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Just a few things about ST and Lost Cities: Yes, no one can seem to leave the other alone when speaking about either, but that's to be expected really when dealing with a Knizia game. When have you talked about medici without talking about modern art without etc. etc. etc.: the man just designs too many games. We should be grateful for that. Of the two right now I give the nod to ST. I love Lost Cities and have played it with several friends and have always had a blast. There is the occasional down period in LC when you're waiting for someone to make a decision about what to play. Usually this is a good thing, perhaps your opponent is in dire straits... but when this happens in LC it's usually the case that I'm in the same boat. Luck has a certain factor in that game; the clock is tick-ticking and the deck is getting smaller.
ST relies upon luck, as any card drawing game does, but when your opponent is taking a long time to lay down a card you don't really know why. Is s/he trying to decide if s/he can take a stone this turn--counting cards, deciding on the best place to put his green seven? You just never know. Tension in the game comes from the simple mathematics: 6 suits, nine cards each, nine boundary stones, three cards played on each ... it seems pretty straight forward when reading the rules but when a human opponent steps in there is no way to know what s/he is doing. It turns out to be just a damned fun card game. It doesn't last more than 30 or 40 minute if you think everything over and count cards each turn and anyone can pick up the basic poker-like suits. It seems to me that there's just more basic mental game going on here that in LC. I always know when I'm screwed in LC from the get-go, I just take my chances and see if I get lucky. When I play with someone who is really good I just don't take those chances, and sometimes I get lucky, sometimes I don't. In ST there is not enough room to take a chance. You can only bluff so far since there isn't a discard pile and if you get called on it your opponent gets a stone. In the games I've played, no one has run away with Schotten-Totten, and I can't say that for Lost Cities. As an end note I'll admit the theme is piss-poor, but Lost Cities' theme isn't that great either, though a bit more 'mysterious' in that Raiders of the Lost Ark sort of way. ST is also only a third the price on Funagain right now so go get it. Better yet, take a twenty and get 'em both.
 
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