2008 Raidin' da Joint Newsletter
2007 World Championship Yearbook

In just a little over two months the annual Gangsters' World Championship tournament will get underway.  At stake?  The undisputed domination of the criminal underworld and the right to be called our Godfather.  Who will be soaked?  And who will do the soaking?  Release your inner Godfather (or at least your inner squirt-gun-vigilante) this August!

Like last year, this year's newsletter includes both the news of the upcoming tournament as well as the detailed report of last year's competition.  The report of the final match was posted earlier on the BPA website but is also included here (with a few added illustrations).  If you're like me, the details of last year's event get me psyched for this year's competition.  I wouldn't miss it, and I hope you feel the same!

You were all adorable as children, I can tell.

Last year was the "Year of the Cop."  This year we'll be on a "Vampage!"  (Think rampage but with Vamps.)  There will be lots of goodies and more unique polo shirts.  Come and bring your friends -- particularly those who revel in stealing loyal gang members away from other crime lords!  If you read only one section of this newsletter, make certain it's "Vampage!"

Since the last newsletter, I've been collecting comics that were gangster-themed (albeit, in some cases, unintentionally).  I've put them (as well as pictures from last year) throughout the newsletter.  If you enjoy the comics, let your local newspaper know you like them and suggest trying them out!

Enjoy the newsletter!

Table of Contents

  1. Schedule
  2. Changes for 2008
  3. Vampage!
  4. Year of the Cop
  5. 2007 Records
  6. 2007 Winners
  7. 2007 Special Awards
  8. Favorite Joints of 2007
  9. Quotable Gangsters
  10. Game Commentary
  11. 2007 Final Report
  12. PBEM Competition
  13. Copies of the Game
  14. See you soon!

1. Schedule

The complete schedule for Gangsters at the 2008 World Boardgaming Championships is:

What will you look like after
the Squirt Gun heat?

Tuesday, Aug. 5th

9 pm



10 pm Heat #1

Wednesday, Aug. 6th

2 pm

Heat #2 (Optional Rules Recommended)

Thursday, Aug. 7th

10 pm



11 pm Heat #3 (Official Squirt Gun Heat)

Saturday, Aug. 9th

5 pm Heat #4


8 pm

Second Round (Semi-Final)


11 pm

Third Round (Final)

The big change from last year is the move from Friday evening to Saturday evening for the fourth heat, semi-final, and final.  I noticed the relative paucity of events on Saturday evening last year and made the move to capitalize on that opening (as well as to give late-arrivers a chance to participate and to allow me and my family to participate in the Adel Verpflichtet tournament on Friday night).  An initial examination of this year's events also shows Saturday evening to be relatively open.  We'll see how it works out.  Be sure to let me know what you think!

2. Changes for 2008

1) Saturday Night: The Fourth Heat, Semi-Final, and Final will be held Saturday night beginning at 5, 8, and 11 pm instead of Friday night at the same times.

2) One Win and You're In: I remind everyone that a single win in any heat guarantees the winner a spot in the second round at 8 pm on Saturday evening.  See the tournament website for full details.  This is not a change, but many players seem to remain unaware of this facet of the format.  There's no guessing what it will take to advance from the first round which allows early winners to play the second round early at any heat.  Be sure to check kiosk row between heats to see if you're a high alternate and to learn who all the winners are!

3) Streamlined Player Chits: I'm going to remove the player order and gang color parts of the player chit.  I don't think those statistics were particularly interesting or useful, and many players ignored that part of the form anyway.  I'll also remove some other extraneous and unused bits to make the chit easier to use and less intimidating to new players.

3. Vampage! (2008)

What?!!  The Vamps in Gangsters were already dangerous beyond belief.  Has the Viper gone psycho by declaring 2008 a Vampage!?  (Vampage is pronounced like rampage and should evoke a sense of what a vamp can do to your gang.)

No.  Think of "Vampage!" as "Gangsters' Ladies Night."

Believe it or not, the GM tries very hard to make certain the annual theme doesn't interfere with the game.  If I succeed, the theme should enhance the ambiance while the game remains as fun and competitive as ever -- even as the skill level of the players evolves to make the contest ever more challenging!

The Roaring Twenties didn't exactly give the ladies an even break.  Criminal gangs were not equal opportunity employers.  Even in Gangsters there's just one Vamp in each gang along with 5-7 Racketeers and 3-6 Thugs.  Of course, in our game, the Vamp is the single most deadly piece -- striking terror into the hearts of Racketeers, Thugs, Police Officers, and criminal masterminds everywhere.  So it's only appropriate that we turn 'em loose in this year's Vampage!

OK, so what does that mean exactly?

For starters, everyone will get a name tag adorned with one of our lovely temptresses.  The table flags will be set up with the same theme, of course.

