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Lost Cities
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Lost Cities

English language edition

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 20-40 minutes 2

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Kosmos

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Product Description

Lost Cities is a game of exploring ancient ruins and is one of the best two player games ever designed - one of Reiner Knizia's masterpieces. A game that has been played by thousands of couples, each player is attempting to play cards in sequences that will score many points for them. Each turn, players simply play or discard one card, then draw one card. Players attempt to wait as long as possible to play high cards for themselves and hold cards that their opponents want. It is the ultimate two player game and can be finished in less than thirty minutes. This addicting game is three rounds of card laying fun!

Product Awards

Major FUN
Award Winner, 2007
International Gamers Awards
Best 2-Player Game, 2000

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Kosmos

  • Year: 1999

  • Players: 2

  • Time: 20 - 40 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 455 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.


  • 1 board
  • 60 over-sized cards
  • 1 rule booklet

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.9 in 99 reviews

by A Gamer
Excellent two player game
November 06, 2009

Writing this review to contradict some of the points made by the previous reviewer.

It's an extremely simple game, but because it's mechanics are entirely mathematical, it has a fairly rich potential for strategy, provided both you and your opponent have played a few times. It's one of the best two player games I've found.

The basic gist of the rules is, you build different stacks of colored cards from #0 to 10, in order. You can skip numbers, but you only lay them down in sequential order. So if you play a 5, then an 8, and later draw a 6, you can't play it. It "costs" -20 points any time you start a column. So you need to score at least 20 points to break even on any color you start building a column for. You can start columns with "doubler, or tripler" cards that double or tripple the points you earn, but if you aren't careful to complete at least 20 points, you will earn double or triple negative points.

You must play a card into a column, or ditch a card, and THEN you get to draw a card, from any of the ditched piles, or the draw deck. Making you play before drawing makes it always a nerve racking choice.

The game is not all that based on luck. It's true you might get lucky and get all the cards you need, but more often than not, both you and your opponent are stuck with cards you don't need... yet.

The heart of the game is deciding whether you are going to take risks, or play conservatively, which is a decision based on your ability to read your opponent's strategy based on the actions he is taking (watching what cards he is ditching or building with, and when he does so).

Also, the game manual suggests you keep a running tally of a couple games. This is a good idea, it tends to balance out the luck factor.

Once you play a few rounds, you and your opponent will grasp the basic gist of the scoring, and you then realize that the game much more about playing the other player, than playing the cards you've been given.

The main choice to make is: do you spread yourself thin starting columns in various colors hoping you get enough to not have negative points? Or do you concentrate on a few colors to guarantee you'll get points and hope your opponent isn't hording the same color you are betting on? In part this decision is made after seeing your starting hand, and learning what style of play your opponent favors.

The second main choice in the game is choosing what to ditch to make room for the cards you want, because if you ditch a card that your opponent wants, you've just given him points, and if you are hording cards that your opponent is also hording, you're wasting time you could be making points with another color. Sometimes its worth keeping things until your opponent is unable to use them, or you notice him ditching the same color.

Sometimes it's better to build toward zero points for a column that to ditch cards that your opponent might want. For example, if you're only green card is an 8... you can assume that you're opponent has a few green cards as well, so don't ditch it. Even if it means you are forced to start building in a color you aren't quite sure will earn you more than 20 points.

Keeping an eye on the draw pile (which you are allowed to count) gives you a sense of how many actions you have left (as the game ends when the draw pile is exhausted). Remember that if you draw from the ditched cards instead of the draw pile you extend the amount of plays you and your opponent get.

Also, as your opponent gets smarter about the game, you find yourself holding onto cards you could be playing, just to keep your opponent guessing. You notice he has played a few low point yellow cards. You have a streak of 7,8,9 in yellows in your hand, but you don't play them because you want to keep the hope alive for him to get yellow so he doesn't commit to some other color that is more likely to earn him points.

I hope I've shown some ways in which this is a rather strategic game, not just luck based.

Has become a family favorite
August 18, 2007

My wife and I come back to this game again and again. It is a great way to spend just a few minutes waiting for dinner, or a longer time together late in the evening. What makes this game special is the fact that you are not (always) required to apply a lot of energy into "strategic thinking".

If your mood is such, you can have just as much fun playing it without too much thought. We have worn out the cards from so much playing and need to buy another copy!!

by Game Guru
Play Again and Again
April 27, 2007

I play this with my husband over and over again. Each time I get a little sense of panic if I am going to make the 20 point mark in the colors I go for. This is a great game. I also recommend Relikt. Which is a great stategy game.

Show all 99 reviews >

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