10th April 2022
Sunday evening is here and we're logged into Board Game Arena for a night of gaming.
'Viva Las Vegan!'
'Millions of cabbages, cabbages for me.'
'Millions of cabbages, cabbages for free.'
Err... wait...? No... that's enough of that!
Las Vegan is a umm.. vegetable-themed trick taking card game?
Caveat: We've only ever played Las Vegan digitally and not sure if a English language version is even available in hard copy?
What's in a game?
There's fairly minimal art throughout Las Vegan. The cards feature illustrations of vegetables on a slot machine reel and the cabbage machine cards show either vegetables or numbers across 3 reels.
Nothing bad but also nothing to write home about.
There's no iconography to speak off, just plain and simple numbers as well as the icons for the 4 types of card.
How's it play?
On to play
Las Vegan is played over 1-4 rounds, each round follows the typical turn structure for a trick taking game, with the first or active player playing a card and the player to the left the 'following' that play.
Las Vegan can end in 1 of 2 ways.
If during scoring at the end of any round, any player's cabbage tokens (VPs.) reaches 0 or lower, it ends the game.
The game will also end at the end of the 4th round regardless.
Once the game has ended, players tot up their remaining cabbage tokens.
Points are tallied, highest score wins.
The first thing to talk about is the scoring and particularly the casino chips. The values on the chips go from -3 to +1 and obviously skew heavily towards the negative, it's even worse than that though. There are 4 double-sided chips and +1s only appear on 2 of the 8 sides (Although in some regard this is quite logical as most numbers only appear twice across the chips.), thus it's skewed both in value and probability.
The golden casino chip is negative on both sides.
All of this means thhat this is a game about how little you lose, minimising your losses and not really how much you accumulate.
Las Vegan appears to be themed ont slot machines and one-arm bandits and maybe this is part of that theme; 'The house always wins?'
Even so, it all seems negative and doesn't feel like fun.
Despite my reservations about the scoring, the casino chip mechanic itself is pretty interesting.
When a player gets the opportunity to deploy a chip, they'll want to try and remember what cards they and the other players have taken. E.g., if the '3' cabbage machine card is in play and a player knows an opponent has taken several 3's, they may want to put a big negative on that card to hit them. Conversely, a player may try and use a +1 if they've collected 3s this round.
This is also affected by when 7s appear. The earlier that 7s appear, the more of a gamble it is using the casino chips, if they appear later, it's a lot easier to predict scoring. It's also that chips might appear right at the start or end of a round, or several may appear in single trick.
Players will need to calculate and adapt when using the casino chip, remembering plays opponents make made will be helpful too.
There's not too much to say about the mechanics for the actual game, which are very straightforward and about as basic as a trick taking game can get - and that's not a bad thing, it makes the game accessible and easy to learn, as well as playing fairly quickly . Las Vegan could be a good filler or finisher for the day.
Having said that, the scoring mechanics feel a little clunky, counterintuitive and unnecessarily fiddly.
The game's depth comes from strategies that will emerge once casino chips are starting to get played on cabbage machine cards and then players will look to how they can manipulate or win or lose tricks to optimise their scores.
For me; I found the game's simplicity a little unengaging, a little too run-of-the-mill while the depth the scoring brought to the table (sic) did not add enough to make me want to play more. The negative scoring also left me feeling frustrating.
Not a game for me.
I play, I paint.