Next, any time a player loses a Vamp in a shootout, s/he not only gets shot with the squirt gun (if it's being used in that game), but s/he also gets to dish one shot out against EACH of the other players (in memory of that red "one" die that's on each Vamp piece).  It's only appropriate that the Thugs and Racketeers of the other gangs mourn their lost love with a physical manifestation of the pain, after all.

But the real fun starts before the convention -- right now!  Every lady Gangster who contacts me before the convention (Deadline: July 5th) will receive a unique, customized polo shirt featuring her Gangster name when she arrives at her first heat.  Examples for Sharee "Jezebel" Pack and Kaarin "The Enforcer" Engelmann are shown above and to the right.  Let me know your preferred shirt size and the color you'd like for the Vamp piece on your shirt (the available colors are Brown, Green, Yellow, Red, and Purple, of course).  Jezebel and The Enforcer are free to pick different colors, of course.  In exchange, all I ask is that you wear the shirt to whatever Gangsters' heats you play in.  You can pick up your shirt at your first heat or any time you see me before that.

How about the rest of us criminals?  Yes, you can get a shirt too!  But, in order to do so, you have to win a game that includes a lady or previous winner who is already wearing a Vampage! shirt and be able to demonstrate (i.e., note on your player chit)  that you either seduced a rival gangster during your game or had one of your own gangsters taken away by a rival Vamp.  You'll be able to pick from the sizes and colors of shirts that remain at the moment of your victory.  I plan to have 16 polo shirts for the lucky few.

Lastly, you are, of course, free to unleash the potent threat that is your Vamp.  Think sixes!  Rake in the extortion money!  Bring rivals over to the right way of thinking (i.e., making your gang more profitable and powerful).  And, above all, go shopping for just the right outfit!  Vampage is coming soon!  If you don't go on a Vampage, your opponents just might.  Don't let a pretty face happen to your gang -- make sure it happens to the other gangs!

The newly released strategy article, The Art of Seduction, might be just the refresher you need before starting your Vampage!

Everyone enjoyed the Year of the Cop except Laurel and Hardy...

4. The Year of the Cop (2007)

We celebrated our Year of the Cop in 2007 with plastic handcuffs for everyone -- and, admit it, youse criminals deserved them.  We also had cops on all of our name tags.  But even with all those cops keeping an eye on everything, the crime wave was unabated.  We also celebrated with variant pieces that show the names we chose for all of the cops and many pieces for new variants -- including one that lets a fifth player act as the Cop Commissioner as well as a purple gang for our five-player games at the WBC!  Lastly, we awarded ten one-of-a-kind polo shirts to players for bribing cops and getting those cops to act in our best interests.  The owners of each cop shirt are as follows:

Polo Shirt Cop Gangster Winner
Untouchables Eliot Ness Chuck "Da Joker" Halberstadt
Cop #2 Barney Fife Marshall "Squinty" Daw
Cop #3 Rosco P. Coltrane Andy "Scarface" Gardner
Cop #4 Dudley Do-Right Scott "The Bag Man" Sirianna
Cop #5 Starsky & Hutch April "The Ox" Gardner
Cop #6 Kojak Pat "El Jefe" Richardson
Cop #7 T. J. Hooker Jordan "Preacher" Halberstadt
Cop #8 John McClane Rob "Beans" Olsson
Cop #9 Dirty Harry Kevin "Shades" Wojtaszczyk
Cop #10 Robocop Paul "Da Spider" Bolduc
Commissioner Gordon
John "The Viper" Pack
Don "The Don" Greenwood

The Bag Man bags the Dudley Do-Right (Cop #4)
polo shirt to match his name tag!

Which does the Bag Man most closely resemble?

Dudley Do-Right?  Snidely Whiplash? Nell Fenwick?  Or Horse?  All of the above?

It's tough to live up to a Mounties' reputation!

Shades shows off his Dirty Harry (Cop #9) shirt!

Bad news, Shades.  Dirty Harry wants the shirt.  Hand it over peacefully and nobody gets hurt.

It's either that or a donut.
Choose quickly!

I hope each of our winners will wear their shirts with pride to this year's heats too!  Our cops are really the unsung heroes of our games.  They've eaten a lot of donuts and taken a lot of bribes over the years with hardly any recognition for their accomplishments.

You'll notice that two pairs of winners are family members -- showing how far family influence reaches in this racket.  Little April "The Ox" Gardner uses her XXXL polo shirt as an ankle-length nightgown!  (I'm pretty sure everyone else got a size much closer to their own.)

For the shirt owners, I note that you should wash in cold water.  If the inkjet color runs a bit, a washing will clean it right up (at least that's what happened with mine).

