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2012 World Championship Yearbook

“If youse think your boss is stupid, remember: youse wouldn’t have a job if he wuz any smarter.” – John “Dapper Don” Gotti

Gangsters robbed at World Boardgaming Championships!

(UPI Lancaster)  In a scandal rocking the criminal underworld, John "The Viper" announced that two polo shirts were lifted from the registration table from Gangsters in a criminal mastermind coup-de-grace.  The stolen duds carry unique logos making them easily identifiable and irreplaceable.  The two missing shirts respectively read "Criminal Mastermind is an elitist term!" and "1% Crazy 99% Pure Fun".  Gangsters, of course, do not call the cops to resolve such dishonor.  Instead, the family will handle this in the traditional manner.

In other, minor news, criminals hit armored cars for $52 million in jewels and ATMs for $35 million in cash.

Mob Families Occupy Gangsters and Protest the 99%

(AP Chicago) Sixty-Four million mobsters occupied Gangsters for 35 million games and 138,000,000 player-starts and helped make the underworld a fairer place for all criminal masterminds and the other 99% too. [Hey, the press is practically required to exaggerate – especially when being “persuaded.”]

We protested a lot of unfairness. It’s not fair that Gangsters had 99 times more water than all the WBC naval games put together. It’s not fair that just 1% of the WBC Century has squirt guns. It’s not fair that crime pays in just 1% of tournaments.  It's not fair that 99% of the WBC Century doesn't have cool nicknames or call their police officers fun names.

It’s not fair that the Cops are trying to arrest the one Racketeer who supplied the 99 bottles of beer on the wall. It’s not fair that our best moonshine is just 99-Proof. It’s not fair that 99% of Thugs are profiled by 1% of Cops.

See Protest Posters

Alas, some unfairness still remains: Gangsters still have 99% of the fun. Apparently, that’s just some immutable law of the universe. So the next time you notice the law of gravity, just remember that Gangsters will be fun as long as there’s gravity.

Thankfully, we now all agree that all are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights including Thugs, Vamps, and the Pursuit of Racketeers.

We discovered that there’s a lot of fairness out there too. It’s fair that criminal masterminds earn 99% of the G’s. And it’s fair that Gangsters players are more than 99% of criminal masterminds.  It's also fair that all the cool cartoons are in the Gangsters newsletter.  Thanks to all of you in the #OCCUPY_GANGSTERS movement for helping right the wrongs and bring about all of this fairness.

Two occupying Gangsters merit special attention.  Both Alexis "Repo Girl" Reece and Alyssa "Short Stack" Gumkowski, our top two candidates for Junior Godfather, went above and beyond by making special protest posters for our pre-tournament mini-rallies.  In recognition of their efforts, both went home with unique polo shirts.  "Short Stack" selected the shirt that reads, "1 Racketeer 99 Thugs" while "Repo Girl" claimed the "Because 99% isn't Enough" shirt.  Both are invited to wear them with pride at this year's Gangsters tournament!

If you enjoy the Gangsters-related comics that decorate this yearbook, please encourage your local newspaper to carry these fine comics and buy their books in your local joint.

"There are only three ways to acquire wealth in a free society. The inheritance model occurs when someone gives you wealth. The economic model occurs when you trade a skill, a talent, an asset, knowledge, sweat, energy or creativity to a willing buyer. And the Mafia model occurs when a guy with a gun says: 'Give me your money or else.' Which model does the government use?" -- Judge Andrew Napolitano

Table of Contents

  1. What's Next?
  2. Gangsters Convention?
  3. 2012 Records
  4. 2012 Winners
  5. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from the Mob
  6. 2012 Special Awards
  7. Favorite Joints of 2012
  8. Quotable Gangsters
  9. Game Comments
  10. 2012 Final Report
  11. Copies of the Game
  12. PBEM Competition
  13. See you soon!

1. What's Next?

I have several ideas based on what I saw in this year's tournament.  You can help determine the direction we'll take by answering the poll questions at the end of this section.

Reminders

This year I will double- and triple-check my luggage to ensure that I bring the timers.  My apologies for forgetting them this past year.  This will ensure our games run faster and are more furious than ever!

Players are reminded to fill in all of the end-of-game details; otherwise, the players in the game suffer when it comes to tie-breakers.

Players are also reminded to carefully step through the sequence of play so as not to forget the Buy Phase, to award all payouts (including opponents' Organized Crime), and to complete shootouts.  Rushing to get to the next player can make correcting forgotten steps difficult.

Questions

This year a question came up in the final that I'd never heard before.  What happens if a player violates the tournament rule requiring all cash be kept in a single place on top of the game table?  Until the final, we had no answer.  A player who has cash in two separate locations will forfeit the cash in one of those locations.  If one of those locations is a pocket or some other, off-table location, the player forfeits all of his/her cash.

Another question also arose -- and an incorrect, temporary ruling was made.  If a Racketeer/Thug moves into an enemy joint but chooses to attack a third gang which is present, are the Joint Guards denied their opportunity to attack?  No, in fact, the Joint Guard is required to attack.

Both questions have been added to the Official Rules Clarifications -- marking the first changes in a decade!

Changes

First, the "novice division" option will change to five fully-explained categories:

This past year there was some confusion by those who were trained in the early heats as to whether or not to continue in the Novice Division.  This will correct that problem by having the player indicate what they need right at the moment (rather than by what was needed at the start of WBC).

Second, the rules video will run during the first 20 minutes of the first two heats -- but only run during the third and fourth heat if someone requests it.

Third, the schedule has a few minor tweaks (shown in italics) designed to make Gangsters synch up with other events schedules more easily.

Beginner Sessions

Time

Date

Training Topic

Tuesday

9:00 PM

July 30th

Sample Play

Heats

 

1) Monday

9:00 PM

July 29th

Openings & Classic Strategies

2) Tuesday

10:00 PM

July 30th

Cops on the Beat

3) Thursday

11:00 PM

August 1st

Maximizing Movement

4) Friday

5:00 PM

August 2nd

Shootouts & Violence

2nd Round (Semi-Final)

 

Friday

8:00 PM

August 2nd

 

3rd Round (Final)

 

Friday

11:00 PM

August 2nd

 

You can comment on the schedule changes in the poll -- either to affirm them or make alternative suggestions.  I hope this schedule will work for you and all of your friends.

Mob Poll (Send your answers to john@gameaholics.com by June 22nd)

1. How useful on a scale from 0 (Not Useful) to 5 (Very Useful) would a Second Edition of the rulebook that ended certain bizarre exceptions be?

2. While I did not observe any excessive pre-dice time this past year, the increasing use of negotiation makes abuse of this untimed period more likely.  Should a 3-minute timer cover every part of a player's turn through end-of-movement?  Yes/No

3. Should the Monday evening heat schedule change to match the Euro tournaments?
        a. Keep it scheduled at 8 pm
        b. Move it an hour earlier to 7 pm
        c. Move it an hour later to 9 pm
        d. I don't arrive by Monday
        e. I'm there on Monday but wouldn't play at any of these times

4. Should the Tuesday evening heat schedule change to match the Euro tournaments?
        a. Keep it scheduled at 10 pm
        b. Move it an hour earlier to 9 pm
        c. I don't arrive by Tuesday
        d. I'm there on Tuesday but wouldn't play at either of these times

5. When should the fourth heat be held?
        a. Friday morning at 9 am
        b. Friday afternoon at 3 pm
        c. Friday evening at 5 pm (the 2013 slot)
        d. Friday evening at 9 pm
        e. Friday evening at 11 pm
        f. Saturday morning at 9 am
        g. Saturday afternoon at 5 pm (the 2012 slot)
        h. Saturday evening at 7 pm
        i. Sunday morning at 8 am (with the semi-final from 11-2 and final from 2-5)
        j. None of these times work for me

6a.  If you selected a, b, or c for Question 5, when should the semi-final and final be held?
        a. Friday starting at 8 pm (the 2013 slot)
        b. Saturday starting at 8 pm
        c. Sunday morning starting at 9 am and finishing at 3 pm

6b.  If you selected d, e, f, or g for Question 5, when should the semi-final and final be held?
        d. Saturday starting at 8 pm (the 2012 slot)
        e. Sunday morning starting at 9 am and finishing at 3 pm

6c.  If you selected h for Question 5, when should the semi-final and final be held?
        f. Begin the semi-final at 10 pm with the final on Sunday at 9 am
        g. Sunday morning starting at 9 am and finishing at 3 pm

7. What should the theme be for 2013?
        a. Donuts
        b. A Piece of the Action (Star Trek Gangsters episode)
        c. Monopolies (with a prize for the first player with each type of monopoly)
        d. Strategies (with a prize for the player to win the most with each strategy)
        e. King of Crime (tie-in with the new card game)

8. I prefer Gangsters newsletters (pick two):
        a. Twice a year -- one follow-up in Oct/Nov and one pre-tournament in April/May
        b. Once per year -- in April/May (as in the last few years)
        c. Announced by Email
        d. By Postal Mail
        e. Announced on Facebook
        f. Announced by Twitter

Keep your eye posted on the main Gangsters web page to see the upcoming theme -- it'll be posted by June 23rd!

2. Gangsters Convention in Las Vegas or Chicago?

Would there be an interest in a one-shot Gangsters weekend in Las Vegas or Chicago? If we could get around 30 people to come, I could arrange an appropriate conference room where we could play. Between some of the six rounds, we could visit and explore the Mob Museum and Mob Attraction (Las Vegas) or the Untouchable Tour, Tommy’s Gun Garage speakeasy, and Weird Chicago Tour (Chicago). Other themed activities would also be possible. Naturally, everyone could wear their Gangster apparel. Both locations offer many other activities for those interested in extending a stay beyond the Gangsters event for themselves, friends, or mob family members.

I could ferry everyone in my 12-seater van (so that rental cars for everyone else wouldn’t be necessary), and I'd bring four other criminal masterminds with me. I’d provide prizes and keep costs limited to the hotel and meeting space for the weekend. I’m sure I could arrange a group discount for some of the outside activities as well. Maybe I could even arrange the rental of a suitable 1920’s sedan for a nice photo op?

This would probably have to be set up for 2014 or 2015. A late March/early April weekend in Vegas or an early June or October weekend in Chicago would probably work best. If you’re interested, please send me an email with your thoughts on location, extra-curricular activities, timing, and how many would attend with you (if this is a family business).

3. 2012 Records

Many records fell by the wayside this past year.  Some were part of ongoing trends in the tournament, but most appear to be single-year aberrations.

Records

* Previous low was set last year
# Previous high was set last year

One trend appears to be harder-fought games.  Five of the last six tournaments have been won with ten joints rather than the usually more popular cash strategy.  In addition, the trend toward high losses (both from hits and vamps) is clear, even though year-to-year the numbers jump around.  Now one must plan to lose 4-5 gang members on the road to victory whereas not too many years ago it was just 2-3 average losses.  That may be the result of the increasingly experienced field of players -- which makes it more important than ever to coach the new players well (lest the sharks chase them out of the pool).

This year the smallest gang to register a victory was 4/1/2 while the largest to do so was 5/1/3.  That suggests a pretty small range of workable starting gangs.

Complete statistics are available at http://www.gameaholics.com/gsr_wbc/gsr_statistics.htm.

4. 2012 Winners

Here are the top twenty-seven finishers for 2012:

Place Name & Moniker % Complete % Assets
1Ben "The Roach" Gardner 100%100%
2John "The Viper" Pack 80%77%
3Andy "Scarface" Gardner 80%63%
4Rolinda "Ma" Collinson 70%115%
5Blair "The Plug" Morgen 56%131%
6Nick "Dusk" Henning 90%25%
7John "Bugs" Elliott 86%222%
8Alyssa "Short Stack" Gumkowski 80%74%
9Kevin "The Bag" Hacker 80%62%
10Andy "The Duke" Joy 80%54%
11"Dangerous" Douglas Galullo 80%49%
12Kevin "Shades" Wojtaszczyk 78%163%
13Alexis "Repo Girl" Reece 73%85%
14Michael "The Infidel" Wojke 70%209%
15Anthony "Big Tuna" Musella 70%84%
16James "Black Jack" Gilmore 70%33%
17Brian "Rudy" Conlon 63%235%
18Chris "Little Red" Entwistle 60%67%
19Jason "Sticky Fingers" Wagner 60%61%
20Wilson "Groundhog" Knight 50%26%
21Katie "Shocker" Elliott 33%31%
22Alan "Tick Tock" Arvold 100%100%
22Michael "Mickey the Wire" Buccheri 100%100%
22George "Great White" Galuschal 100%100%
22Bob "Strings" Hamel 100%100%
22Tom "Ruda" Parauda 100%100%
22Peter "Numbers" Staab 100%100%


No Cigar points the way

 

 


No Cigar has the way pointed out
Don't they know it's rude to point?

Nineteen heat winners (out of 25) plus two alternates answered the call at the semi-final.  The odd number was the result of an early five-player semi-final together with four four-player semi-final games.  Early semi-finals are always five-player just in case that's needed at the scheduled semi-final.

The other six winners are shown last in the list above.  The % Assets tie-breaker shown above is a percentage of one's assets compared to those of the winner of the game -- that's why those who won the last game they played are always shown as 100%.

Current AREA ratings include all 2012 results and are available at: http://wolff.to/area/T_Gangsters.html.

5. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from the Mob
(from “The Official Book of Mob Humor” by Malcolm Kushner)

  1. There’s no problem that cannot be overcome by violence.
  2. The more you run over a dead body, the flatter it gets.
  3. There’s no such thing as too much hair gel.
  4. Anything can fall off the back of a truck.
  5. Never torch the wrong storefront.
  6. Wearing a wire clashes with every shirt color.
  7. You always look better than your mug shot.
  8. Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
  9. Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.
  10. Being indicted makes you lose your memory.
  11. If you think there’s good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody.
  12. When in doubt, say “Fuggedaboudit.”

6. 2012 Special Awards

Cement Overshoes Sportsmanship Award – This year there was only one nominee, Craig "No Cigar" Reece.  Craig, however, was nominated several times.  Phrases like "helpful teacher" and "wonderful job coaching" speckled his nominations.  Further, "No Cigar" has been nominated here and there over the past few years as well.  Close but "no cigar" has been Craig's motto over the past decade while he's consistently made the tournament more enjoyable for new entrants.  But this year, after training both of the players who duked it out for the Junior Godfather award, Craig finally gets his own, customized set of Cement Overshoes and a cigar.  He's now standing tall at the bottom of Lake Michigan.  He still can't get the cigar lit, however.  Many thanks to Craig for years of sportsman-like service and helping add the fun of Gangsters to many new criminal lifestyles.

