So you think you’re a tough guy? Mob Town is a fun mobster themed area control game by Danny Devine (originally published by 5th Street Games). In Mob Town, players take on the role of rival gangs who are vying for control of various locations around the city, trying to flex their muscles and push out the competition.
The Set-up ^
The game begins with one of the coolest and most enjoyable set-ups of any game I own. Location cards are placed out randomly. When one card is placed, it also indicates which
direction the following card should be placed in. This results in not only variation in the types of cards that are out each game, but also the shape in which the cards create. Three additional location cards are placed along the city and are considered the “open lot”.
Players are dealt three cards from the deck, which is made up of mostly henchman. Henchman come numbered 1-3 in each of the suits: snakes, sharks, foxes, rats, and weasels. Also included in the deck are cash cards and the Law card, which is shuffled into the final ten cards of the game and ends the game immediately when drawn.
Players select any two of their bonus cards/“agendas” (Bonuses include requirements such as “control the most casinos” or “Control the most different types of locations”) which will earn extra points at the end of the game, and they will also receive 3 briefcase tokens.
You’re now ready to show what you’re made of
The Gameplay ^
Five cards are revealed from the deck and make up the shared bank or the “lineup”. On a player’s turn, they may perform one of the following actions:
- draw two cards from the deck
- trade any 1 card from their hand for all of one type of card from the lineup (i.e. all of the weasel cards showing)
- discard a wild “Cash” card to take any two cards from the lineup
- take over a property by paying its associated cost – Each location has a specific cost and type associated with it. For instance, restaurants are always purchased using rats and sharks. If a restaurant has a value of 4, a player must discard either four rats or four sharks (but not a combination of the two). Once a player pays this cost, they may place one of their gang tokens on the location. Other players may take over that location on future turns by paying the cost plus 1 for each gang token already on the location. If you want to take over a location, you must also already own a location adjacent to it or you will have to pay extra fees for the distance as well (you can’t muscle something not in your own territory without an extra cost!).
- swap out one of their agendas
- discard one of their briefcase tokens in order to take a new location card from the open lot to be placed anywhere around the outer edge of the city and to be taken over immediately.
Once the law is drawn from the deck, players add up the totals of all of the locations they own as well as all of their bonuses that they have completed and their unspent briefcase tokens. The player with the
highest score wins!
The Closing Remarks ^
The Highs: ^
Mob Town is a great game that is well-balanced, easy to learn, easy to teach and will have you have you feeling like a tough guy in no time. The great artwork has a family-friendly appeal that makes it okay for even kids to dirty their hands a little. The game is highly scalable with minor adjustments that allow gamers of any age to enjoy it. However, don’t let the family-friendly art fool you, this game is packed full of enough strategy to keep seasoned gamers happy. To make it all even better, the box comes bursting at the seams with a plethora of expansion cards, add-ons, and alternate rules (that allow for co-op play). So regardless of what your play style is, this game will help you accommodate it and truly bring out your inner bruiser!
The lows ^
Well I chose this game as my first review because it really is a fantastic and well put together game so the lows are few. I do not have many lows to say about Mob Town but I will pick out a few things. We sometimes find that playing three games as the rules suggest can be a bit long. Two works well and even one game does not ever leave you feeling like you are wanting for more. Each game is a great experience and we just feel that three in a row is not necessarily required. We also found that although rare, bad flops can sometimes be an unwelcome creature. As with any card driven game, there is always the possibility that the cards in the lineup will not be what you are looking for. Luckily, you can always draw blind from the deck and the lineup changes rather quickly. The types of cards you need are very well distributed among the locations and the balance really makes bad flops a very seldom occurrence.
Final Thoughts ^
Overall, we are huge fans of Mob Town and play it fairly often. My biggest issue is that it is not readily available as 5th Street Games is no longer in business! If you can find a copy of this game, I highly suggest you pick it up as fast as you can and hold on to it for dear life. Don’t be a stooge and get it already!