There are some games you look at and you
know you’re going to like them before you read the rules. This wasn’t one of them. I read the rules and watched a couple of videos and I was sold. The fact that it was dirt cheap as well went a big way to me buying the game. I’m glad I did, it’s a fine game. I can cut this short by saying after one game I went out and ordered the expansion for it to make it a five player. Sons of Anarchy is a lot of fun.
Gale Force 9 have developed some really fun, nicely themed games. Spartacus, Homeland, The jury’s still out on Firefly. Sons of Anarchy is another that ticks all the boxes and has theme in spades. The game is based on the TV series and sees you and up to three chums taking charge of a biker club and hustling to make as much money as possible. The one with the most money after six rounds wins and gets to do their victory dance and spray beer around the kitchen.
Each player starts with a number of prospects and full members (minor and major meeples), some cash, some guns, some bags of contraband, a number of order tokens, some heat and a couple of unique abilities. The map is made up of a partially revealed 3×3 grid of themed locations randomly picked from a stack of twenty or so along with the all important emergency room and hospital locations.
The first player (patch holder) burns an order token and can move dudes to a location, use the action of the location if no-one else is there, recurit more dudes, promote prospects to full members and more importantly throw down, initating combat. You get a limited amount of action tokens (more if you have more members) and it’s pretty much worker placement until two people occupy the same place and someone loses an eye.
When combat happens it’s all about numbers and guns, lovely lovely guns. You roll a dice, add one for each propsect in there, add two for each full member and three for each gun you secretly bid, winner stays put, losers retreat to their clubhouse with their tail between their legs. Bringing guns to a fistfight has conquences, opponents recieve hit points and have to stick some of their guys in the emergency room and it’d 50/50 they’ll ever come back out.
At the end of the round players get to secretly stick up to a certain amount of contraband into the black market and depending on how flooded the market is, receive some all important cash for their efforts.
Firing guns, selling contraband and certain actions at locations draws head from the authorities and this spotlight reduces your ability to sell contraband, if it gets too much one of your members has to take the fall and remove themselves from the club to general supply (I’ll never forget old whatshisname)
Add in some global events, rules and one off locations in the form of anarchy cards and you’ve got a lot of variety and replay value
There are a lot of strategic and tactical options here and a surpring amount of posturing, cock blockery, backstabbing and alliance. I stick alliance at the end because I didn’t see any of that but that says more about the group I game with than the game.
Each of the groups has a unique ability, more fighty, can exchange certain items for guns and so on, none of them overly powerful and all of them thematic.
Production wise the counters are nicely done, the artwork is taken from the show, the only complaint would be the meeples which are workman like, (they look a bit like jelly babies on motorbikes), they’re fine and functional but it’s crying out for a deluxe set of painted minatures.
All in all, I liked it, as one player pointed out it would have been nice to have more options to screw over other players and I agree but its find. It’s early days and we need to learn this game properly.
I want to play again and well done Gale force 9 another hit