I hope everyone continues to play with their named cop pieces so that it's easy to call the cops by name throughout the game.  In that way, we can remember the Year of the Cop long into the future!

5. 2007 Records

We set a lot of records this year, and there was also one tournament first. These include the following:


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


Notes: 1) No one has ever won a tournament game starting with fewer than four Racketeers or without a Vamp.

Our crime syndicate fills the streets of Chicago from one end of the room to the other during first heat action!

6. 2007 Winners

Jeffrey Hacker moves to "The Head" of the Gangsters class by winning the final with ten joints.  "The Head" is the first player to win the final without using the cash strategy in four years (which was the longest streak of any of the methods of winning).

Only one player returned to the finals from 2006.  Another had been to the finals just once several years ago.  Two of the finalists, including our new Godfather, were new to the finals.  However, none of the finalists were inexperienced players -- having more than 70 games of experience between them.

Here are all of the top twenty-five finishers:

Place Name & Moniker % Complete % of Winner's Assets
1 Jeffrey "The Head" Hacker 100 100
2 Victor "The Waiter" Hogen 87 162
3 John "The Viper" Pack 70 146
4 Pat "El Jefe" Richardson 50 110
5 Nick "Dusk" Henning 90 61
6 John "Hot Tub Johnny" Kilbride 89 80
7 Rolinda "Ma" Collinson 80 64
8 Kevin "Shades" Wojtaszczyk 75 15
9 Bob "Strings" Hamel 70 108
10 Jason "Sticky Fingers" Wagner 67 92
11 Tom "Teflon Don" McCorry 67 67
12 Gordon "Itchy" Rodgers 62 49
13 Marshall "Squinty" Daw 60 177
14 Nick "Slumlord" Smith 60 70
15 Tony "Big Tuna" Musella 60 21
16 Paul "Da Spider" Bolduc 50 53
17 Andy "Scarface" Gardner 50 42
18 Adam "The Blast" Nolan 48 74
19 John "Bugs" Elliott 40 53
20 Lucas "The Rev" Poche 30 88
21-29 Robert "Bobby Tweaks" Buccheri 100 100
  Steve "Dancin' Man" Cameron 100 100
  Anthony "Trigger" Daw 100 100
  Andy "The Duke" Joy 100 100
  Andy "The Bug" Lewis 100 100
  Steve "Muscles" Quade 100 100
  Scott "The Bag Man" Sirianna 81 100
  Lyle "Bench" Wenger 100 100
  Phillip "Steak" White 100 100

Youse wrinkled my hat.  Now youse gonna pay.
Nobody messes with Da Spider!

21-29 are the heat winners who didn't come to the semi-finals.  All of them would have been able to play in the semi-final if they'd come, of course.  I showed the tie-breakers for everyone to give you all an idea how our tie-breakers work.  Interestingly, all of the finalists had more assets than the winner (an obvious indication of a joint-winner)!

Current AREA ratings include all 2007 results and are available at: http://wolff.to/area/T_Gangsters.html

7. 2007 Special Awards

Cement Overshoes Sportsmanship Award – We had fewer sportsmanship nominees this year; however, more nominees were mentioned multiple times than ever.  Those who were nominated were Andy "Scarface" Gardner, Tony "Bug Tuna" Musella, Nick "Slumlord" Smith, John "The Fifth Beatle" Speck, and Jason "Sticky Fingers" Wagner.  Each of these players has my thanks for making Gangsters more fun for everyone participating.  I also appreciate all those who took a moment to submit a nomination and tell me what happened -- the more detail given, the better my nomination for the WBC sportsmanship award will be.

The winner, Scarface, was nominated several times this year and was nominated last year too.  As everyone who has ever played Andy knows, Andy makes the game fun whether he's gunning his opponents down mercilessly or watching his own joints burn to the ground.  Andy's a skilled opponent but his primary skill is making the game fun for everyone.  One of his opponents, Henry "Teech" Richardson noted, "I vamped Scarface five times, and he was always a cheerful gentleman about it."  (Cheerful while plotting his eventual criminal domination of the entire city of Chicago, I imagine.)  Andy has made Gangsters the family business by bringing his daughter, April "The Ox," and his son, Ben "Sandman," into the action.  So I'm happy to award Andy this year's all-expense-paid trip to the bottom of Lake Michigan with a brand-new pair of overshoes!

Junior Godfather Award - Lucas "The Rev" Poche and Marshall "Squinty" Daw were the only two new players (0-1 games of prior experience) to make the semi-finals this year.  Squinty prevailed to win the Junior Godfather award by virtue of a 13th place finish (edging his own veteran brother, Anthony "Trigger" Daw who finished 21st).  Both Squinty and The Rev were enamored with Gangsters and played over and over – three times for Squinty and five times for The Rev (winning three of those attempts)!  Congratulations, Squinty!  We look forward to seeing both 'o youse in action over many of the coming years.

