REVIEW: Nothing Personal (Board game)

Game Info

Genre
Area Control

Players
3 to 5

Time to Play
90 to 120
minutes

Released
2013

Created by Dice Tower's Tom Vasel and Steve Avery, Nothing Personal is a competitive game for 3 to 5 players about multiple mafia families vying for the Capo position over the five families. You do this by exerting your influence over the different gangsters that populate the world, each with their own specialty (Conmen, Hitmen, Gamblers, Thugs).

Nothing Personal is played over 5 phases and 5 rounds. Through these, you'll lay out your influence, collecting respect and money through the mobsters your family controls. However, if too much influence is on one mobster, the FBI will be attracted and throw them in jail. You can also "make a move" to move higher up the ladder, as well as trying to "whack" another mobster. All of these open up the board for promotions and new mobsters to come out of the woodwork.

The heart of the game, however, is the side deal. As you dole out your influence and take control of the main mobsters in the family, you will gain certain abilities (The Second Man is able to Negate any other mobsters' power for instance, while The Counselor can add 3 Neutral Influence across up to 3 gangsters, stripping other players of their control in the process). As you work your way up the Family tree, the game is at its best when each player starts offering money, cards, future favors to get their way. And the best part: all of these deals are not binding.

While the concept of Area Control can sound daunting, the actual play mechanic is simple and straight forward: you get cards that tell you what type of gangster you can play on and you follow those directions. Some cards give you an and/or option, while you always have the option to trade them in for either money or the ability to play one influence on any type, as opposed to the one specified on the card. This results in a quick, easy to understand mechanic that allows you to start making deals even during the first turn.

As for the components, everything is richly designed. Each family has their own (one-sided, unfortunately) card that reminds the players of essential actions, though each family sports the same abilities. They also get their own box that carries their personalized influence tokens, but can fit opening money as well. The tokens are thick, probably overly so, and you even get a ring to don as the Capo.

When it comes down to it, Nothing Personal is a solid game made great by its negotiation mechanic. They definitely went over and above with the game's component quality, totally making it worth the investment. If you like the Mafia theme, the game is a worthy addition to your gaming collection.

Want to grab a copy? Click here to pick one up.

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Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.