The game Las Vegas is the first modern/designer board game I taught my 6-year-old son. I picked up a copy from Target and the dice-shaped box drew my son’s interest to the game. It was minimal setup, fairly easy to teach, and soon he was deciding his own strategies on dice placement. Recently, a deluxe edition was released by alea and Ravensburger. In this post, I am going to tell you how to play regular Las Vegas, what Royale adds to the game, and what I like and dislike about Royale.
- Place the hexagonal dice arena in the center of the table. Assemble the puzzle piece rings around it.
- Shuffle the money cards face-down. Deal out six pairs of money cards and arrange them in order from least to greatest next to the 1 spot, 2 spot, 3 spot, 4 spot, 5 spot, and 6 spot.
- Give each player eight dice of their player color and two chips that can be used for rerolls.
- This completes the base setup. To play with some of the different modules, you will add one module to the 1 spot, 2 spot, and 3 spot. This may require extra dice and pieces. Each of the three rounds, these three modules will change.
Game Play – The game last three rounds. On your turn, you will roll all your dice. You will then pick one value showing on your dice and place all dice of that value in that spot on the casino. (Note: If playing with modules, and you pick a 1, 2, or 3, that module is activated, and additional actions are carried out.) After you have placed your dice, and potentially carried out a modular action, play passes to the next person who performs the same process. Play continues until all players have placed their dice. Then, you evaluate each spot in the casino.
To evaluate a spot in the casino, first see if any players have tied with the amount of dice in one spot. (Note: Remember, the one larger die counts as two dice.) Remove any tied dice from consideration. Then, the player with the most dice at a spot receives the large bill. The second-place player at that spot receives the small bill. It is possible that there is no second-place or even first-place, in which case those respective bills will not be distributed. After evaluating each spot, and changing modules if playing with them, set the game board back up and play as described above. Three rounds will be played and the person with the highest money total at the end is the winner!
The first point I’d like to talk about is the components of this and the Target version of the game. The Royale version feels a bit more deluxe. You get a nice, plastic molded dice tray to build your casino around as opposed to six individual boards. The dice are similar to better quality, but you get different colors. My wife and son no longer have to fight over the color blue, but she can now be purple … until our daughter is old enough to play. The only way the game feels less deluxe is with the money. It is smaller than my Target version and the colors are not as vibrant.
The second item of discussion is base game play. For starters, the Royale version is one round shorter. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, as I usually play anywhere between three and six rounds anyhow. Next, is the dice. Everyone still gets eight dice, but one of those eight is now a larger die, which counts for two. This means if I put my big die in a spot and you put two little ones there, it’s a tie and we both lose. I house-ruled this, because we hate ties, and made it where it’s counts as one die, but is a tie-breaker instead. This means that if we both put one die in a spot, but my die is the bigger, then I win.
There are also now poker chips (worth $10,000 each) which can be used as re-rolls. I could take of leave these, because some people hoard them and won’t spend them. They’re situational and not a huge deal. Last, money used to be dealt out to each spot until a minimum of $50,000 was reached. In Royale, it’s strictly two cards per spot, which is good because I used to run into a problem of some spots only having one bill and being hotly contested.
The last point I’d like to talk about is the optional modules. With 16 optional modules, no two games of Las Vegas Royale will ever be the same! (Slight exaggeration, but there is a ton of replay value.) Some of the modules are fun and easy to implement, like Jackpot where you roll two dice and have potential to get from $30,000 to $80,000. Others are a little gimmicky, like Lucky Punch’s version of guess the amount of tokens I have in my hand. Overall, I’d say they were a mixed bag. They don’t add complexity to the game, but they can add some fiddliness and length to a quick game. On the flip side, you could argue that they give you a reason for pursuing the lower numbered tiles as well. I think if I played with them in the future, I would tailor them to the age of people playing or just my personal preference on which are easiest to explain.
So should you buy this game? In a not-so-simple answer, that depends. If you own the original base game and expansion, then probably not. You have a fine copy of the game and should be happy with what you have. If you just have the base game are happy with the speed and complexity it provides, again probably not. Be happy with what you have. If you just own the base game and want some more decisions and more variety to this game, then buy this version. The art, look, and components of it have a nicer feel to them, and you can give your old copy to a friend and introduce them to this classic Dorn title.
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Copyright 2019 Stuart Dunn