Lost Cities is a two-player card game where each player tries to mount profitable expeditions. Like many games designed by Reiner Knizia, it features simple and elegant rules, plays fast, but still has suprising strategic depth. It is currently published by Kosmos, Rio Grande and Devir (among others). You can download the official rules from the Rio Grande web site and check the BoardGameGeek page for reviews, strategy and more information.
This computer implementation allows playing against an artificial intelligence (AI) player. It was written in Haskell using the wxWidgets interface.
Although there are some web-based implementations available with nicer graphics, I wanted something that I could use off-line; another requirement was that it should fit the small screen netbooks (such as my eeePC).
The AI uses a "Monte-Carlo" approach to simulate the hidden draw deck and the opponent's hand by randomly generating several alternative game positions, analysing each scenario using classical minimax with αβ-prunning; finally, the best move on average is choosen.
The high level of abstraction of Haskell allows the code
to be quite succint: the game playing module
LostCities.hs) is roughly 400 lines
and the whole application is about 1200 lines.
Unlike the web-based versions, this
implementation is open-source which means that
other programmers can verify that the AI does not cheat...
Requires a resonably recent GHC compiler (version 6.8.x or newer) plus the wxWidgets/wxHaskell libraries. This was developed on an Ubuntu GNU/Linux system, and should compile and run fine on other Linuxes. It also compiles and runs on Windows XP but I had reports of failure to run under Mac OS X.
You can download the latest source package from Hackage; to compile and install use the following shell commands (where x.y is the package version):
tar xvzf lostcities-x.y.tar.gz cd lostcities-x.y runhaskell Setup.hs configure runhaskell Setup.hs build runhaskell Setup.hs install
Alternatively, you can download and install in one step using the Cabal install tool:
cabal install lostcities
Sorry but I don't have the time to maintain binary packages for diferent operating systems. Nonetheless, I'd be willing to put up links if other people volunteer to do this.
Please contact me you enjoy this game or if you have some suggestion. I'm particularly interested in remarks on how the AI plays and suggestions on how to make better.