the people to play it with but would definitely check it out if someone else had it.

  4. Laura says:

    I would love to play this! Anything to do with exploration and strategy is a reall winner for our family.

  5. Kerri says:

    You always find the most interesting games. I find that now that my girls are getting older, they are more interested in trying new games and not just the same ones. This would be good to add to our collection.

  6. James says:

    Looks like fun!

  7. You always find the coolest games- this looks like a lot of fun for the family!

  8. Jennifer B says:

    This looks like a really fun game that my kids would enjoy! Might need to add this to my gift list!

  9. cristine says:

    I like games that require kids to think. Strategy games get them out of zoning off – anything that will get kids to think and react is perfect for our family.

  10. chastity says:

    Nice find! Our goodwill is very hit or miss – will have to check for this game next time we are out shopping.

  11. Kimberly Dickerson says:

    I love it when kids play card games instead of video games. Games like this teach patience, reasoning, social skills, and strategy.
    P.S. I like to buy games at Goodwill too 🙂

  12. diabetico says:

    It seems to be a good strategy game play proves, I think a friend has, but I think it has good structure

  13. Dandi D says:

    This looks like a really fun game to play with my family.

  14. Ellie C. says:

    This looks like so much fun–I love going to the thrift store and finding things like this!

  15. Jemma Andrew-Adiamah says:

    This game sounds like so much fun! My brother would love something like this.

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