"I Think She Likes Me!" Award – This year's winner lost eight gangsters to Vamps in a single game -- just like the winners in the past two years!  Eight seems to be the magic number with the gals.  The ladies flocked to the GM this year in his first game.  This is the first year when John "The Viper" Pack has won one of the special awards.  I kept seeing my best recruits join the other gangs after a few sweet nothings were whispered in their ears.  It goes without saying that I didn't win that game and that I still awake with cold sweats from the nightmares!  There were several mobsters who lost five or six gang members to Vamps and one, Jason "Sticky Fingers" Wagner, who lost seven to claim the runner-up spot.

Roadkill Award – Game winners suffered more violence from their opponents this year than ever.  However, that was little consolation to this year's roadkill.  Andy "The Duke" Joy was tired of all the attention from Vamps last year when he was runner-up for the "I Think She Likes Me!" award, so he turned to hit men to solve his problem.  Of course, when one lives by the heater, one also dies by the heater or the squirt gun.  The Duke took twelve casualties in a single game -- and only one of those was inflicted by the boys in blue!  His opponents gave 'im a break -- a break in the leg, the arm, and the neck too!  (And here I thought my eight losses in a single game to vamps were bad!)

Honorable Mention – Once again there were many unusual happening in the criminal underworld of Chicago that made it tough to pick just one as our honorable mention winner.

2007 saw several multi-winners -- that is, players winning the game using more than one method at once!  Tom "Teflon Don" McCorry completed a Blue Monopoly on the same turn he declared victory with $11,900.  Tony "Big Tuna" Musella claimed a Ten Joint victory at the same time he completed a Red Monopoly!  That's a mighty hard combination for opponents to stop -- they have to take down a joint of a specific color and then face another ten joint threat again on the next turn.  Big Tuna's game also saw three shootouts being resolved on a single turn!

Game #3 of the second heat saw three players report that they were going for the Purple Monopoly!  Steve "Muscles" Quade had one purple joint at the end of the game while Margaret "Trails" Moore also had one and Christian "Squeaky" Rodriguez had two.  That's one tough competition for Purple joints!  Muscles ended up winning with the dough.

Game #11 of the third heat saw Johnny "Yuri Onurr" Hasay, John "The Viper" Pack, and Andy "The Duke" Joy split 25 gangster hits between them -- but only a single seduction!  That's the opposite of this year's Vampage!  This was the game that boosted The Duke to his Roadkill status (with 12 losses) just one year after he learned the hard way that "Vamps are not your friends!"

This was also a good year for the family business.  Besides the trio of Gardners and Daw duo, Forrest "Hatchet Man" Speck also brought two new family members, John "The Fifth Beatle" Speck and Stefany "Pink Panther" Speck.  Andres "Straight Jacket" Dunn and Rebecca "Shiny" Dunn brought their brother, Zack "The Innocent" Dunn.  Christopher "Dice" Yaure and Joe "The Bystander" Yaure entered for the first time.  Many old crime families also continued the business.

Game #3 in the semi-final saw 20 seductions by the participating vamps of Jeffrey "The Head" Hacker (our Godfather), John "Bugs" Elliott, Adam "The Blast" Nolan, Jason "Sticky Fingers" Wagner, and Bob "Strings" Hamel.  The seductions were spread pretty evenly -- with the two highest having five each (for third place finishes for the "I Think She Likes Me!" award).

Rolinda "Ma" Collinson had the correct bribe to stop cop attacks twice in a single game.  But, alas, neither was the correct one to win her a polo shirt.

However, our Honorable Mention winner for 2007 is Paul "Da Spider" Bolduc for his unusual experiences with the cops during the "Year of the Cop."  In a single game, Da Spider drew the Untouchables bribe marker twice in just three tries.  In the same game, Da Spider rolled boxcars (two sixes) with Barney Fife (Cop #2) while wearing the Robocop polo shirt he'd won in an earlier heat.  Barney was doing his best imitation of Robocop!  To win the polo shirt, Da Spider, whose name tag had Robocop on it, had to draw the matching bribe to bend Robocop to his will.  Paul is pictured a couple of times in this report. 

8. Favorite Joints of 2007

The dominant Downtown Bus Station returns to the top of the pack -- but this time tied with Brzkowski's Imports from the more popular of the two blue one-jump strategies.  The companion one-jump joints, however, are both down -- suggesting that fewer players are willing to let someone else snap up both green or blue one-jump joints.  I know I don't want to see an opponent with both!

Then there's the rock solid stable joints -- Greenwood Park, Palace Chophouse, and the Pussycat Club.  All finish in the same position as their over-all, ten-year record.  They're not leaving the Top 10 list any time soon.

