Beginner Strategy Tip Sheet
World Boardgaming Championships

Goal:   1) Obtain $10,000 or
            2) Obtain a Monopoly of one type of Joint or
            3) Acquire 10 Joints
            and have at least one Racketeer, Thug, and Vamp!

Quick Hints

  1. Your time is limited. Maximize your effectiveness by knowing which rolls are effective for each piece before your turn by counting the distance to each possible objective (Vamps to enemy Thugs & Racketeers, Racketeers to buildings you want to buy, Cops to criminals, Public to your joints, etc.). Then when a roll comes up, youíll know exactly what to do with it and fewer opportunities will slip by unnoticed.
  2. Keep a mental note of the progress of each player and encourage other players to gang up when one gets close to victory. Donít wait too long to stop a leader, however; it is almost impossible to stop someone who has 80-90% of the required cash or buildings.
  3. The most critical piece in each gang is the Racketeer -- because its strength controls how many moves a player gets. Often the loss of one or two Racketeers can devastate a gang far more than the loss of many joints or other gang members. A gang with only one move has probably already lost the game. Make sure your Racketeer strength never goes below four!
  4. Remember that a Thug or Vamp is worth about $350/turn when extorting. Weigh the potential earnings against the cost when replacing these pieces and against other possible uses! Weigh the replacement costs of gang members against the cost to bribe a cop each turn as well.

Initial Gang Setup

The cheapest time to buy gang members is at the beginning of the game (or when you roll a 1 on the appropriate die). Donít scrimp! Four Racketeers, one Thug, and the Vamp is the absolute minimum. A fifth Racketeer gives you a margin of safety against losing your ability to move two pieces and gives you the chance to get three moves should your vamp score quickly.


As in any game where movement is by exact count, mobility is a prime concern in Gangsters regardless of your strategy. A general guideline is that a location (and, by extension, a piece in that location) has more movement flexibility the closer to subways it is and the more possible exits it has. Because streets restrict the direction of your initial move, streets usually have very poor mobility (intersections and subways help, of course).

Sometimes you want mobility -- when setting up a hit on a rival gang, trying to buy buildings, vamp a rival thug or racketeer, or attract the public. Other times you donít want mobility -- when trying to avoid raids or shootouts (such as when extorting).

The accompanying picture of the board has been marked to show the colored buildings with the highest and lowest mobility (marked with H and L).

The board is also marked to show 13 special ďone-jumpĒ buildings (labeled 2-6). A public or police unit can enter the game at the subway with the corresponding number and proceed directly into that building. As such, these buildings are great for collecting money from the public and absolutely terrible places to conduct extortion. Upgrading these joints is often the ticket to collecting large sums and is also a way to avoid losing a joint in a police raid.

Winning Ways

Going for 10 Gís

Method: A balance of spending money on high-return investments while avoiding low-return expenditures.
Initial Joints: High mobility joints likely to be visited by the public -- preferably the expensive ďone-jumpĒ properties. Two of the same color will permit an early upgrade for a double score with the public!
Keys to Success: 1) Steady income stream from Vamp and Thug extortion (most easily achieved in low mobility buildings). 2) The ability to maneuver the public into your joints (facilitated by Racketeer strength).
Weaknesses: Any loss in a shootout is a direct setback to your victory -- particularly destruction of any gang piece.

Going for Monopoly

Method: Steady acquisition of buildings in the key group.
Initial Joints: As many of the target group as possible -- preferably the low mobility, hard to reach buildings. Buy high mobility $100 joints near other buildings in the target group for the rest.
Keys to Success: 1) Vamp and Thug extortion to finance purchases. 2) High Racketeer mobility in the vicinity of desired properties. 3) Purchase of non-group joints to allow victory by ten joints and to prevent other players from realizing your objective.
Weaknesses: 1) Your Racketeer will be exposed to hits from opposing gangs and being vamped. 2) Once your objective is realized, others will buy the properties you seek (making shootouts in joints inevitable) and will attack those joints you already own.

Going for 10 Joints

Method: Buy any new joint you can (one every turn, if possible).
Initial Joints: Three high mobility, cheap joints.
Keys to Success: 1) Acquiring seven joints before anyone becomes concerned. 2) Keeping an extortion revenue stream from your Vamp and Thug coming in to finance purchases. 3) Keeping your Racketeer in high mobility, unowned buildings (preferably a new, cheap one each turn). 4) Upgrading joints and Racketeer when a move to a new, unowned building isnít possible to enhance the defensibility of your position against shootouts.
Weaknesses: 1) Racketeer is always exposed to enemy gangs and Vamps. 2) A temporary loss of extortion cash can make expansion plans lose steam.

Gangsters® is a registered trademark of The Avalon Hill Game Company.