highly competitive worker placement / area control plus car bombs, extortion and general mayhem
The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire is a Family¹ + level game of Short + length. It is playable by 1 to 5 players.
This review focuses on the solo play experience.
The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire has a fan-made solo mode designed by Martin G which is available at BoardGameGeek. Martin has designed the solo mode with 3 distinct ‘personalities’ of the AI player available – Don Vito, Michael and Sonny and has even gone to the trouble of making printable cards for each. I’ve played with Vito alone and with Vito and Michael (solo vs. 2 AI players) – this is quite manageable, shows off the different ‘personalities’ of the opponent and is a rewarding solo play experience.
The best bits of this game are the quality of the worker placement / area control decisions within the gameplay – this is a quality, thought-filled game. The excellent miniatures, suitcases for your ill-gotten gains, and board, and the strong theme which carries through all aspects of the game also greatly enhance the play experience.
The worst bit of The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire is hard to identify, actually – this is a solid, under-rated game. Some people may dislike the theme, but it’s everything you’d expect from the game title and movie folklore.
This game oozes theme. The box is slightly menacing. The miniatures are detailed and look outright dangerous.
There are two types of workers – family members and thugs, and each has different action spaces. You’ll get access to extra family members through the four Acts (rounds) of the game, and you may get more quasi-members and quasi-thugs (Allies) through . . . . bribery and corruption, of course!
Placing a worker gets you an immediate benefit, but also factors into area control for the next Act, which might get you extra benefits (depending on what your opponent does in future) – and also factors into end-game area control and scoring. So, there are short, medium and long-term consequences of each action you take and the game deals with these elegantly.
Another great part of this game is that it’s not enough to earn your ill-gotten gains – you also need to launder the money and tuck it away in your family suitcase.
Martin’s decision to include three distinct personalities for the AI player adds to the replayability of the solo game. ² The game is already quite diverse because it has 18 Ally cards, and you won’t use more than 6 of them in any solo game (9 if you play against two opponents). A different mix of new businesses each game also adds to replayability.
Every time I have played this game multiplayer, everyone’s had a blast ³ and that fun continues into this solo mode.
BoardGameGeek rates this game as 2.60 out of 5 in weight, (at the time of publication of this review), though that rating doesn’t distinguish between solo and multiplayer games and so is not adjusted to reflect the changes involved in solo play. I think this reflects the game’s decision complexity well – but, it remains easy to teach and quick to play.
Used to be fairly easy to find, but a bit scarcer now – try Gamerholic.
¹ it’s a Family ‘level’ game in complexity, because that’s one of our four categories. You could debate whether a game themed around extortion, illegal goods and the occasional murder or two could ever be considered a ‘family game’…. your family may vary 🙂
² I haven’t tested the “Sonny” AI player.
³ Yes, that’s a car-bomb pun 😉
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. Franz Kafka