IDW, Godfather MM42

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  • Its a surprising fact that theres never beena strategy game based off The Godfather.Getting this license, and being able towork on the first games based off one ofthe most critically acclaimed (and my favorite) trilogies of all time is at once exhilarating and intimidating. Weve takengreat lengths to make this game feel asiconic as its reference material.

    The designers behind The Godfather: ANew Don are Jay Cormier and Sen-FoongLim, the design team behind Belfort,

    Orphan Black, and Junk Art. Despiteliving more than 3,000 miles from eachother, theyre an amazingly tight team, andtheir understanding of how to translate thespirit of a license into a tabletop experienceis impeccable.

    Heres Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim on their experience working on The Godfather: A New Don.

    When we were first tasked to design agame based on the The Godfather, we were

    asked to make either a dice game or an areacontrol game. Our first thought (aftersome fanboy squealing of course) was adice game in which you offer dice to play-ers, riffing off of the famous made him anoffer he couldnt refuse quote from themovie. From there we figured out thatplayers are going to want to be theGodfather, and so, similar to TheSheriff of Nottingham, the role ofGodfather changes from round toround. But unlike the Sheriff game,players have more control overwho becomes the next Godfather!

    The first prototype we made just had setsthat players were trying to collect after offering dice to the Godfather. I think itwas one of our awesome playtesters thatsaid, This should be a map. Of course!Instead of rolling to place tokens on an abstract track - we converted it all into amap of New York. So now we were makinga dice game AND an area control game!This also informed other directions for thegame - like the need to make the gamemore cutthroat (it is about The Godfather,after all) so we added Muscle. You can nowmuscle someone out of a neighborhood ifyou have more Muscle than they do!

    As we continued to design the game we really wanted to mitigate as much luck aspossible - even though it is a dice game.While players had a free re-roll, that wasntenough - so we added Favors. Favors arewhat you get when the Godfather acceptsthe die you offered him, or whenever



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  • someone muscles you out of a neighbor-hood. These favors allow you to changevalues of dice in various ways. We stillwerent happy with the fact that there weresome dice that felt wasted - so we addedLas Vegas. Now players can send their lowvalued or unimpressive dice to Vegas, in the hopes that it will pay off in a future round.

    Finally, we had to make the Godfather rolegood so that players all wanted to be him,but also not too good so that it was impos-sible to catch up. The perfect balance wasfound by not allowing the Godfather touse the Favors (hes the Godfather - peopleshould be doing favors for him!), nor canthe Godfather invest in more Muscle orsend his dice to Vegas. This means that

    Nate MurrayIDW Games developer, considers watch-ing The Godfather movies with his fatherto be among his favorite memories (yes,even part III).

    when youre the Godfather - and yourelooking at the die that each player has offered - you have to figure out how best touse what you rolled and the dice offered. If they dont work then you have to pushyour luck and start asking for other values!

    In the end, weve found that we reallystruck a nice balance between a dice gamethat anyone can jump into, but also offer anew and exciting experience for even themost veteran of gamers.

    The game plays three to six players, andcomes with a double-sided map that youllset-up based on what your player count is.Weve done everything we can to make thegame look as good as it plays. The aestheticis 1950s New York, and we tapped Ron


    Guyatt to illustrate a beautiful map of the boroughs.This is the territory the players are fighting over.

    When you sit down at the table, youll take command ofone of the six crime families from The Godfather. Eachfamily has control of 15 custom soldier meeples, complete with bowler hats. Theres also a matching setof player dice and Player screen featuring the familyname and the New York skyline.

    We wanted the Vegas component of the game to feel authentic so we sourced oversized red casino dice.Whenever I get those dice in my hand to start a roundwith the Vegas roll I instinctively look for a cocktail server. Every component was carefully selected to evokethe feel of the era and the Godfather films. Theres almost never been a test session that hasnt devolved intoa constant back and forth of movie quotes and DonCorleone impressions.

    Due to the simplicity and elegance of the rules, evennon-Godfather fans can quickly get into the fun. Youclaim territories by rolling sets of dice and spendingthem to place your Soldiers to the map. The map is broken into six different regions players compete for(each region corresponds to one side of the die), withthe game ending when one region is full. Thats enough information to get you to the table and playing. Its simple and fun and then theres this layer of strategywith Favors, Muscle, and Vegas that really makes itshine. Capiche?

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