®
2005 World Championship Yearbook

"Squirt Guns?  I don't know nothin' 'bout no squirt guns, officer.  Honest!  I ain't seen none."

We might not admit it to curious cops, but we all know they were there.  The Gangsters tournament had more squirt guns, more water, and more shootout losses per game than ever!  Coincidence?  I think not!

There are two types of events at the World Boardgaming Championships -- those with squirt guns and those without.  We know which kind we prefer!  Now we just need to start infiltrating squirt guns into other events and introducing more events with squirt guns.  See the "Changes for 2006" section for more details!

There are several key changes up for consideration, so I'd like to ask everyone to be certain to read over the changes section carefully and then respond to the survey by December 23rd (which is one week from today).  The event form I have to submit to the BPA for Gangsters by the 31st will reflect the results of the survey!

I hope you had as much fun as I did in the first Gangsters tournament in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The big ballroom meant lots of commotion, lots of noise, and lots of excitement.  It should be even better next year as the BPA is acquiring a smaller round table for use in this ballroom.

The cat (or was that "the mark?") is already out of the bag.  Two of my assistants already know.  And two players, Wendy "Brutally Honest" DeMarco and Jason "Sticky Fingers" Wagner, got a jump on us.  The photographic evidence provided by Mark "Ladykiller" Love doesn't lie.

That's right -- next year I'll provide black souvenir plastic fedoras for every entrant.  Bring your squirt gun from this year, and you'll be all decked out!  Now I just need to find out where to get cheap, souvenir trench coats...

Thank you for joining the mob this year. I hope you enjoy this newsletter.  Let me know what you think and how we can improve next year by returning the survey in the last section.  See you next year -- just don't let the coppers see you first!

Table of Contents

  1. Records
  2. Winners
  3. Special Awards
  4. Favorite Joints
  5. Quotable Gangsters
  6. Final Report
  7. Changes for 2006
  8. Squirt Gun Etiquette
  9. PBEM Competition
  10. Copies of the Game
  11. Naming the Cops
  12. Sign-off
  13. Survey

1. Records

We set a lot of records and firsts this year. These include the following:

Records

# Previous record was set last year

Firsts

Notes: 1) The final has never been won using a cash strategy more than three years in a row.  If the pattern holds the 2006 Godfather will win with 10 joints or a monopoly!  2) Ten joint and monopoly wins are near, but not quite at, their highest levels this year (36%).  3) Winners continue to be seduced less often and take fewer hits than everyone else.  Maybe that's why they win!  If we're "beating up on the leader" wouldn't the reverse be true?

2. Winners

There was no dawn.  It stayed dusk all year.  Nick "Dusk" Henning proved that last year was no fluke by repeating his Championship and extending his supreme reign over the streets and back alleys of Chicago.  Our two-time Godfather played a perfect Sneak-up-the-Cash strategy that culminated in $11,400 in fourteen turns.  His exploits were honored by a friend on his own Magic: The Gathering card.  Interestingly, Jim "The Instigator" Castonguay repeated his second place finish while Robert "Bobby Tweaks" Buccheri moved from third to fourth.  The only player in this year's final who didn't play in last year's final was Nick "Slumlord" Smith.  I'd call Slumlord the new blood except that he's been around the Gangsters neighborhood since long before the other three, so we'll call him the Good ol' Boys' representative.

Here are the top twenty-five finishers:

  1. Nick "Dusk" Henning
  2. Jim "The Instigator" Castonguay
  3. Nick "Slumlord" Smith
  4. Robert "Bobby Tweaks" Buccheri
  5. Gordon "Itchy" Rodgers
  6. Andy "The Duke" Joy
  7. Victor "The Waiter" Hogen
  8. Kaarin "The Enforcer" Engelmann
  9. Paul "Da Spider" Bolduc
  10. John "The Viper" Pack
  11. Mike "The Infidel" Wojke
  12. "Dangerous" Douglas Galullo
  13. Mark "Ladykiller" Love
  14. Ashley "Angel" Collinson
  15. Joel "The Chair" Tamburo
  16. Scott "The Zoo" Bowling
  17. Don "Foot Long" Chappell
  18. John "Baby Face" Poniske
  19. Rolinda "Ma" Collinson
  20. Andrew "Two Guns" Fedin
  21. Peter "Numbers" Staab
  22. Brian "Lampshade" Mountford
  23. Jeff "Pork 'n Bears" Bowers
  24. Anthony "Big Tuna" Musella
  25. Wendy "Brutally Honest" DeMarco

Unfortunately, three-time Godfather Pitt "Sluggo" Crandlemire was injured just before the World Boardgaming Championships and was unable to attend.  Although this brilliantly masterminded coup allowed the rest of us to have a shot at the title, I remind all criminal masterminds to limit their diabolical deeds to the game board in the future.  Is it true that the injury was caused by a squirt gun, Sluggo?

