Weird City Games has undertaken research of the most popular card games and I have just received my first batch of games. Last night I had the pleasure of playing Lost Cities by Reiner Knizia, with my mother. Upon first opening the box I was taken aback by the oversized cards and the board, thinking them mere gimmicks or ways to increase the price of the game. However, the cards were nicely illustrated and of good quality and the size proved very effective for the game. The three aspects of this game that stood out to me were the aesthetic value of the game, the simplicity of the rules and the sense of time.
Aesthetic Value – While initially turned off by the over sized cards they actually worked very well with the theme and as the handsize is always 8 cards it was easy to manage the larger size. Also due to the games elegance it was nice to have quality components to set that off.
Elegance of Rules – Play a card: either add it to an expedition or place it on approriate discard pile. Draw a card: from draw pile or a discard pile. These are the essential rules of the game with only a few qualifications and some scoring that is only mildly cumbersome. out of these simple rules comes a very deep game that involves a lot of guessing, risk management and various strategies. This is the most recent and one of the best examples of I have seen of what is referred to as elegance of design and the resulting emergent strategies.
Sense of Time: One of my favorite qualities of this game is the sense of time. At the start of the game you have plenty of time and are beginning many expeditions at once. In the middle you start getting stressed and at the end you are scrambling to finish your expeditions. It is simple, easy and fun but really gives a fun sense of progression that feels natural and exciting.
This game is easy and I feel I could teach it to anyone in under five minutes but I feel I will enjoy playing it time and time again.