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Subject: My take on Chicago Poker rss

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Nick Pluto
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I recently bought the greek edition of Chicago Poker. Strangely enough it is called simply Chicago in the greek edition which was a bit misleading to me. I guess Poker would affect sales in a negative way or something. My purchace was mainly based on the description on the back of the box and on my fixation on the prohibition era.

Once I opened the box I was a bit let down at what I saw inside. A deck of cards, 4 plastic bullets and another deck of hexagonal card representing 'businesses' that players compete over them. Now, the game claims to be a 'poker' variation, so I shouldn't be complaining at what I saw, but I blame my racing imagination hoping to find gangster chits and what not. Lesson learned, next time before you buy a game, do some research or at least read the contents. However, 20 euros for what was inside the box was a bit too much I suppose especially when the other game I bought was 'international cafe', a card game as well, that only cost 10 euros.

So, putting aside wishful thinking of gangster chits, rolling dices and gunfights, I read the rules. The game is in fact a variation of poker where instead of 13 different cards Chicago Poker has 15 (number from 1 to 15), and instead of 4 suits, there are 5 (but instead of suits, it's colors). All cards represent gangsters which are depicted on them, but even without the flavor or the pictures, simple numbers would do just fine. The four plastic bullets indicate when a player has played 5 cards on a business and a 'confrontation' is about to begin. Also, there are 6 cards that I suppose are equivalent to the Jokers in real Poker, but these are used with flavor in CP, such as the extortion card (the english card name might be different since I bought the greek version) that lets you play 2 more actions. Lastly, there is a 4-page condensed by straightforward rulebook (also available online on the products homepage).

So, players play their hands on the aforementioned hexadecimal 'business' cards, each side representing the hand of each gangster/player. Once a player has played 5 cards, all players that have played cards on the business 'duke it out', comparing their played hands, and the best hand wins the business. The one that either got first 3 same-type business, 4 different, or 5 different of any combination is the winner, and that's it.

I have my reservation on how easy it is to play this game with more than 4 people. I tried with 5 and there were various problems such as that we needed a large gaming surface to lay all the cards and the 4 different business (it would be 5 businesses if there were 6 people playing). The letter font on the refence cards is hard to read sometimes, but that is a minor complain since you don't really need the reference cards after the 1st game. However, some card artwork gets in the way of the printed number so it was hard to discern the value of the card at a distance. It might have been me, but somehow artwork and color made the number 4 look a lot like 9. Also the discard pile had to be resuffled to the draw pile at least 4 times during a single game which caused some awkyard situations since some of the players were in fact keeping track of played cards and this screwed their calculations (well, I wouldn't do that, I just like the theme, and I am no Rainman).

All in all, I would really recommend this if you are a poker fan and want to play a flavor card game version of poker. However if you are not a poker fun, I suppose the poker mechanic might nit suit your tastes, especially in light of the price in comparison to what is included in the gamebox.

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bruno faidutti
France
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As one of the author, I' would like to say that I don't consider this game to be a poker variant. The prototype, by the way, was called Broadway, and not Broadway Poker.

Obviously, the game borrows some poker elements, mostly the five cards hands and their rankings, but these are here mostly to give the game flavour. The way it is played make it much more similar with games like Schotten Totten, as some have already noticed, or Caesar and Cleopatra, or my older game Corruption. This means that it's basically a card game with some bluffing - more than most games of its kind - but it doesn't have the gambling element of poker, which is not really a card game but more a money game.

When I read the short comments on the BBG ratings page, I see a player stating that this is bascally "multi-player Schotten Totten with bluffing", and I have to agree. I see another one saying that it's "poker with five suits ans two more cards", and I disagree. And this has nothing to do with the way they both rate the game ;-)
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Nick Pluto
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Mr. Faiudutti, I feel real awkyard seeing that the designer replied to my review. Thanks for posting your comments on it, they are greatly appreciated.

Just to make my self clear, I should have said that mechanics (and not the game itself) are similar to poker (obviously, without the gambling or money exchange, but this again could be argued that it is replaced by gaining 'businesses' instead of gaining money). I do believe that both this game and poker offer bluffing.

My main disappointment with the game has nothing to do with the way it was designed actually, but by what I thought it was going to be based on a hasty reading of the description, which is my fault really. I still believe that it will be a game enjoyed by people that like poker, or that if you like this game then you are probably going to like poker as well. Mind you that I have never played poker for real money but mainly from computer games... yes that might include certain strip poker games.

Lastly, my personal rating (which is on the database not on the review itself) was '5' which was based on just 1 game session and with 5 people. I am sure that I would have enjoyed this game more with less than 5 people and I am reserved to change this. The rating had nothing to do with wether the game was similar to poker of schotten totten (which I have not played yet).
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Jean Le Brun
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Hi,

Would you know if it's allowed to play a card phasedown that isn't a gangster?

Another question: what happens when you play the limousine and the other player gets a total of five cards, who places the bullet and how is the game played on by that point?

Many thanks for an answer.
Jean
 
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