Junior Godfather Award – Alexis "Repo Girl" Reece and Alyssa "Short Stack" Gumkowski both played all four heats, both won a game, and both enjoyed challenging matches in the semi-final.  But, in the end, "Short Stack" was 80% of the way to victory when her semi-final ended while "Repo Girl" was close behind at 73%.  That small edge was enough to make Alyssa the top new Gangster for 2012 and proclaim her "Junior Godfather."  Congratulations, "Short Stack!"  Something tells me "Repo Girl" will be back for a rematch this year...

Roadkill Award – Of course, the difference between our Junior Godfather candidates may have come down to who was Roadkill?  Alexis "Repo Girl" Reece took 8 hits in one of her attempts.  So did Ashley "Angel" Collinson and Blair "The Plug" Morgan.  It used to be such casualties would put one into the running, but this year it wasn't even close.  Jacob "Wrap" Nixon and Tony "Big Tuna" Musella each took 9 casualties in a bloodbath at Hotel Belgrave in the same game, finishing with 1/1/1 and 2/1/1 gangs respectively.  But even that wasn't enough.  In his semi-final, Jason "Sticky Fingers" Wagner's gang took 11 casualties (barely edging Wilson "Groundhog" Knight who took 10 hits in the same game).  But even that massive carnage didn't win.  That's right, it took a St. Valentine's Day Dozen to win the Roadkill Award this year.  Our winner (if you can call it that)?  None other than long-standing mobster Rob "Bobby Tweaks" Buccheri!

"I Think She Likes Me!" Award – Chris "Little Red" Entwistle and former Godfather Nick "Dusk" Henning lost 6 mobsters each to pretty faces.  But our winner lost 7 gang members to enemy Vamps.  So this award is his consolation prize for not quite winning the Roadkill Award.  Give it up for  Jason "Sticky Fingers" Wagner, this year's ladies' man!

Special Awards – Rolinda "Ma" Collinson was awarded a Black Rose for her stellar efforts as substitute GM during 2011 and 2009.  Andy "Scarface" Gardner (or should we call him "Snorky" -- at least to his face?) was awarded a fedora for his service as an Assistant GM.  Many thanks to both for outstanding service to our tournament!

Barney Fife Memorial Award – Barney saw some unusual action during 2012.  Ashley "Angel" Collinson won the award in the second heat by eliminating "Scarface's" 2-Thug.  Our sportsmanship winner, Craig "No Cigar" Reece proved sporting once again as he took two simultaneous bullets from Barney.  Andy "The Duke" Joy found himself renamed, Andy "Barney Fife" Joy, during a heat where he drew Barney from the cup three times in a row.

Honorable Mention – This is always the toughest category because anything goes -- anything I notice or which is brought to my attention through comments in person or on the player chits:

The first candidate is James "Black Jack" Gilmore who amassed an enormous gang -- ending with 9 Racketeers, 1 Vamp, and 4 Thugs.  You don't want to meet him in an ally after dark!

The second candidate is Alexis "Repo Girl" Reece who, in my second heat game, became known as the Vamp Killer.  She mercilessly gunned down four enemy Vamps in the space of five turns in a reign of terror that saw all of her enemies without the services of a lady.

The third candidate is Andy "Scarface" Gardner for a pair of games that threatened the trifecta -- winning by cash, monopoly, and ten joints together.  It's never been done, but Snorky came close twice.  In the third heat, he won with $9,900, five of six Blue joints, and six joints total.  In the fourth heat, he returned to win with $10,100, five of six Blue joints, and six joints total.

Fourth,  Mike "The Infidel" Wojke for managing to start a game holding the Downtown Bus Station, the Ambassadors' Club, and Brzkowski's Imports -- the first, third, and fourth winningest joints of all-time.  Someone should advise his opposition to buy a few of those themselves...

Fifth, Mike "The Infidel" Wojke, Craig "No Cigar" Reece, Henry "Teech" Richardson, and Kevin "Shades" Wojtaszczyk for game with very even total losses (4, 4, 5, and 4 respectively).  But while everyone else was being fair, The Infidel stole the loot and made off with the game.

Sixth, Peter "Numbers" Staab, Alyssa "Short Stack" Gumkowski, Alexis "Repo Girl" Reece, and Matt "The Boot" Evinger for a game that epitomized fairness and a very tight competition.  While Numbers won with $10,400, Short Stack ended at 94% ($9,400 plus 9 joints), Repo Girl ended at 88% ($8,800), and The Boot ended at 88% (also with $8,800).  Each ended just one good turn shy of victory!