The results have been sent to AREA.  Updated ratings are available at: http://wolff.to/area/T_Gangsters.html

3. Special Awards

Cement Overshoes Sportsmanship Award Our winner of this year's all-expense-paid trip to the bottom of Lake Michigan is Charles "Side Step" Stucker.  Side Step took extra-ordinary measures to make sure he didn't have an unfair advantage in his game during the third heat.  At one point, he gave advice to another player and then voluntarily pointed out the $500 kibitzing penalty when no one else realized he needed to pay.  Later in the same game he realized that he'd been given $1,600 too much cash for a payout and returned the dough.  He's so honest I'm not sure if we can call him a crook!  We'll have to make him an honorary gangster.  Side Step is one more reason Gangsters is a great tournament -- we have a lot of great people sitting on the other side of Chicago.  Thanks, Charles!

Many thanks to Joel "The Chair" Tamburo who received his first nomination and to Nick "Slumlord" Smith who received three nominations.  The game is a lot more fun because there are mobsters who go out of their way to ensure their opponents are enjoying the game.  Thank you and thanks to those who pointed out their good deeds!

Junior Godfather Award - 37% of this year's entrants were eligible for the prize for the best new player.  Among those who just learned the game, Jeff "Pork 'n Bears" Bowers, Don "Foot Long" Chappell, and Scott "The Zoo" Bowling qualified for the semi-finals.  Scott the Zoo barely edged Don Foot Long with tie-breakers of 56% versus 50% in the semi-finals to become this year's Junior Godfather.  We hope to see all of this year's new players back next year to give this year's sophomore class a run for their money (not to mention their secret hideouts)!

"I Think She Likes Me!" Award This year's class of Vamps was second only to last year.  Our winner lost an amazing ten gangsters to rival seductresses.  That really hurts because it feels like your money is going to recruit mobsters for the other gangs!  Ashley "Angel" Collinson kindly helped all those other gangs during her attempt to re-qualify for the semi-finals in the last heat.  She took eight hits during semi-final shootouts too.  Obviously, we can expect that a little opposition will not be enough to stop this Angel.

Roadkill Award Last year's roadkill took eleven hits. The GM took eleven in the opening heat this year. I looked like roadkill!  I felt like roadkill.  (OK, I admit that that's a lie -- the water from the squirt guns was very refreshing!)  But this year's winner was completely unrecognizable road pizza after taking fifteen hits in mob violence.  Can you even feel pain at that point?  Thankfully, we identified the body using Chicago dental records.  The winner?  None other than the notorious John "Baby Face" Poniske, who won renown for being in the game with the most total carnage last year (37 casualties and seductions)!  Let's just say that John will need a lot of baby oil and powder before that ugly mug will be called "Baby Face" again...

Honorable Mention As usual there were lots of interesting possibilities for this category which makes it a very tough choice.

Chaka "Patch-Eye" Benson managed to acquire all of the Purple joints except one (Frankie's House of Cards) in his third heat.  The last one eluded him for three turns to allow his competition to triumph.  Why is a good real estate agent so hard to find when you need one?  Oh yeah, that's right -- we mowed him down when he didn't pay for "protection" last month!

Gordon "Itchy" Rodgers, Robbie "Donut" Mitchell, and "Mickey the Wire" Buccheri played the closest game of the tournament.  Each ended with assets valued between $11,800 and $12,500.  Each finished with at least 88% of their objective.  Itchy pulled out the win in the end, but Mickey the Wire might have been the winner if he hadn't handed the coppers so much cash under the table!

John "The Viper" Pack had the only Red monopoly of the entire tournament.  He had nine joints and a 7/1/3 gang at the time.

