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Nothing Personal - Revised Edition Review

- Just remember... it's Nothing Personal

Players: 2 - 5

Playing time: 60 minutes

Designed by: Stephen Avery & Cody Jones

Published by: Starling Games


Do you have what it takes to backstab, betray and trick your way to the top? The Capo is getting old and retirement is imminent, make your move to become the most respected gangster and take his place at the top.


Nothing Personal Revised Edition is a streamlined version of the original. In the original game, there were a lot of complaints that the game took too long to play and that a lot of the rules didn't make sense. So now gameplay has been reduced to 60 minutes compared to the previous 120 minutes which means that it should be a lot easier to get to the table. Some mechanics have also been taken out due to redundancy such as the white dice and the Omertà action has been substituted for blackmail.


The first version of Nothing Personal was a big hit when it first came out in 2013 and I think that it had something to do with YouTube board game reviewer and co-host of The Dice Tower Tom Vasel being part of the design team. Tom decided not to collaborate on the Revised Edition and relinquished all rights as he said he wasn't interested in designing games at the moment and probably won't be designing another one in the future.


Components:

- 54 Gangster Cards - 94 Influence Cards - 5 Blackmail Tokens - 150 Influence Tokens - 1 Black Move Die - 1 Red Whack Die - 5 Gangster Meeples - 1 Gameboard

- 8 Exhaust Tokens - 80 Money Tokens - 5 Turn Tokens - 15 Reroll Tokens - 1 Capo Ring - 7 Reference Cards


I don't have any serious complaints with the components, all of the cards are high quality with a classic varnish finish. The cardboard tokens are all thick and sturdy, though it may have been a nice touch to include paper money (Monopoly-style) instead of the cardboard punch-outs just to mix up the components a little as there is a lot of cardboard components.


The meeples, or should I see "Meepsters", come in different colours for each player and couldn't be anymore gangster even if they tried. The little meeples come fitted with mafia-style hats and I'm definitely a sucker for a custom meeple. Lastly, and probably the most unique component is the Capo Ring, worn by the player who is currently acting as the Capo. It's actually made of metal and adds a nice bit of flavour to the gameplay.


There are a few components that have been removed since the original game including a die and the player boards, which have been replaced by reference cards instead.

Gameplay:


Nothing Personal Revised Edition is played over four rounds (you can play a fifth round if you want a longer experience) each with three phases. Each player chooses a family and takes all of the influence tokens associated with that family. These will be spent over the course of the game.

The first phase is the Business Phase and the ultimate aim is to expand your family's control over the city's gangsters through influence. Each player takes it in turns to draw and play influence cards. These have a wide variety of actions on them ranging from "Add 2 influence to a Hitman" which will be a type of gangster laid out on the player board that players can add their family influence tokens to or "Add one blackmail token" which can be placed on gangsters controlled by other players and they will have to ask your permission to take actions with that gangster in the second phase. Players can choose to play all of the cards in their hand or pass. When everyone is finished playing influence cards, it's time for the second round.


The second phase, or The Crew Phase, is where the gangsters' abilities get activated and earn money for the family that control them. Each gangster will have a special ability that you can activate if you control them. Sometimes there is a tie between players and when this happens the Capo always decides which player wins. Gangsters who are placed towards the top of the board are the most powerful and therefore the most sought after when it comes to placing influence tokens. They also earn you more Respect Value, which is basically victory points, and the person with the most at the end of the game is the winner.

The third and final phase of the game, The Business Phase, is where dodgy gangsters who draw the attention of the police are found out and arrested. These are the gangsters that have 10 or more influence tokens on them at the end of the round. They are sent to prison and new gangsters are introduced to the scene. All remaining gangsters now move up the ranks where they can potentially earn a family more money and respect.


