By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Game Salute's Nothing Personal game review: Influence is power
Nothing Personal is a game for 3-5 players. Players attempt to gain the most respect in five turns (five years) by amassing respect amongst the mafia through influence, negotiation, blackmail and bribery. - photo by Ryan Morgenegg
The game Nothing Personal by Game Salute is a legend in its time. Based on the 80s board game hit Kremlin, the game is reimagined with a crime family theme. Designers Steven Avery and Tom Vasel fine-tuned this edition and brought out the best parts.

Grab a fedora and take a seat around the table for the review of this engaging game of power and influence.

Nothing Personal is a game all about influence that lasts about two hours and accommodates three to five players. Each player represents a crime family trying to gain control of the family business. This is done by influencing members of the business who can grant favors during the game.

The game board is one of the sturdiest boards in the industry and depicts a chain of command in the family business with nine positions. At the top is the "Capo" followed by the "underboss," the "counselor" and the "enforcer" all the way down to the "third guy." Each slot in the business gets populated by a unique gangster card at random. The position and the gangster can grant special powers to the player who holds the most influence there.

To start the game each player receives 25 influence markers, $5 and a scoring meeple. The goal is to score the most points before the end of the game. Respect (victory) points are given out by gangsters and by the position they hold.

The first part of the game involves players playing cards to place their influence tokens on the various positions. After playing influence cards, each position in the business is examined to determine which player has the most influence there. Whoever has the most influence gets to perform the action of the position and the gangster, collects respect (victory) points and also collects a certain amount of money.

For example, a player wins control of the gangster "Eager" Jim Redio situated in the "bean counter" position on the board by having the most influence tokens there. The player gets to collect $4 (income) and three respect (victory) points. In addition, the player gets to steal $3 from another player (position power) and gets to "whack" another gangster for $8, a $2 discount. Whack a gangster? That's right.

During the game, a player can "whack" or get rid of another gangster. The success of the "whack" is determined by the roll of a die. The attempt can even backfire and destroy the gangster trying the "whack" attempt. Eliminated gangsters leave the game taking all of the influence tokens on him or her and are replaced by lower-level gangsters working their way up the food chain.

The game is all about positioning the right gangsters in the right spots while maintaining influence. It's a massive political struggle on a grand scale. And if one gangster gains too much influence, the police come and take him or her to jail, eliminating them from the game along with all the influence there.

The cool thing about this game is there is nothing else out there like it. The amount of player interaction during the game is astounding. Players will discuss things, speak in accents, make deals and strive to survive.

Even though this game is a blast to play, I don't believe it is for everyone. Just as the game title states, players must remember it is just a game. There will be times when players battle over a position or "whack" each other. Many times players will go head to head but must remember that there is "nothing personal."

The components of the game are absolutely stellar. Cardboard money, heavy duty board, fun artwork, wooden pieces, excellent rules, custom dice and solid cards. This is a fantastic game worthy of a serious look for gamers.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters