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Subject: I'll See Your Two Brain Burners And Raise You One Lords Of Vegas rss

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Michael J
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Introduction

One aspect of my collection that I'm beginning to understand more and more as my tastes become increasingly sophisticated is the concept of buying "fun" games. And by "fun", I don't mean "party" games (those have their place). I mean the gamer's games that stand out as more entertaining than average, full of laughter, hooting, hollering, and that I wouldn't be ashamed to bring out on a serious game night right in front of Agricola.

Enter, "Lords Of Vegas", a new game published in 2010 by Mayfair, and designed by James Ernest and Mike Selinker. Lords Of Vegas has turned into the runaway hit of 2010 for me, and I only received it in December. It has seen 7 plays since then, making it among the most heavily played of all "designer" games in my collection after only a month. I have played it 2P, 3P, and 4P, and am even tempted to buy extra dice and give it a try 5P just for kicks. My family has asked to play this multiple times (no, that's not normal). This game is full of fun, plays relatively quickly for experienced players, and seems to work well in just about any group I've played it with. Most impressively, I feel that it stands proudly in the list of games where the theme and mechanics are matched perfectly. Yet, still, it doesn't seem to ever show up in "The Hotness", nor does it seem to get a lot of coverage here on BGG. I think that is possibly due to its heavy reliance on dice, something that seems to scare away most players on BGG. Despite this fact, I think it's a sleeper hit, one that few of us will own (471 compared to 3134 for "7 Wonders"), but 5 years from now many of us will be trying hard to track down a copy (hint, mine won't be for sale). Expect it to show up in the "Most Underrated" and "Hidden Gem" GeekLists of 2019.

Game Overview

Lords Of Vegas (LOV) tasks the players with turning the sleepy pre-casino-suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada into the bustling mega-city it is today. Well, by "today", I mean 1975. The game board shows a modest depiction of Las Vegas Boulevard from 1941, full of gun shops, diners, apartments, dirty swimming pools, abandoned dirt lots, and a few palm trees. Players then take turns buying up lots and building casinos over the course of the next 35 years in an attempt to be the most successful casino mogul. At the end of the game, the board is covered by large casino chains and parking lots, and very little of the original city is left unscathed.

As players build casinos, they earn victory points and cash, and then use the cash to buy more casinos, earn more victory points, and earn even more cash. The player with the most victory points in the end is the winner. There is even an "instant win" victory point slot for those who want to go for the jackpot (the rulebook says no one has ever done it). The "instant win" victory point box shows how much enthusiasm was put into making this game worthy of the Las Vegas name. Think about it. An "Instant Win" box that no one has ever reached and probably will never be used but gets put on the board anyway? That's just brilliant, cheesy, and utterly cool.

As players build casinos, they add their own dice to the casino. Dice equal control and earning potential. All casino earnings and victory points are determined by these dice. One might think that LOV is all about lucky dice rolls, but this would obscure the fact that there are many ways to maximize dice, increase your odds, play it safe, and invest in better neighborhoods. LOV is definitely about taking risks and getting lucky, but it is also about maximization of opportunities and recognition of the odds. In fact, just about everything in LOV revolves arounds "odds", which is exactly what I think a game based on Las Vegas should revolve around. The "odds" are so heavily woven into the fabric of the game that I think they have to even out over the course of it. Were "odds" applicable to only a small portion of the game, an unlucky stroke of bad luck could swing things one way or another. But since every card draw and dice roll is tied to these "odds", they have a balancing effect. Of course, like any game of chance, poor play makes you more susceptible to unlucky draws and rolls, and good play insulates you a bit more. More on that later.

