Sonora VS Welcome to New Las Vegas - "Roll and Write" | Write-Up-Roundup

A distant cousin to Yahtzee, "Roll and Write" games are a fun evolution of a style of games involving dice rolls and tracking said rolls. They do what they say on the tin: you roll some dice, and write down the results you choose on a score sheet. They are a light, breezy game experience that can often support a large number of players.

Roll-and-write games have seen a resurgence recently. Being simple and flexible, fledgling and aspiring game designers use the structure of “roll dice, write something down” to develop new ideas. Some of them are really inventive, too, like Cartographers and On Tour. A recent development of roll-and-write games is the flip-and-write. Players flip cards off a deck for random input instead of rolling dice. Sonora and Welcome To New Las Vegas both make use of such unique mechanics in their own distinct ways.

The game Sonora not only captures the beauty of the American Southwest, but introduces a novel concept to hobby gaming. While sometimes gimmickry masquerades as innovation in board games, the concept behind Sonora is are very creative and a far cry from a gimmick.

In Sonora, players flick discs across the game board, then right down their choice of the results. At first blush, its concept of “flick-and-write” might seem derivative, but it’s very clever when you think about it. When flicking a disc, players shoot for a specific outcome, but there’s enough variance in human performance to add drama. This actually works really well for randomizing a roll-and-write game, and Sonora is a beautiful implementation of the idea.

Welcome To New Las Vegas is the second in the Welcome To… series, and it's poised to offer a crunchier, more challenging experience that its predecessor. Instead of the original’s trio of horizontal streets, New Las Vegas expands into the second dimension. Using the cards to place hotels in downtown Vegas is an appropriate step up in complexity.

For players experienced with the original Welcome To… but feel like they’ve seen all the game can do, New Las Vegas provides new challenges while still keeping the simple, straightforward Flip-and-Write system. It adds an additional layer of complexity that puts it a step above. 

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