Since acquiring Lost Cities the Card Game my wife and I have played it a bunch of times; the cards are getting a bit worn out already. I talked about it in an earlier post, but now that I’ve played it some more, I thought I’d throw down a few quick pointers for the game.
- Don’t be greedy – A lot of times you’ll find yourself in a situation like this: you’ve played a few cards of one color, say a handshake and the 3, 4 of white. You have the 6 and 7 in your hand but you don’t want to play them until you get the 5. It can be OK to wait if you have something else productive to do, but in general this is a case of just play your cards and keep going. That one card isn’t going to be a big deal, and you’ll waste a lot of time while you wait for it. Just play the 6 and 7 and try to work on something else as you go.
- Watch the stack – That draw pile looks nice and tall at the beginning of the round but shrinks incredibly fast. You are allowed to count how many cards are left in it; use that to figure out how many turns you have left. Sometimes you’ll find yourself with too many good cards to play at the end and not enough turns to play them; the trick here is instead of drawing from the stack you can pick up a card off the discard piles (any card will do) to delay the end of the game. But there are two things to look out for: 1) you have to realize that’s necessary in time; if you don’t start grabbing discards in time you’ll run out of turns and 2) there has to be enough cards in the discard pile for you to take. Sometimes there aren’t very many cards there, and once in a while both you and opponent will be taking cards from the discard to stall, meaning even with the stalling technique you won’t get as many turns.
- My wife and I often like to play cards of a color that we’re not particularly strong in just to play them so that you’re doing a little something and also so that the opponent won’t get them. We (somewhat confusingly) call these “discards piles” although they’re really just normal stacks of cards. For example, you might find yourself with the 2, 3, 6, and 10 of blue. If you don’t have anything else pressing to do why not start playing them? The whole stack is only worth a single point (21 total minus 20), but it’s better than discarding, and it keeps them away from your opponent. And you might pick up another card or two along the way, netting you a few more points.
- Finally, one neat trick is to put pressure on the opponent by refusing to play a color. For example, let’s say I’ve played a white handshake and nothing else of that color and my opponent has the other two handshakes (but no other white cards, so she won’t want to start white herself). Once you play a white number, opponent can safely discard her white handshakes, since you won’t be able to play them. But if you delay playing any numbered cards opponent will feel forced into keeping them in her hand instead of discarding them. That’s great for you because it will make each decision that much tougher for your opponent. If she has some easy discards it makes it easier to play, but if she has all cards she wants to keep something will have to give; she might give in and give you that handshake you need or another useful card. You can also do the same thing with say the 6 and 10 of a color. Hold off playing the 10 and opponent will be forced to keep the 7, 8, or 9 if she has them.
- Remember to pick up this handy scoresheet to help keep track of the score!
Just a few tips to help you out with Lost Cities, let me know if you want to play sometime and thanks for reading!