Review – Lost Cities: Rivals

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OVERVIEW

Lost Cities: Rivals is a 2 – 4 player auction/bidding game where you are competing to collect expedition cards to collect the most points. Although it has some similarities to the original Lost Cities, Rivals is a completely stand alone game, with different game play.

In Lost Cities: Rivals you each start with two wager (handshake) cards each for two of the five expeditions of different terrains. Your aim is to collect as many expedition cards across the five terrains as possible, playing cards to each column of your tableau, cards must be equal to or higher than the previously played cards. Each card has 1 or 2 footprint icons on them and you collect a point at the end of the game for each footprint as well as a bonus 8 points for each column that has at least 4 expedition cards in it.

The wager cards, just as in the original game, will increase the value of your expedition. One wager will double the value of all footprints on the cards while a second wager will triple the value and so on. There are more wagers to collect but once you start playing expedition cards to a column you are no longer able to play wager cards, so deciding how long to hold off on starting your expeditions is a vital strategy in the game.

How you gain cards is what sets Rivals apart from its predecessor. This is where the auction comes in! Each player takes it in turn to take one of two actions, either turn up a card to the display in the centre of the table or start an auction by placing a bid using your coins, subsequent players may then up the bid of bow out of the auction until one player remains. When you win an auction you may take as many cards as you would like from the display, as long as you can play them to your tableau. You may then remove one card from the display from the game, which is helpful if there is a great card that you cannot play but one of your rivals can!

Any cards remaining in the display will be added to in the next round and included in the next auction. Play continues until the whole deck has been depleted and the player with the most points wins the game!

Player Count2 – 4 players
Age10 +
Play Time40 mins
Weight2.20 / 5
PublisherKOSMOS

Disclaimer: This game was provided by the publisher, but my reviews are always 100% honest and all photos and opinions are my own!

GAME PLAY 7/10

Lost Cities: Rivals is a great auction/bidding game and if that’s your kind of game then I would definitely recommend it! It has a strong push your luck balance as adding more cards to the display means you can collect more cards if you win an auction, but you also risk making the display more valuable to other players!

The game plays quickly with very little room for ‘analysis paralysis’ as your options are very slim, you either turn up a card or start an auction, up the bid or pass!

As a two player game I prefer the original Lost Cities over Rivals, as I found the auction can feel a little lacking with only two players but it really comes into it’s own with 3 – 4 players! Each player count and each game felt different as players try new strategies and explore the nuance of the auction phase.

AESTHETICS & COMPONENTS 7/10

The panoramas on the cards are beautiful with vibrant colours and bold visuals. It is sometimes difficult to tell which colour a card is at a glance but there are icons on the bottom of each, which is especially useful for those with colour vision deficiencies.

The cards in Rivals are smaller than the original and there is no board which I like as it makes it easier to fit in my Quiver card case! I also prefer the new artwork in Rivals personally.

Left card is from the original Lost Cities, right card is from Lost Cities: Rivals.
Coins are from Rivals also.

RULES & TEACHING 8/10

If you have played Lost Cities before then there is enough familiarity here to easy pick up and play the game in no time at all. There is also a video from Rodney at Watch it Played, so you can quickly learn the game in just 7 minutes!

Rivals is a simple game to teach to new players though and could easily be played with those who are unfamiliar with the original or even board games in general!

REPLAYABILITY 6/10

For me I wouldn’t reach for Rivals as often as I might the original Lost Cities as I play as a couple more often than a group of 3/4, but this is still nice to have for those instances where I wish I could play Lost Cities with more players to introduce it to more people!

OVERALL SCORE 28/40 = 7

RECOMMENDED IF…

… you enjoy the original Lost Cities and would like a similar experience with more players
… you enjoy slightly ruthless auction/bidding games!


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