As we’ve mentioned, Peder and I have had an absurdly busy summer — sadly, this has meant we’ve been woefully short on lake time this year. However, we were lucky enough to get a small slice of it last weekend, when we got to stay overnight at Peder’s family’s little lake cottage. And what did we do to pass our time after dinner? Why, bust out a new board game, of course!
Lost Woods is one of a few board games that Peder (semi-)recently procured via Kickstarter, and it seemed so appropriate to play in a lake cottage that we had to bring it along. This was our first time playing it, so there was a little bit of prep in the form of popping out lots of little cardboard pieces — which is an activity I happen to enjoy almost as much as popping bubble wrap, so I was definitely okay with this.
In Lost Woods, you play as one of a few courageous adventurers (who, as I understand it based on what the game implies, are a bunch of kids playing dress-up in the woods). The premise is simple — the game is played until one of the players makes it out of the woods, and the winner is the player with the most gold at the end of the game (regardless of whether they were the player to escape the woods first). You build the board as you go (in a way that’s reminiscent of how you explore the house in Betrayal at House on the Hill) by drawing cards that take you north, south, east, or west.
Each time you lay down a new card, you must draw a tile from the tile bag and act according to what you’ve drawn. You might draw a weapon you can use — anything from pretty normal items like a broken baby bottle to fantastical objects like unicorn horns — or a gold piece. Or you might draw a monster that you’ll then have to fight. If you don’t defeat the monster, on your next turn you’ll have to either try again or move in a different direction to escape it. As you go, you can also draw cards that lead to magical fountains, which let you learn a magical spell to be used as a powerful weapon against monsters. But use the spell once, and it’s gone for good — or at least until you make your way back to the fountain again.
To make it out of the woods, you’ll have to be the one to lay down the last card from one of the directional card decks — but even then, you’re not out just yet. To complete your journey, you’ll have to defeat the Guardian. To do so, you’ll have to roll better than the Guardian does three times in a row — once you do, the game is complete. Next, it’s time for everyone to count up the gold they’ve collected during their travels through the woods — the player with the most wins the game.
Lost Woods is a simple little game, but an enjoyable one. There’s very little strategy involved, and though there’s a fair amount of luck, the game is primarily a race against time. It’s definitely not a game for serious gamers, but it’s a fun, lighthearted game for when you want something short and don’t feel like investing a lot of brainpower into a complicated game. It’d be a great one for starting off a game night, and would be an even better one to play with the kids in your life (if I had to put a number on it, I’d say anyone from about 8 and up would have a good time with this one).
Overall Grade: C
Casual Grade: A
Gamer Grade: D-
Have you played Lost Woods? If not, would you give it a go?
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