St Ives, Sydney
First time out for this Faidutti number. There are three government bodies. In each, 2 contracts are revealed (or issued), making 6 in play. The contracts differ in value from $100k to $1m.
Each player, representing a Mob family, has an identical set of cards - bribes valued 10m, 8m, 6m, 4m, 2m, 1m plus 4 character cards. The character cards are one-use only and have various powers like negating another bribe card, delaying the contract until the next round or whacking another character out of the game. The money cards can be played in each of the 4 rounds (6 contracts each round, 24 in total).
The play consists of placing 6 of your 10 cards against any of the contracts you wish, but one at a time, in turn. In the first round, the first card played by each player is open and the rest faced down. In each successive round, 1 more card is placed face up so that in the last round the first 4 cards from each player is face up. The game offers the opportunity to get around this using the Swiss bank account mechanism, where you can always play a money card face down against a government body (rather than its individual contracts) and at the end of the round, once everything is revealed, you have the choice of which of the 2 contracts (issued by that government body) that you wish to play it against - however the cost of this freedom is it is only worth half its value.
Once all cards have been played, reveal, take into account character cards, allocate the swiss account money and whoever has the most money against each contract collects it. The player with the highest collection of contracts after 4 rounds wins.
The addition of the Swiss bank account mechanism definitely improves the game over Banana Republic, which Corruption must claim as its direct ascendent given the striking similarities. However the game play is essentially the same and I find blind competitive play not that interesting unfortunately. Look along the contracts. Concentrate enough cards on a high valued contract to get it. Play some cards against a middle range contract and hope for that. Note who’s competing for what, avoid competition if you can. Perhaps choose to go for two contracts in one government body and so place some swinging Swiss bank account bribes to place as you need. In latter rounds, compete against contracts based on your relative positions. Reveal.
The fun that the theme and simple non-analytical gameplay is meant to inspire is only unfortunately found in the half-minute it takes to reveal the cards and note with surprise what happened. The rest of the game (45 mins?) is played not knowing what’s happening, and therefore without sense of competition or inclusion. You’re limited to your own world and what you’re going to do, and the social aspect is limited to banter and speculation - which can be amusing depending on your group but can be more or less found in any game. Hence my lack of enthusiasm for the genre, and I think it was more or less shared by the group.
In our game, a $1m contract and nothing else higher than $400k came out in the first round, so Kevin and I entered a huge pissing contest to my good fortune. Kevin re-grouped in latter rounds, while Nick and Rob locked horns each round with extensive Swiss play, mostly to Nick’s detriment. The final round saw some hit the leader placement against myself, and I was lucky to get the final $700k contract which snuck me over the line.
Scores: Pat $4.3m, Rob $4.0m, Kevin $3.6m, Nick $600k
A rating of 5 after 1 play; I’d play it again, but am not that fussed.