Kaarin "The Enforcer" Engelmann and Andrew "Two Guns" Fedin were the only players to complete Blue monopolies during the tournament.  The Enforcer finished with nine other joints but only $100 in her pocket and a wimpy 2/1/1 gang; she'd threatened to win several times along the way.  Two Guns scraped by with an even smaller 1/1/1 gang.  Apparently, the Racketeer and the Thug each carried one of the Two Guns...

Mark "Ladykiller" Love won without ever moving his Racketeer.  Ladykiller was content to move the public into his fine establishments every single turn.

Not to be outdone, Robert "Bobby Tweaks" Buccheri won in the third heat on his third move with $12,400.  The Public x3 paid three visits.  Blair "The Plug" Morgen wrote, "Two Turns???"  Tom "The Duck" Vickery noted, "Ouch!  Gang Warfare causes mass exodus through the Bus Station - 3 turns x Public x3 x Level 3."

Jason "Sticky Fingers" Wagner managed to turn in player chits for two different games in the third heat.  Very appropriate for a mobster!  I later determined that one of those chits belonged to a fourth heat game.  Next year I expect Mr. Ocean will turn in four player cards after playing an entire heat by himself.  That should guarantee a victory...

Andy "The Duke" Joy won the very first heat with 10 joints and $10,100 at the same time!  He made money even though he was spending it on new establishments!  The Duke also finished in sixth place for the second straight year -- just enough to get a team point but just shy of winning a plaque!  At the right, The Duke shows Ma, The Waiter, Dusk, and Foot Long what it takes to score sixth place in their semi-final!

Joshua "Radio" Ostrander sent the cops after Peter "Numbers" Staab's joint while the outlaws there were serving up illegal beverages to the public. Not only does Numbers have the bribe, but Radio can't stop another payout which puts Numbers over the top.  Radio writes, "Great game -- a lot of fun!"  Come back next year and radio for backup when trying to stop a Numbers racket!

And, last but certainly not least, is our honorable mention winner for this year -- Ashley "Angel" Collinson.  Back in 2003, Angel was part of the game that won honorable mention for a bizarre set of circumstances -- one of which was a player whose Racketeer was in the final joint needed for a Purple monopoly.  This year Angel came up just one joint short of a Purple monopoly in the first heat and again in her semi-final game.  But this is the year perseverance pays off.  In the second heat, Angel became the only player in recorded Gangsters tournament history to actually complete a Purple monopoly!  And she did it in the year Ladykiller's excellent "How to Win at Gangsters" article was published -- telling players they can ignore such an unlikely possibility.  Congratulations, Angel!

Anyone up to the challenge of the first ever Green or Yellow monopolies?

4. Favorite Joints

I didn't think it was possible, but the Downtown Bus Station was held by even more winners than it's record percentage last year! Nearly 40% of winners held the Bus Station at the start of the game!  Everyone's favorite partner for the Bus Station, Brizelli's Riverside, was held by a third of all winners at the start of the game.  The Ambassadors' Club (usually with Brzkowski's Imports) was the next most popular strategy -- held by just over 30% of eventual winners.

Here are the joints ranked in this year's top ten:

Rank

Winner's Joints

2005

1998-2005
Total
2004
Rank
Overall
Rank
Trend

1

Downtown Bus Station

39.39%

31.69% 1 1 Way UP

2

Brizelli's Riverside

33.33%

28.81% 2 2 UP

3

Ambassadors' Club

30.30% 25.93% 3 3 UP

4

Greenwood Park

21.21%

22.63% 4 4 Slightly DOWN
  Taylor's Machine Shop 21.21% 9.88% 32 9 Way Way UP

6

Brzkowski's Imports

15.15%

20.99% 4 5 DOWN

 

Palace Chophouse

15.15% 17.28% 4 6 Slightly DOWN

 

Franklin Hostel

15.15%

16.87% 7 7 Slightly DOWN

9

SMC Cartage Co.

12.12% 9.47% 9 10 UP

 

Serva's Market

12.12% 6.58% 17 15 Way UP

The top four joints both yearly and cumulatively have remained the same for the past three years!  However, winners are diversifying a bit -- this list contains only 71% of winner's starting joints while last year's top ten contained 76%.  Even so, the the top three are more popular than ever.

Taylor's Machine Shop was the most popular third wheel for the Green One-Jump strategy this year -- zooming up from 32nd place last year to 5th place and taking 9th place in the cumulative standings.  More than twice as many eventual winners picked Taylor's at the start.  Westgate Hotel is also moving up the charts to 13th over-all as a popular Green add-on (and the personal favorite of the Slumlord).