So, that's a very basic overview of the phases in each round but there are sooo many other things that you can do that keeps Nothing Personal interesting. The actions of each gangster vary so much that I couldn't possibly go through all of them. There is a lot of backstabbing, trickery, negotiating and flat out whacking of gangsters. The board is constantly changing and your family's best gangster might not make it to the next round so make sure to exploit him while you can. Families can also fight over the Capo position at the top of the board and whoever influences him the most becomes the Capo. Can your family come out on top?


Family Business Expansion:

If all of that wasn't enough for you then you'll be thrilled to know that there is an expansion for Nothing Personal Revised Edition. It adds so much to the game including a stack of gangster cards that you need giant hands to be able to shuffle, more influence cards, the new edition of a red and black casino and trait cards.


The gangster cards add a whole new variety to the game such that it's almost impossible to get through all of them so each time you play there will be a great variance. There are also a few friendly faces including Al Capone, Bugs Moran and Baby Face Nelson which is a nice touch and adds extra realism to the game.


The influence cards are simply just more of them with new conditions, but the Red and Black Casino are new additions to the game. These can be used in the second phase of each round. If you control a gangster but can't or don't want to complete any of the actions available then you can go to the casino instead. Players simply pick the red or black one and roll the associated dice, depending on the outcome of the dice is what they get. Some of the rewards are good such as "Gain $10" or "Gain $5 and an influence card" but they can be bad such as "Lose $3" or "Kill gangster visiting casino" and this just straight up kills your gangster. So it's definitely a risk to go to the casino but that's what gambling is all about right?


The last addition to the expansion is the inclusion of trait cards and these are additional ways to gain money or respect. A lot of the traits benefit you for meeting a certain goal at the end of the game. These are really interesting because it gives each player a goal to work towards or a benefit that the other players don't get and when playing the base game on its own, I thought it was missing a secret objective element so I'm glad they put this in for the expansion.

Scenes Of The Crime Expansion Pack:

This expansion adds new ways to spend your influence during the first phase. One location is randomly chosen at the beginning of the game and can be used by all players. Instead of placing influence tokens on a gangster in The Business Phase, you can choose to place an influence token on a location and immediately carry out the action. Some of the location actions include "Whack a gangster for $0" or "Add 3 influence to any gangster". Locations can be extremely useful if you're falling behind a little and need to make a comeback. They also add a bit of variance to the gameplay which is great. There are 5 locations altogether so the first few times you play, you're likely to get different locations and actions each time.


Pros:

  • An extremely high-quality product. All of the components are well made and sturdy.

  • A great game for people who love negotiating and bribery games.

  • Player turns are pretty quick so there isn't a lot of waiting around.

  • Very interactive between players.

  • With all of the expansions, you have so many available options on your turn.

  • A really fun theme especially with the inclusion of some famous gangster cards.

  • Plenty of fun with some long-lasting consequences.

Cons:

  • It's very confrontational. You are forever messing with other people so if you don't like this type of gameplay, it's probably not a game for you.

  • Not a family-friendly theme.

  • Some functionality is missing from the rulebook. 'On The Lam' tokens are supposed to be used after a gangster has been moved to show that actions cannot be taken on this gangster this round as he's you know, on the lam!

  • The board is unpredictable so it's hard to map out a good strategy.

  • The arrow lines on the board are quite faint so it's easy to mess up the order which the gangsters are scored.

  • This version says it can be played with 2 players but some mechanics don't work as well such as blackmailing.


Final Thoughts:


If you have the older version and like the game but there are few to many annoyances for you then this could be the solution to those problems. If you don't want to buy a new game though, the new revised rules can be played with the older game by obtaining a copy of the rules online and following the optional instructions.


Nothing Personal Revised Edition is fun and unique. It's a great game to play with a group of people that won't take it too seriously. The theme is playful and fits perfectly for the style of game. There is absolutely tons of content with the base game and both expansions that each time you play, it will be a different experience.


Disclaimer: Nothing Personal Revised Edition and the expansions were kindly gifted to me from Starling Games to review but all opinions are completely my own.

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