gangsters   [Updated Nov. 4, 2005]  

 2005 WBC Report 

 2006 Status: pending 2006 GM commitment

Nick Henning, CT
2004-05 Champion

Offsite Links
AREA Ratings
GM Web Site
Event History
Debbie Otto
John Kilbride
Kevin LeRow
John Pack
Jason Wagner
Jason Wagner
Stephanie Mayes
Pitt Crandlemire
Pitt Crandlemire
Mark Love
John Pack
Pitt Crandlemire
Nick Henning
Nick Henning
PBeM Event History
   Michael Anchors     
   John Pack     
Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Pitt Crandlemire   MA    03    132
  2.  Nick Henning       CT    05     90
  3.  Nick Smith         UK    05     74
  4.  Jim Castonguay     PA    05     54
  5.  John Pack          CO    02     54
  6.  Mark Love          MD    01     53
  7.  Robert Buccheri    MD    05     32
  8.  Bob Hamel          CT    03     27
  9.  Kevin Brownell     FL    04     25
 10.  Alex Price         NJ    03     24
 11.  Kevin Wojtaszczyk  NY    02     24
 12.  Kaarin Engelmann   VA    02     21
 13.  Roger Taylor       VA    00     18
 14.  Stephanie Mayes    IN    99     18
 15.  Michael Wojke      NJ    03     16
 16.  Paul Bolduc        FL    01     15
 17.  Andy Gardner       VA    03     12
 18.  Rob Kilroy         PA    99     12
 19.  Al Wong            IL    00     11
 20.  Michael Anchors    MD    01     11
 21.  Victor Hogen       CA    04     10
 22.  Andy Joy           MD    05      9
 23.  Jim Rochford       IL    99      9
 24.  Gordon Rodgers     PA    05      8
 25.  Peter Martin       MD    03      8
 26.  Jeff Ribeiro       NH    02      4
 27.  Gary Presser       NY    00      3
 28.  Dan Schulman       MD    99      3
 29.  Sharee Pack        CO    01      3
2005 Laurelists

Jim Castonguay, PA

Nick Smith, UK

Robert Buccheri, MD

Gordon Rodgers, PA

Andy Joy, MD

Past Winners

Debbie Otto, MO

John Kilbride, PA

Kevin Lerow, PA

John Pack, CO
1995, 2002

Jason Wagner, NJ

Stephanie Mayes, IN

Pitt Crandelmire, MA
1995, 2003

Mark Love, MD

Nich Henning, CT

Raidin' da Joint ...

"Squirt Guns? I don't know nothin' about no squirt guns, officer. Honest! I ain't seen any."

We might not admit it to curious cops, but we all know they were there. The Gangsters tournament had more squirt guns and more shootout losses per game than ever!

There are two types of games at the World Boardgaming Championships -- those with squirt guns and those without. We know which kind we prefer! Now we just need to start infiltrating squirt guns into other events.

I hope you had as much fun as I did in the first Gangsters tournament in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The big ballroom meant lots of commotion, lots of noise, and lots of excitement. Since the cat is already out of the bag, I'll let everyone know—next year I'll provide souvenir plastic fedoras for every player. Bring your squirt gun from this year, and you'll be all decked out! I'm looking forward to it.

Thank you for joining the mob this year. Let me know what you think and how we can improve for next year by returning the survey. See you next year!

1. Records

We set a lot of records and firsts this year. These include the following:

Highest Percentage of Players with 20 or more games of experience: 17%
Highest Percentage of Players with 11-19 games of experience: 10%
Lowest Percentage of Players with 2-5 games of experience: 19%
Highest Percentage of Entrants playing four or more games: 13%
Most successful rate of 5/1/3 gang use: 31%
Least successful rate of 4/1/3 gang use: 0% #
Highest Average Shootout Losses per Winner: 1.79
Highest Average Shootout Losses per Player: 2.48 #
Highest Average Shootout Losses per Game: 10.10 #
Highest Median Shootout Losses per Game: 9
Highest Average Total Losses per Player: 4.39 #
Highest Average Total Losses per Game: 17.86 #
Highest Median Total Losses per Game: 17

# Previous record was set last year

Use of a 3/1/3 gang (unsuccessfully)
As many winners used a 5/1/1 gang as the common 5/1/2 gang
Winner started with Johnson House
No winners started with fewer than five Racketeers
Win with a Purple monopoly
No alternates were admitted to the semifinal

Notes: 1) The Final has never been won using a cash strategy more than three years in a row.  If the pattern holds, the 2006 Godfather will win with 10 joints or a monopoly!  Ten joint and monopoly wins are near, but not quite at, their highest levels this year (36%).  2) Winners continue to be seduced less often and take fewer hits than everyone else.  If we're “beating up on the leader” wouldn't the reverse be true?

