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How To Play Lost Seas

lost seas htp

Ahoy there, spatially minded sailors! If you’re here, then Lost Seas is potentially a game for you! Which is great as it is a super fun, puzzly game that anybody can play. But sometimes I know that rule books can intimidate. Even when the game in question is a sail flapping breeze to pick up! So here’s a quick guide to help you on your way

Setting Up

Time to get your shuffle on. Grab the 44 double sided Expedition tiles and give each player 4. These are your personal scoring goals for the 4 columns that will make up your 16 tile tableau. You can use either side but once you’ve decided which side and in what order they are being laid out along the top of your tableau, they can’t be flipped back over or re-arranged. Repeat the process again, and the second batch of 4 will form the beginning of the 4 rows framing the vertical side of your 4 x 4 grid. Sail the rest of the Expedition tiles back into the box as they won’t be needed.

Then shuffle the 65 Sea Exploration tiles and stack them in a pile face-down. Take the top 5 and place them in a row face-up.

That’s it! You are ready to go hunting for Kraken, deserted Islands, and other sea features with which to fill your tempestuous tableau!

Turn Time

First Player of Lost Seas begins (obvs!) and depending on how many players, you’ll be going in clockwise order and picking tile(s) from the offer row:

  • 4 player – first player takes 1 tile, and then so does 2nd, 3rd, and 4th player in turn;
  • 3 player - first player takes 1 tile and discards another tile, then 2nd player picks a tile lastly followed by 3rd player picking.
  • 2 player - first player takes 1 tile and discards another tile, then 2nd player does the same

The final tile is not discarded – it stays in the offer row ready for the next round.

Picked; Now Place

Once you have a tile, you can decide where you want to place it in your 4 x 4 grid. The only restriction is that it must be on an empty space that lines up with a row or column.

BUT! Whilst you can put your tile anywhere, you aren’t going to want to play fast and loose with your placement! Remember those Expedition tiles around the edge of your grid? Well, those are your personal scoring objectives. If you want to score the points shown on them (black scores are higher and harder to achieve), you need to have precisely what they want on display by end game. And as each column and row intersects, you might have some tricky choices to make! Which only get tricker as the tableau fills up and the available game space reduces!

The scoring objectives vary from having a majority of one type of marine element (e.g. ships), to having pairs of marine elements (e.g. Kraken and Deserted Islands), to having none of a particular icon, and (hardest of all), precise numbers of either identical marine elements (shown with a = sign next to the number) or just a sum total of mixed marine elements (shown with a single number). The harder the objective is to achieve (particularly bearing in mind there will be other goals competing for the same tile space!), the more it’s worth at end game.

When everyone has placed their tile, 4 new tiles are flipped over and added to the right of the tile that remained from the previous round. Whoever went last in the previous round now becomes first player.

Winning The Game

When the 16th tile has been placed by all, the end of the game is triggered and it’s scoring time.

Look down each row and column on your tableau. If you achieved a scoring objective keep the Expedition tile in place. If you missed the mark on any, remove them. Then count up the VPs on the tiles left in your grid, and the winner is the salty, spatial sea dog with the most points!

I hope this little guide helps you work out if this is a game for you, as well as whets your appetite for this lovely, fun, spatial, placement optimisation puzzle. The rule book has a good explanation of the Expedition tile icons as well as an easier mode for younger or less experienced gamers (which scores based on simple majorities of each type of marine element in every row and column instead of Expedition tiles). Have fun out there and don’t get lost!

That concludes our guide on how to play Lost Seas. Did this help you? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames.