World Championship Format
Entry Format 5 Player Game Seeding Tie Breakers


Gangsters is a Multiple-Entry, Multiple-Heat, Single-Elimination, Single-Win (HSW) tournament. Players may enter as many qualifying heats as they wish. Every entry is treated as a brand-new entry -- previous games do not count against (or for) you!  No player who arrives on time will be turned away for any reason or under any condition, provided sufficient copies of the game are available! Every heat game will have 3-4 players (unless entrants specifically request a 5-player game).

To enter, fill out one of the player chits available at the kiosk and then present yourself, the player chit, and your convention badge to a tournament official as soon as possible.  Be sure to write your name, email address, and badge number clearly.  Players may sign in as early as 10 minutes before the start time listed in the convention program.  If you do not have a mob nickname, you can pick up a pre-printed badge with a name of your choice or pick a unique name by writing it on your player chit (either way this becomes your permanent nickname -- please do not return such a badge).

When you sign in, you'll be asked if you brought a copy of the game.  If so, you'll be assigned a table number where you can set up your game after you specify the options to be used at your table.  Each table will have a small flag prominently displaying the table/game number.

All players will draw to determine the game number and color they're playing.  You can immediately take your seat and help set up.  When your game has four players, you may begin immediately -- even if it's prior to the designated start time in the program!  If you draw a game where a relative, team member, or hometown friend is already sitting, simply inform the GM and redraw.  Your original draw will be mixed back in.

Pre-Designated Tables: During heat #4, one table will be pre-designated for those wishing to use optional rules. During heat #3, four tables will be pre-designated for those desiring to use the squirt gun while two tables will be pre-designated for those who don't want to use the squirt gun.  Game owners will designate their game preferences, and players will be assigned accordingly.


Advancement: Every winner advances to the next round (see the schedule for the second-round time and the possibility of an early, flexible second-round game).

Non-winning alternates will be advanced based on the number of qualifiers (see table below) by using tie-breakers if there are slots available. Typically, between one and three alternates advance (such that any alternate in the top ten should definitely show up). In the event that insufficient alternates are available to meet the specified format, some games will have fewer players (determined at random). Under no condition will a player who did not participate in a heat advance.  Advancement from the second round is determined by the format table below.

Late Arrivals for Advanced Rounds: A heat winner who arrives after the semi-final start time (0:05) will be treated as the next alternate.  An alternate who misses the moment when his/her name is called (starting at 0:05) will be treated as the next alternate.  In both cases, late arrivals must notify the GM upon arrival.  Alternates who have already answered when their name was called will not lose their positions under any circumstances.  Be on time!

Format for Advanced Rounds: With its ability to handle 3, 4, or 5 players, Gangsters can handle a very flexible number of advancing winners.  The second round can be a semi-final provided at least 6 players or up to as many as 25 players advance.  Current guidelines allow a variable number of players to advance to the second round.

To retain it's "one win and you're in" format (which has been re-affirmed by vote of the players three separate times) and still comply with board guidelines, Gangsters will utilize a hybrid system.  Provided 25 or fewer winners show up at the semi-final, the tournament will proceed as it always has (per the following table).  If there are more than 25, the GM will voluntarily withdraw from the second round (if he has qualified).  If there are still more, the assistant GMs who've volunteered in advance (no volunteers are accepted on the spot) will be removed from the second round one at a time in a randomly determined sequence until the number remaining reaches 25.

To reach 3 3F
None 4F
None 5F
To reach 9 3SF/3F
10-12 To reach 12 3SF/4F
To reach 16 4SF/4F
To reach 20 5SF/4F
To reach 25 5SF/5F
26-27# To reach 27 3QF/3SF/3F
To reach 32 4QF/4SF2/4F
To reach 36 4QF/3SF/3F
To reach 40 4QF/5SF2/4F
41-45 To reach 45 5QF/3SF/3F
To reach 48 4QF/3SF/4F
To reach 50 5QF/5SF2/4F
51-60 To reach 60 5QF/3SF/4F
To reach 64 4QF/4SF/4F

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

In the unlikely event this process fails to bring the number advancing to the second round to 25, all winners -- including winning tournament officials who volunteered to withdraw -- will advance to a quarterfinal (per the above table).  I will then have to face the BPA Board's wrath for violating their guidelines.  It is my belief, however, that it would take a participation level above 90 to bring about such a possibility.  I expect that the "voluntary withdrawing officials" policy will bridge the gap between now and the point when the board permits Gangsters to schedule a quarterfinal.