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


Winner's Joints




Downtown Bus Station


30.50% 5 1 Slightly UP


Brzkowski's Imports


22.96% 2 5 Way UP


Brizelli's Riverside


28.62% 1 2 Slightly DOWN


Greenwood Park


23.27% 4 4 Slightly UP


Franklin Hostel


16.98% 7 6 UP


Ambassadors' Club

15.65% 24.84% 2 3 Way DOWN


Palace Chophouse

13.04% 16.35% 9 7 Slightly DOWN


Pussycat Club 10.43% 11.64% 7 8 Slightly DOWN


Lou's Diner

10.43% 6.92% 16 13 Way UP


Jaeger's Clothier

7.83% 8.49% 9 11 Slightly DOWN

Serva's Market

7.83% 7.23% 11 12 Slightly UP

Westgate Hotel

7.83% 6.60% 21 15 Way UP

Hotel Belgrave

7.83% 5.66% 21 16 Way Way UP

Huff's Cafe

7.83% 4.40% 27 21 Way Way Way UP

Strohm & Sons Auto Repair

7.83% 4.09% 13 22 Way Way UP


7.83% 1.57% 27 32 Way Way Way Way UP

Over-all numbers nine and ten, SMC Cartage Co. and Taylor's Machine Shop, dropped all the way to a tie for 17th place with a winning share that's roughly half of what's been typical over the last decade.  Westgate Hotel now appears firmly entrenched as the favorite add-on in a Green one-jump strategy with Strohm & Sons Auto Repair also moving up to claim a share of that action.

Grinders' moves into the Top 10 for the first time (thanks to a seven-way tie for 10th place) -- with more winning players holding it from the start this year than in all of the previous years I've been keeping track put together (nine years)!

Greenwood Park and Franklin Hostel are moving up slowly in popularity -- both as foundations for a sneak-up-the-cash strategy as well as favorite add-ons to almost any strategy.  Palace Chophouse and Jaeger's Clothier lose some favor but remain popular add-ons -- and particular favorites of players who are going for ten joints and nothing else right from the get-go.

9. Quotable Gangsters

"I was being optimistic!" -- The Enforcer (trying to collect $800 instead of the $300 due)

"It was a gang war!" -- The Duke (after his three-player game saw 25 casualties)

"Blood!" -- Bobby Tweaks

"The Cops are all on the take.  One shootout and the three cops ignored the vamps working." -- Wheels

"I almost got it!" -- The Blast

"Nevermore," quoth The Raven

"This is just fun!" -- The Enforcer (as The Viper loses
his 7th of an eventual 8 total losses to Vamps)

"Is that excitement or frustration?" -- The Viper (after the Enforcer waves her hands and stomps her feet)

"No    No       No; No; No; No; No; No; No..." -- Shades

"Yes; Yes; Yes; Yes; Yes; Yes; Yes!" -- Dusk

"A more perfect turn" -- Shades (after getting a turn like Dusk's)

"The piranha detect blood in the water." -- The Viper (as Scarface loses both Vamp and Thug on the very first turn as the two gangs right after Scarface make their moves)

The nicknames of "Big Tuna":
    Tony Soprano (after collecting $2,500 on the first two turns)
    Tony "No less than $700" Soprano
    Tony "Made his Bones Shooting Shades"

Fan Mail:
    "Dusk is a slick player -- very smooth." -- Big Tuna
    "Bug Tuna is a fun player." -- Dusk
    "The Viper came to town!" -- Yuri Onurr
    "I had a lot of fun.  Everyone was really nice." -- Pink Panther
    "Everybody was OK!!!" -- The Bag
    "Fun couple of guys -- both very fair." -- Da Joker

No so Fan Mail:
    "Everyone went after me." -- Babycakes

Ladykiller needs two four-packs of Monster energy drinks to keep up
with Squeaky, Sharp Edge, and the Bag Man.

The Chair leans into the action to intimidate his unfazed opponents.  Is it just me or do they look like cool customers?  "We know where the squirt gun is, and we ain't afraid to use it.  Kapeesh?"

10. Game Commentary

There were so many game comments submitted this year which included pertinent observations or advice that I decided to add a comments section to the annual report this year.  Let me know what you think and whether this should be a permanent section (provided players continue to submit such comments, of course).

The Enforcer -- "The winner seemed not to do very much -- rarely using all his moves.  When suddenly we realized that he had nine joints and was sitting in his tenth.  We couldn't stop him, and he cruised to victory."

Ladykiller -- "I waltzed into Squeaky's Sonny's Place, thinking it was unowned.  Squeaky forgot too.  So there was no shootout until the next move!"

Steak -- "I didn't buy enough Racks.  I only had one Rack for seven turns."

