Gangsters, Gun Molls and G-Men

Game design by

Published by
Magic and Tactics Unlimited

Components:- 16-page A5 rule book, 40 character cards, 90 action cards, 1 A4 sheet of (63) loot markers, 1 A5 jail card.

Where FAMILY BUSINESS recreates in an abstract way the struggle of the bootlegging and vice gangs of New York and Chicago during the 20's, Gangsters, Gun Molls and G-Men(3G's) does the same for the desperate bank robbers of the Depression hit Mid-west America of the 1930's. One to five players take the role of gangs as they try to stay one jump ahead of the law while amassing enough money to retire into obscurity ie win the game. You start with a gang of two from an initial deal of 5, who may be leaders, gun molls or gangsters. Each has three different traits of cunning, charm and combat and also a code letter signifying to which historical gang the character belonged. This is important as if all your gang members have the same code they have a certain symbiosis and work well together, gaining bonuses on their traits and lowering the conditions for your victory.

Player turns progress quickly, starting with a draw phase for either action cards or character cards, dependent on the character types in your gang. Some action cards are events which must be resolved immediately, eg Public Outcry or a bust, while others supply hold cards, such as getaway cars, tommy guns, police patrol or a bank job, then you keep these for later in the turn. If a gang member is arrested you have the option of accepting your fate and going to jail, or blasting you way out of trouble but with the danger of getting killed. Next you can try to recruit new members to your gang from those in play, either from a rival gang or you could try to break an arrested character out of jail, but after this phase you are allowed a maximum of 5 characters in your gang, so you may need to discard at this time.

Next why not try and pull off a bank robbery or kidnapping if you feel your gang is hard enough? These are action hold cards which you play now, which require you to total one or more of your gangs traits and then roll equal to or less than these values on a number of dice. Obviously the more dice you need to roll, the harder the job, but the resulting reward in loot markers is correspondingly greater, but a failure results in a 1-in-6 chance of a gang member getting killed. After the jobs phase, discard your hold cards to 5, then check to see if you have enough money to win or play proceeds to the next player.

One thing to keep in mind playing 3G's is that the composition of your gang will be quite prone to change as play progresses and events take their toll, which can throw a player used to FAMILY, where keeping you gang members is of prime concern. I was also a little miffed in that I was supposed to cut out the loot markers from the sheet they had provided, but after photocopying the sheet I still managed to cock this up, and ended up using some blank playing cards from work to make the loot markers. There were no dice supplied either, I suspect that the publishers thought that anyone buying the game has probably got a bucket load already. The artwork is pretty dire too, lets hope you are too busy dodging the FBI to worry about that.

First published in LiES 50, November 1996.

Back to Main, where you can e-mail me. Copyright 2001/2002 John Cudmore.