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!