Lords of Vegas has been our latest “rage” game (what I call those games that completely take over all other games for a certain amount of time and that I lay in bed devising new strategies to play better next time). It is an incredibly dynamic game of strategy, mind-games, muscle-flexing, scheming, and of course, luck! The uber-conservative will not win nor will the extremely aggressive. You need to find the right balance of each (which changes each game depending on who you play with and how the game plays out!) to pull off the elusive win.
The turn mechanics are very simple: Take over a new lot. Get paid by vacant lots you own. Get paid by casinos. Get points by being the boss. Take your actions. Done. Clean and simple, just how I like it. The money grossed is used to take one of four actions: 1. Building on a lot you own, 2. Sprawling onto a lot you don’t own, 3. Remodeling (meaning changing the color of your casino), and 4. Reorganizing (meaning mixing up a casino’s power structure!). Remodeling and reorganizing cause some very tense, even heated moments as you vie for control of ever-expanding casinos. I’ve bruised my fist many a time slamming it on the table when my hard-earned investment goes right out the window. But just as many times I’ve pumped my fist when a well-devised risk pays off massive dividends!
I am a reward-sensitive person, essentially meaning that my genes make me love the thrill of high risk/high return! This game is that outlet for me. There is a high risk/reward component that is a blast. Manage it well (as you would in Vegas!) and you’ll find yourself at the top of the food chain. Mismanage the risk/reward paradox and you’ll crash hard. Have an extra risk/reward itch to scratch? Once per turn, you can also straight up gamble at another boss’s casino!
Favorite moment: when I own a single, hapless tile in a large casino and the two leaders are in a heated battle to become boss. One of them pays a fortune to reorg and guess who the lucky new boss is? Me! Hahahaha!
Most frustrating moment: when I’m one of the two leaders in the situation above.
The Up! expansion takes Lords of Vegas to a whole new level…literally. Instead of playing on just a flat plane, you build your casinos vertically to increase their returns, make them more difficult to be taken over, and paint a bigger target on your back! This expansion also allows for 6 players instead of 4.
Overall, this game is so much fun. It’s relatively quick, simple in construct, has an incredibly high replay value, has a fantastic balance of strategy and luck, is completely consuming…and has an awesome game board with chips, dice, and cards! Tell me, what more could you ask for?
Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.