Components

Lords Of Vegas is a beautifully designed game with superb components that do the theme justice. The board is gorgeous, full of detail and interesting things to look at. It's almost a shame to have to cover it up with greedy and gluttonous mega casinos. The 48 dice and 40 parking lot markers are all brightly colored and easy to distinguish. The cards are also wonderfully illustrated, with bright colors and solid card stock. They have dark-colored backs, however, which means they are easily recognizable when scuffed. I think I'll have to sleeve these at some point. The paper money is about as good as paper money can be (which isn't saying much), with creative designs that include depictions of famous Las Vegas personalities on the bills. I whole-heartedly recommend poker chips for the best experience. Perhaps most impressive to me are the casino tiles, which are creatively designed and can be arranged to form a complete 9-tile casino with windows on the outside. Each casino tile is unique, too, which adds personality. But from a gamer's perspective, the best aspect of the casino tiles is that they are thick and have a nice slot for the dice to sit in. The dice won't be dislodged easily. This shows a veteran understanding of component design. About the only beef I had with any components was the scoring markers, which are cheap little plastic pieces. I just replaced these with poker chips of my own, and my gripe was easily solved.

If I had to grade the components of Lords Of Vegas, I'd give them an 8/10, with a point lost for the boring scoring markers and for the paper money. But given the price point of the game (I see one on sale in the marketplace for $24!), and the amazing artwork, this game is a steal at that cost, and it gets bumped up to a 9/10. At $24, the game costs barely more than Lost Cities, a game that is basically just cards. You get a great deal for your money here, and the game isn't bad either!

Gameplay

The 50,000 foot high-level view of LOV is that each player owns lots around the board (determined by card draw), and then builds casinos on those lots, choosing between 1 of 5 different colors, with each casino consisting of between 1 to 9 tiles. Every round, cards are drawn, a new lot is handed out, anyone owning parking lots receives cash, and any casinos matching the color of the card drawn pay out cash to all players who have purchased tiles in the matching casino. After cash is paid out, the player that is the "boss" of any casino that paid out cash earns victory points for it. Players may merge casinos, change colors of casinos, buy empty lots, and trade almost anything they want to trade on their way to victory. The game ends when the last "Vegas Strip" card is drawn from the deck (when about 1/4 of the deck is still remaining). The fact that 1/4 of the deck is not used every game means that many lots will go unowned, and not all casino colors will pay out equally. This adds a nice randomness to the game, and also some interesting plays as players try to take advantage of the odds when certain colors haven't been drawn in many turns.

Start Of Game

Each player starts the game with 2 parking lots, determined by drawing 2 initial cards per player, and putting plastic markers on those lots. Players then receive starting money equal to the starting value of the lots they drew, so that if a player drew a lot valued at a 6, he will receive less money than a lot with a 1 to balance out the difference. Yes, lots with a 6 are more powerful and earn more money than lots with a 1, but they are more expensive to build on too. You might think drawing a 6 is best out of the gate, but it isn't in my opinion, because the 6 lots cost $20 to build on, and you'll start the game with too little money to build there. You'll be forced to gamble early if you want those lots right away. Or, you may have to sell off your 6 to another player for diminished value to raise money. I think starting with a 6 is harder than starting with a 1 and offers a whole different set of challenges. Fortunately, you get 2 empty lots to start the game, so you probably won't start with all 1's or all 6's.

Turn Sequence - Draw Card And Pay Out Cash And Points

To start each turn, the active player draws a card. The card has a grid value on it, such as "A7" or "B6", similar to Acquire. The active player immediately takes ownership of that grid location, and puts a plastic marker on it to turn the spot into a parking lot.

Next, all players receive money from their unimproved parking lots (e.g. owned lots with no casinos on them). Players receive $1 for each lot.

After parking lots have paid cash, all casinos matching the color of the card that is drawn pay out cash to everyone that have dice in the casino. There are 5 different casino colors, and there will likely be a solid mix of colors around the board. Therefore, on most turns cash is earned by many different people, which is fun in itself (my wife loved collecting money every round). If you have a 5 value die in a casino, you earn $5. If you have a 6 and a 3, you earn $9. If you have dice in more than 1 casino that matches the color of the card drawn, you will earn money from both casinos. It helps to have dice in casinos of varying colors so that you can withstand streaky card draws. In almost every game I've played, 1 color has defied the odds and come out time and time again to the chagrin of all other colors. Therefore, investing all of your dice in one or two colors may leave you with little money when your turn comes up the next time. And since you have between 8-10 turns total in a 4P game, you need to make each turn count.

There are 4 "Strip" cards in the game that pay out cash and victory points to all casinos that are located on Las Vegas Blvd. When these cards come out, a ton of money is injected into the game, and the game becomes very lively. The Strip cards make casinos on Las Vegas Blvd more profitable and more desirable to own. Players should fight harder for these casinos than the small-timers on the back-alleys.

After lots and casinos have paid cash, any casino that paid cash during the previous phase pays victory points to the player that has the single highest die in the casino. This player is called the "Boss" of the casino, and he is the only person in the casino to earn points for it. Seeing as how victory points are the goal of the game, being the Boss of the larger casinos is critically important. Each casino pays 1 point per tile in the casino, so a 5 tile casino pays 5 points, whereas a 1 tile casino pays 1. Being the Boss also gives you additional tactical options on your turn to allow you to try to take advantage of the card draw and also take over other casinos (and conversely, to prevent takeovers).

One important point to make about victory points is that while each casino pays you points for each tile in the casino, the victory point track requires larger and larger casinos to earn points as the game goes on. In the beginning, 1-point casinos will earn you 1 victory point. Later on, only 2-point casinos will earn you points, then 3, then 4, and so on. Your casinos are all counted separately, so 4 1-point casinos earn you nothing once you get to the 2-point section of the scoring track. This is an interesting mechanic that serves 2 purposes. First, it forces direct confrontation between players as players need to merge casinos and take over other players' casinos in order to keep earning points. Secondly, it serves as a sort of catch-up for players that are further behind. It is harder to take over other casinos than to buy a brand new 1-point casino, so players in smaller casinos have an easier time sneaking up from behind the pack. Overall, it's a great mechanism that ensures all games are close, tense, and competitively fought.

Turn Sequence - Turn Actions

There are 6 things players can do on their turn:

1) Build
2) Sprawl
3) Remodel
4) Reorganize
5) Gamble
6) Trade

Build - This action is the most straightforward. Players may pay the amount of money listed on the board for a new casino on any lot that they own. The player picks a color, and places it on the board. The player puts a die of their color in the new casino, matching the start value of the space on the board (e.g. if the space has a 6 on it, the player pays $20 to build a casino there, then puts a 6-die in the casino).

Sprawl - Using this action, a Boss can expand their casino into a lot that is unowned. This action is risky because the lot may be drawn later on during the game (at which point it transfers ownership to the new owner), but it is useful to give yourself a short-term victory point boost before the lot is drawn, and to quickly merge two casinos that are separated by a tile so that you can create an even larger casino. You can also use this action to give yourself more dice, which not only gives you more income when the casino pays out, but also gives you more leverage if a reroll is forced upon the casino by another player. Sprawling is expensive, however; you pay double the normal cost of a lot to sprawl into it, so it cannot be used lightly. But it is extremely powerful when used at the right time, and therefore sprawling is only allowed by the Boss of the casino. Early game sprawls cannot be expected to last forever, and therefore I like to use them more for short term gains. Sprawls near the latter half of the game are more likely to "stick" because there are fewer cards left to draw. Either way, aggressively using sprawls is critical if the card draw is not going your way. In games where I have let fate take its course because I spent my money on things other than sprawling, I haven't fared very well. But when I get after it and sprawl my casinos for maximum points, I seem to do better. Thematically, I like the fact that only the Boss can decide when to take advantage of the Sprawl. It makes sense, and gives the Boss extra control over the fate of the casino.

