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Alas Vegas

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Welcome to the GM's Day sale! From now through March 10th, this title has been marked down by up to 40%! For more values, visit our GM's Day sale page.


You wake in a shallow grave in the desert. It’s night. You have no memory of how you got here, or who you are, or the location of your clothes. A scar of neon in the shape of a city squats on the horizon. There are answers there. And trouble.

ALAS VEGAS is a dark journey through a bizarre and terrifying casino city where sinister forces war for control and lives are worth no more than a handful of gambling chips. Caught in a struggle between rival factions, the players must find allies, the truth, and a way to escape. Memories are recovered, secrets are revealed, old debts are settled, and nothing is what it seems.

Your character sheet starts as blank as your memories, but your character gains skills by having flashbacks to their earlier life, so as the game progesses their backstory does too - creating a twisted web of links between the characters as they piece their past together and work out what's happened to them.

The conflict mechanics are based on the casino game Blackjack played with Tarot cards, creating high-stakes narrative showdowns, and spinning elements of the game's story from the cards that come up in play. 

'Alas Vegas' lasts four sessions, structured like a high-budget HBO miniseries, leading to a revelatory final climax that's a fitting end of the campaign. It’s Franz Kafka’s Fear and Loathing. It’s The Hangover meets The Prisoner. It’s Ocean’s Eleven directed by David Lynch. It’s like nothing you’ve played before.


ALAS VEGAS runs on the Fugue game system, built to tell stories of characters with amnesia. It uses Tarot cards and rotating GMs to create unique, high-tension adventures, heavy on character and narrative. As well as 'Alas Vegas' itself, the book contains three extra complete Fugue campaigns:

  • YET ALREADY, frantic time-travel to save a chaotic, collapsing universe, written by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan;
  • WARLOCK KINGS, paladins returned to life as generals of a dark army, by Allen Varney and Johnstone Metzger;
  • REMEMBERING COSMIC MAN, in which you play two characters: one of a gang of superheroes whose leader has just been found dead, and one of the police investigating the crime, by Laurent Devernay and Jerome Larre.

Plus all the Fugue mechanics, of course.


ALAS VEGAS also contains articles by some of the finest games writers of the last two decades:

  • Kenneth Hite contributes a complete stand-alone story-game set in the blood-red heart of classic Vegas, 'Killing Bugsy Siegel';
  • Robin D. Laws tells you how to use tarot cards to create game narratives on the fly in 'Tarot-Jumping Other Games';
  • Mike Selinker adds a bizarre casino in which your characters can place bets on their own chances of success in the adventure; 
  • Matt Forbeck details the ins and outs of running gambling games in RPGs ;
  • Richard Dansky expands the Alas Vegas setting in 'Grifts, Scams and Making it';
  • John Scott Tynes serves up cocktails in 'The Guide To Drinking Heavily In Vegas';
  • Eye-popping interior art by World Fantasy Award-winner John Coulthart and Dennis Detwiller;
  • John Kovalic contributes an exclusive in-game comic strip!
  • And Sean Smith describes how to... but you have to let us keep a few secrets.


Every digital copy of ALAS VEGAS comes with a four-seat license, so you can legally give extra copies to your players. The Fugue mechanics have been released under a Creative Commons licence, so you can download them for free and remix them for your own projects, including ones you publish. Plus there are designer notes and more.


"The ultimate one-shot roleplaying game" - Reviews from R'yleh

"Worth the wait" - Tabletop Gaming magazine

"Alas Vegas is a stunning self-contained game with a heck of a narrative punch" - Jason Mical

"Weird and cool and stylish and clever" - Mikko Rautalahti, writer of Alan Wake and Quantum Break

"Best indie RPG I've read since Mouse Guard, which has my vote for the best written RPG of this century. You should get it." - Mike Selinker, designer of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and Betrayal at House on the Hill

"James Wallis is a god" - Sean Jaffe

About the Designer

James Wallis, ‘the godfather of indie game design’, is the Origins Award-winning designer behind Once Upon a Time, the Ennie-nominated Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and the 2017 reboot of Paranoia. 

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (7)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Randall O September 13, 2021 12:40 am UTC
Tim Power's Last Call, the game?
Customer avatar
James W November 29, 2021 10:44 pm UTC
It draws on some the same themes (base desires, murky pasts, myth), but I didn't actually know about Last Call until I was well into the writing process--at which point I threw out the Fisher King subplot I'd been working on and went in a different direction. Tim Powers is an amazing writer, but I know I can't plot or structure like him, so I didn't try.
Customer avatar
Ross P May 29, 2019 9:29 pm UTC
I am getting ready to run the first session of this. Is there a part in the second session that specifies how my persona is introduced in part 2?
Customer avatar
Angela B May 31, 2018 1:11 pm UTC
Do i have to find my own set of tarot cards to play or are they included?
Customer avatar
Sean J May 31, 2018 10:41 pm UTC
It's just the book, as far as I know, but it'll work with any Tarot set.
Customer avatar
James W June 08, 2018 4:14 pm UTC
Sean is right: you provide your own Tarot cards. A cheap Rider Waite deck will work perfectly well, in fact that's what the game was playtested with.
Customer avatar
Krzysztof D December 18, 2019 9:15 am UTC
I wonder why haven't you took the opportunity and haven't printed the Alas Vegas deck?
John Coulhart did an amazing job, even a cheap print would be welcome.
At the very least the backers could get a printer-friendly files to print the deck themselves.
Forgive my rant, but you took the pain to create the awesome deck and omitted the final step. I find it hard to fathom.
Customer avatar
James W December 28, 2019 12:57 am UTC
I looked at the economics of it and couldn't make it work. On the other hand the rights to the card-art are with John Coulthart, so you could always contact him and see if you can work out a deal to publish one yourself.
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File Last Updated:
December 26, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on December 26, 2017.