Justin: Hi Cody.
Cody: Go away, Justin.
Justin: What's the matter, Cody
Cody: I'm in a bad mood.
Cody: Nobody likes me!
Justin: Well, I can't really disagree with you there. But I've got something that I think will bring you out of that funk.
Cody: Wanna bet!
Justin: Cody! You probably didn't realize it, but you unwittingly made a reference to this game I want to show you- Lords of Vegas!
Cody: Lords of Vegas? As in Las Vegas? The city where all your dreams come true and you should avoid the buffets?
Justin: Er... yeah. Anyway, I want to tell you about this game.
Cody: Well, despite the fact that I just want to be left alone, our board game discussion pact of 2009 is still in force. You may proceed.
Justin: Thanks, Cody. In Lords of Vegas two to four players take on the roles of casino developers in Las Vegas. The game board consists of empty lots near the strip, each with a grid number and one side of a D6 face up. On his or her turn a player will draw a card that indicates a specific lot by grid number. The player then places a marker on that lot to show that he or she owns it. All players receive $1 million for each owned lot, though the color of the card also indicates which casinos pay their owners. Casino bosses will also score points.
Cody: You had me with developing casinos! Go on!
Justin: Players then take actions. A player may build a casino on one of his or her lots by paying the amount indicated on the board. To do this the player places one of his or her color dice in a colored tile that matches the D6 image on the board (each tile has a square hole for dice), and places it on their lot. If two or more players have adjacent casino tiles of the same color, it is considered one casino and the player with the highest dice pips showing is the boss. While all players in a casino will get paid if the casino color card is drawn, only the boss may score victory points. It's good to be the boss!
Cody: Like Tony Danza!
Justin: Can it, Cody. We all know the real boss was Mona! That was one spunky redhead!
Cody: What else can player's do?
Justin: Other actions include sprawl, building casinos out by paying double the amount on the board; remodel, changing the color of the casino in the hopes that the new color may come up more often, making it more profitable; reorganize, essentially forcing all players who own part of the casino to re-roll the casino dice in the hopes of becoming boss. A player may also choose to gamble at another player's casino, risking some of his or her money in order to make more.
Cody: Did I ever tell you I once lost my shirt gambling in a casino?
Justin: I'll bet no one could tell with your sweater-like back hair. Players can take multiple actions on their turns, limited only by the money they hold. Players may make deals and buy, sell, or trade real estate at any time, making negotiation very important. Once the “End of Game” card is drawn from the deck the game ends and players must tally up their victory points. The player with the most victory points is the winner.
Cody: It sounds awesome. Do you like it?
Justin: Lords of Vegas is a fun, tense game that is heavy on luck, but still offers enough choices that players can still plan a path to victory. Lovers of deep strategy games will probably be turned off by Lords of Vegas, particularly its push-your-luck elements, but casual gamers will have a field day. Its area control mechanic makes for some really fun competition, and the way players must interact even as they compete reminds one of Settlers of Catan, another great game from Mayfair Games.
Cody: I gotta tell you, the whole package just looks great! The game's Las Vegas theme is engaging as well with a glitzy game board and money featuring such Vegas icons as Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Elvis Presley.
Justin: Though the game does feature a gambling action, it bears little resemblance to real-world gambling, making Lords of Vegas suitable for families.
Cody: But wait a second, Justin! I like a good two to four player game as well as the next guy. Well, probably more than the next guy. But you know me, the more players in a game the merrier. I just wish five to six players could play this great game!
Justin: Now they can!
Justin: Mayfair Games recently released an expansion titled Lords of Vegas: Up!. This expansion adds more components, expanding play to include up to six players. Additionally, new tiles allow players to build their casinos vertically, making them more valuable and creating a new level of competition as players vie for control of bigger casinos. This small expansion brings a lot to the table, making a fun game even better. The whole game plays in about an hour and is recommended for ages 12 and up.
Cody: Justin, you were right! Lords of Vegas has restored my faith in humanity!
Justin: So, our recommendation for Lords of Vegas is, BUY IT!