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Discreetly fork over bribes to the powers that be--at least if they're handing out lucrative construction contracts. If your bribes are generous enough, your firm will get good contracts and its bottom line will swell. If your competitors' lucre shines brighter, though, you've lost opportunities, profits, and the satisfaction of knowing that some bureaucrat's Carribean tour on your dime was at least good for something. Designed by Bruno Faidutti (the mind behind Knightmare Chess), Corruption is a card game that combines the crafty deception of poker with the crooked milieu of the Gilded Age.
Average Rating: 4 in 4 reviews
One of my favourite short games, for 3-7 players. The rules are short and very clearly written, however it is difficult to distinguish between the player cards that are played face down. They are all a pastel shade of similar colours. If you have poor eyesight leave this one alone.
I love card games, I've played a lot. Here you play the Godfather of gangsters in a quick and simple game with plenty of bluffing, strategy, and pure luck. It's a must own and definitely fun for two or more players. The game design is straight forward and easy to pick up. Check out Titan: Arena, Grand Master, and Pestilence also, some of my other favorites. -JDM
This is a nice little filler that requires some thinking. The mechanics are simple, the rules are easy to learn but there is just a truckload of difficult choices to make.
The cards are also very easy on the eye, as well as all nicely art deco themed.
I was not impressed with a bluff aspect of the game from the description, but it is more of a thinking game than a bluffing game. Good with a few people, with very little downtime. A game that will get a few plays.
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Bribery. Assassination. Theft. What an exciting way to spend your playing time! Your goal is to get the greatest dollar amount in contracts for your construction firm. Six new contracts belonging to three government bodies are on sale in each of four rounds. In the bidding phase, players take turns placing bribes on the contracts or government cards. They may also place an attorney (deferring a contract until next round), a reporter (removing one bribe), or a hit man (removing a person) on a contract. When everyone has played six cards, all cards are turned faceup and situations resolved. A government bribe is applied at half face value to one of its contracts. Each contract is won by the most generous palm-greaser. Bribe money cards are retrieved for use in subsequent rounds. Hey, it's only a game... isn't it?
In 1992 Doris and Frank published a little game called Banana Republic. In it players used bribe cards to try and win votes in some Latin American election. The money cards came in two types: the local currency and US dollars. (The designer was seemingly under the impression that the American Government is in the habit of interfering in the political affairs of its near neighbours. Damn sauce! I am surprised they didn't sue.). The dollar bribes tended to be worth more but were vulnerable to the disclosures of local investigative journalists. Further spicing the pack were hit men and bodyguards. The game was much liked by many, including Mike Siggins who gave it a very favourable review in Sumo (issue 10/11). Others, and these included my group, thought it quite entertaining but a bit too lacking in substance to be able to hold our attention for long. A couple of plays was all it ever got with us. Bruno Faidutti would seem to have felt the same, for what he has done here is take the same general idea and some of the same mechanics -- an act duly and properly acknowledged in the game credits -- and design a game with a bit more weight. The scenario has also been changed. This time the players are building firms trying to secure lucrative contracts by lining the pockets of local officials. The game is dedicated to Jean Tiberi, the mayor of Paris.
Each player has a set of ten cards consisting of six bribes, a district attorney, two journalists and a hit man. The bribes recycle, the characters are `one use' and the game is played over four rounds.
There are three sets of officials -- City Hall, the County Seat and the Capitol -- and each has two new contracts to allocate each turn. The contracts vary in value from 100,000 up to 1,200,000. Players take it in turns to assign cards to contracts. Some of the cards will be played face up, others face down -- rather in the fashion of a game of Poker. In later rounds the proportion played face up increases, neatly simulating the fact that the further you get your snout into this sort of trough, the easier it becomes to find out what level of bribes your rivals are offering. Character cards are always played on to specific contracts; bribe cards can be played either on to a specific contract or into the department's Swiss bank account. The advantage of the latter is that the money is safe from the prying eyes of journalists and can be assigned to either of the department's contracts at a late stage in the proceedings; the disadvantage is that the associated costs are higher and so the bribe's real value is only half its nominal value.
When each player has played six cards, all the cards are turned over and you work out who has got what. First, money in Swiss accounts is allocated to specific contracts. Then hit men do their job, killing one of the other characters allocated to the contract. Next come the district attorneys who, horrified at what they see, cancel the contract to which they have been assigned. Finally, you have the journalists who each blow the whistle on a bribe and thereby nullify it. All that done, you add up the numbers and the person who has paid most gets the contract. Any cancelled contracts carry over to the next round.
The game is still a light one. Coming from Bruno you wouldn't expect anything else, since he prefers games that are light and fun to those that are heavy and serious. There is no point in designing a game that you aren't going to enjoy playing yourself! However, though still light, the game achieves its aim of being a more substantial, and in my view a better, game than the one that inspired it. The sort of things that made Banana Republic entertaining are still there, but there are more tactical options, you are less reliant on guesswork and the scoring system is more finely graded. I am not keen on games where the victory points come in a few large lumps and that was rather the case in Banana Republic. Corruption is much better in this regard, with 24 contracts to be assigned as opposed to 7 in the earlier game. The game is also well suited to variants. There are some suggested in the rules and you could also devise your own, for example increasing the role of the journalists and hit men by making them `double use' rather than single.