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Subject: Lost Cities rage, anyone? rss

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Craig Duncan
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Ithaca
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First, a bit of background: I like card games above all other kinds of games. From that you might infer that I don't mind a little luck in my games. But you'd be wrong, in a way: far from "not minding" a little luck in my games, I prefer a little luck in my games. Plotting a route through a thicket of probabilities is what I like best.

So I should like Lost Cities. And indeed, I do. But more some reason, more so than any other game, when I play Lost Cities I find myself getting... angry... angry... ANGRY!

Some snippets of my mental dialogue from various common instances of Lost Cities in my play:

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[Picks up his hand] WHAT! My lowest card is a 6! What on God's green earth am I going to play as my first move!!!

[Having amassed a small fortune in my hand in one suit, and having painfully kept from playing any of it over numerous turns in the hopes of drawing an investor card in that suit, finally -- after starting a suit or two of other colors that I might not have started otherwise -- I can take the pain of delay no more and so I plonk down my 2 to start that suit on the table, only to draw (you guessed it!) an investor card the very next draw] ARGGHHH! NOOOOO!

[Then there is the opposite problem] Could I draw something OTHER than useless investor cards I DO NOT need, PLEASE!

[Seven turns in and my opponent has played number-cards in only one suit. Meanwhile, my hand fills up with detritus that I would love to discard, but can't for fear of helping my opponent.] JERK! Start another stupid suit on the table will ya! JERK!

[Having been dealt a yellow investor card and a yellow 8, I play my yellow investor card early on, sure that I will draw at least one more yellow card. But... I don't.] Some fine universe I live in, that won't deign to grant me even one more yellow card over THE COURSE OF THE WHOLE GAME!

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I could go on, but you get the picture. Not a pretty picture.

I'm not totally sure why Lost Cities does this to me. I am a mild-mannered guy, and as I have said, I like card games and some luck. Most card games do not send me into an inner rage. Not even other Knizia card games like Battleline or Poison get me so worked up.

Perhaps it's because the skill in Lost Cities often lies in damage control -- choosing the least terrible from among your options which are often all terrible? Or maybe it's just because I'm not very good at the game and am overlooking some strategies.

In any case, does anyone else out there suffer from Lost Cities rage?

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Jade Youngblood
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Nope...I just take it for what it is, a game with low strategy and high randomness. Rage is not good.
 
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Crazy Adam
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Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the Funny Farm, Chalfont.
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In the same vein, I also "suffer" from Lost Cities bliss: when you get an initial hand of low cards for several expeditions. Is there any other game that brings on such euphoria from just the initial draw?

Sometimes you're dealt a winning hand and sometimes you're dealt crap. I think those who play a lot of LC know that these initial hands rarely decide the outcome of the game.
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Simon Woodward
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Hamilton
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That's why there are three rounds. You have to learn to play the cards you've got as best you can, and there are different strategies for different hands.

I am no longer afraid to discard cards or handshakes that "might" help my opponent (or tempt them into starting an unwise expedition) cool

Sometimes you just have to gamble on starting a colour or creating a big gap - the card draw is VERY fickle, you win some, you lose some.

But over 3 rounds you generally get a good mix of hands and scores can be close.

The more I play, the more strategies I see, and the more luck I see too!
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Mike Fox
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The genius of this game is that it's just an easy game of play-and-draw, yet the decisions can be so torturous.
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