Seventh, Kevin "The Bag" Hacker, "Dangerous" Doug Galullo, Tony "Big Tuna" Musella, Andy "The Duke" Joy, and John "The Viper" Pack who, in the only five player game of the tournament and lone early semi-final, inflicted casualties beyond comprehension.  Even the fed's accountants are having a hard time with numbers this big.  The total losses for each were 10, 9, 5, 7, and 14 respectively (in a year when the average player took 4.68 losses).  45 total casualties between 'em.  No one below average here.  Interestingly, the top two finishers in the game took the most damage.

As impressive as all of them are, our honorable mention winner is Rolinda "Ma" Collinson.  But it's not for coming close to a Green Monopoly -- in a game where she ended with 5 of the 7.  No one in the history of the tournament has ever won with a Green or Yellow Monopoly (or Brown without the five-player rules).  Her honorable mention came in the Roadkill winner's game (where Rob "Bobby Tweaks" Buccheri who had a 4/1/5 gang twice took 12 hits).  The players combined for a total of 20 hits (and 15 seductions besides).  Ma escaped the carnage with, get this, ZERO hits.  Though her gang was seduced three times, she finished just one Thug short of the 5/1/3 gang she started with.  Ma had better watch out, or she'll get a reputation as "untouchable."  Congratulations, Ma!

7. Favorite Joints of 2012

The Blue One-Jump strategy joints retain the first and third spots in an unusual repeat performance.  Likewise, the Green One-Jump joints retain second and sixth place (despite much better historical performance).  Green extra, Shop 'n Save, goes from absolute zero in 2011 to 8th place for the year's biggest gain.  However, in an impressive surge led by Greenwood Park, many Yellow Joints (both One-Jump and Mean Yellow Middle) join the top ten, including Franklin Hostel, Hotel Belgrave and Wylie's storage. 

The Pussycat Club returns to the top ten very strongly (in a tie for second place).  Whether this is part of a Purple Monopoly strategy or simply a reflection of its high mobility location, many winners saw fit to include it in their opening purchases.

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

Rank

Winner's Joints

2012

1998-2012
Total
2011
Rank
Overall
Rank
Trend
1
Ambassadors' Club 28.57% 26.25% 1 3 UP
2
Downtown Bus Station 25.71% 28.86% 2 1 Slightly DOWN
  Brzkowski's Imports 25.71% 22.44% 3 4 Slightly UP

 

Greenwood Park 25.71% 21.64% 9 5 UP
 
Pussycat Club 25.71% 12.42% 19 8 Way Way UP
6
Brizelli's Riverside 22.86% 27.66% 6 2 DOWN
7
Franklin Hostel 17.14% 16.63% 10 6 Slightly DOWN

8

Shop 'n Save 14.29% 4.01% 32 24 Way Way Way UP
9
Hotel Belgrave 11.43% 6.61% 11 13 Way UP
 
Wylie's Storage 11.43% 5.01% 20 19 Way Way UP

The Red One-Jump strategy, Martin & Son Carriage Repair, falls out of the top ten (to #15) as it seems nearly impossible to secure a Red Monopoly these days amid a hail of lead.  The Palace Chophouse, Taylor's Machine Shop, and Jaeger's Clothier are our all-time top ten joints that didn't make the cut this year -- all three barely make the top 20.

It's still true that all of the Top Five finishers since tracking began in 1998 belong to the over-all Top Ten.  None of the Top Four have ever fallen out of the Top Ten.  Though it could happen if Brizelli's Riverside continues her slide.

8. Quotable Gangsters

"Five of Six Racketeers shot...  last one saved for Vamp..." -- Cartridge

"Your license to Vamp has been repossessed." -- The Viper to Repo Girl (after she blew away 4 Vamps in 5 turns)

"No Cigar rolled so bad his total was frequently less than ten." -- Dangerous

"Lend me some Racketeers." -- Dangerous
"I'll send my Vamp over, and we'll see what she can do." -- The Viper

"This was a nice quiet part of town." -- The Viper
"Was that a noise violation?" -- The Duke
"We're going to war -- me, myself, and Red." -- Dangerous
"Dangerous' Vamp must be fat and ugly." -- The Bag
"At least she shaves her legs." -- Dangerous
"You mean, 'he?'" -- The Bag

"The last turn was vicious." -- The Viper

"Cop #9 whiffs on lone Thug.  First time ever I've seen all bribes purchased.  Groundhog has five!  Every Cop is on the payroll." -- The Viper

9. Game Commentary

Teech: "More hits on Vamps than Vamps on gang members."
Little Red: "The Cops are really shooting the Vamps in this game!  Five Vamps killed.  Yeah, we're hard on the red light district here."

Short Stack:  "Had $10,000... but did not choose cash strategy..."
[GM Note: The strategy selected on the player chit does not prohibit a player from winning in any of the three possible ways.]

Little Red: "I have never seen so many Thugs hit and vamped.  The Thugs were in the most danger in our game." (3 players finished without a Thug)

Ma: "Dancin' Man's Rack was vamped three at once in the street by the park."

