Friday, July 21, 2017

Sadly, Las Vegas doesn't excite me

Okay. I have to admit that I don't find Rudiger Dorn's Las Vegas very interesting. 

I've put off writing about it because it's the darling of so many gamers and was a Spiel de Jahres finalist and I've given it much plays to try and find the magic. 

Which really seems kind of odd. I like dice games. I like dice placement games in particular. I like casual games and family weight games. Las Vegas ticks all of those boxes. And I think it is very well designed.

There are six casino tiles, one for every pip on the die. Players have color-coded dice pools. Money is dealt out to each casino each round. On your turn, you roll your pool and assign all the dice of one pip to the matching casino. When everyone is out of dice, you cash out the casinos with the money going to whoever has the most dice on each casino. If there's more one bill, someone gets to be second place. But if there on ties, those dice don't count.

Honestly, I don't think you could make a simpler dice placement game. And the theme is accessible to the wider audience. 

And Las Vegas has actual choices. The different casinos are worth different points, er, money. Some might reward second or even third place. And since you have to go all in with every die of a pip, you can drain your dice pool quickly. And the rule about ties negating themselves, that adds a real twist. 

Plus, there is a variant where everyone gets some neutral dice in their pool. It adds another layer of decisions and turns ties into a serious weapon.

At the end of the day, Las Vegas is a very simple game that is very balanced with real choices and heavy interaction. I understand why people like it. I understand why there is now a mass market version coming out.

And it just doesn't interest me. And I'm a guy who enjoys abstracts and has played plenty of dice game with no theme. 

It may be because I've exclusively played it on Yucata. The game may get a lot more tension face-to-face.

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