Remodel - The Remodel action allows a Boss to change the color of a casino. Players pay $5 per tile that is being remodeled (you must remodel an entire casino together; you can't choose individual tiles to remodel). Remodeling is important to maximize points throughout the game, and to facilitate mergers of different-colored casinos. As an example of why they are used: if many purple cards have been drawn, purple casinos are less likely to pay out, and therefore players with purple casinos may want to remodel them to other colors before someone else does (there are only 9 of each color, which means they can run out quickly). Also, by using the Remodel action a player can cause two differently colored casinos to merge. If the neighboring casino has a 2 die in it, and you have a 5, you can Remodel your casino to match the other casino's color, and your casino then takes over and you become the Boss. Any time you have higher valued dice near another player's casino, you should be looking to Remodel and take it over. Remodels, like Sprawls, are extremely powerful tools, and are therefore given only to the Boss of the casino.

Reorganization - Reorganizations are the highlight of LOV for me. In a Reorganization, players can force any casino they have an interest in to be re-rolled, which causes all dice in the casino to be picked up, re-rolled, and re-placed. To reorg a casino, the active player pays the amount of money equal to the total of all dice in the casino. Therefore, if a casino has 3 dice, valued 1, 3, 6, then it costs $10 to reorganize it. Re-rolls can even be used to turn a bumbling 1-value lot into a 6-value lot for $1! This is an important strategy, and makes the 1-value lots extremely powerful. I'm always a fan of games that give lesser-valued positions subtle strategic advantages, and LOV does this extremely well. You might wonder why a 1-value lot is so cheap to build on if it is so easy to re-roll compared to a 6-value lot. I think the answer here lies in the fact that when you buy a 6-value lot, you are guaranteed to have a 6 and remain the Boss in a takeover (at least initially), whereas the 1-value lot must be re-rolled with no guarantee of ever getting a 6. Since you can only reorganize a casino once per turn, low-valued lots have no guarantees, and should be seen primarily as cheap ways to get dice on the board, and cheap places to sprawl, rather than instantaneous 6-value reorgs. One of my favorite plays is to buy a 1-value lot, reorg it to a "3" or "4", then remodel or sprawl to match a nearby casino that has low dice in it to become the Boss.

Reorganizations get extremely exciting in mid to late game when there are 5 or 6 dice in a casino and all players are re-loading and re-rolling on a turn to turn basis. The table talk will get extremely active during these times, and cheers will erupt when a player wins the reorg and especially when the dice come out extremely high (a 4, 5, 5, 5, 6 casino costs $25 to reorg again!). Some players will complain about luck during reorgs. But you can reduce luck with more dice. It is critical to maintain a die-count advantage at all times. You can do this by sprawling when you are the Boss, or by trading, or remodeling to merge with other casinos where you have additional dice. Note that reorgs don't happen to every casino every turn; they are expensive, and players with little chance to win them don't often times waste their money trying to risk it (although risks like that can make or break the game). It's also not worth it to reorganize a casino you have low odds of winning if the player you are fighting for the lead has a turn right after you; better to reorg a casino that you can hold for 3 or 4 turns.

Overall, reorgs are my favorite action of the game, and generate the most laughter.

Gambling - Gambling is a very important turn action during the game. To gamble, you pick a player, place a bet, roll 2 dice, and win on a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12 (2 and 12 pay double), with the slight favor going to the house. Money is tight the entire game. You will often times need $5 more than you have, and you can always go get that $5 by gambling. You will have the need to gamble on almost every turn. The question is, do you risk it? You can only gamble once per turn, and only against one player, so the choice of when to gamble, who to gamble against, and whether you should gamble at all is quite entertaining. On the one hand, you can spend your money with certainty on any other action with no risk at all. But if you win at gambling, you might be able to make a power play. Yet if you fail (yes, the house has the advantage, and you are just handing money over to another player), you might not have enough money to do anything. When I read the rules, I didn't think we would take advantage of risky gambling actions that often. But I was wrong. It is amazing how often the need to gamble comes into play. Some turns will absolutely depend on you gambling well. It is hilarious, especially when the player rolls a 2 or 12 and wins double their bet! Again, do not play LOV if you are not a fan of gambling and luck.

