I have heard very good things about the game Las Vegas.  Mainly from The Dice Tower’s Chaz Marler who actually has it in his top 20 games of all time.  It’s a pretty simple game, that plays quickly.  I also love Ravensburger Games.  So this one was a no brainer, right?  What’s not to like?  Rolling dice, winning money at the casinos and not having much control over anything.  Could this game possibly be good?  Let’s find out……

Overview:

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Designer:  Rudiger Dorn

Publisher:  Ravensburger

Players:  2-5

Time:  30 min.

In Las Vegas, each player plays a gambler going from casino to casino trying to win the most money from each casino.  The person who has won the most money after 4 rounds will be declared the winner!

Game Play:

Each player will receive 12 dice of their color.  Each casino will be placed in the middle of the table for each player to reach.  One player will shuffle the money cards and deal out money to each casino making sure that each casino has at least $50,000 at it.  So, if I start with the first casino and turn over a $20,000 card I would then add another.  If I turn over a $90,000 card then that casino would be fine and move to the next casino.

On their turn, a player will roll all of their dice that are left.  After rolling, the player will then put dice on one casino that matches the number on the dice.  They must put all of their dice with that number on the casino.  If they want to put dice on the two casino then they would put all their dice that they rolled with a two on it.  You choose one casino and add all of those dice to that casino.  Then the next player goes.  You continue doing this until all players have played their dice.

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Once the round is over then you start collecting money from each casino.  Starting with the fist casino, the player who has the most dice on it gets the highest value money card.  The player with the second most dice on it gets the next highest….if there is a second money card.  Continue that until all the money cards are taken from each casino.  If there is a tie for the most dice, then those dice cancel each other out and the next highest color wins.

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In this example Red would get the 90k from the three casino, Red and Green cancel out and so Blue would get the 70k from the four casino and Blue would get the 60k and Green the 30k from the fifth casino

After 4 rounds, each player simply counts their money and who ever has the most money wins.

 

My Ratings:

Components:  4/5

Components are fine in this game.  Nothing special, nothing horrible.  Love all the dice, they are just normal everyday dice.  The casino boards are very thick and sturdy.  The cards are nice, colorful and thick.  My only complaint is the money cards being hard to see some times.  It can be hard to tell the $50,000 from the $60,000 and so on.

Replayability:  5/5

This game is so fun and quick it is hard not to want to play it all the time.  Nothing changes each game except for the amount of money at the casinos.  It’s hard to explain…..I just always want to play this game!

Mechanisms:  5/5

There is absolutely nothing new in this game that makes it unique.  It is an area control game with dice.  That’s it!!  But the key mechanism that is so awesome is the mechanism for ties.  When you tie, neither of you get the money, your dice are removed from the casino and then the other players that are left get the money.  That makes the game so awesome!  You wouldn’t think that that would make a difference but it does.

Strategy:  4/5

There seems to be very little strategy going on in Las Vegas.  I mean, the money being added is random, rolling dice each time is random.  The strategy should not be there…..but it is.  Deciding on how many dice to use at the beginning of the round makes a huge difference.  Going for the right money at the right time.  Putting all your dice in one casino to make sure you get the highest card in the round, but not getting anything else.  Or just throwing one dice on a casino just to get a smaller value money card, but getting multiple money cards across multiple casinos.  BUT the randomness…..the brilliant combination of strategy and randomness is so fluid in this game!  Once every one gets down to their final 3 dice of the round, all bets are off!!  You could roll all ones and be forced to put dice on a casino that will get you no money or add to the dice you already have.  Or you might be forced to put it on a casino that you are wanting to keep just to get a small value card but then you end up tying the person in first giving you NOTHING!  I LOVE IT!

Final Thoughts:  18/20

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I shouldn’t love this game……it’s area control, it’s random, it involves dice rolling which I am horrible at, it’s chaos but……I LOVE IT!!  It is such a great game.  The simplicity of Rudiger Dorn’s design in Las Vegas is brilliant.  There is such a great balance between strategy and randomness.  The game is in one of those categories that you don’t mind losing because it creates memories….I remember the first time we played this as a family, Mom, son and daughter were going after the $90,000 in one of the casinos.  Mom and daughter were tied with my daughter having one last die to roll.  IF she rolled a six she would get the $90,000, if she rolled anything else, she would tie with mom and give my son the money…….she rolled……we waited…….a……SIX!  What are the odds???  Believe it or not…..this happens more than you would think.  Every game there is something that happens that people just laugh about and can’t believe.   But no one cares because it just happens!!  Las Vegas is so good, it might find its way into my top ten games of all time!!

-Tim