Family Business Review


13 April 2022
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Cut throat, or just mean?

Take That games can be brutal, but Family Business is on another level. This is the game where all players could turn on one another. This is the game where you can plead, or scheme, or attempt to make deals to no avail. This is the game where each turn you draw a card, hoping you get something that can save you. But when you are playing as one of the mob families out for blood, what else could you expect?

In Family Business, each player is the head of a mobster family, attempting to take out members of the other gangs, while keeping their own alive. Each turn they will aim to put a contract on the members of the opposing gang. This will add the card representing that gangster to the line-up to be shot. To escape this brutal fate, players can use action cards to re-arrange line-up order or counter the opponent’s action, that is if they draw it at the right time.

Despite a good variety of action cards in the game, there are no ways to cycle through them, so players get stuck with what they are dealt. Sometimes, they are lucky and sometimes they must watch the game happening around them unable to do anything.  The reason to put a contract on a particular mob member comes down to either ‘they have the most cards left’ or ‘just cause’. The latter can feel particularly mean, especially if everyone decides to target you. Apart from trying to manipulate the line-up – which will be tricky to do because you might draw cards for it – there aren’t any strategies in the game: you draw and play the best card you can. So, despite its cut-throat nature, Family Business loses its novelty very soon.

PLAY IT? NO

ALEXANDRA SONECHKINA

Designer: David B. Bromley

Publisher: Lookout Games

Time: 30 minutes

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Players: 2-6

Ages: 8+

Price: £15

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