With Christmas gift shopping hitting its peak, we’re providing some reviews of games we’ve discovered.
By Wendy Carson
I played “Road to Infamy” in a playtest demo at this year’s GenCon and really loved it. The game seems complex at first, but after you’ve played it once, the mechanics and strategy are easy to follow. Each player is a wealthy gang leader in Chicago who is competing against rival gangs to become the most infamous of all.
Players have color-coded cards with values from 1 to 6 which are used to bid for one of the three available Resources each turn. Each resource contains a benefit that makes it valuable to your empire: Gangsters (red), which have special abilities to give you strategic advantages; Contraband (green), helps you amass infamy points which lead to eventual victory; and the Cop (blue) who accepts bribes to not confiscate your contraband and to target opponent’s types.
Players spend each turn placing three bids on one or all of the resources. After all bids are made, the player with the highest total for a resource wins the benefits therein. Play then continues until all 12 of the Gangster cards have been claimed. Infamy points are totaled and a victor is declared.
What makes this game more of a challenge is that the designers have taken care to add a lot of checks and balances to the mechanics. They have added bid actions to the cards valued 1 or 2 which make them more valuable and extremely powerful in the right combination.
Also, the Gangster’s abilities are far more useful than you might think at first glance. In fact, The Launderer and The Guard have abilities that can potentially dominate game play if they are acquired early or together. The randomness of any one Gangster’s appearance helps, but know that anyone having either of these will quickly be the target of an assassination attempt.
It is clear that the designers went to a lot of effort to make a playable game that holds up to repeat play. Therefore, it is no surprise that they hit their Kickstarter goal within 4 hours of it going live. They are still working to finalize printing and distribution; for more information, follow their Facebook page.