Update #7 A True Story from Turkey

Hello Travellers - here’s a true story for you!

The Route East IRL adventure actually started in London - a journey that wound its way through Europe and into Istanbul, before the adventures through Asia began. So why did we start Route East in Turkey, and not the UK?

Good question! Well firstly, purely from a practical point of view. Europe’s countries are pretty small and it would have been hard to do them proper justice from a design perspective. Secondly, wrapping even more of a map around a circle - well that would also have been difficult. But, more importantly, the real adventure truly started in Turkey.

It was Jonny and George’s second night in Turkey. After losing a wing mirror in Istanbul (this has made it to our Ignition Cards) they decided to try their luck wild camping in the countryside.

It was a moonless night and brisk wind made the landscape pretty uninviting, but after a few hours driving, the guys came across a spot that seemed perfect. Note:wild camping is not allowed in Route East,unless you have a ‘You’ve got a tent’ Action Card.

After setting up for the evening by the side of a quiet country road, they stirred up some instant noodles on a small stove and started to wind down. Out of absolutely nowhere, three cars, beaming their headlines through an eerie mist, skidded up to the back of Judith (their car). 11 men jumped out of the cars holding crow bars, baseball bats, and crude DIY tools. They were speaking loud, and very fast, in every direction both to them (Jonny and George didn’t understand a thing) and to each other.

While Jonny and George couldn’t understand a word, they could certainly tell they weren’t welcome. The men tugged at their tent, pointed to the car and herded them and all of their things back into Judith. Somehow they managed to fit a fully erected (but now slightly broken) tent onto the back seats!

The men moved their cars to surround them and chaperoned them back down the road they’d come from. They were petrified - literally for their lives. Although they’d both been in some hairy situations before, this was an entirely new level of uncomfortable.

10 minutes later, they arrived at a fork in the road. The car in front stopped, and the men got out. They knocked on Judith’s window and indicated for them to get out, whilst pointing over to a dodgy dirt track towards disused farm in the distance. Judith’s brakes were pretty sharp, having been newly fitted just a few weeks before. With the guys on high alert, they’d stopped short and left around half a car length between their bonnet and the car ahead. So, they took their opportunity. Full lock to the left and foot on the gas - they legged it!!!!

The next day, they booked a small AirBnB. It was just a small private room in a family home in Tbilisi. It was a stark contrast to the night before, and they reflected on the events with their new friend Emir who showed them some Turkish games and shared his alcohol collection. In between the noodles and the men arriving, Jonny and Goerge had started to film a video diary. It was mainly for their mums back home, but also for a record of their travels. They realised that they’d left it recording for the whole evening, and the full events of the night had been captured - well at least the sound.

Emir was listening in as they looked over the footage (it was mostly darkness apart from shooting lights as the camera got bashed around). He was laughing. In fact, more than laughing, he was in hysterics.

“You silly British people. You camped in a cemetery!’. You should have seen their faces.

Jonny and George asked Emir to listen to the whole thing. Turns out, the Turkish guys themselves were scared because they didn't know who Jonny & George were (hence the makeshift weaponry). Their loud shouting, well that was just standard Turkish dialogue, as they decided between them who had would accommodate Jonny and George on their land instead . And, as they set off, they weren’t following them to impending death, instead, to soft safe ground to camp on with probably a Turkish breakfast in the morning!

Never judge a book by its cover - even if it’s shouting at you!

Jonny, George, Petra, and the Route East Team

Instagram: @LostVentureGames
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lostventurehq
BGG: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/349071/route-east [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Update #6 Making decisions & planning

Hello Travellers,
We’ve less than three weeks to go now! With our print & play version ready for the end of our Kickstarter campaign, we’re actually under seven weeks away from you getting your hands on the game!

Our community has recently expanded by more than 300 new subscribers (HELLO!) so we thought we’d do a quick overview of the key bits that make Route East the action-packed gateaway game you will want to play time and time again.

While Route East is a take on your classic racer, there’s a lot more strategy involved than meets the eye! We’ve been refining this delicate balance for 15 months now, and over the last few weeks, we’ve had some great feedback from our playtesters.

Your Route

George (one of our founders) worked out that there is something like 700,000 different route variations you can take. Will you head north and cross the Caspian Sea by boat? Do you go South through Iran? Do you head through Uzbekistan where there’s no fuel, or take the longer route through the mountains of Tajikistan?
The two or three attractions you’re dealt at the start of the game will determine the specific locations you’ll need to pass through, but how you get there is down to you.