Smokin' -- "Dancin' Man opened an early lead in cash.  Clever player!  I blew any number of chances."

Big Tuna -- "Extremely bloody game with a multitude of shootouts -- lots of fun, as always!"

Miss Kitty -- "So close, so very close.  Second time someone beat me with the Red Monopoly while I was one move away from winning."

The Ox -- "Slumlord paid $500 intentionally, so he could give his opponent advice.  He knows a LOT about the game!"

Teech -- "Itchy was one building away from a ten joint win when he won with cash!  Very smoothly done."
"Nuthin' comes between me and my gang, kapeesh?"

Hot Shot -- "T.J. Hooker (Cop #7 aka Captain Kirk) made no hits on the Green Thug."  (It pays to make your opponent roll even when a big cop takes on a 1-Thug or Vamp.)

Ladykiller -- "I sent Robocop to kill Da Spider's Thug in Sonny's Place while Shades had four Blue joints (but going in the wrong direction with his Racketeer).  Shades bought it and then Huff's Cafe for the Blue Monopoly.  My Racketeer entered before the purchase, but the shootouts failed."

One player noted, "The game was taken a bit too seriously at this table."  [ I gots no problem with serious competition.  I likes it, but I hope everyone can joke around and let the gangster banter fly while they're trying to extort, blackmail, rat on, kill, and seduce each other in the future.  No one likes a glum crook.  Keep a smile on yer murderous mug.  Kapeesh?]

11. 2007 Final Report

Jeffrey Hacker moved to “The Head” of the class by collecting ten joints around Chicago almost before anyone else noticed. He also put an end to the record number of championships won in a row with cash. Here, in movement order, are the four finalists, their starting positions, and their status at the end of the game:

Pat “El Jefe” Richardson
Start: 5/1/2; $100; Brzkowski’s Imports, Midland House, Brandon’s Bikeshop
Finish: 4/1/2, 4 Hits, 3 Seductions; $3,800; 4 joints (3 of 6 Blue) – 4th Place

Jeffrey “The Head” Hacker
Start: 4/1/3; $400; Ambassadors’ Club, Palace Chophouse, Huff’s Café
Finish: 4/1/1, 5 Hits, 3 Seductions; $2,500; 10 joints (3 of 6 Blue) – Wins!

Victor “The Waiter” Hogen
Start: 5/1/2; $300; Brizelli’s Riverside, Greenwood Park, Taylor’s Machine Shop
Finish: 2/1/0, 2 Hits, 4 Seductions; $9,100; 5 joints (3 of 7 Green) – 2nd Place

John “The Viper” Pack
Start: 6/1/1; $0; Downtown Bus Station, SMC Cartage Co., Lou’s Diner
Finish: 7/1/2, 3 Hits, 1 Seduction; $4,600, 7 joints (2 of 4 Red) – 3rd Place

Here’s a turn-by-turn report that’ll give you a feel for the action on the streets. As a player in the game, I didn’t note any cash payments (unless they were unusual) so that I wouldn’t have any information not available to the other players. However, as a player I can also add a few notes that give my own thoughts, reasoning, and hindsight on some of the turns.

Setup – The first two joint purchases split the Blue one-jump joints. The next two split the Green one-jump joints. No one in this game was going to get an easy win – we were all going to see to that! The Viper quickly decided that he’d need a large gang to give him flexibility and allow him to stop early leaders in the later stages of the game.

Turn 1 – In an indication of what was coming, El Jefe immediately seduces a Racketeer from the Waiter. “Victor, Buddy!” The Viper quips, “The noy-vah some peoples.”  Robocop (Cop #10) begins to patrol the streets. The Head vamps El Jefe. The Waiter vamps The Viper. The Viper seduces one of El Jefe’s men. It’s the Gangsters' version of the Circle of Life! (Queue Disney music)  Robocop mows down El Jefe’s pair of Thugs. (That sure put an end to the Disney soundtrack awfully fast, didn’t it?)  The Head and the Waiter upgrade their key one-jump establishments.

Turn 2 – El Jefe flashes the cash and hires a Thug for $600. The Head scores a bribe and begins extorting with his Thug. The Waiters heads for more green joints. The Viper sends T.J. Hooker (Cop #7) to the Pussycat Club where he kills one of The Head’s muscle-bound clowns. The Viper, this year’s winner of the “I think She Likes Me!” Award for being seduced the most often, sends his gang’s Vamp to seduce another of El Jefe’s Racketeers. “Please, sir, may I have some more?”

