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Subject: Pretty much Monopoly with guns. rss

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Mattias Frid
Sweden
Kävlinge
Skåne
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200 gg...
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down the drain!
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I'll try to stay objective when reviewing this, but it's not easy. It was the first board game I bought which was outside the family game scope. We played this to pieces in my adolescence and we always had a riot. We always had lengthy arguments too, which usually ended with someone saying "Screw you guys, I'm going home!". Enough with the memories though, and on to the matter at hand.

General description
Gangsters is, as previously stated, pretty much Monopoly with guns. The basic structure is the same. You navigate around the game board by rolling dice, you control property and when completing a lap around the board you receive money from the bank. This is where the similarities end though.

The goal of the game is to gather a million and fly off to an island in the sun. This is done through various dastardly deeds, such as extortion, smuggling and robbery.

My brother and I have got a little proposition for you colonel.
Instead of housing property, you control businesses. From each business under your control, you receive "protection fees" when completing a lap around the board. The businesses are divided into various categories, like restaurants, illegal gambling dens, casinos and illegal booze destilleries. You can even "steal" your opponents property. If you fail, either the cops show up or you're in for a fire fight with the current protector of the business.

The colonel's a joker, Luigi.
While the businesses look pretty bland on the game board (they're just colour coded boxes with the name printed on it), the corresponding cards for each piece of property are illustrated nicely in black and white. All of them are more or less comical. For instance you have "Igor's diner" next to "Igor's funeral services" or the gambling club "Five kings".

This applies to the whole game. The jokes, puns and comedy is all over and it's obvious right away when opening the box that it's not a serious game. I remember being a bit let down by that as the box cover gives another impression.

I got on the Bolton train and found myself deposited here in Ipswich.
When navigating the board, there is a choice of route. It's actually possible to actually never do a complete lap around the board and cash in, but there's not really any benefit in doing so. Every now and then you might choose to do a detour though, there can be strategic importance in this.

When you pass the slum-square you are allowed to recruit a gang member. They all have a battle rating (for gun fights) and some have extra abilities to aid you in your dirty deeds.

As soon as they get their hands on their money they blow it all on milk
Apart from the property control, you can also gain money from doing various robberies and heists. There are two postal offices and two bank offices to rob, if you land on the apropriate squares. In addition to this there are several event-squares, like the horse track where you can bet on horses, the jewelry shop which you can rob and ofcours the great train heist. All of these activities are carried out by rolling one or two dice, adding modifiers from your gang members. There's a fairly basic paradigm: the higher you roll the more money you get BUT if you roll too high the cops show up. Unfortunately there are one or two exceptions to this, where you are instead supposed to roll low. These tables have to be referenced alot and are only located in the rules printed on the inside of the game box lid. Would have been nice with two reference sheets.

There are people with guns out there, sir.
If you end up on the same square as one of your opponents or fail certain robbery events, a fire fight will ensue. This is also fairly simply. The opponents line up their gang members face down, randomly, and the active player goes first. He nominates an attacker from his own gang and then designates the target on his opponent's side. The attacker is revealed and the player then rolls a D6. The roll must be lower or equal to the gang member's combat skill. If it's a hit, the target card is discarded. The iniative is then switched to the other player, and the process is repeated. The winner is the player who lost the least gang members. If all gang members of one side are shot, the actual player can be targeted and shot. If that happens, you end up in a hospital bed and have to skip a few turns.

The same applies to when you're caught by the police and convicted for a crime. You can bribe yourself out of jail, but often you'll have to do hard time on a few occasions. The sentence differs, but it's not uncommon to have to skip 5 consecutive rounds. Worst sentence is 7 rounds in jail.

There are alot of details I haven't covered and I'm not sure I should go into more detail. There are features such as bidding for the title of mayor, drawing event cards and having to pay half your cash in taxes. I'm going to skip these and instead go on to the actual verdict.

The whole premise is silly and it's very badly written.
The main detractor of fun in the game is the downtime you can experience if unlucky. Also, the strong quickly grow stronger while the weak can be left behind a bit. There are two right bastards of rules, one being when you land on the "pay taxes" square. This can be as bad as losing half your money AND ending up in jail for seven rounds (as tax evasion gives the highest modification to your sentence).

The other problem with the game is the end game. It can (and should!) be houseruled. The original rules is you have to end up on the airport, have a ticket and then roll on the flight table. If your roll is successfull you end up the winner, but if you're unlucky you end up on the hospital after a plane crash. I think you succeed on a 5 and a 6, but can't remember the exact odds. It doesn't matter though, cause the plane will always crash enough times for the players to grow tired with the game. I have never ever played a game where the winner got away on the first try, atleast not as I can remember. One time in a recent game this part added an hour to the playing time, where all participants basically just moaned about the game being crap.

Finally, there are a few problems with the banks. As the bank's balance doubles when robbed (yeah, that's logical) they're quickly abundant with cash. Houserule them to not grow as fast.

Did you say mattress?
On the plus side you have an easy and initially enjoyable game, with a few hilarious gang members and pieces of property, amusing but random game play with LOTS of different activities to carry out. Granted, most of them involve rolling dice. With four or more players, the player interaction is quite heavy and there are many opportunities to foil your opponents plans.

I've noticed a tendency for this programme to get rather silly.
Play it if you want something to socialize over. It is a silly game though with little to no meat on it's bones. Plenty of fun to be had though, if you're into that. =) Works great as a social game while having drinks with friends. It's not a game to be taken seriously and while there is some opportunity to plan your game, you don't really have to do much more than roll the dice and react to the results. I still enjoy it, but there are some big flaws to it. With the right crowd and some booze, it's a hoot!
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Peter Stenberg
Sweden
Malmö
Skåne
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" pretty much Monopoly with guns."
It´s like say Othello is the same as
chess, basicly you have pieces that move
around on a board in black and white.

Crysis 3 is basicly Counterstrike but with a story.
A car is pretty much a motorbike but with 4 wheels
A cat is basicly a dog but with shorter nose.

Change the topic of the review, the review is really good and you will make people not read your good view of it when you have this topic that actually is not specially accurate, as you yourself allready stated.
Let people read it, now I´m not sure anyone will think it is Monopoly
 
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