Speakeasyby Ian. Fri, 17 Nov (Updated at Fri, 17 Nov)
Speakeasy is a new game by Vital Lacerda that we had the chance to play at the club last night. The game is set in the 1920s, during the Prohibition era, and features historical gangsters as characters.
The game is a worker placement game, where each player controls a "gangster family" and uses 4 Capos as workers. The number of workers decrease, 3 in the second and third round followed by 1in the final round.
The game has two main phases: action and scoring. In the action phase, players place their workers and perform various actions, such as building, producing and running alcohol, attacking ships in the dock and increasing one of 5 progression tracks. In the scoring phase, there is a "Mob War" where players compare their strength and eliminate weaker opponents. Then, there is an area control scoring, where players earn "Safe" money for having the most influence in different locations.
Money is the key to victory in this game. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins. However, there are two types of money: "Safe" and "Quick". "Safe" money is earned through area control and objectives, but can only be spent at a 2 to 1 ratio. "Quick" money is earned by selling barrels and robbing ships, and can be spent normally.
Money is also needed to build buildings, which are essential for area control and production.
The game also has two types of enemies: cops and mobsters. Cops can shut down your buildings, preventing you from using them. Mobsters can attack you, unless you are stronger than them and can fight back.
Some interesting mechanics stood out to me.
First, you have 4 different cards which relate to different actions. In many areas on the board, you can play one of these cards which may result in producing barrels at your still, having people consume them for money, put out family members to protect your places or moving you delivery truck(s). These card actions vary in strength according to 1 of 4 tracks that you can increase using other actions.
The 5th track is your strength which is used to attack and defend.
Not got enough strength? Well you can also associate with mobsters on the board. So when you are attacked you can “hire them” to prevent the attack. Or you can simply use some of your expendable goons.
Now this is not a review but rather and overview of our first play. There is a lot more to this than you first see.
We really enjoyed this game and felt immersed in its theme. The game mechanics were smooth and intuitive, and we had no problems with the rules once we started playing.
Looks like another backer on KS here. Although one downside to playing these early versions … we have to wait so long before we can get our hands on them