Have you ever dreamed of building your own casino? Well if you play Vegas Showdown you can! The object of the game in the end is to get the most fame points, but how you acquire them is up to you. Remember when a casino opens it takes generating money, advertising, and spending before it experiences the riches of it’s fame. That is sort of how Vegas Showdown works as well.
The playing pieces of the game are not great quality but they are adequate. Each player has a plastic mat to put their pieces on and track their income on. There are several basic pieces including slots, lounges, and hotel rooms. There are also other special pieces which are worth more fame, population, or income. There are bidding pieces, and finally action cards.
The key to the game is to build your casino, because by building your casino you will generate more income, population in the casino, and fame! So, how do you do this? Well at the beginning of everyone’s turn they get their money which is the lower of their population or income. Then everyone bids on pieces to add to their casino. The thing is there are enough pieces that everyone can get a piece each round if they wish, but you may have to outbid your opponents for the popular pieces. If the bidding gets too high (when you get outbid you have the option to raise your bid) for the piece you are bidding on, you might be able to get another piece at a bargain price. Keep this in mind when determining your strategies for bidding.
After everyone that wants a piece in a given round has made their winning bid the pieces are awarded and placed in the winners casino on their mat. Keep in mind you must make sure there is a path through doorways throughout your casino. Next actions cards are turned over for each room that is purchased that is a higher value than the basic rooms. These will have different effects on game play. Some examples are making it so certain items can’t be bid on during the next round, or giving bonuses for outbidding your opponents.
While bidding on pieces you need to keep a few things in mind. First, for some of the special pieces you need a basic one first before you can place your special piece. You can buy the special piece first and keep it off your playing board until you get the prerequisite piece, but keep in mind your opponents might try to buy those before you can buy them! Each piece effects your income, population, and fame, it would take too long to list every piece and how it effects those items. Instead make sure you check in the rules of the game how each piece contributes to these categories.
The game ends when either there are no more special pieces to add to the bidding area, or someone completes their entire casino. At that point the fame points are determined for everyone’s casinos and added up. Keep in mind you can get bonuses if you form corners where every piece has a red star on it when they are scored at the end. Money can also be added up as a bonus for fame at the end of the game. After thi9s conversion the winner is determined.
Overall, I think this is a pretty interesting game that teaches you the basics of bidding games without too much money management required since there are an abundance of items to bid on. It’s a good introductory game to strategic bidding (as I said with the strategy being a little limited). There is some randomness due to the action cards in the game so sometimes even a player with a slightly flawed strategy could win the game. As I said it’s a good introductory game, but unfortunately as with many Avalon Hill games it is a little overpriced. The retail price for this is around $45, I would strongly suggest looking on ebay or other sites that have used or discount games instead of paying full price. I just can’t see paying that much for an introductory game. If you can find this for $20-25 I would definitely buy it.