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Subject: First play and impressions rss

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Merric Blackman
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Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Another boardgame day, another new game. I'm having a fun time at present!

What made this day even better was that we got to meet a fellow bgger, Mike (mdr003), who actually lives pretty close to Randy and the rest of us. So, there we were at Randy's place, with me being fairly confused about who Mike actually was, thanks to Randy inviting someone else called Michael, who couldn't actually come...

I think I eventually worked it out, but while I was struggling with the idea of two boardgamers named Michael (or Mike), Randy brought out Family Business to be the first game of the afternoon. Already at the table were Craig, Mike, Rich, Randy and myself, and Meg would arrive later; Troy and Patrick would arrive for the evening games.

Randy had mentioned Family Business a couple of times before, but I'd not paid much attention to him. Now it actually was in front of me, and I was somewhat surprised to find that (a) it was a card game and (b) it wasn't about selling Lemonade. No, Family Business is about being mobsters, and killing other mobsters... in fact, the families belonging to the other players.

The game played fast and furious. There are basically three types of cards...

Contracts, which add one of your opponents' family members to the hit list. Once the hit list reaches 6 or more, the person at the head of it gets eliminated at the start of each turn.

Rescuers, which allow you to retrieve family members from the hit list, and

Counters, which stop Contracts and Rescuers; these counters are specific in use - one counter will only stop a specific type of card.

Play goes like this: draw a card, play a card. Play proceeds clockwise around the table *unless* your action is countered, in which case that player gets a go and it proceeds from there.

Mike drew a *lot* of counters during this game, and Randy hardly managed to play at all. I started, and immediately targetted Randy. It's a tradition. Other people agreed with my tradition, and also targetted Randy with their contracts, and others (turncoats!) listened to Randy and targetted me!

This isn't a game with all that much skill in the play of the cards. It's pretty much the luck of the draw. What makes it interesting is the social interaction, as you set contracts on people who seem to be ahead, or who someone else has convinced you to target. I rather like games like this, because I really enjoy talking my way out of trouble. Not that it always works...

Eventually we managed to eliminate Rich and Michael from the game. Craig eliminated Randy, and there we were with me having one family member left, and Craig with two. Not a good position to be in, especially when it was Craig's turn!

Unfortunately for Craig, he didn't have any Contracts in hand! He discarded, and it was my go. I drew... Vendetta! Craig's last two family members went onto the hit list and got hit. I'd won!

I'll go with pure luck anyday.

It's a fun game, but one that you can't take at all seriously. I wouldn't want to play it that often, but it's good every once in a while.
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