Lost Cities: The Board Game

Lost Cities: The Board Game – Guide to Rules, Instructions & Strategy


Lost Cities: The Board Game takes you and me on an adventure through ancient ruins and unexplored territories. It’s a tile-based game with elements of strategy, risk-taking, and a bit of luck. The game was designed by Reiner Knizia and is a board game adaptation of the original Lost Cities card game. Since its release, it has seen good reviews and update board game enthusiasts for its simple yet, I find, engaging gameplay.

The game is set up as a series of expeditions where players compete to make the most profitable archaeological tours. Each player aims to create paths on the board that lead to lost cities, represented by different colors. The longer the path, the more points you can score. But be careful, starting an expedition costs points, so you need to make sure your journey is worth the risk!

Lost Cities: The Board Game has a good history in the board gaming community. The game has won several awards and has been published in multiple languages, making it a globally played game.

Quick Tip for Lost Cities: The Board Game

Always keep an eye on your opponent’s moves. Blocking their path can be just as important as building your own!

Rules for playing Lost Cities: The Board Game

Understanding the rules is key to enjoying and succeeding at Lost Cities: The Board Game. The game is played over three rounds, and the player with the highest score at the end wins. Each player starts with a hand of tiles, and on your turn, you can either play a tile onto a board path or discard a tile. You can only play or discard one tile per turn.

Each path on the board has a starting point, and tiles must be placed in ascending order. You can’t go back and add lower-numbered tiles once you’ve placed a higher number. There are also wagers that can double, triple, or quadruple the points of an expedition, but they must be played before any numbered tiles.

If you draw a tile from the board, you must place it in your display or discard it. If you take a tile from the discard, it must be played immediately. The round ends when the last tile is drawn from the board. Players then score their expeditions, with points for each tile in a path and bonuses for longer paths. Unfinished expeditions and those without enough tiles to cover the initial cost result in negative points.

Equipment and Setup for Lost Cities: The Board Game

To play Lost Cities: The Board Game, you need the game board, tiles, and player pieces. The board shows five paths, each leading to a lost city. The tiles are numbered from 2 to 10 in five colors corresponding to the paths, with three wagers in each color.

Setting up the game is easy. Shuffle the tiles and place them face down to form a draw pile. Each player takes a set of player pieces in their chosen color. You’re now ready to start your adventure!

If you don’t have the game, you can create a DIY version using colored paper or cardstock for the paths and numbered tiles. It won’t be as pretty, but it works for a casual play!

How to Play Lost Cities: The Board Game and Game Mechanics

The game mechanics of Lost Cities: The Board Game are straightforward but offer a lot of strategic depth. Here’s a quick rundown of how the game flows:

  1. Setup: Prepare the board and tiles as described above. Decide who goes first.
  2. Gameplay: On your turn, play or discard a tile, then draw a new one from either the draw pile or any discard pile.
  3. End of the Game: The game ends after the third round, and the player with the most points wins.

During gameplay, you’ll be building paths to lost cities, deciding when to start new expeditions, and figuring out the best time to use your wagers. It’s a delicate balance between extending your own paths and preventing your opponents from completing theirs.

How to Win at Lost Cities: The Board Game

Winning at Lost Cities: The Board Game requires a mix of strategy and adaptability. Beginners should focus on understanding the value of each tile and when to start an expedition. Intermediate players can start to incorporate blocking strategies and more calculated risks with wagers. Advanced players will be able to read their opponents and make moves that set up future turns.

It’s important to remember that not every expedition needs to be completed to win. Sometimes, the best move is to cut your losses and focus on more profitable paths. Keep track of the remaining tiles and try to predict what your opponents might have in their hands.

Best Strategies for playing Lost Cities: The Board Game

There are several strategies to consider when playing Lost Cities: The Board Game. One key tactic is to hold onto high-numbered tiles until later in the round, forcing your opponents to discard valuable tiles that you can then pick up. Another strategy is to start expeditions with wagers early, as this can lead to high-scoring paths if you commit to them.

Being flexible and adapting to the state of the board is also crucial. If you notice an opponent focusing on a particular color, you might want to compete in that path to make it harder for them or focus on other paths to score points elsewhere.


During the game, you might find yourself in a situation where you have several low-numbered tiles for an expedition but no wagers. In this case, it might be better to wait before starting that path, hoping to draw a wager tile. Conversely, if you have a high-numbered tile but no starting tiles, consider discarding it to prevent your opponent from using it.

If you’re far ahead, you might want to play more conservatively to maintain your lead. If you’re behind, take more risks and try to disrupt your opponents’ plans.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Lost Cities: The Board Game

  1. Q: Can I play a tile out of order?
    A: No, tiles must be played in ascending order on each path.
  2. Q: What happens if I can’t play a tile?
    A: You must discard a tile if you can’t play one.
  3. Q: Can I pick up a tile from the discard on the same turn I discarded it?
    A: No, you can’t pick up the tile you just discarded.
  4. Q: How many rounds are there?
    A: There are three rounds in a game of Lost Cities: The Board Game.
  5. Q: Can I start multiple expeditions of the same color?
    A: No, you can only have one expedition per color.

Additional Tips

Here are some extra tips to help you get better at Lost Cities: The Board Game:

  • Pay attention to the tiles that have been discarded. This information can help you make better decisions.
  • Try to keep a balanced hand of tiles, so you have more options on your turn.
  • Remember that sometimes the best defense is a good offense. If you’re building strong paths, your opponents will have to react to you.

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