Lost Cities Game Rules and How to Play Guide

In this article, you can read about the basic rules of the game Lost Cities and learn how to play. The object of the game is to have the most points after three rounds.

Setup Guide

Layout the board horizontally between the players. Shuffle the deck and deal eight cards to each player. Players look at their own cards but keep them hidden from their opponent. Place the deck face down next to the board as a draw deck.

Players alternate taking turns and the oldest player goes first. On your turn, you may either discard one card from your hand face up to its corresponding discard pile as marked by the matching color on the game board. Or, you may place a card from your hand face-up into one of your columns. Your card columns will match the five-colored maps on the game board and descend towards you. Each new card plate must have a higher value than the most recent card placed.

Place the cards overlapping each other so each number is visible. You are allowed to skip numbers but you may not place cards in between cards already in play. If you skip a number in a column you may not play it later in that column.

The wager cards

There are three wager cards of each color. These can only be placed at the start of each column after that the numbers ascend from two to ten. As soon as you play a numbered card in a column you may not play a wagering card in the same column. After you play a card to a column or discard a card you draw a new card either from the top of the draw deck or from the top of any discard pile. You may not draw the same card you just discarded. Once you draw your turn ends and your opponent takes a turn.

The game ends immediately when the last card of the draw deck is drawn. At any time players are allowed to fan out the draw deck but not look at the card faces to see how many cards are left.

When the game ends you score points. Each column you place at least one or more cards has an expedition cost of negative twenty points. If a column has zero cards in it you neither gain nor lose points. Each numbered card in a column gives you its face value in points and are added together with all the numbered card in that column.

Wager cards in a column multiply your points either positively or negatively for that column. One wager card doubles the value of your columns to wager cards triple it and three wager cards quadruple it. After you multiply, if any column has eight or more cards in it you receive a bonus twenty points on top of it all. Add all the columns together and write down each player’s total.


For example, the sum in the first column is twenty-three. Subtract twenty points for the expedition cost and you’re left with three. The next column has no cards in it so it costs zero and gives you zero. The next column only has a wagering card in it. So, because you started a column, your expedition cost is negative twenty points. Then, the single wager card doubles this to negative 40 points.

The next column has 15 points subtracting 20 for the expedition costs leaves you with negative five then multiply it by two because of the wagering card bringing the column’s total to negative 10 points. Finally, your last column has a sum of 35 subtracting 20 for the expedition cost brings it down to 15 then you multiplied the total by three because it has to wager cards in it which equals 45 points. This column has 8 cards in it so you get an additional 20 points. Your total for the round is 18 points.

Write down each player’s total, gather up all the cards shuffle and play again. The player with the highest total score goes first in the next game. If it is a tie then alternate who goes first. The player with the most points after three rounds wins.

Lost Cities Game on the Market

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The board game Lost Cities is on the market in many versions. The one that I refer to in this article I link to here:

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