Board games for couples: Lost Cities

Our board games for couples reviews would hardly be complete if we overlooked the Kosmos series of 2 player games. This time around, we explore Lost Cities, an “oldie but goodie” from renowned designer Reiner Knizia. There’s a board game now, but we’ve only ever played the card game.

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Complexity: low

Lost Cities is a relatively simple card game that’s easy to learn but difficult to master. Each turn, you must play (or discard) a card before drawing a new one, and it’s rarely clear which card you should get rid of. The most complex aspect of the game is probably computing your score at the end, which involves a little math.

Interaction: low

There’s no direct interaction in Lost Cities. The main source is the shared card pool and discard pile: “Are you holding my red 5 right now? Should I play my 6 or be a little more patient?”

One nice thing about this game is that the turns are short, so there’s little waiting. The rounds are also short, and we usually play best of three. While we’re shuffling cards for the next round, we usually get some conversation in.

Confrontation: low

There’s no conflict other than the shared card pool. Since the cards are completely random, there are never any hard feelings after a game.

Length: 30 minutes

The box says 30 minutes but we can usually get through 3 games within an hour.

Value: high

We play this game a lot and it only cost $25. Even better, you’ll have extra opportunities to play because it travels so well (just a deck of cards, really).

Overall

Lost Cities has a lot going for it: randomness and yet strategy (inexperienced players still have a chance), shallow learning curve and quick playthroughs. Over the years, we have introduced several other couples to this game and they’ve always been pleasantly surprised, even “non-gamers”. The only negative we’ve heard is that it’s fairly abstract, which is definitely true, though the theme comes through a little in the card art.

In any case, we totally recommend trying Lost Cities. We hope to review more games from the Kosmos series in the future.

View more board games for couples reviews.

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