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Subject: Favorite 2-player variant (One Casino per person & No AI) rss

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Sheamus Parkes
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This is actually one of my favorite games of all times. I realize not everyone appreciates it, but it's just the right mix of economics and fun for me!

But, it is missing a good 2-player variant. The official one that involves some dice is just nonsense for me. (No offense to the author). Vegas is about fun, not about running some AI program.

My wife and I have played multiple double casino games. These work well, but it makes for a lot to keep track of and a much longer game. I really wanted a two player variant that worked with only one casino per player.

Here's what we came up with, and after a few play tests, it seems to work great:

Setup:

1. Remove half (rounded up) of each of the three basic rooms. (Slots, Lounges and Restaurants)

2. Remove half (rounded down) of each type of premiere tile. For example, remove:

2X Fancy Slots
1X Table Games
1X High Rollers Room
1X Sports Book
etc.

For the most part, remove them from the "B" tiles. However, make sure there are at least 3 tiles in the "B" group for each size. In particular, you will need to remove one of the "Fancy Slots" from the A group to ensure there are still 3 small "B" tiles.

3. Give each player the normal starting materials, but additionally give them a second betting pyramid.

4. Give the normal starting money, and only use 3 of the premiere tile auction spaces. (And only 1 slot betting track.)

(Optional 5. If you want a more predictable game length, remove 3-4 event cards of each room size from the event card deck. This will make it more likely for the room tile stacks to bleed down equally.)

Play:

1. Always double your income. (If your revenue is at 8 and your population is at 10, you would collect $16 on a normal turn.) Additionally, any money given as bonuses on event cards is doubled.

2. When betting, you each have two pyramids to bet with. You alternate placing them (and replacing them) until no pyramid is outbid. (Player A places their first bid, then Player B places their first bid, then Player A places their second bid then Player B places their second bid, then overbids are resolved.) A player may not outbid themselves for a tile.

3. When resolving the bids, you may resolve them in the order you desire (You may renovate and then place your new tile, or choose the order to place two new tiles you just purchased.)

Final Score:

1. Highest Revenue / Population pays 3 VP. Ties pay nothing.

2. Rest of the scoring remains the same.


Conclusion

In our playtesting, this made for a very enjoyable and quick playing experience. It came closer than the other variants to matching multiplayer Vegas. In particular, the game end rolled around at about the same time. It was quite possible to fill both sides and make the connection, but there wasn't much chance of completely filling your mat.

As for the theory:

1. Double the income and double the betting chances. This does make for some unique strategy where it's possible to just buy one premiere tile at face tile each turn towards the later part of the game. Still, it does encourage just enough competition for the available tiles. It also speeds the game up greatly.

2. Reduce the number of tiles but still keep the correct distribution for the prerequisites. It does however make a lot of the B tiles the juicy rooms. It's much more predictable when the good tiles are going to hit.


Anyway, I'd be happy to hear any feedback on this. Otherwise, just play and have some fun!
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Lee Massey
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It's a good idea that you proposed for 2 players! I'll get my wife to try it out and we'll give you feedback later! Thanks for the idea!
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KK Su
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Good one. I'll have to give this a try.
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John W
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Interested in playesting feedback on this variant.
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thomas coe
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Re: Favorite 2-player variant (One Casino per person & No AI
played this game for the first time last night with your two player rules and they worked out just fine. the girlfriend really liked it....of course, she won!!! thanks for these rules
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David Wiens
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Re: Favorite 2-player variant (One Casino per person & No AI
Isamoor wrote:
The official one that involves some dice is just nonsense for me. (No offense to the author). Vegas is about fun, not about running some AI program.


Yeah. What the heck do dice have to do with Vegas anyway? Oh, wait..


Just kidding. I love Vegas Showdown too. I'm stoked to try a good 2-player version. Thanks!
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Rick Young
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Looks like a good variant - Thanks for posting it.

I hope to try it with my wife.
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Sheamus Parkes
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Re: Favorite 2-player variant (One Casino per person & No AI
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I haven't got a chance to get in anymore testing for awhile.

My only concern looking back was if we removed enough of the basic rooms. It might be wiser to cut it down to only 3-4 restaurants and a similar number of the other basic rooms. I might crunch some numbers later today.
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Pretentious? Moi?
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Re: Favorite 2-player variant (One Casino per person & No AI
We played this variant tonight and the game ended much faster than I anticipated. (This was largely due to the luck of the draw--the overwhelming majority of the replenishment cards were "small squares").

Still, I managed to completely fill my hotel & connect it to a sparsely populated casino, before the last small "B" was drawn. With so few tiles per stack, the randomizer can be pretty unforgiving.

