Mobtown II

by Stephen Agar

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A variant by Stephen Agar, designed in April 1981, which is a complete revision of Mobtown I, which was invented by Nick Morris in mid-1975 and revised by Steve Doubleday. The same basic rules have been kept, but there are additions and the board has been redesigned from scratch, reducing a 7 player game to one for 6 and hopefully improving upon the poor play balance.

The scenario Mobtown is a city in the USA where a delicate balance exists between the rapacious and grasping criminal elements that make up the underworld power structure of the city. This balance is shattered when, on 2nd July 1919, a prohibition law is passed; now every true Mafiosi wishes to see his boss as Liquor King supreme. The highways are in the hands of the cops and are difficult to cross, but the mobsters have managed to gain control of some of the derelict subways.

0. All the tedious regular Diplomacy rules (1971) apply, except for

1. There are six players Al Capone, "Baby Face" Nelson, Legs Diamond, Lepke, Lucky Luciano and Murder Incorporated. The names may be altered by the GM to ridicule the particular contestants.

2. The Gang is the basic unit of the game and functions similarly to an army in Diplomacy, except that it is amphibious and may enter any water area except Bootleg Bay, which is impassable. A gang is signified by a "G", e.g. G(Lex)-Col.

3. The Don is a special unit representing the boss himself. He has no power of his own and can only move when accompanied by a Gang. When moving with a Gang he doubles the power of that Gang in moving (i.e. he adds an uncuttable support for a move order, but not to a stand or support order), but if the Gang is forced to retreat he is left behind. A captured Don can be given the ‘cement overcoat’ treatment by a Gang leaving him on his own in a water area; e.g. G+D(PPU)-Har, G(Har)-Str and D(Har) cement overcoat. The Don also drowns if the gang he is travelling with is dislodged from a water space.

If a mob’s Don dies, by one way or another, that mob’s units stand in civil disorder for the next move while a new Don is ‘elected’. A new Don is then created out of one of the gangs already existing and placed on any home supply centre of that player’s choice. If none are free then the Don is not built until one is recaptured. The net effect of rebuilding a Don in this way is to leave that mob one short permanently, as one supply centre is needed for the new Don. The rebuilding of a Don is optional. There may only be 6 Dons at any one time, and you may only build a Don if yours has been drowned.

4. The city of Mobtown is criss-crossed by highways; these can only be freely crossed at the junctions marked. It is possible for a unit to cross a highway where no junction exists, but it will require an extra support to do this; e.g. G(P22) S G(Gon)-Bur. A Gang travelling with a Don may freely cross the highways. Where two areas are connected by a junction they are considered, for all intents and purposes, to be adjacent. The area called Queens is an exception, the area being on both sides of a highway. A Gang occupying this area is considered to be on both sides of the highway; no junction is needed. Where it appears that four spaces would meet at a point, then "diagonal" movement is possible, subject to the rules above.

5. Subways are represented by arrows; they connect the areas marked, thus G(Tam)-U-Ext and even G(WCP)-U-Mem is legal, but the use of the subway must be indicated in the manner shown to prevent ambiguity of orders. Thus, by using a subway a Gang may in effect move more than one space. It is possible for two gangs to swap places if one goes overground and the other underground. Any number of gangs may use the same subway simultaneously, the only rule being that equally supported gangs both using the subway cannot exchange places. Retreats can be made through subways, but not to the province from which the successful attack came (nor may the retreat be made overground if the dislodging unit came underground). If two unequally supported gangs attempt to switch places, one using the subway, the other overground, the one with the greater support succeeds and the one with less support is dislodged and cannot move to the province from which the attack came.

