Lost Cities is a popular two player card game by Reiner Knizia. Because of the gorgeous artwork, simplicity of rules, and strategic gameplay, it is popular with both serious and casual gamers. It is frequently recommended at Board Game Geek as the ultimate game that guy gamers can approach his girlfriend or wife as a gateway game.
The game is composed of sixty beautifully illustrated, generously Tarot-sized cards of five suits. Each of the five suits consist of cards numbered from two to ten with three unnumbered 'investment' cards. There is also a board with five suits, serving as a playmat for discarded cards.
The rules are forthright; commit up to five expeditions (suits) to earn points. Each expedition costs twenty points and every card played earns the face value of the card. Cards are played sequentially from low to high, and skipping numbers is permissible and hard to avoid. You play one card to one of your matching expeditions or discard piles, then draw a replacement card from the common draw pile or from one of five discard piles. The game is over when the draw pile is exhausted. Since games are short, usually, three games are played as a match. The scoring is tricky and you will need pens and a pad to resolve it in the following order, per expedition:
- Add up all the cards and subtract 20 points.
- If one, two, or three investment cards were played, sum is multiplied by two, three, or four.
- If an expedition has eight or more cards played, earn 20 bonus points.
- Total the five expedition points. The player with the highest score is the winner.
Lost Cities has been implemented online on several fan and commercial websites, previously including Xbox Live Arcade. As of now the only free, authentic digital implementation is at Your Turn My Turn. There is a Facebook app, however it is not the original, rather a Solitaire (Patience-like) variant.