The Godfather: Fun for the whole "Family"
Game theming has always been one of my favorite aspects of a game. Be it cheesy or serious, the theming immerses you into the story, setting, and feelings of the game. It can even evoke some silly role-playing, which always keeps things light when competing to win. Good, consistent theming (alongside solid mechanics) can be one of the best assets a game can have and bring folks back time and time again for more. And, in the last year, no game embodies this more for me than The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire.
The gameplay is simple: On your turn, you’ll take thugs and/or family members and place them at a variety of spots throughout New York City to acquire resources (guns, counterfeit money, and liquor), money, jobs (which earns you money), and/or the ability to bank money in your personal suitcase. The placement and timing of your crew is important, however, as you can only complete jobs when you have at least one figure left to place each round. Future family members will be added in the subsequent rounds and the winner is the person with the most amount of cash banked at the end of the game.
Seems too simple, eh? That’s where you’re wrong. Jobs mess with other players, sometimes sending your thug to “sleep with the fishes” (I couldn’t pass up a time to use this and won’t apologize for doing so). There’s a limited number of “good spots” left each turn to place. To start you may only have access to one single building from which to earn a particular resource and future buildings may not add much more variety. Furthermore, at the conclusion of placement, certain families may put down some roots within a particular neighborhood, if you know what I mean. Which may, shall we say, give them some ‘advantages’ lest a member of a rival family happens to ‘frequent’ their turf.
This game is not forgiving; one rogue car bomb could ruin your plans for the round in a game where getting set back multiple turns could very well cost you the victory. However, I think this doesn’t leave the game flawed; there are a variety of avenues for which you can pursue gaining turf, an eclectic set of public jobs available to complete each round, and (if all else fails) the game is quick enough to get 2-3 games off in an afternoon. The game isn’t “heavy” by relative standards of board gaming/worker placement and most mechanics can be picked up pretty quickly.
Overall, I love The Godfather. It seamlessly blends theming with stellar light-medium worker-placement gameplay and (if I might say so myself) some pretty cool figures! Heck, the first player token is the horsehead from under the pillow! I’d recommend this game to those who sincerely enjoy a well-made, not-too-heavy game. My only request is to see more expansions come out soon!
Creativity: 8.5/10 (I boosted it here for the theming)
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Replay ability: 9/10
Final Score: 8.75/10