By Pat Reynolds
Las Vegas (designed by Rüdiger Dorn and published by Ravensburger) is a fast-playing dice game for 2-5 players.
Components: Since Las Vegas is a dice game, it’s no surprise that the major component here is dice – you get 40 slightly smaller than standard size six-sided dice in five different player colors. There are also six Casino tiles and a deck of money cards (in denominations ranging from $10,000 to $90,000). The quality on everything included is very good.
Gameplay: The six Casino tiles (numbered 1-6) are laid out in a straight line, and are seeded with money cards until each has a minimum total of $50,000 or more. Each player takes all of the dice of one color. On his turn, a player rolls all of his remaining dice, and then chooses one number from among those rolled. He places all dice with the chosen number onto the Casino tile matching that number. The round ends when no players have any dice remaining. Then, each Casino is checked for any ties between players and all tied dice are removed. The player with the most dice remaining on each Casino takes the single money card with the highest value. Then the player with the second highest number of dice takes the highest remaining money card, if any. And so on, until there are either no more players with dice on the Casino, or no money cards left.
It’s a simple game, and the strategy consists of trying to get the most dice of your color onto the Casinos with the best payouts while avoiding ties, since they equal an automatic loss for all tied players at the end of the round.
The game lasts four rounds, at the end of which the player with the most money wins.
Additionally, there is a variant for games with 2-4 players that adds a nice twist to the game. Players take, in addition to the dice of their color, some extra dice in one of the unused colors (4 per player in a two player game, 2 per player in three or four player games). These dice, collectively, create a neutral player who plays against all players. They throw an extra amount of chaos and competition into the game, and I highly recommend always using this variant since it really does elevate the strategic options of the game.
Play Time: Last Vegas is a very fast game that can be played in about half an hour.
Bottom Line & Score: Las Vegas is a fast and fun game that’s best used as filler between meatier games during a gaming session. It’s a dice game, so there is a lot of randomness, especially when you’re down to one or two dice remaining and your options become nonexistent. I think it’s too expensive at $30 for what it is (compare it to the same-priced Roll Through the Ages or the $20 Dungeon Roll), but the components are well-produced and attractive, and the small box has a nice plastic insert that neatly stores all components (and you do get 40 dice!). I’m a big fan of dice games and I own a lot of them. A lot of dice games are “multiplayer solitaire” affairs with little or no player interaction. Las Vegas bucks that trend – it’s all about direct competition between players! I give Las Vegas a score of 7/10 (Good).
You’ll like Las Vegas if you like: Yahtzee, Perudo (Liar’s Dice), rolling dice, gambling.