Serva's Market -- a good combination with perennial forth place Greenwood Park -- moved up to 10th place and improved in the cumulative standings to 15th.  Will we see a resurgence of Sneak-up-the-Cash strategies revolving around the Park and Market?

The Pussycat Club continues her long descent out of the over-all Top 10.  The Purple One-Jump opening used to be as popular as the Green and Blue One-Jump strategies.  However, the one-time second place joint has fallen to 8th as players have realized that upgrades are too dangerous in Vamp Central.  Jaeger's Clothier and Belmar Theatre have seen their status as favorite add-ons drop as well.  Jaeger's is a favorite of Red monopolists (only one this year) while the Belmar is a lowly one-jump joint.

5. Quotable Gangsters

"That's it!  My gang is now a terrorist organization." -- Mickey the Wire

"Youse need to get in touch wit' yer inner thug." -- The Viper

"What was I thinking?" -- Muscles the Demo Monkey

"Pay no attention to the man behind the green counters." -- The Infidel

"Time's Up!" -- Slumlord (as the timer for the previous player expired)
"But I haven't even rolled." -- Beans
"Well, it's too late now." -- The Viper

"Donut, I would'a won had I not bribed five cops!" -- Mickey the Wire (finishing with $8,800)

"It's the game that almost wouldn't have taken so long... Barney is good for something." -- Angel (after Barney Fife, Cop #2, ruined her chance at a Purple Monopoly)

"Two, Four, Six -- Fifty-Fifty shot." -- Dusk (explaining probability)

After much discussion about whether reminding another player to move a cop counts as kibitzing:
"That statement's so vague I can't possibly be fined for kibitzing." -- The Chair
"We'll find a way." -- The Viper
Later during Viper's Buy Phase --
"Is it permissible to say something now?" -- The Chair
"Quick!  Gimme the dice!" -- The Viper

"The Viper only vamps the Chair.  His other plays kill the Gangsters he vamped from the Chair." -- The Chair

"The Head is stupid.  He kills himself." -- The Head (after sending a Cop after his own Vamp)

"It's how he got the money!" -- Muscles the Demo Monkey

"Only thing I won was the auction; and I had to pay for that!" -- The Politician

6. Final Report


Slumlord, Bobby Tweaks, The Instigator, and Dusk play for all the marbles.
Dusk's secret weapon sits nearby; apparently finishing moves in two-minutes
is no problem after drinking serious quantities of Mountain Dew!
"Do I have to use the whole two minutes?"

The starting and final positions of the 2005 final (in order of finish) were as follows:

Nick "Dusk" Henning
Start: 6/1/1, Greenwood Park, Franklin Hostel, Jaeger's Clothier, $200
Finish: 2/1/4, 0 hits, 6 seductions, 7 joints ($3,700; 4 of 8 Yellow), $11,400

Jim "The Instigator" Castonguay
Start: 5/1/1, Ambassadors' Club, Brzkowski's Imports, Belmar Theatre, $400
Finish: 7/1/6, 1 hit, 4 seductions, 6 joints ($4,900; 5 of 6 Blue), $5,900

Nick "Slumlord" Smith
Start: 5/1/1, Westgate Hotel, Shop 'n' Save, Palace Chophouse, $600
Finish: 7/1/4, 0 hits, 3 seductions, 7 joints ($3,600; 3 of 5 Purple), $5,100

Robert "Bobby Tweaks" Buccheri
Start: 5/1/1, Downtown Bus Station, Brizelli's Riverside, SMC Cartage Co., $400
Finish: 6/0/4, 4 hits, 2 seductions, 4 joints ($2,300; 3 of 7 Green), $6,600

Interestingly, all of the finalists begin with just one Thug.  Not coincidentally, I suspect, the 5/1/1 and 6/1/1 gangs had the highest winning percentages among gang setups selected more than once.  It strikes me that the extra thug so many of us start with may just be more fodder for roving cops.

Dusk begins with an extra Racketeer thanks to his cheap gin joints.  That'll let him manipulate the Public but the early Public payoffs will favor the other players.  The Instigator and Bobby Tweaks both have perfect one-jump sets for the Blue and Green strategies respectively.  Apparently, neither of the other players felt it was critical to break up those sets.

