Las Vegas!

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Players:
2-4
Multiplayer:Yes, pass n play and online via Game Center
AI:Yes, 3 levels
Universal App:Yes (there is a single app which works on both iPhone and iPad in HD)
Purchase for iPhone:Use link below to purchase universal app
Purchase for iPad:
Las Vegas!
Price: $2.99
User rating:
GD Star Rating
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Las Vegas!, 8.5 out of 10 based on 71 ratings

Spiel Des Jahres titles tend to have a few traits in common. They tend to be family-oriented games with simple mechanics and strategy that is, if not deep, at least open to possibility. Las Vegas! is a nominee from 2012, and exemplifies all these traits. Is it worth taking the gamble?

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Gameplay

At the start of the game, 6 casinos numbered 1 through 6 will each be assigned a value of money; the exact amount will be random but must be at least 50,000 dollars. Some casinos will have only one value, others will have 2-4 values of lower denominations.

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Each player starts with 8 standard D6s of their color (as well as some white dice if playing the Variant mode). On their turn, a player rolls all their dice. They must then pick one of the 6 casinos and assign all the dice of that value to that casino – for instance, if you rolled a 2, a 3, and six 5s, you would assign 1, 1, or 6 dice to the corresponding casino. Players alternate in turn until all dice are assigned.

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Once all dice are assigned, each matching pair of dice in a given casino is removed –  if red and green each have 3 dice in a casino and blue has one, the pair of 3 dice is removed, leaving only blue. Then the casinos pay out. If the casino only has one value, the player with the most dice gets it; if a casino has multiple values, the highest gets the top value, second place gets the second, and so on. At the end of 4 rounds, the highest total score wins.

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In Variant mode, each player is given white dice in addition to their color dice (the amount you receive varies with the number of players). White dice are assigned via the same rules, but don’t count for any player. They will pair off with other colors to remove dice, and white dice can “defeat” colored dice in a casino, thus causing money to evaporate rather than go to a player.

Implementation

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Las Vegas! has a very colorful theme, as befits the subject matter. The casinos all hint at various icons of Vegas, and a simple upward swipe causes your dice to go flying with very aggressive animations. Multiplay is supported both locally and asynchronously via Game Center; online play also allows you to place side bets on certain outcomes, potentially allowing you to balloon your score if you bet big and win. The tutorial is interactive and covers the basic strategies with aplomb, though curiously doesn’t go into Variant mode at all (static rules text must be consulted instead). There are 12 different player avatars. A human player is free to choose any one they like, and each one has an associated AI of Easy, Medium, or Hard; it’s unclear if the various players at a given difficulty are supposed to use different strategies. A fast-forward button in the lower right allows you to speed past AI players, and the screen even blurs with VHS-style distortion in a cute if somewhat dated touch – children who have grown up on digital media will have no idea what the visual artifacting means!

Verdict

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There isn’t much to say about Las Vegas! as a game – it’s a simple title that you can teach in minutes and might serve as a gateway game. While lacking the depth of a more hardcore title, the game has enough strategy to make you think a bit, and the solid implementation leaves nothing to be desired from a technical standpoint. This is a pretty easy recommendation to play with family and friends stuck in a plane or car ride, but might not have enough variety to keep a seasoned gamer coming back as a solo affair.

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