Vegas Showdown
Branch Tiles

Last week, we looked at the top tiles of Vegas Showdown. This week, we examine the two branch tiles -- the Buffet and Night Club. Both have subtle values and weaknesses that go beyond their printed values.

A tile serves three purposes. One is to earn Fame points. Another is to serve as a prerequisite for other tiles as specified on the Building Prerequisites Chart. The third is to facilitate your layout and prevent it from becoming so cramped that you can't place additional tiles in optimum positions.

Each tile has eight attributes:

  1. Name
  2. Color: yellow (Casino), blue (Hotel), or green (either)
  3. Type: basic or premier
  4. Price: minimum-bid price (basic) or starting bid price (premier)
  5. Printed Values: Population, Revenue, and Fame
  6. Shape: size and doors (officially "entrances")
  7. Red Corners (yes or no)
  8. Building Prerequisites
  9. Event potential: some event cards name specific tiles

Branch Tiles

The branch tiles are large tiles with interesting printed values but no red corners. They can efficiently fill your Hotel or Casino, but they won't earn bonus fame for red corners, and they lack the prerequisite value or the event value of the Fancy tiles.

Night ClubNight Club
price: 42
8 Fame
large tile with 4 doors

The Night Club has the second highest printed Fame in the game, but it doesn't have red corners. Its shape is not bad, with large size and good doors. It is the only tile in the game with an additional placement restriction.

Many other tiles have good values in the form of printed Revenue and Population or red corners. But when you cannot use those for your position, printed Fame gives the most direct benefit. If you are using the Night Club's layout value to fill your Casino or Hotel, that's even better.

Some players (who are familiar with economic games) may think that an early Night Club is not good because it ties up your money without generating income. That observation is correct, and that's why you should wait for a cheaper price before buying it -- a price at which it is a good buy.

price : 33
3 Population + 1 Revenue
large tile with 3 doors

The Buffet has the highest Population value in the game. But that's not really useful until later in the game (especially because they are not your 9th and 10th Population points, but rather your 11th to 13th points), so avoid overpaying for it. One should be cautious about buying a Buffet -- with no printed Fame or red corners, it may not be worth as much as its list price implies. It's a good buy at $12, for 1 Revenue and a large-sized Hotel filler, even if you never use the Population. What about at $18? Its printed values look great when compared to the Restaurant, but the Restaurant is the prerequisite ...

Layout-wise, one can fill his Hotel with a Restaurant, a Buffet, and a Lounge, allowing him to place the red-cornered tiles in the middle for the bonus.

Should you get a Buffet early, you should try to make good use of it by developing your Revenue. You can bid more aggressively on yellow tiles -- unlike players with 8 Population, your income growth won't hit the ceiling of your Population for quite a while. You should pay special attention to getting your first Fancy Slots and Table Games, because these serve as prerequisites to the high-Revenue tiles.

Next week -- the big Gaming tiles.

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
Two-Player Variant

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