2. Winners

It stayed “Dusk” all year.  Nick “Dusk" Henning proved that last year was no fluke by repeating his Championship.  Our two-time Godfather played a perfect Sneak-up-the-Cash strategy that culminated in $11,400 after 14 turns.  Interestingly, Jim “The Instigator” Castonguay repeated his second place finish while Robert “Bobby Tweaks” Buccheri moved from third to fourth.  The lone player in this year's Final who didn't play in last year's final was Nick “Slumlord" Smith.

Here are the top 25 finishers:
1. Nick ““Dusk” Henning
2. Jim “The Instigator” Castonguay
3. Nick “Slumlord” Smith
4. Robert “Bobby Tweaks” Buccheri
5. Gordon “Itchy” Rodgers
6. Andy “The Duke” Joy
7. Victor “The Waiter” Hogen
8. Kaarin “The Enforcer” Engelmann
9. Paul “Da Spider” Bolduc
10. John “The Viper” Pack
11. Mike “The Infidel” Wojke
12. “Dangerous” Douglas Galullo
13. Mark “Ladykiller” Love
14. Ashley “Angel” Collinson
15. Joel “The Chair” Tamburo
16. Scott “The Zoo” Bowling
17. Don “Foot Long” Chappell
18. John “Baby Face” Poniske
19. Rolinda “Ma” Collinson
20. Andrew “Two Guns” Fedin
21. Peter “Numbers” Staab
22. Brian “Lampshade” Mountford
23. Jeff “Pork 'n Bears” Bowers
24. Anthony “Big Tuna” Musella
25. Wendy & quot;Brutally Honest” DeMarco

Unfortunately, three-time Godfather Pitt “Sluggo" Crandlemire was injured just before the World Boardgaming Championships and was unable to attend.  Although this brilliantly masterminded coup allowed the rest of us to have a shot at the title, I remind all criminal masterminds to limit their diabolical deeds to the gameboard in the future.

The results have been sent to AREA.  Updated ratings will be available shortly at:

3. Special Awards

Cement Overshoes Sportsmanship Award ­ Our winner of this year's all-expense paid trip to the bottom of Lake Michigan is Charles “Side Step Stucker. Side Step took extra-ordinary measures to make sure he didn't have an unfair advantage in his game during the third heat. At one point, he gave advice to another player and then voluntarily pointed out the $500 kibitzing penalty when no one else realized he needed to pay. Later in the same game he realized that he'd been given $1,600 too much cash for payout and returned the dough. He's so honest I'm not sure if we can call him a gangster! Side Step is one more reason Gangsters is a great tournament -- we have many great individuals sitting on the other side of Chicago. Thanks, Charles!

Many thanks to Joel “The Chair” Tamburo who received his first nomination and to Nick “Slumlord” Smith who received three nominations! The game is a lot more fun because of players who go out of their way to ensure their opponents are enjoying the game. Thank you and thanks to those who pointed out the good deeds of their opponents!

Junior Godfather Award - 37% of this year's entrants were eligible for the prize for the best new player. Among those who just learned the game, Jeff “Pork 'n Bears" Bowers, Don “Foot Long” Chappell, and Scott “The Zoo” Bowling made it to the semifinals. Scott “the Zoo” barely edged Don “Foot Long” with tie-breakers of 56% to 50% to become this year's Junior Godfather. We hope to see all of this year's new players back next year to give this year's sophomore class a run for their money (not to mention their hideouts)!

"I Think She Likes Me!” Award ­ This year's class of Vamps was second only to last year. Our winner lost an amazing ten gangsters to rival seductresses. That really hurts because it feels like your money is going to recruit mobsters for the other gangs! Ashley “Angel" Collinson kindly helped all those other gangs during her attempt to re-qualify for the semifinals in the last heat. She took eight hits during shootouts during her semifinal too. Obviously, we can expect that a little opposition will not be enough to stop this “Angel."

Roadkill Award ­ Last year's roadkill took 11 hits. The GM took eleven in the opening heat this year. I looked like roadkill! I felt like roadkill. But this year's winner was completely unrecognizable road pizza after taking 15 hits in mob violence. Can you even feel pain at that point? Thankfully, we identified the body from Chicago dental records. The winner? None other than the notorious John “Baby Face” Poniske -- who won renown for being in the game with the most total carnage last year (37 casualties and seductions)! Let's just say that John will need a lot of oil and powder before his face is baby soft again...