Fuel plays a big part in the game. You’ll need a Fuel Token for every border you cross (unless you have a specific Action Card in place of it). To get fuel just pass through a fuel station. However, there isn’t one in every country so plan ahead.

On top of that, you’ll need to plan for some level of foul play too. One of the best ways to slow other players down is by stealing their Fuel Tokens with an Action Card - do this just as they get to a border (a favourite play of Jonny’s), and they’re royally screwed. That’ll put them back a few days and if they’re in a country with no fuel, well, that could be a deal-breaker for their race.


You’ll get $450 when you start the game. This will NOT be enough. You might scrape by just with a single visit to an ATM, but picking up Bank Cards blind could either line your wallet, or be a pointless trip. You could dash ahead and skip the ATMs to give yourself some space, but then find yourself in a pickle, or, go to too many out of fear of bankruptcy, and get left behind.

Action Cards

Our playtesters who have enjoyed Route East the most have done so when they’ve realised the true value of Action Cards. From Freight Trains taking you 8 places within a single country, to cards to steal money and fuel off competitors, these are your secret weapon to success. Fast and furious doesn’t always win the race! Sometimes slow and cunning gets you further.

That concludes our short recap! We hope you found it useful.
As mentioned, we’re under 3 weeks to go. Tell your friends, your grandparents, your neighbours and your social acquaintances! We’ve got a realistic goal in place and with your help, we’re going to smash it!

Honestly, we can’t wait for guys to play Route East.

Don't forget to sign up for notifications from Kickstarter.

Update #5 PointsandPlays Review

Hi Traveller!

Hope you're keeping well. We've been busy here juggling around our prototypes and getting as much feedback as we can. We have less than 4 weeks now until launch and it's all getting very exciting!

We recently shipped a copy of the game over to the lovely Lauren and Jasmine. They took it for a test spin along with their gorgeous little dog. Here’s what they thought!

⛽️ This isn’t just a race of who can get from A to B the quickest. During a turn players either move or pull Action cards; these are where the strategy comes in! They could get you free fuel, extra turns or incite a bit of foul-play and steal money from another player. Money and fuel are also tight so you need to plan wisely as you travel through the map, picking up resources where you can and crucially before you run out (often my downfall!).

🏯 The game is a delight to look at. The map and attraction cards are all hand-drawn, they’re bright and colourful and they showcase the wonders these countries have to offer perfectly.

⭐️ This game is pure racing fun! Even as fairly experienced gamers we had a great time with it but it would make the perfect gateway game. Player interaction in Route East is high and the fun comes from those moments of foul-play, I’ve still not forgiven Jasmine for stealing the freight train ticket that I was saving to get across China with!

Check out PointsandPlays over on Instagram.

Updated #4 Route East - 235 and counting

Hello Travellers,

Two exciting updates for your Sunday evening - sit tight, they’re quick!

Firstly, since our Kickstarter landing page went live, we’ve hit over 230 followers so far. That’s great progress and, if they all pledge, we’re not far off fully funding! Amazing news! But the higher we get with that magic number the better, and the more likely we can get Route East on table tops around the world! 

If you haven’t yet hit the notify button head over now! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lostventuregames/route-east

Jim Gamer’s Review

Our first review is in! The wonderful Jim Gamer has played Route East 6 times in total and has given us a fantastic review. A few points Jim raised that we’ll be addressing:

More focus on country information 

Jim has suggested we tune in more on the details of the places players will visit. More content and more info. Each Attraction Card contains a snippet about the location, but we’ll be expanding this out with 4 extra pages in the rulebook featuring top 5 interesting facts about each country that you won’t find in a guidebook. 

More attractions

The game is currently designed for players to visit 3 attractions if playing as a two or three, or 2, for games with three to five players. On Jim’s sixth runthrough, he played Route East with each player visiting a whopping 6 attractions! While it took him longer to finish, he liked the extra challenge!. So…we’ll be including something in the rules to say players can load the game with as many attractions as they like should they wish to add extra difficulty. Though we’ll still recommend the normal amounts for a first playthrough.

Take a full read of Jim’s review over on their website: https://www.whatboardgame.com/post/route-east-board-game-preview

Instagram: @LostVentureGames

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lostventurehq 

BGG: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/349071/route-east 

More updates are coming soon!

Jonny, George, Petra, and the Route East Team

Update #3 Kickstart Launch is Set!

Hello Travellers! 