Trading - Amost everything can be traded in LOV. You can trade dice in casinos, trade for lots, trade for actions, or trade to prevent players from doing things. Trading is not listed as an official action on the turn summary card, but trading can be used on every turn, or even when it is not your turn. My groups haven't traded much yet, but I expect that we will as we get more familiar with the game. I think trading is the best way to neutralize bad draws, bad starts, and unlucky rolls. Groups that play without trading are subject more to the whims of chance than to skill. The next time someone complains that this game is all about luck and that they have no control, my next question to them is whether they have explored the trading aspect of the game. Trading isn't critical like it is in Settlers Of Catan, but it can help equalize the odds a bit and prevent a runaway leader. But I know some groups don't love trading, so it is also important to realize that trading is not essential, and one can still have fun playing LOV without it.

What I Like About This Game

I think the overriding reason I enjoy this game is because the Vegas feel comes through so strongly when playing it. The fun, the excitement, the anticipation, and the winning and losing are all present on nearly every turn. I remember before ordering it that I was wondering whether I should have bought Vegas Showdown instead, a highly regarded game that sees you placing slot machines and lounges on a casino floor. Now that feels like running a casino. How could drawing lots from a deck and building casinos feel like Vegas compared to that? As you can probably guess from my enthusiasm, my worries were unfounded. Vegas Showdown is no doubt a great game that I look forward to playing at some point, but this should stand there with it in the "fun" category.

There is nothing more fun than having 3 or 4 players pick up their dice and have a shootout. Hilarious things can happen when there is a tie for the lead and those dice have to be re-rolled too. Things get quite exciting. Prior to the roll, everybody has a chance to win, so everybody is excited. And once rolled, somebody will win and get the adrenalin rush of victory. There are many thrills like this every game, and it all adds up to tremendous fun.

Every action you take in LOV depends on understanding the odds, rolling the dice, taking chances, and being aggressive, all things that are needed on a trip to Vegas. The casinos that pay out are determined based on their count in the deck (9 of each color). The winner of a reorg is likely to go to the player with the most dice in the casino. Unlike games where odds calculations are too complicated for players to understand, in LOV it's all right there in front of you. When there are 6 purple cards left to be drawn, and 2 greens, purple is where the action is. When you have 4 dice in a casino, and everyone else has 2, you are safe from reorgs most of the time. It's not that you can't lose on any given roll, but the protection comes more from the fact that players are less likely to pay for a reorg when they don't have the odds in their favor. Why spend $25 to reorg a casino you probably won't win? You are better off putting your money into casinos that you are the Boss and expanding those odds. (not to dispel the argument against too much luck, but my favorite position to be in is the 3rd party to a reorg where I have only 1 die and someone else pays for the reorg opportunity that I never would, and watching my die come out the winner).

When you buy casinos, you are buying dice. You are buying odds. When you merge, you are taking control, going for points, accumulating more dice, and increasing control. All of these probabilities come without dice roll modifiers, attack bonuses, or special ability cards played from hand by surprise. The odds are calculable, and outcomes are fairly predictable (except in 50/50 situations). I know I won't convert non-believers, but this game feels like it has less luck than the theme and mechanics of the game suggest at first glance. No one ever feels screwed when they lose a reorg when they have less dice. Over time, the odds will favor the player that has the most. There are so many ways to overcome bad luck, that I think it all evens out in the end. Every die roll can't go against you. Every card draw isn't in your favor. Things balance out, and generally work the same for everybody. You can certainly be handed bad lots and roll terribly, but there are many ways to fight your way back into the game. And part of the fun is trying!

Now I'm not here to tell you that this game has no luck, or that luck isn't dominant in at least some of the games, or that perfect strategy will win out. But I do think that the game does a great job of allowing you to mitigate luck or feel control over your fate. There have rarely been games I've lost where I didn't think about things I could have done better afterwards.

