Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Lost Cities: The Board Game

Lost Cities: The Board Game

Spring 2015 Games
Ages: 10 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $39.95

The premise is similar to the longtime favorite Lost Cities Card Game: Players are heading out on expeditions to find rare archeological locations-lost cities.

Here too, gameplay begins with cards. Each player is dealt eight expedition cards, and then must lay down one of them to move their piece along any of the five pathways on the game board leading to a distinctive, color-coded archeological location. The deck of cards is split between the five colors and imagery representing five Lost Cities.

Depending on the cards in their hands, players decide which expeditions make the most sense. If you're holding several lower-numbered blue cards, for example, you would start off on the blue Underwater Temple expedition. With each turn, a player lays down another higher-numbered card for one of his expeditions and moves his explorer piece along the board-game path toward the end, and then draws another card. Players can also discard a card and take a new one.

Adding to the game's mechanics are the artifacts, bonus arrow and victory tiles that are positioned along the pathways in designated spaces. Players landing on them use them to jump ahead a certain number of spaces, or advance an extra space, even gain extra points once the expedition is completed.

The game is challenging to grasp at first. But, in fact, the mechanics are simple. And the timing is fairly fast-each game takes less than an hour. The adventure's over when five playing pieces have reached their end on their paths. That's when players count up their total points.

Designed for two - four players, this well-paced and compelling board game tests player's decision-making and logic, as well as their ability to project possible consequences of taking various paths. If you're looking for something new for family fun, Lost Cities will give your brain an enjoyable workout.

Don Oldenburg   ©2015 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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