It’s been a mammoth journey to get to the ‘submit’ stage of our Kickstarter launch, but we finally made it, with our go-live date locked in as March 8th. That’s just 8 weeks away!

The race isn’t quite over though. We’re still finalising our Kickstarter page, our launch trailer (which is looking amazing), our advertising campaign and a few other bits and bobs. 

We’ve also now published our work in progress rules, which we’d welcome you to take a read of to find out more about how the game works and what to expect. You can take a look here: https://lostventuregames.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/route-east-rules.pdf

Of course, make sure you’re following our Instagram where the majority of our updates go (https://www.instagram.com/lostventuregames/)

So now it’s just a waiting game! The one thing we would ask is that you head to our Kickstarter holding page and hit ‘Notify me of launch’. This means that Kickstarter will drop you an email when our page goes live, and the game is ready to pledge! Every little helps and we really appreciate all your support so far! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lostventuregames/route-east

More updates are coming soon as we shortlist 3 manufacturers and nail down the finer details!


Jonny, George, Petra, and the Route East team.

Instagram: @LostVentureGames

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lostventurehq 

BGG: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/349071/route-east 

Update #2 The Prototype Arrived!

Hello Travellers!
We’re coming to you with our second update and oh boy, it’s a big one! So buckle in and let’s get straight to it!

Fast-forward just over two months from revealing Route East to the world (and now 13 months from the birth of the idea) our prototypes have arrived! Whilst this may seem very ‘sudden’ - they’ve been a long time coming and the ‘route’ here (excuse the pun) hasn’t been easy.

Even at the prototype stage (where things going wrong is sort of fine), it was paramount to us that we printed a prototype that was as close to finished as possible. We now have 8 prototypes that will be doing the rounds for our final phase of playtesting. We’re looking for groups of 4 or 5 to playtest - if you’re interested please email us at [email protected] or drop us a message on Insta or Twitter.

Let’s speed it up! 

For the last six months, we’ve been playtesting the game with various group sizes (Route East is a 2-5 player game). Making a board game just the right length of time is a challenge, especially when timing depends heavily on the number of players.

Shortly after version 7 (ish) of the game popped out of the old ink-jet, we decided that we needed to speed it up a little. No-one likes a game that drags on.
We’re now at the 1 hour mark for a 2-3 player game, and 90 minutes for a 4-5. This is down about 30%.

To change the timing of a game, you’ve got to mess with the mechanics - and when you’ve got a fun game that works nicely, but is just a little too long, that’s a daunting prospect. The approach we’ve taken though is to throw certain actions into the game to allow players to move along the map faster (a few more freight trains and some supercharged fuel that gives you an extra move). It’s proven successful, but we’re still fine tuning.


For the last month, we’ve been getting our files print-ready. That’s not just double checking, but also resizing every piece of artwork (that’s 315 single artwork files in case you were interested) to fit the specifications of our prototype makers. While these are ‘just’ prototypes, they need to be as close to finished as possible so our playtesting can be thorough and accurate.

Days before Christmas final files were sent over, and by Boxing Day, we had photographs of the prototype for review! A few days later, they arrived. This was the first time we saw the artwork properly printed, without lines on it and without the red ink slowly depleting. The final prints are truly stunning and really do the game and all its hand-drawn elements justice - all thanks to our brilliant illustrator Yulia.

The Kickstarter count-down has (almost!) begun

So what’s next for Route East? Well, in the first two weeks of January we will be finalising our Kickstarter page. This isn’t a quick job and our entire team will be working on this to get it over the line. Once this is finished and submitted, we’ll be nailing down a launch date.

This is most likely going to be early March - which really isn’t too far away. Good news is that we were so impressed with our prototypes that we’re most likely going to be using the same company to produce the actual game, which means we’re halfway there from a manufacturing front; something that will certainly speed up delivery for our supporters.

Please, please spread the word!

We adore this stunning game, based on a true story and an epic adventure four years ago. Everyone we have played with so far has loved it too, and we want as many people to learn about these fantastic destinations, race to Shanghai, and get into some heated fuel-stealing arguments along the way as well!

We need your support to do this so please spread the word to friends and family. Ask people to sign up to our newsletter where we’ll be doing regular updates, and follow our channels for the very very latest.

Instagram: @LostVentureGames
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lostventurehq 
BGG: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/349071/route-east 

More updates are coming soon!
Jonny, George, Petra, and the Route East Team

Introducing Route East - from why we made it to how to play!

Hi everyone! 

