As a GenXer, there are a few iconic movies that stand out for our generation that have actually become classics. I remember seeing the original Star Wars in the movie theater while visiting my aunt and uncle. It created a lasting bond that continues to grow with the release of new episodes like Star Wars Rogue One. For my brother, however, there was a different one he latched onto: The Godfather. With horse heads in beds and all the brutality that goes along with it, he was hooked. He was only a toddler when they first released in theaters, but somewhere in high school, he discovered the franchise and the rest is history.
Don’t get me wrong, The Godfather was a spectacular movie and worthy of the awards it received. But I moved past it long ago. Well, so I thought. During Gen Con, we spotted The Godfather A New Don at the IDW Games booth and it stopped me dead in my tracks like concrete boots. The sheer site of the board, a map of New York City, and dice… oh, so many dice, was all it took to have me hooked! Considering how much I rave about them, I’m sure you have already figured out that dice games are usually big hits for me because the luck factor helps mitigate deficits I have in developing a meaningful strategy. The concept of this godfather game is to control the most boroughs of New York City. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. You’ll need luck and strategy to claim the title of most influential and dominant mafia crime family.
There are a number of different things happening in this so let me start by explaining the basics. The board is a map, broken into boroughs and further broken into smaller neighborhoods. In addition, there is the river referencing different bribery options, a section for gambling as well as a muscle track. To control a neighborhood, you need to roll (or acquire) the designated dice. The game continues until one of the six boroughs is completed and controlled by one or a combination of the six participating crime families. But just like real life, there is so much more happening: Bribery, gambling and of course, muscle. No criminal enterprise can function without the proper level of muscle.
At the beginning of each turn, the Don is determined by which family has the most muscle (more about that in a minute). All the families roll their dice behind a privacy screen then proceed to make an offer to the Don. We don’t know how much the real crime families worked together, but there is no doubt that they made offerings to each other to gain access to neighborhoods, get favors and more. The same holds true with the game. Since the goal is to control the neighborhoods based on dice rolls, the face value of some dice may be more valuable to one family working to control that area. Each family makes an offer (of one of their dice) and the Don can either accept it or ask for something they hope is hidden behind the screen. If the Don accepts it, that dice belongs to them and the family making the offering can add a person to the river where favors are tracked. If the Don asks for a different one, the player reveals their dice and has to fulfill the request if they own it. The Don proceeds around the families accepting the bribes or denying them.
Now it is time for everyone to claim their areas. Using the dice in their pool, players spend them to claim various neighborhoods. In addition, dice can be used to take their chances in Vegas or add muscle to their family. For gambling, the dice is spent and a person is added to a specific number. At the beginning of each round, the new Don rolls the gambling dice and if that number rolls, the gambler gets to add that die to their pool.
At the end of a player’s turn, they can opt to spend additional or leftover dice to gain more status in the form of muscle. With muscle, the track moves up based on the value of the die. The reason this is important is because the godfather with the most muscle at the end of the turn becomes the new Don.
Favors can be cashed in at any time and if a player has more muscle, can knock someone else out of a neighborhood. As I said, the game continues until one entire borough is filled. At that time, points are awarded based on how much status each family has in the various areas. The one with the most overall points wins. Even though it requires a little bit of strategy for calculating what to play and when, the game is easy enough for non-gamers to join in. Accommodating up to 6 people, The Godfather A New Don is a great option for get-togethers and game nights.
While other titles we have played from IDW Games have been good for families and new gamers, this is the first one we have tried with a darker underlying theme. Despite the storyline, the game itself is easy to play and a lot of fun as long as you learn the necessity of bribing! Eavesdrop on IDW’s Twitter and Facebook pages to find out what else they are scheming. Since there aren’t any whispers of a new Godfather movie any time soon, if you have an interest in a mafia-themed game or enjoy dice games, you can pick up The Godfather A New Don on Amazon for around $40.
What is your favorite mafia-themed show or movie?