The setting of King of Chicago, as depicted on the game board and cards, is 1920ies downtown Chicago.
King of Chicago consist of consecutive game sequences. A gamesequence is made up of 4 “Action Rounds” followed by 1 “Trade Rounds”. During the Action Rounds, players move about the board completing shady jobs, building illegal businesses, gathering resources, expanding their turf and attacking rival gangs. In the trade round players collect their income, hire mobsters, and bribe the police.
While growing from a small fish with no power, to a powerful Godfather, the players continuously fight each other during the action rounds in drive-by shootings and attacks on opponents illegal businesses.
An action round is a round where each player in turn gets to make his moves.
If one player wishes to attack another, he must move his car to the location of the other players’ car or business, and engage in a shootout.
During his turn, a player can move his car anywhere the board allows (in any direction) determined by die roll and possible bonuses. Thus the car is the vehicle that allows for mobsters to move about the board, and participate in the shootouts.
Each mobster in the game is represented by a card giving the mobster unique identity, i.e. a name and set of skills - for example “Fat Fred” who has +2 to attack (added to the die roll).
When two players are in a shootout, they initially add up their bonuses and add those to each die roll in order to calculate who wins “the shootout round”. The winner is the one with the larger number, the loser loses a mobster (who either ends up on the morgue or goes to the hospital, depending on the difference in numbers). Combat continues round by round, until either of the two has no more of the participating mobsters left.
A variety of skills exist for mobsters. Some add to defensive and offensive actions, while other adds to driving and some give a potentially higher income. Some skills can even be used to save lives, which can come in handy during combat.
While combat is exciting and lots of fun, players must also use their action round to expand the business, otherwise they’re doomed in the long run. In order to buy and open one of the predefined businesses (casinos, brothels and bars of various sizes) the player must have sufficient number of resources (booze, girls, henchmen).
The resources get picked up from various locations on the board, where they get placed during the trade round. As an example, there’s the “Tar Bar” which is a small bar (medium and large also exist). It costs 3 booze, 1 girl and 1 henchman to open. In return, you collect $300 each trade round for each small business you have. A business can be taken over by other players during an attack; the player defending a small business gets +1 to defence. All business attributes (required resources, income, defence) scale with the size of the business.
Another way to gain control of the game and get a nice flow of income is to expand your turf. Turfs are placed all over the game board and for each one under your “protection” you get a money reward each Trade Round. The player with the largest number of Turfs gets the marker for “Local Respect” worth 1 point.
The police also plays a role in KoC. Players can bribe the police during the trade round, and take control of the police car during the action round. The police car can be used to perform a bust on any business or car, which is a 50% chance of sending the opponents’ mobsters to jail and confiscating his income during the next trade round.
After 4 action rounds comes a Trade Round. First, players collect income based on the size of their turf, as well as what illegal businesses they have. Next, each player gets to draw one or more cards from the deck. It consists of 45 mobsters, 8 Jobs, 21 special event cards and 54 resource cards. If a player draws a resource card, he places new resources on the board as dictated by the card, and must draw another card. Special event cards and mission cards he gets to keep, if he draws a mobstercard he must place it on the auction-list on the gameboard.
When all players are done drawing cards from the deck, an auction over the newly arrived mobsters commences. Whoever bids the highest gets to hire and control the mobster.
Finally, once all mobsters of interest have been sold, the players place their mobsters in their businesses and car. Other players cannot see exactly what mobster is placed where as these are upside down.
The last item in the trade round is an auction for bribing of the police. The winner has control of the police until next trade round.
Remarks on game aspects
KoC has been designed from the ground up for flexibility. This means, that you can play the game following any strategy you like. You can be aggressive, diplomatic, cunning or something completely else. At all times, the decisions you make have an impact on how you fare. It’s not possible to get beaten completely out of the game - you may get pounded back into a small and poor fish, but you’ll always have the option to expand turf and regain in power. As in the real world, all eyes are usually on the seemingly most powerful, so there’s plenty of room to make an impressive come back. KoC has a unique combination of ruthless violence and clever strategy. It really hurts when a newly hired $2500 mobster gets an early retirement and your opponents start collecting income from one of your old establishments. Revenge plays an important part in this action-packed game.
The game invites confrontations and alliances. Again, it’s pretty easy to team up on the bigger player, but one should have a strategy that includes what to do once he is gone and the alliance begins to crumble. The road to success is paved with stealth, cheating, courage, luck and ruthlessness. At all times, a player has plenty of options. During his own actions, he can influence the game, but also verbally he can at any time interfere and argue against alliances in the making.
Winning the game
The winning conditions are pretty simple: Whoever gains 10 points first, has won the title of King of Chicago (and an abundance of honor and respect). Points are given for amount of mobsters, size of turf and businesses and for completing jobs.