Turn 3 – El Jefe seduces a Racketeer from The Head. Every player has now lost at least one gang member to enemy women. The Head sends his Vamp to collect cash in the Palace Chophouse while his remaining Thugs collect money across the street in the Pussycat Club. Extortion in one-jump joints is very dangerous! The Waiter hauls in the game’s first big payout by getting Public x3 into a level x2 Brizelli’s Riverside for a net of $2,100 over-all. Dirty Harry (Cop #9) riddles The Head’s Vamp with bullet holes. The Viper buys the Hawthorne Hotel and then sends Kojak (Cop #6) to the Pussycat Club where another of The Head’s strongmen is mowed down. That’s three shootouts by Cops against The Head so far – each for exactly one loss!  20/20 Hindsight: The survival of The Head’s Thug despite attacks from T.J. Hooker (Cop #7) and Kojak (Cop #6) allows The Head to collect the small change he needs to purchase cheap gin joints. Next time we’ll have T.J. Hooker order the Enterprise to lock on with photon torpedoes!

Spectators watch the final on the big board.  The Waiter stands in order to reach his pieces.
The GM takes notes for this write-up.  The Head hopes no one will notice his joints.
El Jefe ponders whether the Head's joints or the Waiter's cash is the bigger problem.

Turn 4 – El Jefe vamps a Racketeer from The Waiter. The Viper finally gets his Vamp earning some cash.

Turn 5 – El Jefe vamps The Waiter for a third time at the Westgate Hotel! “Victor, Buddy!” Robocop circles the Downtown Bus Station. El Jefe tells The Waiter, “I’m hoping you could get a bribe” (since a “1” on the blue die will also allow an attack on El Jefe). The Waiter collects a second big payoff – netting $1,800 in the level x2 Brizelli’s. The Viper counters with a massive payoff of $300 in the Downtown Bus Station. Bus tickets are cheap in this town! The Viper’s Racketeer heads into the Astoria House. Three Public markers hang out on The Loop.

Turn 6 – El Jefe sends the public to Midland House. Robocop follows. Public x2 pays $400 to The Head in Hotel Belgrave – twice! The Head uses a bribe to stop John McClane (Cop #8) from breaking up his sweet arrangement. The Viper forgets to buy Astoria House.  20/20 Hindsight: The double public payoff to The Head critically boosts his hurting financial situation.

Turn 7 – El Jefe moves three public markers but gets no payoff. The Head avoids oncoming cops. No payoff for him either! “Five is an amazing Cop roll,” notes El Jefe. The Waiter picks up another $600 payoff in Brizelli’s. We’re starting to think he’s got a counterfeiting operation printing up dough in there. The Viper forgets to buy Astoria House again. Public x3 buys an expensive Bus ticket for $900 (it comes with a free drink). 20/20 Hindsight: The Viper lost all chance in the game when he forgot to buy the Astoria House twice in a row. As it was, The Viper finished with seven joints. Could it have been nine or a Red Monopoly?

Turn 8 – El Jefe bribes. The Head collects zip again – but now owns eight joints and is positioned in a ninth! Whoa – did you catch that? All of the rest of the players are caught just as off-guard by this imminent threat! The Waiter sends Rosco P. Coltrane (Cop #3) to annihilate The Viper’s lone Thug. The Viper’s Racketeer shoots up the Caravan Club (one of The Head’s eight joints) to send all the Public scurrying to escape the Mob War. The Viper loses one man doing the job. The Viper also sends Barney Fife (Cop #2) after The Waiter’s Thug (where, surprisingly, he actually hits one – probably hit him on the big toe after dropping his gun)!

Turn 9 – El Jefe lines a Cop up on The Waiter. “Sorry, Victor, Buddy!” El Jefe empties the public cup to prevent large one-jump payoffs. We’re all worried about that big pile of “tips” The Waiter has accumulated. Where's the IRS when you need 'em?  The Head buys his eighth joint again. The Public x3 visits the Ambassadors’ Club and puts $2,700 in The Head’s pocket. The Waiter continues above average collections with his Thug and Vamp. The Viper pockets $900 when the Public x3 moves over to the Bus Station. Offering free drinks with bus tickets really seems to bring ‘em in!  20/20 Hindsight: Despite not having a Vamp, one huge payoff means The Head’s financial situation is now secure.

"My cash?  Just look at all of The Head's brown joints!"

Turn 10 – El Jefe sends Robocop to hit The Waiter’s lady.  She’s Dead Meat.  The Waiter asks, “Can I win without all of my pieces?”  The Head upgrades his joint and heads to his potential ninth joint.  The Public x3 pays $600 to The Head.  The Waiter picks up another big payoff of $2,300 using Public x3 in Brizelli’s Imports (apparently, they're importing counterfeiting equipment)!  The Viper sends Robocop to slay The Head’s remaining Thug.  Robocop does not disappoint.  The Viper buys his seventh joint, moves into an eighth joint, and seduces The Waiter’s Racketeer.  20/20 Hindsight: My Racketeer move took me away from the Subway in order to get into a new, unowned joint. Given my 7 strength and the critical need for my Racketeer to stop The Head, this was a crucial error.  I should have selected a joint with lots of potential for hitting one of The Head's establishments.  20/20 Hindsight: The Waiter’s innocent “can I win” comment focused El Jefe’s and The Viper’s countermeasures on stopping his cash victory. However, putting on those blinders also let The Head pick up another joint without the opposition he typically would have faced.

