‘Lost Cities: Rivals’ Board Game Review
Ready to get away? Hoping to find some valuable treasures in an ancient dwelling? Fear not! Lost Cities: Rivals gives 2-4 players the chance to manage their resources, buy great treasures, and have the most prestigious collection around. Lost Cities: Rivals is produced by Thames and Kosmos, which is the company best known for producing Exit: The Game, Ubongo, Imhotep, and of course the original Lost Cities game.
Lost Cities: Rivals is a card game that comes in a small box. The components consist of cards, a first player marker, and coin tokens. The game utilizes auctioning, press your luck, and resource management mechanics. On their turn, players have two actions to choose from. They can draw a card to be added to the market area or they can start an auction. Starting an auction starts a bidding phase where players take turns bidding on the market. In this phase players are competing for all the cards currently in the market, but they don’t have to take every card. The winner of the auction gets to select the cards they want, discard one card from the game completely, and then flip over a new card. The press your luck element occurs when players have to decide whether to bid and when to wait to see what other cards may be revealed. Waiting too long might make the market too tempting to your opponent and cause an expensive bidding war, whereas spending all your gold too early might take too many of your coins and leave you broke when a card comes up that you really need.
Players are competing to collect cards in 5 colors and all collected cards have to be in ascending numerical order. Once a number is skipped, the player cannot go back and add the missing number later. Players are trying to collect as many cards as possible, in order, and in every color, before their opponents do the same. Despite the various mechanics at play this game clocks at about 30 minutes per round. I have yet to play a game that exceed 45 minutes.
Lost Cities: Rivals plays extremely well as a two player game. Having more players heightens the press your luck aspect because there are more players attempting to get the same cards as you. The rules make sense and the rule book is well written, making this a great game to pick up and get into quickly. The mechanics in the game are extremely well balanced which is difficult to accomplish in a quick playing game like this.
I am ecstatic that I have added this game to my collection! I love having games that are easy to transport and easy to teach. I highly recommend this game for families, dorm rooms, vacation homes, or anyone.
This game retails at about $15 and can be found here: Lost Cities: Rivals