Designed by Reiner Knizia.
Published by Ravensburger.
Reviewed by Dave Farquhar.
about 60 mins
Vegas is a new release from Ravensburger, by Reiner Knizia. I was involved in the play testing, so will try to describe it, rather than give an opinion. Vegas is set in a casino. The board shows a series of gaming tables, made up of squares. A track runs past the tables, along which a stand up, cut-out figure of 'Mary Chip' progresses. There is also a 'gold' die, numbered 1 to 6, and two special duelling dice.
Each player has a marker, counters, and a set of cards. I shall describe the advanced version. To start the game, a gold chip is placed at the top of each table. The value of the chip is equal to the number of squares within the table. These range from three to fifteen. Mary Chip is placed on her starting position.
The players' objective is to gain control of the best tables, thereby receiving the gold chips. The highest total value of chips at game end is the winner. A player turn normally comprises either move to a new table, or roll a die to place a counter. So, to start the game you place your marker at the bottom of a gaming table. For example a 6 point table. This might comprise six squares, marked from 1 to 6, or two columns of three each, marked 1/2, 3/4, 5/6. Other players may move to different tables, or the same one. You roll a die, say a 5, and place a counter of your colour onto that numbered square. If the table contains more than one column, you have a choice. Turn two, roll again. A 2. Place a counter on the 2 space. Turn three, you may wish to move on. You already have a lead on this table. If you roll a 2 or 5 on a single column table you gain nothing, as they are already yours. You notice two of the others are already fighting for control of the 15 table. Not wishing to lose out, you move there as well. This takes your whole turn.
Each time a 1 is rolled, Mary Chip progresses one space along her track. When Mary reaches a table, it pays out. The gold chip goes to the player with the most counters on that table. In the event of a tie, the contender with a counter on the lowest number gets it (normally the 1 space). If this is a tie, nobody gets it. If all spaces on a table are filled, it pays out at that point, prior to Mary reaching it. A table will only pay out once. The game ends when all tables have been decided.
If, when you roll the gold die, you roll for a position on the table which is occupied by another player, a dice duel ensues. Place a counter on the opponent's existing counter. Both involved players secretly select a face on the special duelling dice. One is black, with white characters, the other white with black. You choose from three different symbols, showing one, two or three hearts. The dice are simultaneously revealed. Three hearts beats two, two beats one, one beats three. The winner remains at the table. If identical one or two heart symbols are chosen, both counters are removed. However, if both select three hearts, the defender remains. This gives an exciting 'She thinks I will choose three, so will choose one, so I must choose two, but what if.....' sub routine. The dice duel is the only advanced rule. In the basic version, the existing counter is replaced automatically.
So, what about the cards? Only one card may be played in a player turn, prior to rolling. Three allow you to roll the gold die immediately on moving to a new table. Six show die rolls, one each from 1 to 6. These are used as automatic rolls. The remaining card allows Mary to move one space automatically.
The game is drawing to a close. Yellow is in second place, four points behind Red. Mary is two places away from the six table, where Red is playing. Red already has three counters 1,2 and 4. Yellow to play.
Yellow plays a move card, joins Red at the table and rolls immediately - a 6. Yellow places a counter on the 6.
Red also rolls a 6 - dice duel. Both players select three hearts on the duelling dice, so Yellow remains.
Yellow plays a 3 card, places a counter there, then rolls a 1. Another duel. This time, Red chooses 3 hearts, Yellow 1. Yellow wins, replacing Red. As a 1 was rolled, Mary moves along the track. She is now just one place away from the table.
Red is in trouble. Only the 5 space remains free. If Red plays her 5 card, this will fill the table, and it will immediately be scored. Both would have three counters, but Yellow would win being on the lowest number (1). Red rolls. A 2- no good, as this is already Red's.
Yellow plays her Mary Chip card. Mary moves forward one place, reaching the table. Yellow wins the six point chip, having three counters in place, to Red's two.
The Game Cabinet - email@example.com - Ken Tidwell