Perhaps one of the big reasons why I adore the show LOST so much is because it was something my mother and I both watched, and after each episode, we’d e-mail each other with reactions or theories or to generally complain about how mean Ben is or what nickname Sawyer came up with for some other cast member. Good times. She got really into it during those early seasons; I can’t remember if she ever saw its conclusion before passing away in December 2010. At some point during the show’s popularity, my mother purchased for me LOST: The Game at her local Borders. Here’s the sad rub: I never played it, and by the time I was ready to move out of my studio apartment in Clifton, NJ, I tossed the whole thing away, cool suitcase and all.
Now, around this time, I did make some friends, and we played a lot of board games, such as every iteration of Munchkin out at the time, Talisman, Dungeons & Dragons, Catan, Chez Geek, Pimp: The Backhanding, Kingmaker, and so on. I just never felt comfortable bringing the game over or learning the rules by myself and then having to teach everyone; plus, I was still pretty new to the world of board games, and I had no idea if LOST: The Game was a good one or a bad one or even worth figuring out.
LOST: The Game was released on July 15, 2006 in the United Kingdom and August 7, 2006 in the United States. The game was designed by Keith Tralins, developed through MegaGigaOmniCorp, and published by Cardinal Games. It is a hybrid strategy/social/role-playing game set in the world of LOST that, if you’d believe, is somewhat similar to many solo games I play now, such as Fallout: The Board Game and Discover: Lands Unknown. The game allows you to assume the role as a character from the show in your attempts to survive on the Island and features many of the elements involved in the first few seasons of the TV show, including mysteries, alliances, and the “Smoke Monster.”
There are 75 hexagonal Location tiles that make up the main playing area for LOST: The Game. There are two types of tiles: 30 Shoreline tiles and 45 Inner Island tiles. The location tiles are set face-down randomly to ensure that each experience with the game is unique, just like with Catan. The tiles can be arranged in any fashion the player wishes, as long as the Shoreline tiles are on the outside edge of the board because why would you put water in the middle of the island. Also, how did a polar bear get out there? Anyways…
Here’s how it plays, as far as I can tell. Players are randomly dealt a Starting Character, such as Jack, Locke, Kate, and so on. You cannot play as Desmond, and for that sin alone this game deserves to be stuffed down a hatch and forgotten for good. On each player’s turn, they must move all of the characters they own to an adjacent tile. If the location tile their character is located at is face-down, they flip the tile face-up and follow its instructions. If a Fate card is drawn, they must immediately deal with any Encounters or equip any equipment; however, they may choose to hold an Event card for later use. Characters may also attempt to lead neutral characters at their location. If another player occupies the same location tile, the players may attempt to engage their opponent’s characters to lead them, steal their Fate cards, or steal their equipment.
You win LOST: The Game when:
- One player leads all characters on the Island
- A Starting Character’s win condition is fulfilled
- Another win condition decided upon by the players prior to the game (whatever that means)
Right, so it doesn’t sound like the most intricate or complicated board game ever designed. We’ll give that award to Scythe. Still, I wish I had my copy now because I’m more familiar with this style of gameplay, and it is something I’m curious about, as LOST is never not spinning away in the back of my mind. There wasn’t a lot of attention given to the game’s art or look, other than it coming packaged in a briefcase and using images from the show, and that’s a shame because a more stylized version might have convinced me to keep it for the long run. Oh well. Perhaps I’ll run into it again down the road. Y’know, when we all go back to the Island.
GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.