Lost Cities Card Game

Ages: 10 and upManufacturer: Thames & Kosmos


This two-player card game, slightly tweaked from the original Kosmos’ classic Lost Cities, is simple to learn but packed with strategy and tension.

The 60-card deck has five suits (nine cards) of different colors representing five expeditions in search of different Lost Cities (blue is beneath-the-sea; red is volcanic; green is in a Mayan jungle; etc.). Each suit also includes three “hand-shake” wager cards that can double the total points. The gameboard, with an icon space to match each suit, serves as the discard area.

Players start with eight cards dealt face-down from the shuffled deck and begin to build upon an expedition or discard a card (which either player can pick up later) onto the gameboard.

From there, Lost Cities becomes a math-minded game of adding up points for the expeditions that all begin with -20 points. So, say a player begins an expedition by laying down a green 3 card, that expedition then totals -17 points until other green cards are added. All subsequent green cards added must be higher than the previous green card played.

Example: You begin an expedition with the blue 2 card and, in the course of that game, you add from your hand or from the discard cards sequentially the blue cards 4,5,7,8 and 10. That would add up to 36 points, but minus 20, remember, so 16 points. Players can start multiple expeditions. And, they can double their expedition final score (plus or minus) by gambling at the start of an expedition by playing a wager card.

Once the draw pile is depleted, points are totaled, cards shuffled and the next game begins. The player with the highest score after three games wins.

Lost Cities requires thoughtful decision-making and game-smart strategizing. Players will get the hang of it quickly and return often for more.

Don Oldenburg ©2019 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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