Honorable Mention ­ As usual there were lots of interesting possibilities for this category which makes it a very tough choice.

Chaka “Patch-Eye” Benson managed to acquire all of the Purple joints except one (Frankie's House of Cards) in his third heat. The last one eluded him for three turns.

Gordon “Itchy” Rodgers, Robbie “Donut" Mitchell, and “Mickey the Wire” Buccheri played the closest game of the tournament. Each ended with assets valued between $11,800 and $12,500. Each had finished at least 88% of their objective Itchy pulled out the win in the end, but Mickey the Wire might have been the winner if he hadn't passed the coppers so much cash under the table!

John “The Viper” Pack had the only Red monopoly of the entire tournament. He also had nine joints and a 7/1/3 gang at the time.

Kaarin “The Enforcer” Engelmann and Andrew “Two Guns” Fedin were the only players to complete Blue monopolies. The Enforcer finished with nine other joints but only $100 in her pocket and a wimpy 2/1/1 gang; she'd threatened to win several times along the way. Two Guns scraped by with an even smaller 1/1/1 gang. Apparently, the Racketeer and the Thug each carried one of the Two Guns...

Mark “Ladykiller” Love won without ever moving his Racketeer. Ladykiller was content to move the public into his fine, upgraded establishments every single turn.

Not to be outdone, Robert “Bobby Tweaks” Buccheri won in the third heat on his third move with $12,400. The x3 Public pays three visits. Blair “The Plug" Morgen writes, “Two Turns???"  Tom “The Duck" Vickery notes, “Ouch!  Gang Warfare causes mass exodus through the Bus Station - 3 turns x Public x3 x Level 3."

Jason “Sticky Fingers” Wagner managed to turn in player chits for two different games in the third heat.  Very appropriate for a mobster!  (I later determined that one of those chits belonged to a fourth heat game.)

Andy “The Duke” Joy won the very first heat with 10 joints and $10,100 in cash at the same time! He made money even though he was spending it on new establishments! The Duke also finished in sixth place this year. Amazingly, this is the Duke's second straight sixth place -- just enough to get a team point but just shy of winning wood!

Joshua “Radio” Ostrander sent the cops after Peter "Numbers” Staab's joint which was serving up illegal beverages to the public. Not only does Numbers have the bribe, but Radio can't stop another payout which puts Numbers over the top. Radio writes, “Great game -- a lot of fun!" Come back next year and radio for backup when trying to stop a Numbers racket!

And, last but certainly not least, is our honorable mention winner for this year -- Ashley “Angel” Collinson. Back in 2003, Angel was part of the game that won honorable mention for a bizarre set of circumstances -- one of which was a player whose Racketeer was in the final joint needed for a Purple monopoly. This year Angel came up just one joint short of a Purple monopoly in the first heat and again in her semifinal game. But this is the year perseverance pays off. In the second heat, Angel became the only player in recorded tournament history to actually complete a Purple monopoly! And she did it in the year Ladykiller's excellent “How to Win at Gangsters" article was published -- telling players they can ignore such an unlikely possibility. Congratulations, Angel!

Anyone up to the challenge of the first ever Green or Yellow monopolies?

4. Favorite Joints

I didn't think it was possible, but the Downtown Bus Station was held by even more winners than it's record percentage last year! Nearly 40% of winners held the Bus Station at the start of the game! Everyone's favorite partner for the Bus Station, Brizelli's Riverside, was held by a third of all winners at the start of the game. The Ambassadors' Club (usually with Brzkowski's Imports) was the next most popular strategy—held by just over 30% of eventual winners.

Here are the joints ranked in this year's top ten:


Winner's Joints


1998-2005 Total

2004 Rank

Overall Rank


Downtown Bus Station




Way Up

Brizelli's Riverside





Ambassador's Club





Greenwood Park




Slightly Down
Taylor's Machine Shop




Way Way Up

Brzkowski's Imports




  Palace Chophouse




Slightly Down
  Franklin Hostel




Slightly Down

SMC Cartage Co




  Serva's Market




Way Up

The top four joints haven't changed in the last three years! However, winners are diversifying a bit—this list contains only 71% of winner's starting joints while last year's top ten contained 76%. Even so, the the top three are more popular than ever.

Taylor's Machine Shop was the most popular third wheel for the Green One-Jump strategy this year—zooming up from 32nd place last year to fifth place and taking ninth place in the cumulative standings. More than twice as many eventual winners picked Taylor's at the start. Westgate Hotel is also moving up the charts to 13th overall as a popular Green add-on (and the personal favorite of the Slumlord).