Another thing that I really like in this game is the constant payouts every turn. Yes, it is a little hassle to always be handing out cash, but it keeps everyone involved and excited. It's like getting free rent in Monopoly. Players cheer when their color comes up (they do, believe me). It's just fun. There is genuine enthusiasm for the game from those that have played it with me. Sure, there are plenty of negative opinions too (and those are important), but I feel like the people that like a little luck and dice rolling will like this game without hesitation.

Overall, LOV does what a game about Vegas should do. It's true to its roots, and fun.


Some Warnings

LOV can give a player a bad case of Analysis Paralysis. When you have 6 casinos on the board, and you can build, sprawl, remodel, or reorg any of them, you may have a tough time deciding what to do, and in what order. Sometimes you want to do A, B, and C, but only do C if B is successful, and B only if A works, but you probably need to Gamble first, and if you fail at your Gambling attempt, you can only do C. Should you do C first? Or wait to see the results? Prioritizing your actions is important. Players can take a long time to do this, and the game can drag if they are overly thoughtful about every move. Things can slow down even further if players are actively trading, offering, and counter-offering. I recommend that new players not trade much until they get a feel for the game and see how it plays out.

In my first game, we took over 2 hours. My third game, it was 2.5. But with my game group the last time, it was a swift 90 minutes (and that's my target group anyway). The point is, some groups will be slower, some faster. I really like this game in the 90-120 range. After that, it can drag, and I recommend being aware of your surroundings and hold off on the trading with slower players. With that said, I think with experienced players the game can probably be played in 60 minutes. I'm fairly certain that it can. But with all the fun I have when playing it, I have no problem with the 90-120 range.

The next warning relates to the luck component and the reliance on card draws and dice. If you don't like card draws and dice rolling, this game will not be for you. You know who you are. Yes, I feel like the game manages to keep odds in check, and sticks pretty heavily to probabilities that are manageable, but there is no getting around the fact that despite there being strategic and tactical options to help one's position in the game and overcome bad luck, there are dice and cards at the heart of it all, and that, as they say, is that. Steer clear if dice give you hives. But stay in the next lane over if you can overlook these elements and just have fun with it all!

Notes About The Audience

I've found this game to be fun with kids and adults, gamers and non-gamers. This is a huge plus because it means I can pull this game out in almost any situation. I even really enjoyed my one 2P game of LOV as well. It played wilder and with more wicked swings of momentum due to the increased cash per player. Each player was involved every turn and had more stuff going on all over the board, and player interaction was through the roof. Yes, it's better with more players, but it was pleasantly surprising with 2. I don't know if I'd pull it out first on a 2P game night, but I don't think I'd be disappointed if it ever game out with that number. It supports 2 just as well as 3 or 4, and with satisfyingly different gameplay styles to make it a slightly varied experience. I'd like it to play 5 out of the box too, but it doesn't. That's a minor negative. But I think it can handle 5, however, albeit to a slight detriment. Overall, this game is fun for almost all types of players.

Strategic Tips

Yes, dice and card draws can ruin the day, but there are ways to mitigate luck and maximize your odds of coming out successfully. Here are some examples:

1) Don't invest too heavily in one color. The color may not pay off for many turns in a row, and you may be short of cash when it is your turn next. Diversify when possible.

2) Do not overpay for casinos that don't score you full points. If you are at the 2-pt scoring track, 1-tile casinos net you nothing, and 3-tile casinos won't net you any more than 2-tile casinos. When you are the 3-pt scoring track, 5-tile casinos won't net you any more than a 3 or 4-tile casino. You can't always plays these odds perfectly, but knowing where you are on the scoring track may help you make a better play this turn.

3) Be aware of where the competition is. For most of the game, you are at the 3-pt and under location on the scoring track. You are probably better off having 2 3-tile casinos rather than fighting over the 1 6-tile casino on the board. Everyone attacks the biggest casinos the most, so a little diversification might make you less susceptible to bad reorgs.

4) Sprawl aggressively if it can net you immediate points. Yes, you'll lose the sprawled tile eventually, but in the mean time, you get extra dice, extra cash, and more points. I think it goes without saying not to put your highest dice in a sprawled location...

