Tammany Hall is a game about political movements (and corruption) in New York, but at its heart it is an area control game with variable power roles. The game accommodates 3 to 5 players, but I assume it works best with 4 or 5. The listed playtime is 60 minutes, but it took my group almost double to play it our first time.
The components aren’t much to look at, but they are functional and abundant. The modest box contains:
1 Coloured map printed on two US Letter sized pieces of paper
1 Scoring track
5 Scoring markers
2 Year/Term cubes
5 Sets of campaign worker pawns
4 Sets of immigrant cubes
4 Sets of political favor chip (corresponding to the immigrant cubes)
15 Black slander chips
5 Roles cards (with 4 white chip)
The board is setup with 3 (English, Irish, and German) immigrant factions on the board and the fourth (Italian) enters through player actions. Each player is given 3 Slander chips.
The game is played through 4 terms each containing 4 years per term. On each turn players perform the following actions:
(1) Use political office powers [terms 2 - 4 only]
(2) Conduct slander and removed 1 or 2 opponents campaign workers in a district that also contains one the active player’s workers. Slander is started with 1 black slander chip, and cost 1 political favor chip to remove one worker. It can spread to an adjacent district at the cost of 2 additional political favor chips [terms 2 – 4 only]
(3) Place either two campaign workers OR one campaign worker, one immigrant, and collect a political flavor chip of the colour immigrant placed.
(4) Pass turn to the player to the left.
Every 4th year an election is held where players score each of the 15 districts. Districts are won by a combination of campaign workers and political favor chips bid. The political favors are blind bided and must match the immigrants in the district. Players score 1 VP per district won. All campaign workers, except one from the winning player are removed from the district after the election.
The mayor goes to the person who wins the most districts, ties won by the player who has the most political favor chips. Three political favor chips (or 2 VP in the final election) are award to player who carries the district with most immigrant cubes for each of the four groups of immigrants. The mayor then assigns a role to each other player (no need in final election). The mayor awards 3 VP per term (not year), but does not have a power like every other role.
At the end of the game, each unused slander token is worth 1 VP and each immigrant faction majority is worth 2 VP. The player with the highest VP count wins.
I was very impressed by this game, but I'm not sure if my group felt likewise. Each round has a tactical sense depending on what role you have been assigned. Elections are relatively fast and very tense. The outcome of one of the lower district may determine how competitive players will be for later districts. Every round is a felt like a balancing act of controlling several districts in order to get the immigrant majority bonus, but not doing well enough to become mayor until the final round.
As far as I know, this game is currently out of print without a scheduled reprint.
I would like to note that the review was of the 1st edition (white box) and it HAS been reprinted with some great components. I can't wait to try the new version.