Short Stack: "Lost Vamp and Joint -- did not damage attacking Racketeers."

Ladykiller: "Three players made deals to split money by agreeing to keep Public in their joint and split the take.  This helped The Plug to win with $10K.  Speeds up the game too!  Game included a red joint shootout to stop a win by Beans."

Angel: "Got 3 Purple, shot up the 4th w/Rack.  Attempted shooting Level 2 Pussycat Club for Joint #5 twice, taking five hits on the Rack (killed four, bought them back, killed two)."

Ma: "Ma takes 2 Thugs by vamping in less than an hour!  Lost the Bus Station twice."

Teech: "Lots of vamping and cops on board...  Couldn't get Public back in cup..." (Ends with a 7/1/1 gang)

Little Red: "Fastest game ever -- $10,000 in two turns."

10. 2012 Final Report -- It's good to be a Cop but not a Vamp...

Here, in move order, are the five finalists, their starting positions, and their status at the end of the game:

Rolinda "Ma" Collinson, 2009 & 2011 GM
Start: 5/1/2; $300; Brizelli's Riverside, Hotel Belgrave [Vamp], SMC Cartage Co. [Racketeer/Thug]
Finish: 6/1/1, 6 Hits, 2 Seductions; $2,900, 7 joints (3 of 7 Green) – 4th Place

Blair "The Plug" Morgen, Former Semi-Finalist & Fun Crowd Legend  –
Start: 5/1/2; $0; Brzkowski's Imports, Channel View, Greenwood Park [Racketeer/Vamp/Thug]
Finish: 5/1/1, 8 Hits, 1 Seduction; $5,600; 2 joints (1 of 6 Blue) – 5th Place

Ben "The Roach" Gardner, Former Finalist  –
Start: 5/1/2; $300; Ambassadors' Club [Vamp], Franklin Hostel [Racketeer], Wylie's Storage [Thug]
Finish: 3/1/2, 1 Hit, 4 Seductions; $3,300, 10 joints (3 of 8 Yellow) – Wins!

Andy "Scarface" Gardner, Finalist four years running   –
Start: 5/1/2; $400; Downtown Bus Station [Racketeer], Taylor's Machine Shop [Vamp/Thug], Palace Chophouse
Finish: 5/1/1, 6 Hits, 1 Seduction; $500; 8 joints (2 of 7 Green) – 3rd Place

John "The Viper" Pack, 1995 & 2002 Godfather, GM
Start: 5/1/1; $200; Pussycat Club [Vamp], Jack's Auto Body [Racketeer/Thug], Frankie's House of Cards
Finish: 4/1/0, 2 Hits, 5 Seductions; $1,700; 5 joints (4 of 5 Purple) – 2nd Place

While I took notes, I tried to cover just the unusual aspects of each turn and only recorded unusually high or low cash collections (to preserve cash secrecy).  I used my notes and the player record chits to compile what I think is a very accurate record when all was said and done.  But let's take a look at the setups before going into the turn by turn report.

Setup – Ma's preemptive purchase of Brizelli's Riverside (without the Racketeer for an immediate upgrade) looks mostly designed to prevent a Downtown Bus Station juggernaut.  She looks poised for a ten joint, block strategy from the get go with a cash strategy fallback.  The Plug buys two one-jump joints and looks to be trying a sneak-up-the-cash strategy; his last purchase, the low flexibility Channel View, seems mostly to prevent The Viper from achieving a Purple monopoly.  The Roach starts ready to upgrade a yellow one-jump joint.  The strategy implied seems similar to The Plug's.  Scarface is ready to upgrade the Downtown Bus Station and has his Vamp and Thug positioned well to begin extorting in low mobility joints immediately; he will likely score cash the earliest and fastest.  The Viper starts with a mix of cash and monopoly Purple joints and positions his Racketeer to buy the Cavalry Club in the early going.  He should buy a joint every turn but emphasize the Purple joints whenever possible.  He should have known better than to play a Purple Strategy with Ma in the game (since her daughter, Angel, is the Purple Pro).

Turn One – Ma vamps the Viper as her initial move. The Plug moves Public x2 into Brzkowski’s Imports to collect $1,100. The Roach collects nothing. Scarface vamps the Plug. This moves his Racketeer up to 7 until an audit by the IRS Agent Roach reveals that the initial purchase was impossible (giving Scarface an additional $100 but reducing his Racketeer to 6).  Scarface's correct starting gang and cash are shown above.  The Viper also collects nothing but does move his Racketeer to the Cavalry Club.

Turn Two – Ma vamps the Viper down to three (one move). The Plug hits Roach’s Vamp before realizing that she’s in Ma’s Level-2 SMC Cartage Co. The Plug is unhappy with this situation but unable to redo his move at this point. The Plug misses.