5) Don't buy casinos in lots out in the sticks late in the game. You need 2+ and 3+ sized casinos, and if you are the only one building on a block, your casino isn't going to net you any points. Cash, yes, but points, no. Only buy in unpopulated areas if you have the cash, and if you can afford it.

6) Invest heavier in casinos on the Strip. These pay off potentially 4 more times than casinos that don't. Don't be the person that is left behind when the Strip cards come up.

7) Recognize a bad situation early, and combat it. Don't try to wait it out and see if the situation improves. Sell off bad lots, and trade for good ones. Be aggressive.

8) Don't stake every turn on the roll of the dice. Relying on gambling and reorganizations every turn may leave you with no infrastructure when your turn is over. Make sure you are building and adding dice to the board as often as possible, and take actions that are more likely to pay off over riskier plays.

Conclusion

Lords Of Vegas is a wonderful game that matches the Vegas theme with the mechanics from start to finish. It is suitable to be played with gamers and non-gamers, and provides an all-around good time. Just break out the dice, throw them out there, and see where they land! You won't be disappointed.
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Omar Germino
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mjacobsca wrote:
I remember before ordering it that I was wondering whether I should have bought Vegas Showdown instead, a highly regarded game that sees you placing slot machines and lounges on a casino floor. Now that feels like running a casino. How could drawing lots from a deck and building casinos feel like Vegas compared to that? As you can probably guess from my enthusiasm, my worries were unfounded. Vegas Showdown is no doubt a great game that I look forward to playing at some point, but this should stand there with it in the "fun" category.

I am a lucky owner of both, and you're right. They are both very fun games that utilize the theme well.

Components-wise, I think Vegas Showdown is a step lower than Lords of Vegas. Sure, there are poker chips instead of paper money, but they're of a cheap plastic variety. All the casino tile components are a nice, medium-thickness cardboard, and the player markers are wood, but then they made the player mats a mere sheet of glossy paper that forms a tented crease in the middle of your casino. For the cost they undertook to have one of the player aids printed identically on both sides of a piece of cardboard, they could've provided player boards instead. (Okay, so that's an exaggeration.) But that's my only complaint about Vegas Showdown. In the gameplay department, it's a blast, just as Lords of Vegas is.

When comparing the two, my friend made the analogy that for every casino created in Lords of Vegas, it's like playing a miniature game of Vegas Showdown, in which you're competing with others to try and build the best casino.
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Will
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Good Review.
This might be the best new game I played in 2010. It has great tension, great fun, and the system is tight. It had been a long, long time since I played a game that made me excited again. It awoke a lot of the feelings that first led me to become a gamer.

Sadly it seems to have gone under the radar. I agree with your sentiment that this will stand the test of time, and people will seek it out in the future when games such as 7 wonders are long forgotten.
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Jeffrey L.
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Good review, thanks. I've been thinking about getting this one too, as I think my family would like the Vegas theme. My kids and wife don't mind dice,cards, and luck so I figured this would work out well. I'm probably going to order this soon, based off of your review. 4
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Michael J
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Quote:
It had been a long, long time since I played a game that made me excited again. It awoke a lot of the feelings that first led me to become a gamer.


My game buddy Ian said nearly this same thing when we first started playing LOV! I believe he said something like "This game reminds me why I got into gaming in the first place", or something to that effect. Maybe it is a naive enthusiasm about trying to roll my dice against your dice, or maybe it's the childhood excitement of collecting money (collecting rent in Monopoly was always fun). It's just an all around fun game. What it does, it does fairly simply, without a lot of needless rules.
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Ishai BD
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Wonderful review Micheal.

I took a gamble (no pun intended) when buying the game. I love Acquire and thought this would be a little lighter or at least less dry/abstract. It is, and it's a lot of fun, and though there are dice, it's not really that random. I find myself so far having a very similar impression to what you are describing.

