Pete Belli
United States
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"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."

Editor's Note: Uncle Guido worked in Las Vegas for many years, coordinating entertainment and leisure services at several casinos during the 1960s and 1970s. This experience gives Uncle Guido unique insights into the thematic elements of the game.

This is a photograph of me standing next to Uncle Guido in 1963. We didn't see much of Uncle Guido when I was a child. Dad told me Uncle Guido was "on vacation" in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania for three to five years.

Uncle Guido is currently under Federal protection in the Witness Relocation Program. These sessions took place at an undisclosed location in the Pacific Northwest. Uncle Guido asked me to post this review on BGG since one of his former associates (specifically, Carmine "The Keyboard" from Chicago) might use a special computer algorithm to determine his address.

Here is the review:

Las Vegas is rolling dice, pushing your luck, and using muscle... all without triggering a RICO indictment!

by Uncle Guido

Las Vegas is a game about dominating the "action" at six casinos. It was designed by the talented RĂ¼diger Dorn and has been published in a number of different versions. I'm not too sure about the retail price of this game (my copy fell off the back of a truck) but the components are of the highest quality. The game is designed to be enjoyed by 2, 3, 4, or 5 players but it works best with more people. Although my circle of friends has been reduced by death (natural or not) and imprisonment we managed to gather five guys from the old neighborhood to play a couple of games.

Editor's Note: The famous Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a series of laws intended to fight organized crime.

The rules are deceptively simple.

The six casino tokens are placed on the table. (BTW, the artwork is classy but nostalgic views of the old Strip would been more interesting; the glory days of Sinatra and the "Rat Pack" when I worked the hotels probably represent the quintessential American image of Vegas.) A pile of money is placed next to each casino... at least 50 thousand bucks. Some casinos only have one large dollar amount available to the syndicate players. Since the play money starts at $10000 other casinos might have two or three bills of various denominations waiting to be "protected" by a friend of ours. This sets up an interesting dynamic since the six casinos often include all-or-nothing payouts and opportunities for everyone to get a taste.

Once the action gets started each player takes a first turn roll of eight identical six-sided dice. The player must decide which number (1-6) shown on the dice will be assigned to the matching casino piece. Only one number may be sent to a casino, and all dice showing that number during this turn must be included. The object of the game is to have the most dice on a casino. The top player grabs the cash. A tie score means none of our crew the contestants controls the money. If additional cash in smaller denominations is available a player with fewer dice at that casino might be awarded the money.

Assigning the dice to a casino reminded me of the old days when I would send Rocco and Tony over to the Stardust. My boys would help the management "relocate" any excess funds. This is all handled abstractly in the game. However, a designer must remain mindful of the public's unwarranted prejudice against creative methods of monetary redistribution generated by a series of films like The Godfather and Goodfellas.

Play continues through four complete rounds. At the end of the final sequence the player with the most cash is declared the Boss of Bosses the winner.

Editor's Note: The legendary Stardust was an iconic Las Vegas casino. Of course, Uncle Guido is just kidding about Rocco and Tony.

There is a light patina of strategy behind all of that die rolling but the main element of the game is a push-your-luck mechanic. A player spreading all of his or her dice around the casinos early in a round will have fewer options at the conclusion of the cycle. The final outcome determining who controls a casino will frequently be based on the last roll of the remaining dice. Putting too much muscle out on the street invites a battle; subtle maneuvers and deceptive dice placement create opportunities to exploit another player's mistakes.

I have nothing against dice games. We used to play Craps in the back room of my social club in Brooklyn. I've always been lucky although some of my associates have experienced tragic misfortune. Alphonse got into a jam when a "special" casino dice fell out of his sleeve when I was a floor manager at the Golden Nugget. He died the following Saturday after falling down several flights of stairs at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.

Editor's Note: Uncle Guido was in Bayonne, New Jersey that weekend.

This game packs a lot of fun into a small package. A group can sit down and begin playing in a couple of minutes. By the time the Espresso machine is warmed up everybody will have grasped the rules, even my idiot brother-in-law Salvatore. Why my sister married him instead of that guy who owned the sanitation company in Queens, I'll never know.

As this review comes to an end I would like to share a musical memory from my days in Las Vegas. This upbeat mood of this classic Frank Sinatra song matches my opinion of the game. Las Vegas is sweeter than one of my dear Grandma's wonderful pizzelle.

Editor's Note: Pizzelle is a flat lace cookie flavored with anisette, a dessert originally from Italy.

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David G. Cox Esq.
Lighthouse Beach
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Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
In the words of Al Capone, "Kind words and a gun are better than kind words alone."

Give my regards to Uncle Guido.
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