In Lords of Vegas players take on the role of casino owners in 1950s Las Vegas, fighting for the most financially lucrative spots on and around the central boulevard. But, as appropriate for a game about gambling, much of the play is determined by rolling dice.
The casinos are divided up into different colours and at the start of every turn a particular colour (revealed from a deck of cards) will pay out. So at the outset there is risk-taking in what colour casinos you choose to build, but as the game progresses this element becomes more strategic, because all players will be aware of what colour ‘payout’ cards are still to come. When building casinos you put a die on it of your own colour to show that you own it, and the game board itself specifies what the value of this die is.
Building casinos is just one option on your turn, however. Casinos can expand, and when casinos of the same colour join up they become the same casino. The player with the highest die value showing is the casino boss, and consequently takes any points winnings when the casino pays out (cash is shared according to the pips on all dice in the casino). But players can also ‘re-organize’ – paying a fee for the privilege of re-rolling all dice in the casino, hoping to get a favourable result that makes them the boss instead.
They can also trade casinos with each other and gamble in each other’s casinos. If gambling, or dice, or just the flavour of high-rolling in Vegas has any appeal, then Lords of Vegas is a winner.
A hugely fun game of potential swings from last to first and back again – how lucky do you feel?
One of my all-time favourite games, and one I love to introduce to neophite gamers as ‘the game Monopoly ought to be’. Stand-up, game-changing dice rolls, huge swings of fortune and agonising card-turns – LoV has got em all. My one piece of advice is play with poker chips instead of the paper money that comes with the game – and find or make a dice-rolling arena for those spectacular moments.
Everyone is jostling for position, and players can find themselves on the receiving end, losing control of casinos and missing out on the big pay-outs.
It's reasonably fast and you need to keep an eye on what the other players are doing.
At first it may appear a game of pure luck, but playing reveals actually there is room for strategy. But nothing that should make the game grind to a halt.
Lords of Vegas is fast and fun, and the random elements of payout cards and dice rolls means it's never the same.