All in all, Great 2-player rules--we'll definitely play this one again. thumbsup


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Sheamus Parkes
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Re: Favorite 2-player variant (One Casino per person & No AI
RicochetRita wrote:
All in all, Great 2-player rules--we'll definitely play this one again. thumbsup


Thanks for the feed back. I'm glad it went well for ya.

Yea, if you're really worried about the short game due to small stacks, you could always balance out the event deck a little bit. Cull down the event deck to maybe 2/3rds of it's original size but remove each tile sized equally. That should definitely remove some variability from the game end timing.

Of course, I personally enjoy the wild swings of game end. Of course, I haven't gotten to play this variant too often, so it might be too much here.
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Bo Link
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Re: Favorite 2-player variant (One Casino per person & No AI
Played this variant tonight with my wife. We both enjoyed it more than the 2 hotel variant. There's much less upkeep with this one. I also didn't think the deck was that bad. We ended up with 1 of the 2-square tiles left pretty early, but we went on a run of just 1-squares and 4-square tiles. That made the game last a bit longer.
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Seth Brown
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Just tried this tonight with the girlfriend. We definitely liked it better than the random AI variants with die rolls determining what buildings disappeared at inopportune times. Seemed like it ended a little fast, but we only removed three of each size card; I think next time we'll take out four.

One issue with the doubled income is that those early slots become even more important, especially if no premier income tiles start face-up. I'm sure many people would say this is self-correcting, since people will just bid higher for the first few slots, but in our case after I won the first two slots, my income simply drove me to an easy victory for the rest of the game.

The faster play time is definitely a bonus though. The fact that we could play a round over dinner was very nice, and helps make this our favorite 2-player variant yet.
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Sheamus Parkes
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Osirus wrote:
Just tried this tonight with the girlfriend. We definitely liked it better than the random AI variants with die rolls determining what buildings disappeared at inopportune times. Seemed like it ended a little fast, but we only removed three of each size card; I think next time we'll take out four.


Glad you enjoyed it Seth. I'll go ahead and update the first post with a suggestion of removing 3-4 of each card size.

Thanks!
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Rob McMonigal
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Thank you for making a workable variant for one of my favorite games. It's just the two of us so we rarely get to play VS. I thought the rules worked very well, but adapting to so much cash is a bit strange at first. :)

Thanks again!

-Rob
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Jayson Smith
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We tried this tonight, but it was The Wife's first game and only my second so we were also learning at the same time. Manipulating the two markers was easy to figure out. We forgot to double our cash, and I think as a result the game ran a little long (1 hr total) and we nearly filled both mats. But I think overall it was a good game experience; we will try to modifications to cash next time. I'll report then too.

(It was close -- I won by only 3 pts)
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Todd N.
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Awesome variant. It works very well. Me and my wife will get a lot more play out of this game.
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Steve Duff
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This worked quite well. Not sure I felt the room ratio was quite right, but it's close. Need to play it more.
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Alan Kwan
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I have yet to try this and it looks fine.

I do admit that my (official) 2-player variant is too fiddly - I feel that too myself. My approach was to implement better AI than the ones around then. Your approach seems a better one.

> Optional 5

Perhaps it's better to play with the entire event deck. During your halving of the building tiles, the rounding up was quite significant for those rare (one copy only) tiles. Thus a higher likelihood of the game "ending early", and more uncertainty about the availability of the rare tiles, is probably a good thing.

In my experience of the standard game, the Fancy tiles to a large extent decides the game. (For example, notice that two Fancy Lounges are almost as strong as the Theater.) Since in your variant the halving-and-rounding (unavoidably) changes the ratio of the Fancy tiles vs. the top tiles, it may shift the strategy too much if those tiles come out too reliably.
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Darcy Dueck
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I cant say enough about how well this works. We enjoy this game immensely and this 2-player variant ads even more play opportunities. This variant makes the game worth buying even if two-player is all you ever get to play.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Another confirmation that this variant works great. My wife had never played VS before, and I had played a couple times with 4 and 5, and both of us really enjoyed our 2p game. (Even though I messed up and didn't quite remove the correct tiles). She beat me by a wide margin, because I focused too much on money and not enough on fame.

One rules clarification: I assume that a player is not allowed to perform 2 renovations twice in one round, even if both of their bidding tokens end up there (such as if the event blocks publicity).
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Mike K
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Is it OK that the premier stacks won't be even (6 small, 6 medium, 7 large)?
 
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Sheamus Parkes
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Coyotek4 wrote:
Is it OK that the premier stacks won't be even (6 small, 6 medium, 7 large)?


*shrug* I wouldn't worry too much about it. I think the increase in predictability is the larger issue. As in, there isn't much uncertainty left in when things are going to show up. Still, it works out well enough to be fun.
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Connie L.
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Thanks for this 2 player variant, Sheamus! We tried it outlast night and it worked beautifully!
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