Last night was my first opportunity to play Vegas Showdown with five players. With three or four players it’s a game I enjoy immensely, but adding a fifth player seemed to break it (despite the scale enhancements in the rules).
While we didn’t implement it quite in time to save last night’s game, here’s a simple house rule that I think will keep the game fun when playing with five.
For five players: When all of the basic rooms (Slots, Restaurant, Lounge) run out, draw up to two event cards (if two premier spots are open) and flip two room tiles. Resolve the events in the order they are drawn, but enforce bidding restrictions on both new tiles (if applicable).
The game ends as normal; a player filling their hotel or immediately when either card drawn would require flipping a tile from an exhausted premier pile.
This helps ensure that there should always be more than one option players can bid on, so it doesn’t devolve into players taking turns paying full price (or greater) on whatever single new tile has flipped that turn while the rest merely gain a publicity point.
It should also bring the game to an end a little bit sooner, since dividing tiles amongst five players seemed to make it more difficult for any one player to fill their hotel and the only practical way for the game to end was hoping a premier pile ran out soon to deliver us from the monotony of a single bid option.
Vegas Showdown remains, in my opinion, a quick game with just enough complexity to be enjoyable any time we pull it off the shelf; hopefully the next time five players approach it this house rule will make it fun throughout.
If you give it a try, let me know what you think!