Gameday First Play – The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire

Posted on by Jesta

“I don’t like violence, Tom. I’m a businessman; blood is a big expense.”

~ Sollozzo

You play as competing mafia families who are vying for economic control of the organized crime networks of New York City, deploying your thugs, your don, your wife, and your heir on the board to shake down businesses and engage in area-control turf wars.

This is the simplest of simple games. Basically, you play a Mob family and you’re going to be shaking down businesses, controlling turf and completing jobs to be the family with the most money at the end of the game.

The board, representing New York, is laid out with a bunch of empty spaces. Each round starts with some of these spaces being populated with building tiles.

Then comes the ‘Worker Placement’ phase.

Here you place your family members on the matching spaces. Thugs have square bases and are placed on square spaces which can be found in buildings. Here they give you everything listed in the front (bottom half) of that building.

If you shake down the front of a building in a Turf controlled by another player, they get what is listed in the Back of that building. More of turf control later.

Family members have round bases and can be found on intersecting points of the various Turfs and they gain what is listed on at the back (top) of each building in each of these adjacent Turfs.

Instead of placing a Mini you can play an ally card from your hand for its ability or complete a Job.

Job cards have a colour associated with them depending on the type of Job you’re completing. Each has a requirement of a certain number of the types of cards you receive from placing workers and a reward for completing it.

When everyone has taken all of their actions the Turf War begins.

You count up all Thug minis and Family members represented in each Turf and whoever has the most as a control token to it. These are used for end game scoring but also to gain bonus items when a controlled business is shaken down by a Thug as mentioned earlier.

After the Turf war phase comes Bribery.

A number of cards are laid out, one fewer than the number of players.

Players bid money simultaneously to draft these Ally cards with the player who bid the most choosing first. The player who bids the least won;t get one obviously but won’t lose their money either.

Then you pay a ‘Tribute tot he Don’. In other words, discard down to the current hand limit. As cards to that are used to complete Jobs AND Money cards count towards this small hand limit there needs to be a way to get them out of your hand, other than completing jobs. This is where the Suitcase comes in.

Various actions and completing some jobs will allow you to add a certain number of cards to your suitcase. Completed jobs also live in here.

Then the ‘Workers’ are returned and a new round is set up with more Buildings etc

After round 4 you do a little end game scoring.

You get $5 for each Turf where you have the most control markers with ties broken by the player who has the highest Marker.

You get $5 if you completed the most Jobs of the 4 colours with friendly ties.

Most money wins.

Positives

It’s nice and straight forward. Play a Worker, take the stuff you should get, complete Jobs, add stuff to your suitcase. But you’re also looking to control Turfs to get free stuff on other players turns AND get an end game scoring bonus.

The components are nice, of course, its CMON, but the minis are nice and reminded me of Kaosball with their bases. (Also by CMON and Eric Lang) The metal ‘suitcase’ tins that hold cards and keep them secret are a nice touch.

The theme is pretty good. I don’t know the Godfather at all but the first player marker is a Horses Head which is a reference I get. Also, when you take out enemies you dump them in the Hudson 🙂

Negatives

The theme could be generic Mobster, it doesn’t matter.

Like most Eric Lang games route 1 is the best approach, you get penalised for slower more nuanced play.

It’s quite expensive for a basic Worker Placement game.

Summary

A nice and simple fun Worker Placement game with a touch of ‘take that’ but not too much and plenty going on to keep it interesting. I’d play it again, especially with the full 5 players.

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