Serva's Market—a good combination with perennial fourth place Greenwood Park—moved up to tenth place and improved in the cumulative standings to 15th. Will we see a resurgence of Sneak-up-the-Cash strategies revolving around the Park and Market?

The Pussycat Club continues her long descent out of the over-all Top 10. The Purple One-Jump opening used to be as popular as the Green and Blue One-Jump strategies. However, the one-time second place joint has fallen to 8th as players have realized that upgrades are too dangerous in Vamp Central. Jaeger's Clothier and Belmar Theatre have seen their status as favorite add-ons drop as well.  Jaeger's is a favorite of Red monopolists (of which we saw only one this year) while the Belmar is a lowly one-jump joint.

5. Quotable Gangsters

"That's it!  My gang is now a terrorist organization ." — Mickey the Wire

"Youse need to get in touch wit' your inner thug." — The Viper

"What was I thinking?” — Muscles the Demo Monkey

"Pay no attention to the man behind the green counters." — The Infidel

"Time's Up!” — Slumlord (as the timer for the previous player expired)
"But I haven't even rolled.” — Beans
"Well, it's too late now.” — The Viper

"Donut, I would'a won had I not bribed five cops!" — Mickey the Wire (finishing with $8,800)

"It's the game that almost wouldn't have taken so long... Barney is good for something.” — Angel (after Barney ruined her chance at a Purple Monopoly)

"Two, Four, Six -- Fifty-Fifty shot.” — Dusk (explaining probability)

After much commentary and talk about kibitzing via reminding a player to move the cops:
"That statement's so vague I can't possibly be fined for kibitzing.” — The Chair
"We'll find a way.” — The Viper
Later during Viper's Buy Phase —
"Is it permissible to say something now?” — The Chair
"Quick!  Gimme the dice!” — The Viper

"The Viper only vamps the Chair.  His other plays kill the Gangsters he vamped from the Chair.” — The Chair

"The Head is stupid. He kills himself.” — The Head (after sending a Cop after his gang's Vamp)

"It's HOW he got the money!” — Muscles the Demo Monkey

6. Final Report

The starting and final positions of the 2005 Final (in order of finish) were as follows:

Nick “Dusk” Henning (Southern Syndicate) ­
Start: 6/1/1, Greenwood Park, Franklin Hostel, Jaeger's Clothier, $200
Finish: 2/1/4, 0 hits, 6 seductions, 7 joints ($3,700; 4 Yellow), $11,400

Jim “The Instigator” Castonguay (Purple People-Eaters) ­
Start: 5/1/1, Ambassadors' Club, Brzkowski's Imports, Belmar Theatre, $400
Finish: 7/1/6, 1 hit, 4 seductions, 6 joints ($4,900; 5 Blue ), $5,900

Nick “Slumlord” Smith (North Shore Mob) ­
Start: 5/1/1, Westgate Hotel, Shop 'n' Save, Palace Chophouse, $600
Finish: 7/1/4, 3 seductions, 7 joints ($3,600; 3 Purple), $5,100

Robert “Bobby Tweaks” Buccheri (North Shore Mob) ­
Start: 5/1/1, Downtown Bus Station, Brizelli's Riverside, SMC Cartage Co., $400
Finish: 6/0/4, 4 hits, 2 seductions, 4 joints ($2,300; 3 Green), $6,600

Interestingly, all of the finalists start with just one Thug.  Dusk begins with an extra Racketeer thanks to his cheap gin joints.  That'll let him manipulate the Public but the early Public payoffs will favor the other players.  The Instigator and Bobby Tweaks both have perfect one-jump sets for the Blue and Green strategies respectively.  It's interesting that neither of the other players felt it was critical to break those sets.

A big thank you to “Dusk” for taking notes throughout the game so that we could enjoy this snapshot of the final. Obviously, these clues don't tell the whole story, but they give us some indication of the ebb and flow of crime in the Windy City.  Can you see how the game takes shape?

