Home Features City of Gangsters is a fascinatingly complex bootlegging simulator set during the Prohibition era

City of Gangsters is a fascinatingly complex bootlegging simulator set during the Prohibition era

3 min read
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Who wants to be a good guy, when running foul of the thin blue line is just so much more profitable? It’s 1920, America’s dryer than a cannoli that has been left out in the sun thanks to Prohibition, and a few enterprising individuals are using this new sober status quo to their advantage. It’s the dawn of a new age for the mob as crime gets more organised, and in City of Gangsters it’ll be up to you to balance the books and make sure that every bootlegging operation runs smoothly.

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Currently scheduled for a 2021 release, City of Gangsters from developer SomaSim is a colourful look at pushing the pencils for the Mafia as you set up supply chains, acquire raw materials and smuggle your illicit booze around the city. There are of course numerous spanners thrown your way, as you’ll need to ensure that a steady stream of hired muscle can keep your territory safe and the cops off your tail. Or you could just toss a generous donation to Johnny Law that obscures their vision of your newest speakeasy.

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And so far there’s a lot to like! Even in this current beta build, City of Gangsters has several fascinating layers of complexity to its design that shows off just how intricate bootlegging was in an age devoid of modern day conveniences that we take for granted. Starting from square nuthin’ and working your way to the top requires careful planning, compromises, and a patient eye for striking when the opportunity presents itself.

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It’s worth noting that City of Gangsters adopts a turn-based system for its gameplay, with each new turn revealing the consequences for your actions. Or they positive or negative? That’s up to your careful planning, but there’s all the time in the world to make the right decision, with the challenge coming in the form of the limited actions available to you before you decide to progress.

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There’s also a layer of randomness to the game, as each time you start a new game a new, unique city is generated. Certain streets and landmarks are retained to provide some layer of familiarity, but each new spin in City of Gangsters tasks you with figuring out new supply routes, which territories to steer clear of, and where to diversify your booze offerings.

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There’s still a long way to go before City of Gangsters hits the prime time, but so far the game is turning out to be a surprisingly thoughtful and fun trip back in time to an era of temperance and fancy suits. Its basic visuals hide a complex web of crime and profit, you’ve got to keep an eye out for any knives being pointed at your back, and striking back at any hostile expansion on your turf isn’t just par for the corpse. It’s the Chicago way.

For more on the game, check out regular guide videos from SomaSim, which detail the intricate crime empires that you’ll be able to build. They’re narrated in character by one of the hooligans you’ll meet in your rise to the top of the mob food chain, but you didn’t hear it from me, capiche?

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

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