I'm fortunate enough to have a small group of people at my workplace to play games with at lunchtime... Lunchtime gaming has certain requirements that are very different from other types of gaming, so this is a review based primarily on those.
Features of lunchtime gaming
Short Duration - As we only have 45 minutes to play, and our group likes to play 2 or 3 games in that time, games need to play within 15-20 minutes.
Easy to Learn - The first play must take no longer than 45 minutes, ideally should be 30 mintues or less, and it really helps if we can fit in a 2nd play on the same day. In addition, the game must be straightforward enough that non-gamers pick up the mechanisms quite quickly.
Screwage - The nature of gaming with work colleagues in the middle of tough/stressful days means we want to vent, and what better way to do so than to pick on each other, so games with a high "Screw You" factor go down well. This can either be direct play against other players, or more subtle manipulation of the game state.
Variability - In my group, a good lunchtime game sees a lot of play.. therefore a game has to have a very high replay return on learning investment... Games that are very similar every time they get played soon tire.
Fun - Probably the most important aspect of lunchtime gaming is having a bit of fun, to relieve the stress or monotony of the working day. A lunchtime game needs a fun theme... preferably one that's not too childish... and it needs to encourage a bit of excitement and table talk. Ideally people in other rooms should hear that you're having a good time!
How does Family Business Stack Up
The published duration is 30 to 60 minutes, which is not great for our timeslot, but we were able to reduce the time a bit by starting with fewer mobsters each, so once we got used to it, the game rarely took longer than 30 minutes.
Ease of Learning -
The basic idea of the game is very easy... be the last man standing... and it's very easy to tell who is doing well, just by looking at the mobsters in front of each player. However, the action cards have no description on them, so in our games we were constantly referring back to a crib sheet of what all the cards did. This slowed the game down and sapped the fun out of it as well.
With the premise of this game, it should be full of screwage, and indeed there is a lot of 'Take That' play.. however it's all direct attacks such as hits/contracts against a player, so it lacks the subtlty of games like Guillotine, and even Sitting Ducks (which is a very similar idea to this).
Although there are enough action cards to require a detailed crib sheet, there really aren't a lot of things to do, so the game got very monotonous for us very quickly.
What's not to like about being mobsters? And the game even comes with different sets of gangs, all with unique names. Unfortunately the monotony of the game play, the lack of replayability and the frustration we had with using crib sheets, meant that there wasn't the usual excitement around the table, and less table talk.
Our main problem was that we really didn't find a lot of replay value in this game, it got very old, very quickly.
While it's good that the game uses iconography instead of text descriptions, it really only meant that we wasted time consulting hand-made crib sheets.
- Ease of Learning
We only played this 7 times before all of us seriously had enough of the game... We haven't played it in over 18 months, and I can't see it getting too much play in the future. Definitely a below average lunchtime game for us.
- Last edited Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:01 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:36 pm
Having owned both editions, I like the new one better. We have played umteen games with 3 and loved every game. It never gets tired. There is so much screwage and we all love it. If you want a fast enjoyable card game........get it******** you will not regret it!
That one not so much
Ohh that tickles
I have an older version which has what the cards do written on them, so does the latest version. I think you were unlucky as the Icon version has not been so popular.
It's a game I used to play a lot with my family until they decided that whenever we play to just get me first then play the game without me.
I agree with what has been said. The 2008 Mayfair edition has (almost) all the game text on the cards. This should greatly reduce the "crib sheet" problem you've been having.
That's Karl on the left. Eternity on the right.
I love Melissa, but don't tell her. It's a secret if she can find this. Shhhhh....
We used to play this all the time at lunch in university. Our Metagame was a blast.