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Board game review: Vegas Showdown - Phil's Rambling Rants
January 20th, 2007
08:22 pm

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Board game review: Vegas Showdown
At the Interfilk auction at GaFilk, I put a $5 bid on a board game I knew nothing about, and somewhat to my bemusement, no one else bid, so I took it home.

Last night we opened it, punched it, and played a 5-player game.  The theme of the game is that the players are tycoons competing to build the most famous casino on the Strip.  The casinos are built by bidding on tiles such as Slots, Night Clubs, and Fancy Restaurants which are then arranged on the player's own personal mat representing their casino complex.  Players have to balance gaining victory (fame) points directly by going for the tiles such as the Night Club that grant fame, and buying tiles that generate revenue.  They also need to consider the arrangement of tiles on their mat because there are significant bonus points for certain arrangements.  The rules are simple; there was just a little bit of confusion in the first couple of turns and then play went smoothly.

The components are nice with the single exception of the player mats, which are just heavy paper instead of being proper cardboard game boards.  The game uses poker chips for money, which I presume they did for the theme, but I really wish that more games would use chips -- they are much easier and quicker to deal with than play money, and the mechanics of fiddling with money are a major drag on the speed of play of a lot of board games.

There is a fair bit of randomness in terms of the order that the tiles and event cards come up in, but all of these events affect all the players.  After only one play, I can't really speak to how deep the strategy is, but because players are bidding against each other for all the developments, a successful strategy will always involve responding to the other players shrewdly.  It feels like it should have great replay value, and with a little experience, I think a game could be played in as little as half an hour.  I'm eager to play this one again.

My provisional rating -- I stress that I've only played once:  10 out of 10 for game play, 8 out of 10 for component quality.  I can't comment on value without finding out how much it normally costs -- it was a steal for $5, though.

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