A big thank you to Dusk for taking notes throughout the game so that we could enjoy some of the details of the final. Obviously, these clues don't tell the whole story, but they give us some indication of the ebb and flow of crime in the Windy City.  Here's Dusk's blow-by-blow account:

Everyone was worried about the obvious one-jump joint strategies (as they should have since they were so successful in collecting money in the early going).  But ultimately that let Dusk sneak in with a less obvious cash collection strategy.  In fact, Dusk only collected one really big haul -- letting the other players believe he was no threat.  Those $700 - $1,000 payoffs really add up over time.  Note, too, how Dusk refuses to spend money even when his gang drops dangerously low on Turn 12.


 Konk tries to get Gangsters finalists to monkey around.  Slumlord draws while Dusk keeps time!

The bloodshed in this game was minimal  -- with only five total gang violence related losses -- even though the players had ramped up the strength of their gangs in order to launch a shootout by the end of the game.  One very tricky aspect of Gangsters is the need to have your gangsters in play early enough to use them effectively.  On the other hand, the Vamps were much more active with 15 total seductions.  That also played into Dusk's hands because his gang looked weak and non-threatening after its losses.

Just like last year, Nick shows that a player who patiently collects small payoffs while the attention of the other gangs is elsewhere can pull off consistent victories. This is three-time Godfather Sluggo's favorite strategy too.  Dusk also collected some cheap establishments -- just in case he needed a backup plan.  In this case, he didn't need it.

It's Dusk this year in Chicago!  Will Nick be the second player to three-peat next year?  Come and find out -- and try to stop him!  Congratulations on a stellar performance, Nick!

7. Changes for 2006

a) Tie-Breakers [Humorous]

Noticing that Slumlord was the first tournament official to make it to the finals in three years, David "Mad Dog" Lindsay (whose email tagline is "Making the world better for me") suggested we add the following tie-breakers ahead of the two normal tie-breakers:

  1. Is the player the GM?
  2. Is the player in the GM's family?
  3. Did the player give the GM $100?
  4. Did the player give the GM $50?
  5. Did the player give the GM $20?
  6. Has the player thrown a game to the GM in obvious way? ("I'll give you $500 if you'll let me put the Public x3 into your Level 3 Pussycat Club for safe keeping.")
  7. Has the player thrown a game to the GM in a subtle way?  ("I'll give you $2,500 if you bring a new cop on the board.")
  8. Did the player forget to start the timer on the GM's turn?
  9. Did the player start the GM's opponents' timers early?
  10. Did the player spread rumors of how "psycho" the GM gets if he loses?
  11. Did the player say, "John, you've lost weight"?
  12. Did the player distract the GM's opponents while their timers were running?
  13. Did the player duct-tape opponents' hands to their chairs?

David originally wrote these for the Victory in the Pacific tournament and GM, but I thought it was funny enough to customize and share with all of you.

OK, now for some real changes...

b) Advancing to the Semi-Final

In order to standardize MESE (Multiple-Entry Single-Elimination) events at the WBC, the BPA Board of Directors recently announced that quarter-finals could not be added to events on the fly and that all MESE events would be required to use the following tie-breakers for advancement to a semi-final whose size was announced in advance:

  1. Won first heat entered
  2. Most wins
  3. Won second heat entered
  4. Won third heat entered
  5. Won fourth heat entered
  6. Event-specific tie-breaker (For Gangsters, this'll be the completion-percentage tie-breaker multiplied by 1,000 added to the asset-percentage tie-breaker)
  7. Average finish in all heats entered
  8. Has a copy of the game (This tie-breaker moves as needed to guarantee sufficient copies.)
  9. High dice roll

This announcement means that Gangsters can't stick with the "one win and you're in" format we've used in the past since that could result in the need for an unscheduled quarter-final round.  That leaves us with two options:

  1. Set the Semi-Final size to 16 players.  Advance some of the heat winners per the new guidelines.  The number of players advancing could be set to 20 or 25 as well if we wanted to use the 5-player game.
  2. Schedule a Quarter-Final round.  Advance all winners and some non-winning alternates per the following table:

Qualifiers

Alternates

Format

2-3

To reach 3 3F

4

None

4F

5

None

5F

6-9

To reach 9 3SF/3F

10-12

To reach 12 3SF/4F

13-16

To reach 16

4SF/4F

17-20

To reach 20

5SF/4F

21-25*

To reach 25

5SF/5F

26-27*

To reach 27 3QF/3SF/3F

28-32

To reach 32

4QF/4SF2/4F

33-36

To reach 36

4QF/3SF/3F

37-40

To reach 40

4QF/5SF2/4F

41-45

To reach 45 5QF/3SF/3F

46-48

To reach 48

4QF/3SF/4F

49-50

To reach 50

5QF/5SF2/4F

51-60

To reach 60 5QF/3SF/4F

61-64

To reach 64

4QF/4SF/4F

Key: QF=Quarter Final, SF=Semi-Final, F=Final,
2=Top 2 Advance, 3=3 Player, 4=4 Player, 5=5 Player, *=Most likely

The advantages of option A are that we can eliminate the 5-Player game and ensure that there's never a quarter-final round no matter how large the tournament grows.  The disadvantages are that winners will not know whether they'll advance until the semi-final (just like current alternates), the pressure to win in the first attempt will be higher (which will raise pairing issues), and the flexibility to accommodate early semi-final games and differing numbers of winners will be lost.

The advantages of option B are that there'd be no schedule surprises, all winners are guaranteed to advance, and the quarter-final can become the semi-final if there aren't 26 or more winners (since current policy doesn't prohibit eliminating elimination rounds on the basis of the number of advancing players).  The disadvantages are that potential players might shy away from an event that has an additional round scheduled, a quarter-final is very likely during the next two to three years, and the five-player game will be likely during semi-finals.

Please let me know which option you prefer on the survey.  This is the most critical item.

c) Time Limits

The proposal is to change the two-minute time limit.  Instead of covering the movement phase from the moment dice are rolled until the player is ready to pay for recruits and bribes, the player would have three minutes from the moment the previous player passes the dice through the end of movement.

In other words, the Buy Phase (including pre-dice negotiations) would be added to the timed portion of the turn in exchange for an additional minute on the timer.  The time for novice players to make their initial moves would also be increased accordingly.

The purpose of the proposed change is to eliminate the excessive time I've noticed some players taking to check every possible combination of various moves prior to rolling the dice.

Since this proposal changes the printed rules (as opposed to the tournament format), it'll be the largest change I've made as GM in ten years.  Please take a moment and email your answers to the survey at the bottom of the newsletter!  I'll make the change if a large majority of those responding on the survey approve.


This week's Rocky Mountain News reports what every gangster knows --
It doesn't pay to be anti-squirt-gun.

d) Too many squirt guns?!?!  Never!

I have three ideas for adding squirt gun "events" to the World Boardgaming Championships.  Let me know if you like any, all, none, or if you have another idea!

1) Add a "Hit" to the first Gangsters heat (Tuesday night at 10 pm).  Everyone shows up with a loaded squirt gun.  After a one-minute review of squirt gun etiquette pertaining to board games, we'd run through the halls and hit the Elchfest tournament before they get a chance to be seated.  After we bagged the moose, we'd run back and enjoy carnage in Chicago.  Naturally, deserving victims on the path to and from the Elchfest tournament would also be fair game.  I estimate this would add 15-20 minutes to the first heat.

2) Put a squirt gun free-for-all on the WBC schedule at 2 am on Friday morning (immediately following the third heat on Thursday night).  Anyone could bring a squirt gun (not a "soaker") and join the fun.  We'd start the action right at 2 am out on the lawn by the Amish barn.  After 15 minutes I'd award prizes for wettest and driest (the latter prize open only to those who were on the field of battle for the whole duration, of course).  The only downside is that anyone whose game finished early might be tempted to go to sleep rather than wait until 2 am.  On the plus side, the late night crowd is very likely to participate.

3) Assign a contract to any player who wishes.  All assassinations have to be carried out by squirt gun during the week.  The assassinated person gives his contract to his assassin.  Last person left collects the "Top Assassin" prize.  The "Hit Man" prize would be awarded to the player who bumps off the most total victims personally.  Those playing would be required to wear their Gangsters name tag all week.  This event would begin an hour after the first Gangsters heat -- with sign-ups during the first three heats.  Squirt gun etiquette would be required, of course.

