|2005 WBC Report|
2006 Status: pending 2006 GM commitment
"Squirt Guns? I don't know nothin' about no squirt guns, officer. Honest! I ain't seen any."
We might not admit it to curious cops, but we all know they were there. The Gangsters tournament had more squirt guns and more shootout losses per game than ever!
There are two types of games 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.
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. Since the cat is already out of the bag, I'll let everyone know—next year I'll provide souvenir plastic fedoras for every player. Bring your squirt gun from this year, and you'll be all decked out! I'm looking forward to it.
Thank you for joining the mob this year. Let me know what you think and how we can improve for next year by returning the survey. See you next year!
We set a lot of records and firsts this year. These include the following:
# Previous record was set last year
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! Ten joint and monopoly wins are near, but not quite at, their highest levels this year (36%). 2) Winners continue to be seduced less often and take fewer hits than everyone else. If we're “beating up on the leader” wouldn't the reverse be true?
It stayed “Dusk” all year. Nick “Dusk" Henning proved that last year was no fluke by repeating his Championship. Our two-time Godfather played a perfect Sneak-up-the-Cash strategy that culminated in $11,400 after 14 turns. Interestingly, Jim “The Instigator” Castonguay repeated his second place finish while Robert “Bobby Tweaks” Buccheri moved from third to fourth. The lone player in this year's Final who didn't play in last year's final was Nick “Slumlord" Smith.
Here are the top
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 gameboard in the future.
The results have been sent to AREA. Updated ratings will be available shortly 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 payout and returned the dough. He's so honest I'm not sure if we can call him a gangster! Side Step is one more reason Gangsters is a great tournament -- we have many great individuals 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 of players who go out of their way to ensure their opponents are enjoying the game. Thank you and thanks to those who pointed out the good deeds of their opponents!
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 made it to the semifinals. Scott “the Zoo” barely edged Don “Foot Long” with tie-breakers of 56% to 50% 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 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 semifinals in the last heat. She took eight hits during shootouts during her semifinal too. Obviously, we can expect that a little opposition will not be enough to stop this “Angel."
Roadkill Award Last year's roadkill took 11 hits. The GM took eleven in the opening heat this year. I looked like roadkill! I felt like roadkill. But this year's winner was completely unrecognizable road pizza after taking 15 hits in mob violence. Can you even feel pain at that point? Thankfully, we identified the body from 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 oil and powder before his face is baby soft 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.
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 had finished 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 passed the coppers so much cash under the table!
John “The Viper” Pack had the only Red monopoly of the entire tournament. He also 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. 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, upgraded 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 x3 Public pays three visits. Blair “The Plug" Morgen writes, “Two Turns???" Tom “The Duck" Vickery notes, “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.)
Andy “The Duke” Joy won the very first heat with 10 joints and $10,100 in cash at the same time! He made money even though he was spending it on new establishments! The Duke also finished in sixth place this year. Amazingly, this is the Duke's second straight sixth place -- just enough to get a team point but just shy of winning wood!
Joshua “Radio” Ostrander sent the cops after Peter "Numbers” Staab's joint which was 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 semifinal game. But this is the year perseverance pays off. In the second heat, Angel became the only player in recorded 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:
The top four joints haven't changed in the last 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 fifth place and taking ninth 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 overall as a popular Green add-on (and the personal favorite of the Slumlord).
Serva's Market—a good combination with perennial fourth place Greenwood Park—moved up to tenth 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 (of which we saw 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' your 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
"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 ruined her chance at a Purple Monopoly)
"Two, Four, Six -- Fifty-Fifty shot.” — Dusk (explaining probability)
After much commentary and talk about kibitzing via reminding
a player to move the cops:
"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 gang's Vamp)
"It's HOW he got the money!” — Muscles the Demo Monkey
6. Final Report
The starting and final positions of the 2005 Final (in order of finish) were as follows:
Nick “Dusk” Henning (Southern Syndicate)
Jim “The Instigator” Castonguay (Purple People-Eaters)
Nick “Slumlord” Smith (North Shore Mob)
Robert “Bobby Tweaks” Buccheri (North Shore Mob)
Interestingly, all of the finalists start with just one Thug. 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. It's interesting that neither of the other players felt it was critical to break those sets.
A big thank you to “Dusk” for taking notes throughout the game so that we could enjoy this snapshot 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. Can you see how the game takes shape?
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's Dusk sneak in with a less obvious cash collection strategy. In fact, Dusk only collect one really big haul—letting the other players believe he was no threat. Note too how Dusk refuses to spend money—even when his gang drop dangerously low on Turn 12.
The bloodshed in this game was minimal—with only 8 total gang violence related losses—even though the players had ramped up the strength of their gangs in order to launch 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 cna pull off consistent victories. 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. 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 used copies for $35. The used copies are all in good condition (most having been played just a few times), guaranteed complete, and in boxes that have nothing worse than minor shelf wear or a tiny crease. Unpunched copies (which I don't have at the moment) sell for $45. 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 on special awards, name tags, timers, 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!
8. See you in 2006!
I hope you've enjoyed this newsletter! Come again next year and wear your Gangster pride on your head!
For anyone who wants even more statistics and information on the games played this year, there's more (and more than ever) on my website: See link above.
See youse criminal masterminds next year! John
The complete and current errata/FAQ for Gangsters is at http://www.gameaholics.com/gsr_clarifications.htm.
|GM||John Pack [9th Year]||11213 Keota Drive, Parker, CO 80134|
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