Playing time: 20 minutes
Cost: £20 (ish)
Lost Cities is a game for two players. You are explorers setting out on epic journeys to five different lost cities in remote locations – the middle of a volcano, the jungle, the bottom of the sea, the desert, the snowy caps of a mountain. The game has a Jules Verne or H. G. Wells feel to it, as if you’d be setting off on your exploration all starched collars and high-minded idealism.
Each lost city is represented by a different colour. The game is played with a deck of cards numbered up to ten in each colour. There is only one of each card, and each player is trying to collect and play cards on their side of the board. It’s pretty competitive and allows players to either be kind to each other or to screw each other over. If you play the same person on a regular basis you’ll quickly work out how cautious or reckless they are, and this is certainly a game where knowing your opponent helps.
This is a beautiful game. The numbered cards show the two explorers getting closer and closer to the lost city, with the ruins finally revealed in the last card. The additional funding cards (which allow you to multiply your score if you play them first) have a particularly nineteenth century feel about them.
One of the great advantages of this game is that it has no extra pieces, so there’s nothing for babies or children to grab or choke on. The cards themselves could easily be used for older children as part of a simple counting game. It’s easy to set up and put away, and doesn’t take up too much space.
Summary: pretty much perfect for new parents, as long as one of you doesn’t mind calculating the scores at the end.