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Travel back to New York's golden age of gangsters, where you get to take on the role of a crime boss in 1950's Little Italy. Make your rounds about town as you pick up money from different buildings, but watch out for the "heat"!
Each crime boss shares control of two cars, each with a different opponent. Drive through the streets, timing it right to collect money and avoid the police.
Play strategically, and you'll be able to drive your opponents straight into a stakeout, costing them big money while you collect the big score. If you don't, you'll find yourself sleeping with the fishes!
One of the chores, I imagine, of being married to a gamer is finding games that he/she will actually be surprised to receive. But my wife was on a mission to locate a game, pick it out all by herself, and surprise me with it. And Little Italy is the result of her Christmas shopping this year. Needless to say, I was not just surprised, but somewhat impressed as well. It’s a game designed by Reiner Knizia, and it’s usually a good bet that I will like his designs. It has a gangster theme which is a fairly new thing in my collection. Not to mention the fact that it’s a lighter game so it will see more play time in our group. But what did I think of the gameplay? Read on...
What do you get with Little Italy? In the box is a game board, a police marker, a money marker, 6 colored wooden cars, 6 colored six-sided dice, 12 control cards (2 each in the 6 colors), some money tokens, a dice cup, and 10 variant scoring discs.
How does Little Italy work? Each player gets 2 different control cards that represent which color cars they care about. The money marker is placed on the $1 space and the police marker is placed on the -$1 space. On each player’s turn they roll the dice and move one of the cars the number of spaces on it’s die. Then they keep that die and pass the rest. When a player gets only one die they get all the dice back before rolling.
The scoring happens when a car is moved onto one of the markers’ spaces. The player that moved it there always gets $1, then the players that have that cars control card gain or lose the amount on the space. Then the marker is moved to the next higher space (higher negative number in the case of the police marker.) The game ends when someone scores a marker for $7 or the -$7 in the alleyway. The player who ends with the most money wins.
What does Blott think of Little Italy? This game is a mixed bag. Some games I absolutely love it because it’s a real back-and-forth game with lots of temporary alliances and back-stabbing. Other games it seems that one player is constantly getting slammed by bad die rolls and can never make any progress. The one thing I do like are the strategic choices you have on some turns. There are times when you’ll have to choose between scoring your car, and moving your other car a small number to avoid the police. These choices make the game interesting.
Who will enjoy Little Italy? People who like to do a lot of negotiating and cajoling might like this game. As long as people keep in mind that luck does play a big role in the game, they should have fun. It’s a game that has simple rules and is, therefore, easy to teach. As with many Knizia games the theme isn’t very strong in this game so don’t go in expecting some great gangster fun, because the theme is merely window-dressing.
Any parting comments about Little Italy? The gameboard does have a pre-arranged setup for the scoring spaces, but the game comes with some variant scoring markers so that you can randomize the setup, which is a nice feature. The components are good quality, although one of our cars came a little misshapen. It’s certainly not in my top 5 Knizia games, but Little Italy will probably be played a lot with my family in the future. Mostly because my wife is so proud of herself for hand-selecting it.