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and the LostVenture Games team, working on Route East - a strategic race from Istanbul to Shanghai! 

Most years, George and I take on some sort of adventure, the biggest one perhaps being a drive from London to Mongolia in a 20 year old clapped-out banger! Inspired by the stunning countries we passed through, we decided to draw out a board game, completely for our own entertainment!

A year on and this game is NOW A THING! And we’re super proud of how far it has come, from 4 pieces of A4 paper stuck together with pritt stick, to a super exciting game with an equal mix of strategy, planning, and cunningness!

We cannot wait for you guys to join us as we fine-tune the game, and launch it on Kickstarter in February. We’re a small but passionate team of 6 working on the game making great progress, but there are still a few unknowns. Which is where YOU come in. From playtesting to just general feedback - we’d love you to get involved in helping us make this game the best version it can be. 

OK, so I’ll get to the point now. What is Route East!

Route East is a driving adventure from Istanbul to Shanghai. Along the way you’ll have a few places you must go (handed out randomly at the start of the game - we call them attraction cards). These make every game different, and influence (to a degree) the route you will take.

As lovers of games like Werewolf, Terraforming Mars, Pandemic, Sheriff of Nottingham and Civ6 to name but a few, we also wanted to throw in a touch of resource management. Plus, we actually wanted a player’s journey to semi reflect reality.

As you play, there are a number of elements you’ll need to strategize around: :


At the start of the game, everyone gets two attraction cards that they must visit on their journey to Shanghai. From that point, you need to plan your journey very carefully as any mistakes/wrong turns can set you back turns behind your competitors. 


You get $450 to work with from day 1. I can guarantee you… This is not enough to get to the finish line! The journey gets expensive as you’ll need to pay accomodation at the start of each turn, pay to cross borders, as well as some extra “unexpected” expenses (hello, punctures!) along the way. There are ways you can keep your costs down and strategize such as  sticking to hostels ($25) as opposed to hotels ($50). If you’re lucky, you might find a single-use tent in which case you can sleep for free at any attraction.You can top up on cash in banks dotted along the way but it’s going to cost you precious moves. 


At each border, you’ll need to hand over a fuel token to the border guards. You don’t get any at the start so you’ll need to pick them up en-route, BUT, these can be stolen by other players, plus…. not every country has fuel. 


These can also drain you of money. Sometimes, you’ll be able to bribe the guards, other times they’ll whack you with a $50 charge, or invent some weird dice rolling ritual you’ll need to complete to pass through. Sounds far fetched - well, me and George spent 18 hours at the Iranian border arguing over a $100 TUESDAY charge the guards had invented. This stuff actually happens!

Finally, you’ll lose money along the way as other teams steal from you by using action cards (more on those later), as well as fines and mechanical blunders that cost you both money and time.

On your move

So each day / turn you’ll get three moves, (maybe…). You’ll start your turn picking up an ignition card. This tells you basically how your day is going to go and is the only bit of luck in the game. 

You might get a flat tyre and not be able to move anywhere, everything might be completely fine and you take your three moves as usual, or if you’re lucky, you might be running on great fuel, and can take an extra move!

With your moves, you can do a number of things: You can either progress along your route to Shanghai, or you can swap a move to pick up an Action Card. Action Cards are an awesome mechanic that gives you nifty tools that you can whip out at any point along the way (you can hold up to five). They’ll give you powers to steal money off other players, delay them for a day, or even jump on a freight train to move 8 places in a turn! 

I won’t give too much away, but Action Cards are both your get out of jail for free cards, as well as being an arsenal of weapons to play against other players to get ahead.


We’ve played this game about 60 times now. Each time it gets super close at the end, and there is never an obvious winner until the last few moves. Regardless, each player so far has come with their own tactic. Some race through the board as fast as they can, others team up and smooge other players to prevent sabotage, and then you’ve got the hoarders who get to the bank early to stock up on cash! 

Expect to lose friends by the end of it. Route East is full of twists and surprises and playing nice doesn’t always get you to the finish line!

So where are we at

The game is 80% designed now. Our fantastic illustrator Yulia has been drawing away and has hands covered in plasters - but it’s looking fab! We’re working with manufacturers at the moment (Brexit is proving fun as I’m sure many of you will know!) and working on an expansion to launch at the same time (a really dirty, nasty, mean expansion to make teamwork absolutely non-existent). 

So, that’s Route East. We’ve loved making it, and love playing it even more and can’t wait to see what the Board Game Community thinks! 

Check us out over your preferred social network of choice!