In the same vein, I think we should put out contracts on certain gamers and award points (or a Tommy gun sticker) for confirmed kills.  For example, this year a certain Victory in the Pacific GM suggested that his being shot during a Naval War tournament meant that the Gangsters GM should sleep wit da fishes in the water trap on the 9th hole of the nearby golf course.  I contend that Naval War without water makes no sense.  So I think there should be points for putting the hit on the VITP GM again -- double if it's during Naval War!  Whadda youse guys think?


Bobby Tweaks studies the timer and wonders, "How much longer will the Naval War tournament be run on dry land?"
Itchy, Baby Face, The Zoo, and Ladykiller find their semi-final gangs run aground.

e) Early Semi-Finals

Early semi-finals will be held to the same time limits as the regularly scheduled semi-final.  Early semi-finals at the second and third heats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis and may begin as soon as they are assigned a fifth player.  (Note: No early semi-finals will be held at all if the semi-final is limited to 16.  See Advancing to the Semi-Final.)

f) Sign in

The big change this year was the sign-in procedure.  This coming year, it'll be further streamlined.  I'm going to remove the postal address and phone number blanks from the player chit so that there will be less to fill out before playing.  I'll also recruit my assistant GMs to help with the registration.  That way one of us can handle the registration sheet while another handles the cards, pairings, and game options while another handles name tags.  It'll be faster, clearer, and easier!

g) Nicknames and Name Tags

Next year I'll bring a name tag for everyone who has a registered nickname.  If you still have yours, bring it; I'll keep the spare and bring it again instead of printing another in 2007.  If not, pick yours up -- get it from me as soon as you see me (I carry them at all times!) and wear it for the whole convention!

Those of you who have name tags with two or more different nicknames, please return the extras.  The first name you pick is yours for life.  No one else will ever be allowed to use your name.  By the same token, if someone takes a second name -- it won't be registered and could be assigned to someone else.  If you wonder what name is registered for you, check the tournament website at http://www.gameaholics.com/gangsters_tournament.htm#Names.  Now you know the name that strikes terror into the hearts of all who hear it -- so build that reputation!  Thank you!

h) Schedule

The schedule will be exactly the same as the past two years with one small exception -- the final heat (as well as the subsequent rounds) will be pushed back one hour (to begin at 5 pm).  This year the last heat was the smallest it has been for many years.  My impression is that many more tournaments end during the 4-5 pm hour such that a 5 pm start would let a lot more people participate.  Let me know what you think on the survey.

8. Squirt Gun Etiquette

Let's face it.  There's a reason only one board game is cool enough to have a squirt gun.  We haven't figured out what that reason is yet, officer -- honest!

Water damages paper and cardboard game components.  As a consequence, even mobsters need to use proper care when mixing squirt guns and board games.  Follow these simple rules so that both you and the victim (and occasionally you will be the victim) gain maximum enjoyment from the experience:

Now we're ready to have some fun with water and board games as only Gangsters know how!

9. Email Competition

I am working on the creation of a Gangsters module for VASSAL (a free Java-based game engine that can run on any platform).  When that is ready I'll announce a new PBEM warm-up round to be followed by a BPA-sponsored tournament.  Look for the announcement in the spring of 2006.

10. Copies of the Game

The good news is that I still have copies available.  The great news is that even though I ran out after the 2004 WBC, I've been able to obtain more without having to raise prices much.

I have new, shrink-wrapped copies available for $50.  I have one unpunched copy for $45.  I have used copies for $35.  The used copies are all in good condition (most having been played just once or twice), guaranteed complete, and in boxes that have no damage worse than minor shelf wear or a tiny crease.  I charge a flat $7 for shipping within the USA.  Email me for more details.

I earn a small profit on each sale which I use for special awards, name tags, timers, squirt guns, fedoras, and other goodies for the tournament.

If you ever run into a copy that you don't buy for yourself or a friend, let me know.  I buy them to keep the tournament well-stocked!  Thank you!

11. Naming the Coppers

We've had affectionate names for two members of our police force for a long time -- Cops #2 and #10.  This year I thought we should name the rest.

After a slow start, we finished the tournament with a lot of suggestions for Cop names.  Now it's time to vote.  As with all Chicago elections, bribes count, the dead count, money counts, your survey counts, donations count, extortion works, etc.  Anything goes. Vote early and often.  With each suggestion, I've listed where it comes from (provided I know and that the movie or show doesn't have the same name).  If you know where it comes from (or how it's spelled) and I didn't, let me know, and I'll add the information to this web page!

