“Luke, I am your Godfather”
-the Godfather, probably
Okay, so I haven’t actually seen the movies. But I gather there’s some sort of mafia, and bloody horse heads, and things that are not personal, just business.
Anyway, The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire has you running an Italian mob family in New York circa whatever years the Godfather is set in. It’s sort of a mixture of worker placement and area control.
Your “workers” to place include both Family and Thugs. Thugs you send to shake down businesses, which gives you some benefit – you can stash money in your briefcase, collect different resources (guns, drugs, booze), or get your hands on a new job. Family members go to special points in the city to exert their influence, and grant you bonuses from every business in the regions they’re touching – although these bonuses come from “out back” so to speak and aren’t as powerful as the individual businesses.
You can also complete jobs, which generally requires a set of resources cards that then grants you more money and some bonus ability. You’ll be able to stash cash, move your thugs around to use them a second time, or even knock off other player’s figures and dump them in the river.
At the end of each round, you’ll see who’s got the most figures touching each section of the city to see who controls that area (Area control, get it?). If you control an area, you get to use any business there every time someone sends a thug to shake it down. You’ll also get a chance to bid on allies, which grant permanent bonuses to help you achieve your goals.
After four rounds, you tally up your cash and see who wins.
For a game based on a movie, there’s a surprising amount of intricacy here. There’s plenty of point-scoring methods, and no shortage of ways to manipulate the board to get to the businesses you need. After my first play, though, I do feel like the game lasted maybe one round too long. By the end of the fourth round it got to the point where everything was kinda “done” and we were are just stretching our figures to scrape up the last tiny bits of points, and everyone at the table felt like the game lasted an hour, hour-and-a-half too long.
But hey. At least we weren’t sleeping with the fishes.