Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day, Christmas, and almost any other "special occasions" always lead to a gift of some time of board game in my household. I recently had a birthday and my wife spoiled me with two board games and two card games all of which are thoroughly enjoyable to play. The night of my birthday we broke out the Lost Cities Board Game which was a welcome addition to our collection as we already own and enjoy the Lost Cities Card Game. My wife and I have had this on our list of top board games for families for quite some time so I was really excited to get it and wanted to play it the first night.
Lost Cities Board Game: Game Play
Game play in the board game version of Lost Cities feels more interactive. You get to move your little explorers along pathways to earn points. You can choose different paths to try to gain different rewards before your opponents can. Playing this with two players may not be AS fun as with three or four because basically whatever you do not get, your opponent WILL get. Although they do mitigate that by removing some of the cards available in the two player version. This is a nice quick game as long as you do not think TOO much on your turn. There is also a "short version" which can be a really nice option on a late night.
Lost Cities Board Game: Fun Factor
At first glance this game feels like a nice, light, enjoyable game to play with your spouse. There are some interesting strategic moves you can make but a lot of the game is dictated by luck of the cards you draw. For some people this can make it a lot of fun because you do not have to stress about losing due to getting a bad hand. But personally I hate games where I lose and have little to no control over the fact that I am getting wasted.
Lost Cities Board Game: Contention Factor
So far I've played this one twice, once with a three player group and once with just my wife. In the three player rendition my wife started out ruling the board, but got brutalized the last two rounds and ended up losing. She got frustrated because she was complaining about bad cards and the two other players gave her grief about it because she was winning by a LOT in another aspect of the game. So when she ended up totally losing it just irked her that everyone had grown up on her and also was a bit rude in the first round. The time I played with JUST my wife I was the one irritated the whole game. I just could not get any cards I needed and I was ticked off the whole game even to the point that I did not want to finish a round. I just hate the "luck" factor of the game. So while it does not seem like a very aggressive, offensive game, bad feelings do tend to get aroused. It seems like it's mostly because we are all very strategy-oriented in our play so the frustration comes in with the bad luck issues.
While I would not consider Lost Cities one of the very best board games for families, it is definitely a fun one to pull out every now and then.