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Lost Cities (Solo Variant)


Lost Cities is a card game in the Kosmos two-player series. (A solo variant has been created by game players)

The game originally consisted of a single deck of cards of rank 2–10 in five different colors with three special "handshakes" in each suit, but as of 2019 the game now includes six colored suits, with the sixth color being optional for gameplay.

A game board is included to organize discarded cards and help players organize their card collections.

The object of the game is to gain points by mounting profitable archaeological expeditions to the different sites represented by the colored suits of cards.

On a player’s turn, they must first play one card, either to an expedition or by discarding it to the color-appropriate discard pile, then draw one card, either from the deck or from the top of a discard pile.

Cards played to expeditions must be in ascending order, but they need not be consecutive.

Handshakes are considered lower than a 2 and represent investments in an expedition.

Thus, if you play a red 4, you may play any other red card higher than a 4 on a future turn but may no longer play a handshake, the 2, or the 3.

The game continues in this fashion with players alternating turns until the final card is taken from the deck.

Rules for the official solo variant

Set up the game as usual. Remove 30 cards at random from the shufffled deck so that the deck only contains 30 cards. To achieve this, simply split the deck into two halves of equal height.

As usual, play one card after another from your hand, either into your display or onto the discard piles. In Lost Cities Solitaire, a discarded card is out of the game and cannot be picked up from the discard piles.

It is important that Lost Cities Solitaire does not end when you draw the last card from the deck. Play continues until you have played all the remaining cards from your hand. Then the game ends.

As usual, play three Lost Cities Solitaire games in succession. The higher your total point score after three games, the better.

Learn to play Lost Cities in under 5 minutes

Dice Tower Reviews: Lost Cities

Player feedback

The forums at BoardGameGeek often have good discussions about gameplay.
We have selected some of the best links below. (Links will open in a new window or tab)

Solo ideas and discussions

A selection of posts specifically about solo gameplay or solo variants


A selection of files from BoardGameGeek. Links will open in a new window or tab.

Solo variant rules

A summary of the solo variant by Kenny VenOsdel, the alternative AI rules by DareMachina, and another alternative AI ruleset by me.

>> Click to download PDF <<

Lost Cities – Solitaire alternative

Instructions for playing a solitaire version of Lost Cities: The Card Game. Posted with permission from designer.

>> Click to download PDF <<

Lost Cities: The Original Card Game by Thames & Kosmos

English rules, 2015 version

>> Click to download PDF <<