High-Rolling Old-School Fun
The first time I played Las Vegas was during a convention my church hosted. Mrs. K, a bunch of strangers, and myself sat down for what was supposed to be “a short fun game” between some of the heftier titles we had been enjoying. Over an hour later and lots of swearing packed to the brim with tension, the dust finally settled and Mrs. K stood victorious. Not bad for a game about rolling a bunch of dice.
Las Vegas is a game for 2-5 players but really you shouldn’t play this with less than 3 and you can easily add more players provided you have enough spare dice laying about. Despite being a dice game, this is actually a simple area control game were players are attempting to control the best spots, which correspond with each of the six sides of a die, in order to bank the most money.
I was recently reminded of this game, because like Machi Koro Bright Lights, Big City, Target has an exclusive updated version of the game (don’t worry though, you can still get the old version from CoolStuff and elsewhere) that comes in a really cool box that looks like a giant stark black die. The two versions don’t have any real difference though outside of that and some minor art/component changes.
Playing Las Vegas is fairly simple. Each player is given a set of eight dice in their player color. All that’s left after that for setting the game up is to place the number markers (1-6) in the middle of the table and place as many banknotes, at random, next to each number so that each number is valued at $50,000 minimum.
Play proceeds by having the start player roll all eight dice. From these they must place all dice of a specific value onto the corresponding number marker. For example, if a player rolled three 3’s, two 2’s, a 6, and two 5’s the player may decide to place all of his 3’s onto the 3 number marker. The next player goes and the process repeats in this fashion until all dice are placed.
Once all dice have been placed, the player with the most dice per number marker takes the highest valued bank note attached to the corresponding number marker. If there are multiple bank notes to be had, the process repeats until each player has received a bank note or the marker runs out of bank notes. Whatever happens first.
If there is a tie for ANY position on a number marker, for example player one and player two each have a 1 on the 1 marker, then those players are treated as if they have zero dice out on that specific marker. This rule is what adds an element of strategy to the game. In addition, this means rolling further into the round becomes more risky since you must place at least one die cluster per roll.
You play four rounds in this fashion and whoever has the most money wins. Pretty simple stuff. There is an expansion and some promo stuff for Las Vegas floating around that mix the rules up but they are near impossible to get ahold of. However, instructions for that stuff is easily found online (like adding more players and the slot machine variant) and highly recommended.
On the surface, Las Vegas is a fairly light and quick area control game. It requires a small amount of strategy and a touch of luck to be truly successful. Each game is tight and intense. Sometimes everybody wants the big amount and everybody goes bust. Other times people try and spread out but still end up burned any way. You can never be certain exactly what’s going to happen until the final role of the dice.
For this reason, Las Vegas is incredibly exciting to play. Rule variants can increase the randomness or skill involved and nearly all of them add to this excitement. You’ll love this game if you are looking for something that combines a cut-throat experience with more casual play.
Since there is a fair amount of luck in the game, nobody really gets all that upset when they lose or get blocked by another player. Don’t be fooled though, people will likely be swearing and joking around about how mean you are being when you force them out of getting the big money!
Despite its age, Las Vegas is a game that holds up extraordinarily well even in today’s modern board game market. It’s a classic that well deserves a place in any gamer’s collection. If you haven’t gotten around to playing this one yet, you definitely should.
As I mentioned earlier, you can pick this game up over at CoolStuff for $24.99, or most other places online for a similar price. If you want the Target exclusive version, last I checked it’ll run you about the same, which makes sense since they are content wise exactly the same, just minor art/component differences.
Have you ever played Las Vegas? Let me know your thoughts about the game and store exclusive games in general in the comments below. I’d love to know what you think! If you like what I’m doing be sure to let me know and consider checking out my Patreon so I can continue making content like this. Every dollar adds up and the support is greatly appreciated. Just click the button below for more details.