I doubt I will write a review now, given this one, and I am certainly hoping it won't end up being hard to track a copy of this game 5 years down the road.
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Simon Neale
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Thanks for a great review.
I played this at Essen and bought a copy there & then. I can second that it has gone over well at home, which for a game that runs to around 90 minutes is highly unusual.
The only change to make the game even better themed is to use poker chips for money as the notes take a real bashing during the game.
Tremendous Fun!
 
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Will
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Quote:
Quote:
It had been a long, long time since I played a game that made me excited again. It awoke a lot of the feelings that first led me to become a gamer.



My game buddy Ian said nearly this same thing when we first started playing LOV! I believe he said something like "This game reminds me why I got into gaming in the first place", or something to that effect. Maybe it is a naive enthusiasm about trying to roll my dice against your dice, or maybe it's the childhood excitement of collecting money (collecting rent in Monopoly was always fun). It's just an all around fun game. What it does, it does fairly simply, without a lot of needless rules.


For me it really has to do with the palpable tension this game offers. Since every aspect of LOV is a gamble, you never feel really safe. The trading is quick and important, so interaction is a high. Just a great game that lets you go for a ride.
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tom glass
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This game really gets my gaming juices flowing. Sometimes I can't contain myself, and my gaming juices end up gushing all over the board, and my fellow gamers' faceswhistle
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Dwayne Hendrickson
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My firgame of this was at BGG.con with
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
VA
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Plate of Shrimp.
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teaching. We did NO trading and I ended up winning with 81 points. I did have a 9 block casino and would have hit 90 if there had been one more turn, so I think it CAN be done.

Next game I came in dead last and STILL loved it. The third game saw a player trailing the whole game tie for first and come in second due the money tie-breaker.
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Bob Marso
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Michael,

Since you've played the game 2 player, what do you think of the game with 2?



Bob
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Michael J
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Bob,

I was not expecting the 2P game to be nearly as much fun as the 4P, but what I found was that with 2P, you get proportionately more money, and the wild swings in fortune are bigger. Casinos are reorganized far more often, and the 2 players have more money to throw around to remodel and change colors, merge, and sprawl. In a way, it's less static, and more exciting. You have more properties, so you get payoffs every turn, which is exciting in itself. I think it was a fun experience that had both of us laughing as we played it out. Compared to other 2P games, which are often much quieter than their 3P and 4P counterparts, this one was quite fun.

Mike
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David Y
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Ordered the game, and looking forward to playing it.

This post should be the 'how-to' template for written reviews. Excellent job.
Thanks!
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David P
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Wonderful review! I haven't played LoV yet, but it seems like there are similarities to Chinatown here, one of my favorites.

And your opener describes very much where I've found myself moving toward these days. Up with fun! laugh

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One aspect of my collection that I'm beginning to understand more and more as my tastes become increasingly sophisticated is the concept of buying "fun" games. And by "fun", I don't mean "party" games (those have their place). I mean the gamer's games that stand out as more entertaining than average, full of laughter, hooting, hollering, and that I wouldn't be ashamed to bring out on a serious game night right in front of Agricola.
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Jay Caracappa
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ishaibd wrote:
Wonderful review Micheal.

I took a gamble (no pun intended) when buying the game. I love Acquire and thought this would be a little lighter or at least less dry/abstract. It is, and it's a lot of fun, and though there are dice, it's not really that random. I find myself so far having a very similar impression to what you are describing.

I doubt I will write a review now, given this one, and I am certainly hoping it won't end up being hard to track a copy of this game 5 years down the road.


It is now 5 years down the road from your post, and I just picked this up at my FLGS with a birthday giftcard. Had seen this played on Tabletop and thought it look interesting and I just got around to wanting to pick this up.

It was decidedly not hard to find.
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Raymond Ganancial
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Yes, it is now 2017 and I still see it here on the FLGS with the expansion. Seems that it has really stood the test of time. I am now looking forward to buying it after snubbing it for 3 years.
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