Product: Building the glamorous strip of Las Vegas from the dust of Nevada is the latest strategy board game from Mayfair Games. Lords of Vegas, designed by James Ernest and Mike Selinker, pits players against each other in the quest to build fabulous casinos along highway 91 at the heart of Vegas. The game includes a colorful game board, 55 cards, 48 dice, 40 chips, paper money, and 45 casino building blocks.
Performance: If, like Donald Trump, you enjoy investing in real estate, gambling, and hostile takeovers, the Lords of Vegas is the game for you. During the course of the game, players vie with each other to build and control the best casinos along the Las Vegas Boulevard. The more property you acquire, the bigger casinos you can build and the more money (and victory points) you stand to earn.
However, and this is one of my favorite parts of the game, other players can invest in your casino, and ultimately challenge you for control. Another great feature is that you can merge your casinos with neighboring casinos by “remodeling” your properties into the same color as your competitor. If you happen to have bigger number showing on your casino dice than the rest of the investors, you become the casino boss and control the new, expanded property. And if you find yourself a little short of cash to complete your investment schemes on your turn, remember, you’re in Vega — you can gamble at the other players’ casinos to try to win the cash you need away from your competition!
As a game, Lords of Vegas is easy to learn. The game includes a four-page instruction sheet, and most players pick up the flow of the game in a couple of turns. Another thing I like about Lords of Vegas is that it keeps moving. Play progresses quickly, and even when it’s not your turn, you’re collecting money and victory points for your properties, and there’s always the fun of your “house” taking hard-earned cash from the other players when they gamble at your establishment. And if you’re still looking for a little more touch of Vegas after all of that, you’ll be amused to find the money used in the game features the likenesses of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis. (Thank you very much.)
Marketing: First and foremost, Lords of Vegas is a strategy game, and it should click with customers who appreciate games like Power Grid, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and even older games such as Acquire. Because of this, Lords of Vegas could easily be marketed in your store alongside those products.
If you want to try something to attract more attention to the new game on the block, you could always make a mini Vegas display around the game with a few poker chips, playing cards, and dice. I also can’t help but think of the Ocean movies (11,12, or 13) when I play the game, particularly some of Elliot Gould’s lines, such as “He’s the guy that torpedoed my casino, and next month he wants to knock it down to erect some monstrosity.” The sentiment fits this game very well, so perhaps you could work out some tie-in between the game and the movies.
Like much of the Mayfair line, Lords of Vegas features the same high-quality pieces and playing experience that you expect from many of Mayfair’s best hits. Perhaps my only gripe about the product is that Mayfair used a standard plastic liner for the game box — and once all the pieces are punched out, they don’t really fit the pockets in the liner, including the deck of cards (a problem easily solved by recycling the insert and storing the pieces in a few sealable plastic bags inside the now-empty box).
Outside the box, however, is attractive cover art with a great detail photo on the back that shows the game in its full glory, and text that gives an accurate description of what’s inside and what it’s all about.
All in all, my review group and I enjoyed Lords of Vegas very much. It’s a great new game in a nearly great package.
Product: Lords of Vegas
Maker: Mayfair Games
Stock No. 4120
Availability: From all major game distributors
Easy to learn, quick pace, fun twists
Box insert makes it hard to store the game