Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Chicago Way - The Rules, Box 1.5

I got to read through the rule book for The Chicago Way while I sat for hours waiting for my car to get fixed this morning. The whole time Ennio Morricone's incredible score from 'The Untouchables' in my mind. I can't tell you how many times I've re-watched that movie since this game was announced!

The Chicago Way is almost identical to Dead Man's Hand (both games are written by the same guys, Stuart McCorquodale and Mark Wheatley, and distrubuted by Great Escape Games) which isn't a bad thing at all. I absolutely love DMH, and it's a game I usually will throw on the table when someone new to miniatures games comes over to the house because it's fast, easy to learn, and most importantly fun! I can tell that TCW is going to be same.

If you've played DMH you'll be up and running within minutes, as the turn sequence, action choices, modifiers, cards, etc. are almost the same. What I'll attempt to do is quickly is list the similarities to DMH and then go through the new rules and any differences from DMH.

DMH/TCW same mechanics =

Initiative cards and activation
Action choices
Duck backs/Quick shots
Nerve tests
Under fire markers
Hand to hand combat

Now, the differences. The first thing, and really something that I think you could bring into DMH as well, is the rules for civilians. Each player will throw initiative cards to see who will control a civilian - highest card wins. Civilians will always take two move actions and can only have two hits before dying. Not sure if there is a min/max or ideal number for civilians though, that isn't clear in the book. The Jack of Diamonds card when played by the Police adds a civilian to the table as low level police officer to your gang. The '3' in all suits adds a civilian figure to the table as well.

If controlled by the 'good guys', civilians must head for cover or move off the table. If controlled by the 'bad guys', they must head for cover or towards a good guy. The best thing about the civilian rules is each time a civilian is killed, the 'bad guy' gang gets to draw an extra card for their hand - if this motivates 'bad guys' to shoot civilians, so be it! This is certainly something that can really make a game interesting!

If you pre-ordered the rule book you will have received the exclusive Photographer figure. This civilian model will benefit your gang if you control him by allowing a re-roll once per turn to one of your gang members within 12 inches of him. I really hope GEG plan on continuing special civilian figures and rules, as I feel this can add a lot of fun to the game.

Aiming is different from DMH in that one aim action will give you bonuses for ALL shots after the aim. So an "aim, shoot, shoot" declaration gives you the +1 on BOTH the first and second shots. That wasn't the case in DMH. You wouldn't get the +1 on that second shot.

I really want a Chevrolet Coupe Model!!!!

The weapons table is pretty simple, not over complicating things with all sorts of different pistols, rifles, etc. The tommy gun is what stands out on the table - the number of shots you can fire is dependent on the range. So a tommy gun fired at point blank range could use 3 shoot actions and fire 9 shots! Certainly a massacre weapon!

There was one small interesting paragraph regarding two pistols. The rules say that 'models may have two pistols in which case they ignore an out of ammo result on the shooting table.' Now the question is, does the figure have to be modeled as such or can you just say "hey, this guys has two pistols". Or how many figures can you say have two pistols? The whole gang? For me, I think I will only use that rule if the figure is actually modeled with two pistols.

Jokers work in a different way from other cards for initiative. Jokers are the low card in the deck, so that model acts last in the turn and gets his three normal actions, OR he may act at ANY TIME during the turn, even interrupting another model's turn, but only gets TWO actions which must be different. Pretty neat addition to the Joker cards!

Vehicles are the last and biggest change from DMH. Vehicles have the most pages of rules dedicated to them (5 and it's a lot of information) with a lot of different rules for lots of different situations. I won't go into detail on everything, there are all sorts of different modifiers and such, but just give you an overview of everything. With saying that though, it's nothing that seems over complicated, and I'm sure after running cars around the board a few times we'll have it down with no issues.

For a vehicle with passengers in it you will place initiative cards for each passenger, PLUS one for the vehicle itself. So a car with 3 figures in it would have a total of four initiative cards placed by it. Here's the interesting part, when the four cards are flipped, you can choose which of the four cards you want to go to the driver by swapping cards and also discard the lowest. Essentially this is giving vehicles the best chance to be the first to act with a high card, which makes total sense.