  • Turn 1: “Well, that's a sh$%#y roll,” says Bobby Tweaks before he collects $1,200.  The cops followed closely on the heels of that public—knocking down the Downtown Bus Station.  Dusk collected $1,000 while Slumlord collected $1,700.  The cash strategies are already in full swing.
  • Turn 2: Dusk reports it was very exciting.  ;-)
  • Turn 3: The Instigator comes up with $3,300 thanks to the Public x3 patronizing the Ambassadors' Club.  A lot of money is in play. The public is lying in wait to corrupt Slumlord's Vamp.
  • Turn 4: The crime rate is high (7).  Dusk thinks it may be a short game.  “All public is out chillin'."
  • Turn 5: Cop #4 rolls the Instigator's Thug.  “He is the man for the second time!"  Side Note: The Bus Station is pure evil.  The Public x2 moves from the Bus Station (x3) to the Ambassadors' Club (x2) to Greenwood Park (x2) to Westgate Hotel (x2).  These folks have a lot of dough to blow on moonshine!
  • Turn 6: A Public counter makes it to the Bus Station ... again.  This time a Public x1 takes the exact same route take by the Public x2 last turn!  “The Public are whores."  Three cops are set up patrolling around the Bus Station (#5, 7, and 9).
  • Turn 7: There are five cops and five crimes on the board at the start and end of the turn.  No public payouts this turn.  “Ha ha!” laughs Dusk.
  • Turn 8: “Your wad doesn't even fit under your paper!"  A public manages to enter a building again—Jaeger's Clothier this time.  Lots of vamping.  Barney Fife nibbles the Red Thug.  Six bribes are owned by the players.
  • Turn 9: Dusk opts not to whack a public in Brzkowski's Imports in favor of moving a cop nearby.
  • Turn 10: Bobby Tweaks moves his Racketeer into his Level 3 Bus Station.  “Uh oh."  Four cops patrol in range of the Bus Station.  The Instigator pays $3,000 to buy his way up to an 8 Thug army. Side Note: This game is all about the upgrades. 
  • Turn 11: Five cops can now reach the Bus Station.
  • Turn 12: It's Vamp City.  Poor Racketeers.  Dusk is down to two!
  • Turn 13: 8 Instigator Thugs annihilate one of Bobby Tweak's establishments—clearing the board of Public markers.  Subsequently, Nick and Nick (that's Slumlord and Dusk) bring all four Public markers into play in order to stop the Bus Station.
  • Turn 14: Cop #6 busts Bobby Tweak's Vamp.  This is the second or third time this particular cop has hit Bobby Tweaks despite the two bribes he owns.  Dusk takes his one move—putting the Public x3 into Huck's Marine (x3) to get to $11,400 and declare victory.

Everyone was worried about the obvious one-jump joint strategies (as they should have since they were so successful in collecting money in the early going).  But ultimately that let's Dusk sneak in with a less obvious cash collection strategy. In fact, Dusk only collect one really big haul—letting the other players believe he was no threat. Note too how Dusk refuses to spend money—even when his gang drop dangerously low on Turn 12.

The bloodshed in this game was minimal—with only 8 total gang violence related losses—even though the players had ramped up the strength of their gangs in order to launch shootout by the end of the game. One very tricky aspect of Gangsters is the need to have your gangsters in play early enough to use them effectively. On the other hand, the Vamps were much more active with 15 total seductions. That also played into Dusk's hands because his gang looked weak and non-threatening after its losses.

Just like last year, Nick shows that a player who patiently collects small payoffs while the attention of the other gangs is elsewhere cna pull off consistent victories. Dusk also collected some cheap establishments—just in case he needed a backup plan. In this case, he didn't need it.

It's Dusk this year in Chicago! Will Nick be the second player to three-peat next year? Come and find out—and try to stop him!  Congratulations on a stellar performance, Nick!

7. Copies of the Game

The good news is that I still have copies available. The great news is that even though I ran out after the 2004 WBC, I've been able to obtain more without having to raise prices much.

I have new, shrink-wrapped copies available for $50. I have used copies for $35. The used copies are all in good condition (most having been played just a few times), guaranteed complete, and in boxes that have nothing worse than minor shelf wear or a tiny crease. Unpunched copies (which I don't have at the moment) sell for $45. I charge a flat $7 for shipping within the USA. Email me for more details.

I earn a small profit on each sale which I use on special awards, name tags, timers, and other goodies for the tournament.

If you ever run into a copy that you don't buy for yourself or a friend, let me know. I buy them to keep the tournament well-stocked! Thank you!

8. See you in 2006!

I hope you've enjoyed this newsletter! Come again next year and wear your Gangster pride on your head!

For anyone who wants even more statistics and information on the games played this year, there's more (and more than ever) on my website: See link above.

See youse criminal masterminds next year! John

The complete and current errata/FAQ for Gangsters is at

 GM     John Pack  [9th Year]  11213 Keota Drive, Parker, CO 80134   (720) 851-2095
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