Las Vegas Royale
Las Vegas Royale combines the original Las Vegas dice game from 2012 with some elements of the Las Vegas Boulevard expansion from 2014.
Las Vegas is an easy-to-learn, dice-rolling game that includes six cardboard casino mats, one for each side of a normal six-sided die. For each mat in the basic game, players draw money cards until at least $50k is showing, but the amount may end up being a lot more, making that casino more desirable.
Each player has eight dice of a different color, which they take turns rolling. When you roll your dice, you can choose to place them on the relevant casino cards; for example, a die showing a 1 will be placed on the casino mat marked "1". You must place all dice of one number on one casino in your turn. All players take turns doing this until all the dice have been used. Finally, the player with the most dice on each casino card takes the highest-valued money associated with it, then the player with the secondmost dice takes the next highest-valued money card. In case of a tie, the non-tied player with the most dice takes the highest-valued money card at that casino, while the tied players get bupkis.
Las Vegas Royale includes twelve expansion tiles, and to play a more involved game, you can place an expansion tile at random by each casino. These tiles have special abilities on them, and by placing dice on them, players can activate these abilities. The expansion components also include a larger than normal die for each player that counts as two dice.
Dice-rolling, Area majority
Las Vegas Royale is a remake of Rüdiger Dorn’s popular dice game Las Vegas, and it includes some aspects of the Las Vegas Boulevard expansion as well. With lightning-fast play and a simple ruleset, it is an excellent game for all ages and experience levels.
Unsurprisingly, this game has a theme of casino gambling. However, it is presented more as an aesthetic than anything else; at its core, Las Vegas Royale is just a simple dice game. Very little cause for concern.
I have wanted to play the Spiel-des-Jahres-nominated Las Vegas for years, but I never had the opportunity to do so until recently. Now that I‘ve tried it out, my only regret is that I didn’t play it much, much sooner.
The goal of this dice game, in true Vegas form, is to get the most money. The game-action takes place on a tableau with 6 casinos surrounding a central dice tray.
Each casino receives 2 money cards, which range in value from $30,000 to $100,000. The pair of money cards with the highest total value is placed on the “6” casino, the second highest pair on the “5,” and so on down the line.
Players all receive 8 dice in their color: 7 smaller dice with white pips, and 1 larger die with black pips. This larger die counts as 2 smaller dice. Everyone also begins with 2 black chips.
To begin a turn, the active player rolls all his dice in the tray.
He must then choose a result and place all the dice showing that number on the corresponding casino.
The turn then passes to the next player, who does the same. Players continue rolling and placing until all players have placed all their dice. During the round, if a player wishes, he may spend a chip to pass his turn.
When the round is over, the board will look something like this:
At this time, players count up their dice on each casino (keeping in mind that the large dice count as 2). If 2 or more players are tied for the number of dice present in a casino, all tied dice are removed from the board. Once this has been done, the money cards from each casino are distributed; the player with the most dice present receives the larger of the 2 cards, and the player with the second most dice present receives the smaller. To continue the above example, the payouts would be distributed as shown:
A game of Las Vegas Royale lasts 3 rounds. At the end of the final round, players count their money, plus an extra $10,000 for each unused chip. The player with the most money is the winner!
The game also includes an expansion which adds additional opportunities for strategic play. This comes in the form of trapezoidal tiles that extend casinos #1-3, adding additional mechanisms that trigger any time dice are placed there. At the end of every game round, the tiles are switched out, such that the mechanisms change dynamically throughout the experience.
Las Vegas Royale is awesome. Its rapid-fire play style and “take that” attitude feel perfectly thematic for Vegas gambling. Though dice rolling comes with inherent luck, this game offers lots of mitigation and meaningful choices. On top of that, I am hard-pressed to think of another game that uses dice for area majority; it feels fresh and interesting.
As one might expect, ties are at the heart of this game. It is delightfully funny when a bunch of players pile their dice on a particular casino, only to end up tying and having the money go to a player who put just a single die there. Much of the game’s tactics come from trying to predict where ties will occur and how to reap the benefits of them.
The rules are clear and concise, and the game can be taught in less than 5 minutes. Everything looks great on the table, with vibrant colors and tactile appeal. Las Vegas Royale definitely feels like a quality product, appropriate for its price point.
Family games have always been my thing, and this one exemplifies what I so enjoy about them: it is easy to grasp, fast to play, and overall, a lot of fun. Definitely check this one out.
A review copy was provided by Ravensburger.
+ Great looking components
+ Easy to teach and quick to play
+ Lots of laugh-inducing moments
+ Highly replayable
- Box could have used an insert