LORDS OF VEGAS
Design by: James Ernest and Mike Selinker
Published by: Mayfair Games
2 – 4 Players, 1 – 1 1/2 hours
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser
NOTE: I originally reviewed Lords of Vegas when it was first published many years ago. That review is below. The new “Up!” expansion prompted me to revisit the game. My original review appears first, followed by my description and analysis of the “Up!” expansion.
Today, Las Vegas is considered a glitzy Mecca for lovers of gambling, night-life, entertainment and sin of all types. Is it any wonder that organized crime had (and apparently still does) have its tentacles intertwined throughout the fabric of the city? Gambling and Vegas are synonymous, so I figured a game entitled “Lords of Vegas” would incorporate aspects of all of Vegas’ sins and seedy sides. However, most of these aspects are absent. Instead, we have a game loosely concentrating on the founding of casinos, with a huge dose of luck that pays tribute to the “make or break” lifestyle of Sin City.
Designers James Ernest and Mike Selinker have teamed to produce Lords of Vegas. Set at the birth of Vegas when the area to be occupied by the neon city was still barren desert, the game casts players as visionaries determined to create a city founded on the bedrock of gambling and entertainment. Players will build and improve casinos, attempting to take over their rivals’ casinos in order to control the Strip and emerge as the kingpin of Las Vegas.
The board depicts the center of the emerging Strip of Vegas, divided into six distinct blocks. Six-to-nine casinos can be constructed in each block, but it is possible for a block to be dominated by just a few casinos, or perhaps even just one. Each casino space in a block depicts the price to construct a casino at that location, as well as a number, which is the starting level of a player’s boss once he constructs a casino there. Players begin the game armed with a multitude of small chips, which will be placed on plots to indicate ownership. In addition, each player has twelve dice, each of which will represent ownership and the expertise of one’s boss in a casino. Players will begin the game owning two plots, and have financial coffers of $4 – $7 million. How can any self-respecting developer survive on such a paltry sum?