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Review by: Pete Hines
Published: February 5, 1999
Movies and books have effectively romanticized the idea of organized crime. It’s the idea of so much power, people living in fear of you, the money, the reputation, and so on. Gangsters: Organized Crime gives you the chance to head up your own crime family, recruit hoods, extort, kill, destroy, bribe, and do whatever it takes to seize control of the city. If you play your cards just right, and walk the fine line between notorious criminal and respected “businessman,” you can make it all the way to mayor of the city.
The game is played in turns, each a week in length. In between turns you have time to do all of the housekeeping duties you need to attend to, like recruiting and giving orders. The turns themselves are done in real time, and can be sped up or slowed down depending on whether there are any on-the-fly commands to issue or if you just want to let things play out. The game is played against a number of other gangs, each represented by a particular color (they all wear matching zoot suits). Your relationship with other gang leaders and gangs can be adversarial or cordial in nature. You may decide to approach a game in a ruthless manner, using terror and violence, or put up a front and use bribes and contributions to garner favor.
Hoods are the staple of the game, and you need to recruit them to your gang to make use of their special skills. There are a number of different attributes for every hood and each receives a rating of 1/2 to 5 stars for each attribute. These can include intelligence, firearms, fists, intimidation, and so on. These attributes indicate how good a given hood will do in different assignments, like recruiting, gunfights, fighting, and extortion. You will use lieutenants to organize your hoods into groups that will carry out different assignments. So, if you have three hoods and a lieutenant that are all high in firearms, you may decide to use them for violent attacks against other gangs or to kill hoods that wander into your territory. Lieutenants are simply hoods that have attribute levels high enough to make them good leaders.
There are a couple main ways to make money for your gang. You can extort it from area businesspeople who pay for your protection, or you can run illegal businesses that use legitimate businesses as fronts and either generate revenue through goods (stolen things, illegal goods like liquor) or services (i.e., prostitution). So in between each week/turn, you allocate the hoods you have to performing various activities, like recruiting new hoods for your gang, expanding the area of protection from which you extort money, or setting up illegal businesses. You do this by assigning tasks to each of your lieutenants, based on their strengths and those of the hoods under their control, who in turn decide who will do what and how long it will take. During the turn you can also have the hoods break from their appointed duties to do special tasks, like attack a hood that is infringing upon your turf, or attacking hostile gang members.
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