Turn 11 – El Jefe seduces the Waiter’s lone remaining Thug.  The Waiter has a lot of cash, but his cash flow has been neutralized and expenditures are coming up (no Thug or Vamp at this point).  On the downside, the Waiter cannot help stop The Head.  El Jefe sends his Racketeer to shoot up The Viper’s Astoria House.  It’s a dangerous move, but is aimed at stopping the Red Monopoly threat (as Viper now owns three of the four red joints).  He needs to roll sixes.  “Think LBA!”  (El Jefe and The Viper also play Victory in the Pacific where Land-based Air [LBA] are likewise hit only on sixes.)  El Jefe whiffs.  He loses one Racketeer in the tommy gun exchange. The Head buys a ninth and heads into his tenth joint.  El Jefe loses another Racketeer but manages to take down the Astoria House.  The Viper’s brief threat is eliminated.  The Waiter pays $1,200 for a new lady.  The Viper buys his seventh joint again.  The Viper vamps The Head’s new 2-strength Thug since his lousy green “1” roll won’t get him to one of The Head’s joints (or anywhere else for that matter).

Turn 12 – El Jefe decriminalizes his Racketeer to prevent Cop-induced casualties.  With no other options (not even from opponents who’d have been glad to spend the $500 kibitzing fee), he also vamps the Head’s last Thug off the board.  The Head then buys his tenth and final joint and recruits the missing Thug with $2,500 in cash to spare.  He keeps his head and wins!  20/20 Hindsight: Removing gangster pieces is almost always a futile way to stop a joint-player from winning. Also worth noting is that The Waiter would have had the cash to win on Turn 11 if his Thug and Vamp hadn’t been removed.  Removing gangster pieces is a great way to stop a cash-player from winning (albeit temporarily).

While defending champion Thomas “Nuts” Richardson couldn’t attend this year as a result of Army basic training, his brother, Pat “El Jefe” Richardson, carried the family torch all the way through the final.  When Nuts returns, he'll be one of a handful of Racketeers with training in the use of real machine guns!  Yeowzah!

Congratulations to Jeffrey “The Head” Hacker on ending the domination of cash magnates and pulling off a ten-joint championship!  Godfather Hacker promises to lead us into the modern mobster era – using computers to acquire real estate cheaply.  “I bought ten joints fer just a few G's.  Youse can do it tooz!  Ordah muh does-it-yerself kit fer only $19.95.  Does it in the next half-hours, and youse’ll get this 'ere tommy gun free.  But is that all?  No, if youse ordah today youse get one – no, wait, two – Valentine’s Day cahdz!  Call now at 1-800-HIT-MEN!  Kapeesh?”

12. Email Competition

The VASSAL game set for Gangsters is now under development.  I expect to announce a PBEM tournament as soon as the module is ready to go.  The good news is that VASSAL is Java-based, so everyone who can access the internet can use it.  There are also stand-alone copies for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux machines.  Even better, VASSAL and its game sets are free of charge!  Bill Thompson is the designer.  He's done outstanding work on other modules (e.g., Victory in the Pacific).

With any luck, we'll have PBEM competition back under way again early in 2009!

13. Copies of the Game

The good news is that, once more, I have been able to obtain copies of the game.  Thankfully, the prices have not gone up since last year!

I have one jumbo-size unique demo copy (the board and pieces are four-times the normal size) available, after the tournament, in its own tube for $99.   I have two new, shrink-wrapped copies available for $60.  I have one partially unpunched copy for $40.  I guarantee that all games are complete and in boxes that have no damage worse than minor shelf wear or a tiny crease.  I charge a flat $8 for shipping within the USA.  Email me for more details.  All copies are first-paid, first-served.  With luck I may pick up a used copy or two ($35) before the convention.

The profit on each sale (~$5) is used for special awards, name tags, timers, squirt guns, fedoras, shirts and other goodies for the tournament.  If you ever run into a copy that you don't buy, let me know.  I buy them to keep the tournament well-stocked!  Thank you!

14. See youse in two months!

That's all the news for the upcoming event and all the details from last year's tournament.  You can get additional statistics, reports, articles, and information at http://www.gameaholics.com/gangsters_tournament.htm!

I hope to see you all playing in our Gangsters' "Vampage!" in just a few weeks!  Don't let a pretty face distract you from collecting your piece of the action.


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