Without further adieu, the candidates are:

Copper Name Suggestions
2 Barney Fife
3 Rosco P. Coltrain (Dukes of Hazzard)
Sergeant O'Malley
Department Dawg
Dudley Doright (Rocky & Bullwinkle)
4 Kojak
Billy Joe
Officer Dibble (Top Cat)
Commissioner Gordon (Batman)
5 Starsky (Starsky and Hutch)
Officer Krupke (Guys 'n' Dolls)
Officer O'Hara (Arsenic & Old Lace)
6 Hutch (Starsky and Hutch)
Lenny Briscow (Law and Order)
7 Monk
Axel Foley (Beverly Hills Cop)
T.J. Hooker
8 Donut Devourin' Dan
"Sledge" Hammer
9 Max Headroom
Dirty Harry
John McLean (Die Hard)
The Terminator
10 Robocop

You have more and better choices with Gangsters than you do for President of the United States!  Be sure to vote on the survey!  Note: You can vote a candidate name for any cop -- even if the name was suggested for a cop of a different number.  So if your second choice in one spot is your favorite for another, don't be shy about saying so!

Did I mention that bribes are being accepted?

12. See you in 2006!


The Infidel, The Chair, Da Spider, and the Slumlord plot to do in the absent Viper in this semi-final
or, at the very least, to grab his Pringles.  The Slumlord goes on to win.

I hope you've enjoyed the newsletter. Next year I plan to add turn-order statistics and maybe even a few photos of the squirt gun event.  Anyone who wants even more statistics or information on the games played this year can find it on the tournament website: http://www.gameaholics.com/gangsters_tournament.htm!

Mark your calendar for August 1 - 6, 2006 and join us for next year's mob war in Lancaster, PA.  I'll see you there!

John

13. Survey

Select all answers that apply.  Please return your answers to john@gameaholics.com by December 23rd.

1. The format option I prefer most is:

a) Set Semi-Final participation at 16; use new guidelines to determine which winners advance.
b) Same as A except with Semi-Final participation set at 25.
c) Schedule a Quarter-Final; all winners advance.

2. With respect to using a three-minute (3:00) time limit from the time the dice change hands until the end of the movement phase:

a) I like the suggested change
b) I like the change but would prefer a time limit of 2:30
c) I prefer the current rules

3. With respect to new squirt gun events:

a) Let's pull a drive-by raid on the Elchfest Tournament next year*
b) Let's have a Squirt Gun Free-for-All at 2 am on Friday morning
c) Let's play an Assassin game with our squirt guns all week
d) Let's put out contracts on other gamers and award points
e) A squirt gun event is OK only if squirt gun etiquette is covered first
f) Stop the Madness

* No actual cars or moose will be injured.  No actual driving will occur.
No actual death will occur.

4. Cop Names:  Write the numbers for Cops 3 through 9 in front of the name you prefer for that particular cop.  Use any name you wish!  Write in new names as desired.  (The pre-printed names appear in the same order as they do in section #11.)  If you were the one who nominated a particular name, let me know.

Rosco P. Coltrain (Dukes of Hazzard)
Sargeant O'Malley
Department Dawg
Dudley Doright (Rocky & Bullwinkle)
Kojak
Billy Joe
Officer Dibble (Top Cat)
Commissioner Gordon (Batman)
Starsky (Starsky and Hutch)
Officer Krupke (Guys 'n' Dolls)
Officer O'Hara (Arsenic & Old Lace)
Hutch (Starsky and Hutch)
Lenny Briscow (Law and Order)
Monk
Axel Foley (Beverly Hills Cop)
T.J. Hooker
Donut Devourin' Dan
"Sledge" Hammer
Max Headroom
Dirty Harry
John McLean (Die Hard)
The Terminator
Write-In: _______________________
Write-In: _______________________
Write-In: _______________________

5. With respect to moving the fourth heat as well as the semi-final and final back by one hour (starting at 5 pm on Friday):

a) It makes no difference to me
b) The change will make it much easier for me to participate in the last heat
c) The change will make it much easier for me to participate in the semi-final
d) The change will make it more difficult for me to attend the fourth heat
e) The change will make it less likely that I'll be able to attend the semi-final
f) The one-hour change isn't enough


Gangsters® is a registered trademark of The Avalon Hill Game Company.