August 24, 2006

"Lost The Game"

Lost.Boardgame.8.23.06.jpgIn all honesty we were a bit hesitant about posting this. Before you also roll your eyes at what seems ( or could ) be a cumbersome media tie-in, we'd like to let you know that initial reports of the game point the opposite direction, and with a bit of conviction to boot. Don't get us wrong - this probably isn't a game that will sit atop the serious gamer's board game collection as an instant classic, but if you're a fan of the show (and so long as the writers minimize the soap operatic plot lines, then who isn't a fan?) then this game could certainly entertain. Especially when compared against other crappy tie-ins, like "Survivor: The Game" which entertains only by filming yourself throwing the thing against a wall, and watching the explosion of pieces in slow motion reverse. And even then, it's still a bit of a one trick pony.

Unlike other crappy tie-ins, "Lost The Game" [Amazon,Target] was designed from the ground up (what a concept)! This is not some rehashed version of "Monopoly" or "The Game of Life" that the ABC marketing department slapped a sticker on. This was a game built specifically with Lost in mind, and then tinkered with in refining cycles of repeated gametests.

But enough with the monkey on our backs. Let's get to the game itself. The island that plays a role of a shadowy character in the Lost TV show is represented in the game by a series of randomly drawn hexagonal tiles. The board can take any shape and will vary in content in each game session. We're a huge fan of random game boards because they're a spice of replayablity, and the mechanic perfectly fits the "where the heck are we ?" theme of the show.

Players of the game then explore the island and use cards to exploit and recruit characters. The card play is inspired by the collectable card game Magic: The Gathering , but we're not yet sure quite how that theme translates to Lost The Game.

Characters under your control fight for dominance of the island in direct conflict with other palyer's characters (this somewhat breaks the relatively passive behavior of the characters in the TV show, but for gaming purposes we can deal with it). We're sure that there will be some characters who prefer more a more subtile approach to getting what they want., before resorting to fisticuffs.

A lot of the game's public details stem from a pair of articles at The general game page loosely describes the components of the game, and even better, there's an interview with designer Keith Tralins that soothed our fears that this is simply a mass market media crapfest.

As a fan of designer games like Settlers of Catan, Tralins hopes that Lost: The Game will introduce more people to that style. "Lost took a niche genre and blew it up to mainstream. That's a goal I have with this game. There's a whole realm of board games -- the German games -- with social interaction and intellectual challenge. This is a chance to expose those mechanics and those pleasures to a whole new audience. - From "Lost: The Game - Interview with the Designer" on

Board Game Geek also has a thread where a player has posted his experiences during a play session with the game. The site hosts a picture of the game box and its pieces, here.

Those hex pieces look pretty sweet. Reminds us of Survive meets Settlers of Catan.

"Lost The Game" [Amazon,Target] is for sale at, and is currently shipping.

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Posted by Critical Gamers Staff at August 24, 2006 4:53 PM

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