Crime Wars

A game for 2-4 players, contributed by Brian Verchot . The objective of the game is to eliminate all of your enemies’ minions and kill their kingpin.

You need a standard 52-card pack (with jokers in the case of a two-player game), a 6-sided die, and pencil and paper to record how much money each player has, and the attack and defense strength of their team.

Each player selects a different suit. The player's deck consists of the 13 cards of that suit if there are 3 or 4 players. In a 2-player game, each player also has a joker, making a deck of 14 cards. The suits represent teams with different attack and defense strengths as follows:

  • Terrorists (Spades) — Attack: 4, Defense: 1
  • Gangstaz (Hearts) — Attack: 1, Defense: 4
  • The Mob (Clubs) — Attack: 2, Defense: 3
  • Street Punks (Diamonds) — Attack: 3, Defense: 2

Each team starts with $1000 to their name. The cost to hire one thug is $100.

In order to decide who will play first, a die is rolled. The player with the highest number goes first. If a tie occurs, use a tiebreaker by allowing those involved a re-roll.

How to Play

The Kingpin

crime wars You begin with the Kingpin (king of your chosen suit) already in play. The kingpin is the beginning and end of any crime empire. To win, he must survive. To facilitate this, the kingpin has 2x the defense of one thug, but still retains the attack power of one thug. He cannot attack on the first turns of any game. Also, he cannot be attacked at any time unless all of his thugs have been killed.

Drawing Cards

Having placed their kingpin, each player shuffles the remaining cards of their deck and places it face down. At the beginning of every game, each player draws two cards from the top of their respective decks. At the beginning of every turn, the player whose turn it is draws one card. Cards do not have to be immediately put into play - they can be held in hand until you wish/are able to use them.

Street Soldiers

Each number card in a deck is a group of thugs. The number on the card represents how many thugs that card represents (i.e. a 5 card is 5 thugs, therefore, it costs $500 to hire that group). To hire a card from your hand, deduct the appropriate amount of money from your total and place the card face up on the table in front of you. You can hire as many thugs as you wish in one turn, provided that you have the cards in your hand and the money to pay for them. Also, if you run out of money and you have a debt from playing roulette (see below) that you need to repay, you can use thugs to pay back a debt. A thug group is worth the same amount of money it took to pay for it. When paying in thugs: If you end up having to give more thugs than a debt is worth, you are reimbursed for the extra thugs you give (e.g. if a debt is $500 and you only have a 9 card, then you must pay with that card and receive $400 in change).


The attack and defense strengths given above for each suit (team) are the strength of one thug. The attack and defense strengths of a group of thugs multiply the strength of the suit by the number of thugs. For example, three thugs in the Mob group (Attack 2, Defense 3) - represented by the three of clubs - have 6 attack and 9 defense.


Having drawn from your deck, and possibly hired some thugs, you may if you wish attack another player. You select which of your thug groups will attack and which thug group belonging to another player will be the target of the attack. You cannot attack using a thug group that you hired in the current turn: once put into play, a thug group must wait until the player's next turn to attack.

To carry out an attack you roll a die. The number on the die is multiplied by the attack stats of the group you attack with to get your attack number. The other player must then defend by rolling a die, then multiplying the number on the die times the receiving group’s defense stats to get a defense number. If the defense number is higher, the attack is cancelled out as if nothing happened. If lower, the defending group is eliminated. All eliminated thugs are placed on the bottom of your deck.

A players Kingpin can only be attacked when he has no thugs to protect him. When attacking a kingpin, keep in mind that his stats are that of one thug with doubled defense. In a 3-4 player game, if you kill an opposing kingpin, you receive all of his money and are paid however much money his cards in hand are worth.

Each thug group may attack only once per turn.

The “Less than or Equal to” Postulate and Banding

Normally, attacking is done by one thug group fighting another.  However, there is an exception to this. One can choose to band several thug groups together to attack an opposing thug group. The only limit to this is that the number of banded thugs must be less than or equal to the number of thugs you attack - for example you could band together a 2, a 3 and a 4 to attack an opponent's 10, but if attacking an 8 you could only use two of those cards. This also applies to defending. When you are attacked you may add other thug groups to the defense, provided that the number of banded defending thugs is less than or equal to the attacking number of thugs. If banded thugs are defeated in a defend, they are all eliminated. When an allied group of thugs on another team is threatened, you can band your thugs with his thugs in defense (you cannot band allies for attacks unless both teams are controlled by only one player). This postulate also applies to selling thugs to an ally (see Alternate Styles Of Play); you may only charge less than/equal to the amount the card is worth in money.

Other Cards

Cards that are not number cards are also playable.

Adds 1 attack point to team.
Adds 1 defense point to team.
Adds $1000 to team.

When you draw one of the above cards, you show it, add the received statistics/money to the team stats (not thug group stats), and put that card at the bottom of your deck. If you draw one of the above but wish to give the stats/money to an ally, simply put the card at the bottom of your deck and declare that the received stats/money goes to your ally.

The Snitch Card (a.k.a. the Joker)
If you are playing a two player only game, you may choose to use a snitch card. When playing a two player only game, the jokers must be in the players’ decks, ready to be drawn at random. If drawn, you may keep it in your hand or use it then and there. When used, all thugs in play (yours and your enemy’s) are put at the bottom of the respective decks.


Any time during your turn (preferably at the end of a turn after an attack), you may choose to play a game of roulette. This is done by rolling a die. You will end up with a result depending on your number:

  1. Lose all thugs (in hand and play) and money
  2. Lose $800
  3. Lose $400
  4. Lose and win nothing.
  5. Win $400
  6. Win $800

If you roll a one, or roll a 2 or 3 and are unable to pay your losses without losing thugs, then you can choose to take out a loan to help pay your losses. In this way you can avoid having to give up thugs to pay your debt in that turn and even keep some money. However, the loan must be repaid in your next turn with 25% interest. If you are unable to pay 125% of the debt on the next turn, you are elimiated from the game.

Alternate Styles of Play

Thug Alliance

In a four-player game, two players may choose to be allies. As allies, they can give thugs, money, and stat cards; and can band thugs.

  • As an alternative to this, two players can each control the two teams and continue play as if it were a four-player game. They may also choose to combine decks; however, each type still has its respective team designation (Example: all groups have their stats indicated by the team types, and non-number cards only affect the thugs indicated by their type) and your starting money is $2000$ rather than $1000. If combining decks, you may only use one king pin of your choice; the other kingpin must be removed from play. If you control two teams, then they are automatically aligned.
  • To trade cards: The player wishing to give cards may choose to do so freely or for a price. When giving, he must take the card/cards (in hand or in play), show it/them to all players participating, and declare that the card/cards are being applied to his ally. The giver then puts the card/cards at the bottom of his deck, and the receiver searches his deck for the card/cards equivalent to the card/cards declared. After the receiver has found this card, he shuffles his deck and places the card where it belongs. If the giver wishes to put a price on the card/cards, he may do so by declaring the cost of the card(s) as well as the card(s) themselves. The price cannot be another card. You may only charge money for the card according to the “Less Than or Equal To” Postulate. Also, you may only charge money for thugs (non-number cards are worth no money).
  • To band thugs: see “ ‘The Less Than or Equal To’ Postulate and Banding” section.

If all players are eliminated except for you and your ally, you may choose to either conclude the game or fight each other by continuing a game as if it were already a 2 player game (putting Snitch cards back into the game is optional). Alliances can/cannot be broken mid-game, depending on the preference of the players. Also, when playing this game type, there cannot be an alliance or combination of more than 2 teams at once.


Normal rules, combat uses 4 dice. The attack/defense number is multiplied by the total of numbers shown on the dice.


All cards are in play except bonuses, which are already applied to stats. Normal Combat.


Only kingpins are playable, all stats are 5/5 (no defense double for Kingpins)

We don’t got no die

Take a spare suit of cards (if available), take out numbers 1-6, and shuffle them for use as a die. When using these cards, make sure that you cannot see the number BEFORE you draw, and shuffle the cards after a draw. You may do this, or take 6 slips of paper or index cards and label them 1-6. If using Hardkore rules, take 24 slips of paper or index cards and organize them into 4 sets of 6. Then, label each set 1-6.

Rich Man’s Curse

This type of play is for 4 or more player games. In order to play, you must have a coin or coin-like object that is not currently made by a North American government (a poker chip, old/foreign currency, commemorative coins, et cetera). The coin is placed in the middle of the playing field. The first person to have his kingpin killed must take the coin, say “Rich Man’s Curse!” so that all players can hear it, and hand the coin to whoever had carried out the kill. The person receiving the coin must accept it and forfeit all money that he would’ve normally won from conquering the opponent. The same fate befalls the player who conquers the one who received the coin.

The Great Empire

For 3 or more player game-play. Whoever conquers a team must choose to either receive the money from conquering or align them and use them as allies under his control, without winning extra money. In this style, you may have more than two teams under your control.


Players may choose to use real money instead of writing it on paper, having each dollar amount directly proportional to the currency used (i.e. $100 in the game equals 5 cents in reality). When paying for thugs/roulette, money is put into a bank in the center of the playing field. Whoever wins the game collects the bank.

Murder for Bounty

For every thug you kill, you earn 1/4 of its worth (e.g. if you kill five thugs, you receive $125 from the bank). This does not count for kingpins.


To play with more than 4 players, simply add suits from another deck. It is recommended that you play with no more than 8 players.

  • Thug Alliance rules apply to more than four players, as long as the number of players is an even number. You still cannot, however, combine or align more than two teams per alliance/player.

All of the alternate rules listed above can be combined in whatever way the players choose.

Last updated: 11th July 2011