Models in vehicles perform actions as normal. They can get in or jump out of a car using a move action. You can "drive" as an action, though they call it "move" in the rule book :) . Those actions can be driving straight, a gentle turn, or a sharp turn. Within that, the number of "drive" actions you take will determine the speed of the vehicle. For example if I wanted to take 3 drive actions to go straight, sharp turn right, and then go straight again, and IF I passed all my driving tests the car would be traveling at a speed of 3; there are modifiers for the second and third moves, as well as for the difficulty of the turn.  Again, with that speed of 3 there are all sorts of modifiers that are going to effect the rest of the turn if shooting occurs from the car or at the car.

Failing a driving test will take you to a table where the results will be based on how badly you failed the test by. For example, if I failed the test by 5+, the car ends up crashing! Another roll of the D10 determines where it ends up (flipped on it's roof!) on the driving template. Nerve tests are taken for any models in the car, and under fire markers placed accordingly.

There are some cool little rules for jumping on or off a moving vehicle as well - basically what they call a "Specialist Duck Back". You can jump on or off a vehicle at a speed of 1 automatically. Speed 2 requires a nerve test; failing results in being hit and a roll on the shooting chart occurs at a +6, which could easily result in getting killed! There are also rules for riding on and shooting from the running board of those cars that have them.

One thing that I think was missed with the token set is an "Out of Control" marker. If the driver of the car is shot, it is marked as "Out of Control" as per the rule book. If there are other passengers in the car they can attempt to take over driving (by using a move action and then passing a nerve test), if they fail or if there are no other passengers then the car crashes, rolling on the Driving Test table as if it had been failed at 5+. Would have been nice to have two of those. I also think "Duck Back" and "Quick Shot" tokens would be nice to have on the table next to those models that used those actions as well. Having the driving template on the table also made it pretty obvious, in my opinion anyway, that clear plastic wasn't a good choice, as it blends in too much - you can't even read any of the writing. I think a light blue, with the lettering in white, would have been a much better choice.

Being run over is a possibility as well in TCW! Duck Backs can be used if the figure has yet to activate, with a nerve test at -1. Getting hit by a car will have you roll on the shooting table, adding modifiers depending on the speed of the car. "Stand Your Ground" is an action option as well if you are in the path of the car. Depending on the speed of the car you can take a number of actions; speed of 1 allows one action, speed 2 two actions, speed 3 three actions. At least one of those actions must be a shoot action if using two or three actions.

Cards from your hand that have a vehicle on the bottom is how you remove under fire markers from your car. The '4' of each suit takes away two under fire markers for example.

The book is laid out well and looks great. There are five scenarios included, as well as a whole section of the rule book dedicated to a campaign. The character skills in the campaign section look really neat and will add a lot to the game. GEG also have gang rosters, quick reference sheets, and the token and driving template available to download from their website for free, so you don't have to cut up your rule book.

I have been anxiously awaiting this game since it was announced a couple months now and can't wait to try it out this weekend! I am absolutely in love with this time period and have been since I was young. Still waiting on my box of buildings from 4Ground, so I think I'll use some of my DMH buildings for the test play. Can't wait to run some cars around and see how that plays out. Thanks to Stuart and Mark at GEG for what looks to be another winner in my book!

As always, thanks for looking!



  1. Nice reading Ivor, thanks for this handy recap.

  2. In your review, you said, in part:
    "There are five scenarios included, as well as a whole section of the rule book dedicated to a campaign."

    I've been unable to find any write-up about the campaign, its mechanics, how well it plays etc. at any of the miniature gaming blogs. Curious if you've had a chance to test drive them yet and what you thought. While not a big fan of the Great Escape Games rule mechanics, I am looking for a workable campaign type game.


    1. Sorry JJ, I've only ever done one off scenarios and games, with the occasional linked scenario. As much as I'd like to, I just don't have local opponents to try to work through a campaign with :( If you come up with a solo campaign I'd be all ears though!