This situation uses the new clarification for a second time this year – it had never come up in my previous 17 years as Gangsters GM or as Avalon Hill’s official Question & Answer person for Gangsters! This is that a Racketeer or Thug who moves into an enemy joint but chooses to attack a third gang does not trigger a response from the joint guards – but the joint guards will attack on the following turn.  Note: On further reasoned consideration and evaluation of existing rules and clarifications, this ruling is overturned; however, once a ruling is made, it applies for the duration of the tournament.  The correct ruling:  Joint Guards cannot be denied their requirement to attack opposing Thugs/Racketeers just because the opposition chooses to shoot at someone else!

Joint markers are frequently underneath gang members, so a useful tip for budding criminal masterminds is to be wary of hitting a non-criminal Vamp -- usually such Vamps are in other gang's joints to seduce rivals.  Criminal Vamps, on the other hand, are typically in unowned joints to score Extortion payoffs.

The Roach gets Public x1 into the Ambassadors’ Club. The Plug kills one level of Ma’s joint but loses three Racketeers in the continuing shootout. Scarface brings John McClane (Cop #8) to kill Ma’s Thug.

In another new twist, after Ma’s joint kills the Plug’s final Racketeer (making itself immune to his retaliation), the Plug uses his final shot to kill the Roach’s Vamp (the original target of his move).

The Viper brings on T.J. Hooker (Cop #7) to raid the Downtown Bus Station and reduce it to level one.

Turn Three – The Plug buys two Racketeers for $1,500. Scarface buys his fifth joint (the Belmar Theatre). The Viper gets snake eyes on the Red and Black dice for the second time. Robocop (Cop #10) kills the Plug’s Vamp.

Turn Four – The Plug takes Cop #7 (T.J. Hooker) and kills Scarface’s Vamp. Scarface recruits two Thugs (for a total of four). However, the Viper then uses Dudley Do-Right (Cop #4) to kill those same two recruits. The Viper also vamps the Roach.

Turn Five – Ma gets Public x1 into Brizelli’s Riverside and collects $800 (which is big money in this game). The Plug negotiates to leave the Public there for a measly $100 of the $300 payoff. T.J. Hooker reappears and hits Ma’s Vamp. She collects on Brizelli’s a third time. The Viper recruits as much as he possibly can – a single Thug for $300.

Money strategies have been a bust so far, particularly with all of the recruiting needs.  As a result, players are focused on joints (and inflicting harm on other gangs to slow them down).

Turn Six – Ma recruits a new Vamp for $300. The Plug rolls another Red 6. The Roach moves Public x2 into his level two Franklin Hostel and collects $900. Scarface buys his seventh joint while the Roach picks up another $800 from the Public. The Viper moves Public x2 into the Cavalry Club and collects $1,700 total, the first really big payoff in the game.

Turn Seven – Ma steers the Public x2 into her Purple District along Broadway but collects only $100. The Plug finally recruits a new Vamp for $300. The Roach recruits a new Vamp too, but he pays $1,500. Scarface buys his eighth joint and moves into the ninth. Starsky and Hutch (Cop #5) kill the Viper’s Vamp. Everyone has now had his/her Vamp removed at least once. The Viper recruits his Vamp for $600 and shoots up the Channel View with his 4 Racketeer without taking a loss. He’s now in his fourth Purple Joint.

Turn Eight – Ma negotiates to coordinate Cop action against the Viper’s criminal Racketeer. Innocent bystander Rudy asks, “Does it feel like it’s four against one?” In unison, all players respond, “yes.” Ma vamps the Roach’s Thug down to one while her own goes to two. The Plug vamps the Roach. The Roach takes it in stride and buys his ninth joint. His buying has mostly gone unnoticed until now. The Infidel (another not-so-innocent bystander) asks, “Can I get anyone anything?” The Viper requests an invisibility cloak for his Vamp. The Roach vamps the Viper. Being accused of being the only rich player in the game, the Roach shows his cash pile – the expensive Vamp purchase and joint buying spree have left him with less than 1 G. The Viper picks up $1,000 and moves his Racketeer onto the street outside Brandon's Bikeshop (when I should have aimed for a joint with multiple entrances in range of CK's Tobacco). Rosco P. Coltrane (Cop #3) kills the Plug’s Thug. The Cops have been exceptionally effective in this game.

Turn Nine – Ma uses Starsky and Hutch (Cop #5) to kill both of Scarface’s remaining Thugs. Dirty Harry (Cop #9) responds by killing both of Ma’s Thugs. The Plug vamps the Viper to get two moves and recruits a Thug for $400. The Roach vamps Viper’s lone Thug off the map. Scarface, with just $500 to his name, gets the roll he needs – a Black 1, a Red 1, and a Blue 1. He bribes a cop and then recruits a new Vamp and a new Thug, all for just $500.

There are ZERO crimes on the board.  The Mayor and Police Commissioner are running ads like it was an election year!

The Viper recruits a new Thug for $400 and vamps the Roach.

The situation is nearly ideal for a ten-joint player -- and even better for the Roach who is delighted to see the carnage among his opponents, destroying the very pieces that could oppose him.

