Skip to main content

The joy of becoming infinitely wealthy in Luck Be A Landlord

Gambler’s tenancy

A slot machine screen in Luck Be A Landlord
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/TrampolineTales

I started with cats. They lapped up all the milk I could get them, earning me splatters of coins plus a further boost from a lucky early beastmaster. I threw some toddlers in too, basking in bonanzas of candy whenever I found a pinata for them to bash open, along with a smorgasbord of chests, fruits, urns and eggs. Then I slowly swapped all of that out for gems, and my board became a pristine, soulless, basically fully optimised money printer.

Luck Be A Landlord is about meeting ever escalating rent demands by playing a slot machine. Each month gives you a limited number of spins to come up with the money, and the chance to add one of three random symbols after each spin. Those symbols bounce off each other in zany but logical ways: bees pollinate flowers, comedians amplify monkeys. Dogs befriend humans. Billionaires get guillotined.

Watch on YouTube

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, though, in wringing rent out of the chaos. The runs where I stayed just ahead of my payments held a gleeful up yours-ness, surfing on the seat of pants weaved from luck and canny synergising.

Eclectic and haphazard combos were enough for me to reach my twelfth rent payment, when the game tells you that you’ve won and you can stop. It also lets you just keep going, so I did.

I expunged the chaos. First I added miners, who cracked open geodes revealing rubies, sapphires, emeralds, even rarer diamonds and yet scarcer amethysts. I swapped the miners for a geologist, who gobbled up the lower quality gems while increasing his own value. A sprinkling of golden arrows quadrupled the value of anything they pointed to. My machine boasted a shadow of the variety it used to, but it was still colourful.

A slot machine screen of purple, red, green and blue objects  in Luck Be A Landlord
A slot machine screen of various coloured shapes in Luck Be A Landlord
A slot machine of purple shapes, people's faces and blue diamonds in Luck Be A Landlord
A slot machine screen of purple shapes and people's faces in  in Luck Be A Landlord
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/TrampolineTales

Too colourful. Out went the rubies and the emeralds, once rare treasures now nothing but flab. In came the dames, doubling the cash from every adjacent gem while permanently increasing the value of every amethyst they ogled. Amethyst scaling soon rendered the diamonds into chaff. Out they went, too.

I started seeing silly numbers, my screen kaching-ing into mesmerising chains of four digits after every spin. I threw in a couple more dames, fired my star geologist and just… sat back. For minute after minute then hour after hour I spun and spun, as month to month my bills got paid and my stack grew ever higher. It was liberating, hypnotising, and pointless. I’d won my wrestle with the machine, and become what I set out to destroy.

I hadn’t unlocked it at the time, but there’s an item you can pick that guillotines you when you reach a billion coins. That would make for a poetic ending, but in a way so did simply stepping away once I’d finally spun enough to break the spell.

Luck Be A Landlord is a compulsive celebration of silliness, and a successful parody of consumerism’s hedonic treadmill even as you clock up mile after mile on it. It lets you have your capitalist cake and eat it, while serving as a gentle reminder that life is about more than endlessly showing your amethysts to dames and watching numbers go up.

Read this next