Format History

Until 1999, the semi-final always had 16 players (at least one of which had always been an alternate). In 2000, there were 21 heat winners -- 20 of whom showed up to play in the second round. As a result, a quarterfinal round was added per the then-stated format (3QF2/4SF/4F). Adding four alternates plus an entire 2.5-hour round for the sole purpose of eliminating 8 players was unsatisfactory (to say the least). To delay the use of a quarterfinal until it would be significant (eliminating at least half of the players), a new five-player option was developed (to allow a semi-final to accommodate up to 25 players).

In 2006, the BPA board required a semi-final limited to the "optimal" number of players.  In Gangsters' case, that meant 16.  As a result, semi-final turnout dropped to its lowest ever as a percentage of winners.  Even so, for the first time, winners were turned away (using BPA board mandated tie-breakers).  The GM and his assistants are determined never to allow this to happen again -- even if it means we personally don't advance.

Five-Player Game

The five-player game we use (if needed) is NOT the one in the rulebook! Please prepare accordingly. The five-player game in the rulebook is not a good game. To overcome that deficiency, a great deal of play-testing was put in to develop a good game using the Cop player -- and we did come up with one (Check it out!). However, it was felt that this game was too different from the normal four-player game and that players would not have the opportunity to prepare and could not adjust on the fly.

The WBC Five-Player Format will alter the normal four-player game as follows:


Pairings have traditionally been done randomly (though friends, family, officials, and team members have been, and will continue to be, put in separate games as far as possible). This will still be true for all heats.

The semi-final will be "slightly" seeded. The finalists from the previous year (assuming they make it to the semi-finals) will automatically be placed in separate games (as far as possible) -- so that they won't be forced to eliminate each other!

Though debated heavily, no other seeding will be used.


The tie-breakers are used to determine the winner of any game where no player meets the victory conditions by the time limit (2:45) and to differentiate between non-winning alternates.  The secondary tie-breaker is used only if two alternates, only one of whom can advance, have the same primary tie-breaker.

Primary Tie-Breaker: Maximum percentage completion of any strategy. For example, suppose you own 9 joints; your completion percentage is 90%. 4 of 5 purple joints? 80%. $9,300? 93%.

Secondary Tie-Breaker: Percentage of total assets (cash, joints, & gang) compared to the winner of your game. For example, suppose the winner had $10,500 in cash, 3 joints worth $1,200 including upgrades, and 4 Racketeers ($1,000), 1 Vamp ($300), and 5 Thugs ($1,500) for a total of $14,500. You had $7,800 in cash, 9 joints worth $3,700, and 8 Racketeers ($3,600), 1 Vamp ($300), and 0 Thugs (-$350) for a total of $15,050. Your secondary tie-breaker would be 104%.

For both tie-breakers, cash totals will be reduced by $350 for a missing Thug, $700 for a missing Racketeer piece, and by $1,050 for a missing Vamp. 

For the asset tie-breaker, the following process is applied for information missing from the player chit.  For the player needing the tie-breaker, missing data is treated as zero (with appropriate penalties for absent gang members).  For the winner, the following values are used:

Asset Value
$12,000 Maximum Reported Cash
$5,300 10 Best Joints:  4 Red, 5 Purple, and 1 Blue
$5,500 10 Racketeers
$300 1 Vamp
Thug $5,500 10 Thugs

Most winners' assets are about half of that amount.  So, in other words, if the winner doesn't report his results, everyone else at the table will be compared to an impossibly high standard, and their asset tie-breakers will suffer as a result.

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