Turn Ten – Ma scores $600 with a Public x1. The Plug vamps Ma’s Racketeer. Ma collects another $300. The Roach moves into his 10th joint. Ma collects another $300. Scarface collects $500; Ma, another $300. The Viper moves Public x1 from Ma’s establishment to Roach’s Brandon’s Bikeshop to set up a potential raid (the cops can hit it on a roll of 4 or 6). Both Ma and Viper’s Racketeers on are on the street where the only joint owned by the Roach they can hit is the Bikeshop.

Turn Eleven – Ma recruits a Thug for $600 and moves into her 8th joint. She brings a new Cop to bear on the Bikeshop (on a roll of 3). The cops have a 50% chance of hitting the Bikeshop. The Plug’s roll misses that chance. His Racketeer also can’t hit Brandon’s. The Viper pays $500 to show how Plug’s lone Thug can make a suicide attack on the Bikeshop. Everyone forgets that the Plug’s Racketeer (unlike Ma’s and the Viper’s) has a bazillion other yellow joints (OK, OK, so it's only eight) he can attack and easily reach with his roll of 6… D’oh! The Plug collects more than $1,500. However, that sets up the Roach to buy his 10th joint and use the Public to collect another $1,000 to end the game with victory. For good measure, the Plug also uses Kojak (Cop #6) to kill the Viper’s Vamp – a fittin’ end to this lady killin’ final.

Interestingly, in this game of killer cops, the Roach was never bothered by the boyz in blue.  I sense a payoff.  The Roach's lone casualty came in the Plug's ill-fated suicide attack on Turn Two.  While the ladies flocked to the Roach's gang at the end, it wasn't enough to stop the real estate magnate from completing his domination of the streets of Chicago.  67% of his final cash was earned after the Roach's penultimate move.  Congratulations to Ben Gardner for his establishment of the Roach motel chain, staying above the fray, and taking fewer losses than all of the other gangs.  Rumor has it he might try to acquire the Lancaster Host next...

The Viper comments on Purple strategies: My Racketeer sat like a bump on a log for the last three turns waiting for that one-in-six chance of moving to the last purple joint, CK's Tobacco.  This joint has lousy mobility (ranked 48 out of 59) and, due to the bridge in the area, is even harder to get to than that implies. Since the final ended, it strikes me that a Purple Monopoly strategy requires one to own Frankie's House of Cards and CK's Tobacco right from the get go -- so that one's Racketeer never needs to visit either one, starting in a cheap Brown joint (preferably Jack's Auto Body near the Cavalry Club).  This makes an early purchase of the Cavalry Club likely followed by an exit toward Subway #4 (with hopes to land in Channel View followed by the easiest destination of all, the Pussycat Club).  A Purple Cash strategy on the other hand opens with the Pussycat Club and the Cavalry Club with the Racketeer in one of them to make a quick upgrade (the former for the Purple One-Jump Strategy,  unless one is moving right after the Bus Station player using the "Bus Station Antidote Strategy").  In this game, I mixed the two strategies and never really had much of a chance at either victory condition.  I wuz lucky to come in second place; I don't think I would have if the game had gone another turn.

11. Copies of the Game

EBay prices are still through the roof, but fortunately I have some lower-priced copies still available.  Get 'em while you can.  They're all in very good condition (new or unpunched).  They're available on a first-come, first-served basis until I run out.  Shipping is a flat $10 within the USA or you can pick one up at the WBC for no charge.  I can reserve a copy for you at the WBC if you let me know in advance.

Condition

Price

Available

Notes

Mint
$65 1 Pristine -- I imagine very few looked this good in 1992!
Unpunched
$55 1 As if you'd removed the shrinkwrap earlier today!

I guarantee all copies have been thoroughly inspected and are complete.  Even the beat-up copies on eBay have been going for $65 lately.  Don't pay a premium price!

12. Email Module

The good news is that Vassal Developer, Bill Thompson, stayed with me in Denver and played Gangsters twice.  He also picked up all of the materials he'll need to create the module and purchased a copy of the game for himself.  I'm hopeful that the module is beginning to take shape.

13. WBC just two months away!

I hope all of your plans to come to Lancaster and battle it out for control of the streets of Chicago are coming along nicely.  I hope to see you all in two short months!

You can get additional news, statistics, reports, articles, and information by following the links from the main tournament web page http://www.gameaholics.com/gangsters_tournament.htm!  There are lots of fun links to follow and new (and newly posted old) things to check out.  If you have one of the old postal newsletters and it's not on the website already, please scan a copy and send me one so that the website will be complete!

I continue to work on the Gangsters automation project.  But I won't have it and the associated equipment ready by this convention.  I'm aiming to have it done by January 2014 -- with lots of testing time before WBC 2014.

I hope you enjoyed this newsletter almost as much as a good St. Valentine's Day.  Come and join us and see why Valentine's Day isn't just once a year any more!

John the Viper
john@gameaholics.com


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