Examples

a. Al Capone G(Mic)-U-P49, Murder Inc. G(Mem)-U-WCP, Lepke G(Cit)-U-Mic. All moves succeed.

b. Baby Face G(Pla)-U-Sun, Lucky Luciano G(Sun)-U-Pla, Legs Diamond G(RoE)-Cat, Lepke G(Cat)-U-RoE. The first two moves fail, while the latter two succeed.

c. Murder Inc. G(PPU) & G(Pel) S G(Mic)-Mem, Baby Face G(Bgt) S G(Mem)-U-Mic. The G(Mic)-Mem move succeeds and the G(Mem) is dislodged.

6. Each move represents a week, retreats taking place at weekends and adjustments every other weekend. Possession on the second (or fourth) week is necessary to change ownership of a supply centre. The first turn is the weekend at the end of June 1919, where the players simply decide which of their home centres their Don will start in. The second turn is Week 1, July 1919, where the units may move for the first time. Note all months are considered to be four weeks long.

7. If a gang is forced to retreat to Mobtown Police Department (MTPD) it is put in gaol and spends the rest of the game standing there. A gang may not be ordered to disband if a retreat to MTPD is possible.

8. A player wins the game by controlling 17 or more of the 32 supply centres at the end of a week 2 (or 4) turn.

Abbreviations

Al Capone: DAN = Dope Avenue North, DAS = Dope Avenue South, Bnx = Bronx.

Baby Face: Wal = Wall Street, DtB = Downtown Bushwick, Sun = Sunset Boulevard.

Legs Diamond: P37 = Precinct 37, Brk = Brooklyn, Bro = Broadway.

Lepke: Pie = Pierpoint, Que = Queens, P45 = Precinct 45.

Lucky Luciano 5th = Fifth Avenue, WCP = West Central Park, Wch = Westchester.

Murder Inc.: MaE = Manhatten East, Man = Manhatten, Sho = Shore.

Neutral Supply Centres

Lib = Liberty, P22 = Precinct 22, Con = Coney, Cas = Casino, Col = Columbus, Riv = Riverside, Cap = Capitol, Mon = Monument, Chi = Chinatown, Lak = Lakeside, Sou = Southside, Cat = Cathedral Parkway, Pla = Plaza, Yon = Yonkers.

Non Supply Centre Spaces

Ast = Astoria, Bac = Backstreet, Bgt = Bogart, BoR = Bootleg River, Bur = Burbank, Cag Cagney, Can = Canal, Cem = Cement Canyon, Cen = Central Pool, Chc = Chicane, Cit = City Hall, DtH = Downtown Harlem, Doc = Dockland, DSt = Downstream, Eas = Eastside, LOP = East Central Park, Ext = Extortion Alley, Fla = Flatbush, GoG =

Golden Gate, GCS = Grand Central Station, Gre = Greenwich Village, HaE = Harlem East, Har = Harbour, HaW = Harlem West, Hoo = Hooker Alley, Kin = Kings, Len = Lennox, Lex = Lexington, Lin = Lincoln Park, Lit = Little Italy, Lop = Loop, Lon = Long Island, Mad = Madison, Mem = Memorial, Mic = Michael Street, MTT = Mobtown Tribune, MTU = Mobtown University, Mur = Murphy Green, Pac = Pacific Bar, Pel = Pelham, Pen = Pentagon, Poi = Point, Pol = Pollution Pier, Por = Portland, PPL - Protection Pool Lower, PPU = Protection Pool Upper, P49 = Precinct 49, P55 = Precinct 55, PSq = Pennsylvania Square, Raf = Raft, Rob = Robinson, RoE = Rockaway East, Roo = Roosevelt Drive, RoW = Rockaway West, Str = Straten, Sur = Surf, Syn = Syndicate Square, Tam = Tamany Hall, Tem = Temple, Tim = Times Square, UtB = Uptown Bushwick, UtH = Uptown Harlem, UCP = Uptown Central Park, Web = Webster, Wes = West Side, Whi = Whitestone, Yan = Yankees, 42nd = 42nd Street, 110 = 110th Street, 325 = Third and Twenty Fifth.


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