Every year, the Spiel des Jahres is awarded to a certain game, and every year, thousands of detractors lament the judging mechanisms, the speculation and the final decision. This year, the SdJ went to Kingdom Builder, a very divisive, yet – in my humble opinion – deserving game that had a single cohort in close competition: Vegas. After playing Vegas, I’m here to tell all of you, dear readers, that Vegas was robbed. Let me repeat that: ROBBED. Vegas embodies every bit of the spirit of the Spiel des Jahres: Easy to learn, easy to play, and with a lifetime of replayability in order to create a modern classic.
The concept is simple: Each round, a certain amount of money is dealt out to six different casinos. Players take turns rolling eight dice each turn and placing matching sets of dice on the casinos matching the number values on the dice. At the end of the turn, the player with the most dice on a casino wins the highest value there, the next player gets the next highest and so on. Easy? You bet. The subtle twist is that any players that have an equal number of dice on a casino get nothing. That’s right, nothing. What seemed a simple chore in tossing some dice just now became an exercise in short-term strategy and cut-throat backstabbing. Believe me, people, you won’t see it coming – but Vegas is delightfully evil, and unbelievably fulfilling.
Vegas doesn’t have North American distribution yet, so that means it won’t be officially represented at GenCon. But take it from me – if you see a vendor (or your FLGS) toting a copy of it, don’t hesitate to wrestle it from their grasp – you’ll thank me in the end.
Impression score: 6 out of 6
This is another fine DICE HATE ME! review.