Lost Cities is a card game in the Kosmos two-player series. The game originally consisted of a single deck of cards of rank 2–10 in five different colors with three special “handshakes” (“HS” in scoring examples below) 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.