I started with cats. They lapped up all the milk I could get them, earning me some coin splatter and an extra boost from a lucky first beastmaster. I also threw toddlers there, basking in candy bonanzas whenever I found a pinata to open, along with an assortment of chests, fruit, urns, and eggs. Then I slowly traded it all in for gems, and my board became a pristine, soulless, and essentially fully optimized money printer.
Luck Be A Landlord is all about meeting ever-increasing rent demands by playing a slot machine. Each month gives you a limited number of spins to find money and the chance to add one of three random symbols after each spin. These symbols bounce off each other in a wacky but logical way: bees pollinate flowers, comedians amplify monkeys. Dogs make friends with humans. Billionaires are guillotined.
It was overwhelming at first. Run after run crashed and burned as I failed to understand the machinations of my many crabs, card suits, jesters and eldritch monsters. There was joy there, however, in wresting rents from chaos. The races I stayed in just before my payouts held a jolly pace, riding the seat of pants woven by luck and shrewd synergy.
Eclectic and random combos were enough for me to reach my twelfth rent payment, when the game tells you you’ve won and you can quit. It also allows you to continue, so I did.
I erased the chaos. First I added miners, who opened up geodes revealing rubies, sapphires, emeralds, even rarer diamonds, and even rarer amethysts. I traded the miners for a geologist, who gobbled up the lower quality gems while increasing his own value. A pinch of golden arrows quadrupled the value of anything they pointed. My machine boasted a shade of the variety it used to do, but it was still colored.
Too colorful. Exit rubies and emeralds, once rare treasures today nothing but fat. The ladies arrived, doubling the silver of each adjacent gem while permanently increasing the value of each amethyst they eyed. The chipping of the amethyst quickly turned the diamonds into chaff. They came out too.
I started seeing silly numbers, my screen turning into mesmerizing strings of four numbers after each spin. I added a few more ladies, fired my star geologist and just… sat down. Minute by minute, then hour by hour, I shot and shot, month after month, my bills were paid and my pile grew more and more. It was liberating, mesmerizing and unnecessary. I had won my fight against the machine and I was becoming what I wanted to destroy.
I hadn’t unlocked it at the time, but there’s an item you can choose from that guillotines you when you hit a billion coins. It would make for a poetic ending, but somehow I just walked away once I finally spun enough to break the spell.
Luck Be A Landlord is a compulsive celebration of silliness and a successful parody of the hedonic treadmill of consumerism, even as you rack up the miles. It lets you have your capitalist cake and eat it, while remembering that life isn’t just about endlessly showing off your amethysts to the ladies and watching the numbers go up.