Designer – Bruno Faidutti
Art – Piero
One of the games I was most looking forward to picking up at Essen was Bruno Faidutti’s Lost Temple from the awesome guys at White Goblin Games. Having done a preview earlier, it just sounded like a simple and fun, family or gateway game and great to use with non-gamers.
Components wise, the board, with very nice artwork by Piero, has a jungle with Temples which are the race end points and movement spaces marked with circles. Adventurer meeples, machete and chance tokens, emerald gems, an idol marker to indicate which player chooses their role first and finally, Character and Player aid cards complete the package. It all looks really nice. My only issue is that the Adventurer meeples are too easy to knock over which is annoying. They needed to be thicker to stand up to a little knock. Other than that, the components are of a nice quality.
Lost Templeis a race game pure and simple. Whoever gets to the designated Temple first wins. But it isn’t quite so simple as each turn players will be choosing from 9 Character cards, each with a different action which could mean a move action or one of the variety of other actions available (see below) and this makes every turn unpredictable and fairly random which some gamers won’t like, but non-gamers and family probably will.
The standard rules are for 4-8 players and there are special rules for 2-3 players. With 2-5 players you will use the whole board but with 6-8 players you will only use the first part of the board. Each round has 2 phases – Character selection and Movement. The age to play is 10+.
The Character cards are distributed to assign starting positions. They they indicate the number of gems the players start with, character movement and/or special ability, starting space number and the if the Scout and Child Characters are chosen, the players start with a machete token.
The game engine revolves around the core Character choosing mechanic found in Citadels.The 9 Character cards are shuffled and chosen from each turn, the player farthest behind is assigned the Idol Marker, looks at the cards and chooses first. Each round, some of the cards are set aside and not used, some are set face up, some face down. There is a table which gives you this information which changes according to how many players. So, you get to choose from known characters or risk taking an unknown character.
Players take their moves in a predetermined order (called out by the player holding the Idol token) according to what characters they have chosen so each round could see a different player order.
The character cards give you the information you need
Shaman– You get to curse another character and swap meeples with them which will be very helpful if they are ahead of you. Very useful if played at the right time.
Thief– You can steal gems from another character (if that character’s card, announced later, has been pulled by another player) and move 1-2 spaces
Seer– You get to look at 2 Chance tokens and swap them if you want to and then move 1-2 spaces
Priest– You can pay 2 gems to move to the next Temple
Elder – You can pay 2 gems to move to the next Village
Craftsman– You get a free machete – which is needed to get through Deep Jungle spaces (otherwise your turn ends there) and move 1-2 spaces
Scout– You can move one space per gem paid (normal movement is 1-2 spaces)
Child– You can freely move forward to catch up with the next nearest meeple
Chance tokens – when you end your turn on a Chance space, you reveal a token and apply its effects regarding movement, gems, machetes or Idol token possession. Then you replace the pulled token with a new one.
note – 2-3 players – Each player plays 2 Character cards per turn and takes 2 movements every round.
Overall, the mechanics are pretty clear and it should only take a round or two to get into the swing of things with everyone understanding how it plays. All the information is on the cards and the choices are interesting and make for a tense race with a lot of passing each other going on. Your strategy is limited to the choice of roles and also when you use the Seer role to spy on 2 chance tokens so its not a deep game but it works very nicely at the level its pitched at.
Did it work for me?
In a word, yes! Lost Temple is a lovely game and a very nice light game for non-gamers. When you are playing with non-gamers and they are repeatedly saying that they like the game, think it looks great and is fun, you know you are onto a winner. The Citadels card mechanic is the only comparison to be made and those who bang on comparing this game with Citadels need to get over it. THIS IS NOT CITADELS NOR IS IT TRYING TO BE! Lost Templestands on its own as a solid light, fun family race game with a nice Indiana Jones-type theme. Easy to learn, relatively fast playing, interactive, with a nice dose of randomness makes for a terrifically fun mix. Bruno Faidutti has done an excellent job transferring the card mechanic to a different style game and it works charmingly. I would not hesitate to recommend this game.
Boardgames in Blighty rating – 8 out of 10
Resoundingly yes! A great game for family game night for age 10+
For more information go to – www.whitegoblingames.com