LOST Numbers Explained -- Island Secrets Revealed
Alex Eaton-Salners
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Lake Forest
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Did you know that J.J. Abrams and the other LOST writers are big boardgame players? Although many fans of the series know about Lost: The Game, few people realize the depth of the relationship between BGG and LOST.

The show's creators were so inspired by their favorite games that they derived the well-known LOST numbers from the BGG database. The revelations below are based on information hidden deep within DHARMA Initiative training materials. Proceed at your own risk.
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1. Board Game: Tal der Könige [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:3779]
Alex Eaton-Salners
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BGG GAME ID 4
Tal der Könige (Valley of the Kings) is reportedly J.J. Abrams' favorite game. The bluffing and bidding mechanics inspired him to delve into a formal study of the depths of the human psyche. One of the results was LOST. Additionally, the cryptic messages on the game board and the strong connection to ancient Egypt mysticism were important influences on the LOST universe.
 
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2. Board Game: Lords of Creation [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:6387]
Alex Eaton-Salners
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BGG GAME ID 8
In Lords of Creation, players guide a tribe of people trapped on an island. The tribes compete with the "Others" on the island and sometimes band together to overcome various challenges. This game inspired the writers to create an island controlled by supernatural forces where several bands of people strive for supremacy and control. On LOST, the divine nature of the island is a source of inspiration for Locke. Locke's fascination with games (such as Backgammon) also contributes to his affinity for the island.
 
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3. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:838]
Alex Eaton-Salners
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BGG GAME ID 15
The writers of LOST prefer the Avalon Hill version of Cosmic Encounter. The variable alien powers in the game shaped many of the island's features. The formation of changing alliances and the attitudes towards the supernatural are reflected in the relationships and throught processes of major characters. Walt and his special powers are also based on this game.
 
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4. Board Game: MarraCash [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1806]
Alex Eaton-Salners
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BGG GAME ID 16
A late night game of Marracash provided the basis for the character of Hurley and the idea for the numbers. One of the more portly writers invested early in a cluster of shops near one of the entrances after J.J. Abrams kept muttering "Buy Shop Many Early Color Win, Buy Shop Many Early Color Win". The subsequent windfall prompted the victor to remark that the reason he had "won the lottery" was listening to J.J. Abrams' ramblings. As work on the series progressed, "Buy Shop Many Early Color Win" became "4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42".
 
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5. Board Game: Divine Right [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:2596]
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BGG GAME ID 23
The spiritual quests of Mr. Eko and Charlie originate from the religious battles of Divine Right. Their project to build a church on the island and their investigation of the Nigerian plane are based on some of the special cards included in the game.
 
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6. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:71]
Alex Eaton-Salners
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BGG GAME ID 42
The internal and external conflicts in T&E are reflected in the struggles of Kate and Sawyer. Additionally, the character of Sayid was influenced by the setting of this game (Iraq). Originally, the show was going to include a Puerto Rican army veteran. Even though J.J. Abrams really enjoyed writing lines for the character, he wrote too many and eventually got sick of it and decided to move on to a Reiner Knizia game. Another Knizia game, Die Insel (The Island), also provided the setting for LOST.
 
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7. Board Game: TAMSK [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1592] [Average Rating:6.78 Unranked]
Alex Eaton-Salners
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BGG GAME ID 108
Playing with time is at the heart of both TAMSK and LOST. The frenetic pace of the series and the countdown in the hatch (starting of course with 108) originate with this game's sand timers. The ideas of "reversing" time and resetting the countdown also come from TAMSK. Furthermore, the capitalization of LOST is based on the all-caps names of the GIPF series.
 
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8. Board Game: Chrononauts [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2023] [Average Rating:6.21 Unranked]
Alex Eaton-Salners
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BGG GAME ID 815
The writers were also inspired by Chrononauts. The numerous intersections between the characters in their flashbacks (such as Jack's chance meeting with Desmond) derive from this game's use of linchpins and ripple points. Chrononauts' mission cards are also reflected in the series by the varying motivations and goals of each of the characters on the island. This game is alluded to in the series by Oceanic Flight 815.
 
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9. Board Game: Flashback [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Matt Kruczek
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Colchester
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Inserted at a crucial point in the narrative structure of the list to provide depth and motivation to the character of the central list compiler.

Likely to contain a a chance meeting with another list compiler, and a background cameo of another character who's already appeared as a background cameo in three other flashbacks.
 
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10. Board Game: Pyramids & Polar Bears [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Joshua Harris
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I think this is obviously the source for one of the more talked about concepts in the show.
 
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