The object of Vegas Showdown is to earn the most Fame points. There are seven sources for Fame points:
1. Fame Printed On the Tiles
Many tiles have Fame points printed on them. The green tiles, especially, have higher printed Fame.
Every time you do Publicity, you earn 1 Fame. In other words, every time you do something other than Publicity, you sacrifice your chance to earn 1 Fame (unless the "PR Scandal" event is in effect).
3. Completion Bonus
You get a Fame bonus at the end of the game for filling your Casino, for filling your Hotel, and for connecting your Casino to your Hotel.
4. Highest Revenue/Population
You get a Fame bonus at the end of the game according to your rankings in Revenue and Population.
At the end of the game, you get 1 Fame for every $10. Because money is also used as a tie-breaker, the system is equivalent to scoring 0.1 Fame for each $1. Thus, whenever you buy a tile, not only do you sacrifice the 1 Fame for Publicity, you also sacrifice Fame equal to 1/10 of the cost of the tile.
Unlike the game St. Petersburg, where money is worth very little at the end of the game, in Vegas Showdown the amount is significant. The net gain from the printed Fame on most of the tiles is very small (if not negative) after subtracting the starting-bid price and the 1 Fame for not doing Publicity. In practice, however, it is usually better to spend your money before the game ends, both because the price has dropped and because of other bonuses you'll get from the tiles.
The money bonus is significant, and outbidding an opponent for an unplayable tile, just to prevent him from getting it, often results in a loss to you that is equal to or greater than what you're keeping away from your opponent. Typically he can just buy something else or do Publicity. Unless your opponent is relying on a very fragile plan or the tile is way too cheap, be cautious about bidding for an unplayable tile late in the game. You are throwing away Fame points if you buy that tile.
6. Red Corners
You get a Fame bonus at the end of the game for putting red corners together. This is dependent on both the tiles you get and your layout. Tiles with red corners tend to have fewer doors and more walls, so they can create layout difficulties when placed in the center. But if you place them in a corner, you forfeit the red corner bonus.
In most cases, it is quite easy to put everything you buy onto your board and get the 13 Fame for completion. When you factor in the red corners, it becomes a lot more complex to optimize your layout. To be good at this without needing to Renovate unnecessarily, you need to know the tile mix and plan in advance.
The more red corners you have, the easier it is to score bonus points with another red-cornered tile. Think of red corners as something like the orange aristocrat scoring in St. Petersburg (but here it is much better balanced!).
I refer to the "completion" bonus and the red corners together as the "layout" elements. In Princes of Florence, you only need to fit everything onto your board, and the layout doesn't matter beyond that. In Alhambra, the layout affects wall scoring. In Vegas Showdown, getting the tiles you need to score the completion bonus and red corners, and putting them in the right positions, are important parts of a successful strategy.
Some events give you bonus Fame. Some give you Fame for certain tiles (the "basic" and "Fancy" tiles). One gives you Fame for connecting your Casino to your Hotel, and one gives you Fame for red corners. The two "Ad Campaign" cards allow you to trade cash -- before getting income for this turn -- for Fame, at a rate much better than the end-game bonus.
One wants to have cash left in hand for the Ad Campaigns ($10) and also for the "Slots Surplus" event ($7). But in this game, there is always the temptation to spend all your cash on the important tiles. Vegas Showdown is a game about cash management, with a small degree of randomness thrown in.
Coming up next -- Stategy! Or what am I doing, anyway?
About the Author
Alan Kwan is the owner of a board game specialty store in Hong Kong, a long-time gamer, and Yinsh World Champion 2004.
Read Alan Kwan's complete Vegas Showdown strategy guide --
Part 1: Fame
Part 2: Know Your Objective
Part 3: Basic Tiles
Part 4: Fancy Tiles
Part 5: Top Tiles
Part 6: Branch Tiles
Part 7: Large Gaming Tiles