Lords of Vegas, by Mike Selinker and James Ernest of Cheapass Games fame. I had watched a very positive Dice Tower review so the excitement was there. And I am happy to say the game was actually as fun as Tom Vasel had said. It reminded me at first of Acquire in the building and joining of casinos but eventually the game became a pretty wild strategy/luck mish-mash. While playing it, I actually felt the same way I did the first couple times I played Settlers of Catan due to the crazy interaction, tons of dice-rolling and trading, and just enough tough decisions to make you think you have some control. What this game seems to have that Settlers missed is some real balancing mechanisms both in the scoring and the play. On one play I had three actions in a row ruined by bad die rolls. On the following turn, I flipped a card that gave me control of the largest casino on the board. Awesome. Now, wild random swings of fortune are usually something I despise in games but they seemed to benefit all players fairly evenly last night. And given that this game is about gambling and building casinos it actually seemed quite appropriate and thematic. But it's hard to say if the luck will balance out every time. People say that about Settlers and I think they're wrong. We'll definitely be playing this one a few more times to find out.
I have one complaint, though. The graphic design is dated, cluttered, and not up to Mayfair standards, especially for such a winning title. It doesn't break the game by any stretch but for someone who is colour-blind living a dimly lit condo, there were a few moments of confusion trying to find the red and green transparent chips on the dark sections of the board.