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"This Americdn system of ours... all it Amerlaulsm, all it capitalism, all it what you like, gives to each and ever one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it "

Al Capone (899-1947)

The Lowdown

In Family Business, you lead a family of mobsters intent on being the only gang in town.

You use your resources-Contracts, Hits and more-to eliminate your opponents while trying to save your own mobsters. The winner is the last player with any mobsters left.


Family Business contains:

  • 54 Mobster cards
  • 56 Action cards
  • Instructions


Place the box lid in the center of the table, so that all players can reach it. Put the box bottom on top of the lid, creating a stacked box. Use one of the short sides of the stacked box as "the wall". (See Fig. 1A). As you target mobsters for elimination, line them up against "the wall". (See 1B).

As you execute mobsters, toss them inside the tray in the box bottom as discards.

Each player chooses a mob family and takes all of the cards of that family. Toss unused families in the box lid.. Place your cards face up in front of you, so that everyone can always see how many cards you have left. Shuffle the Action cards. Give each player 5 cards for their starting hand. Keep your cards hidden.

Place the remaining cards face down in the center of the table as a draw deck. The final set-up should look like the following example (see Fig. 2).

The Sit-down

""No man but the undertaker will ever get me..".

Clyde Barrow (1909-1934)

The dealer plays first, and play moves clockwise around the table. If someone plays a Counter card (blue arrow icon), that player will take the next turn.

On your turn, you will draw I card, and then play I card (placing it face-up on the discard pile). Normally, you will choose to play the card for its effect, but you may simply discard a card with no effect if desired by announcing "discard". Discarded cards are reshuffled when the draw deck is emptied.

Counter cards (with the blue arrow icon) are the only cards that can be played when it is not your turn. Counter cards affect certain Attack and Rescue cards as they are being played.

Only one player may play Counter cards, in response to an opponent's play. If two or more players try to play a counter card at the same time, only the first one played takes effect. After resolving the card's effect, the player using the Counter card immediately replaces it with a card from the draw deck.

All players should have 5 cards in their hands at all times (except when drawing a sixth at the beginning of one of their turns). When a player uses a Counter card, that player will take the next turn (skipping others).

When you put the first mobster on the "Hit List" (using a Contract or some other card), place the card face up next to the box. He is considered to be "up against the wall". As you add more mobsters, the Hit List extends away from the box and across the table.

Mob War

"We only kill each other".

Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (1906-1947)

Five events start a Mob War:

  • Playing a Mob War card
  • Playing a Vendetta card
  • Playing an Ambush card
  • Having 6 or more mobsters on the Hit List
  • Having 6 or fewer mobsters left in the game

When a Mob War starts, mobsters will begin to die at the beginning of the next player's turn. During a Mob War, at the beginning of each player's turn, the mobster "up against the wall" (closest to the box) is eliminated.

Flip the mobster card over to its RIP side and place it inside the box. If Vendetta or Ambush were played, then the first TWO mobsters on the Hit List are eliminated each turn (the Mob War is at "double rate"). This continues until the Mob War is over, either by playing a Truce card, or when there are no more mobsters on the Hit List.

A player is immediately out of the game when all of his mobsters are eliminated. The eliminated player's Action cards are placed in the discard pile, even if he is eliminated on his own turn.

The Smoke Clears

The game ends when only one player has mobsters in play (either on the Hit List or in front of him). The last player with mobsters in play is the winner.

The Action Cards

"If you went to him and told him about some guy doing wrong, he would have the guy whaked... and then he would have you whacked for telling on the guy".

Joe Valachi, su Vito Genovese (1897-1969)


The Contract card is the basic card in the game. When you play a Contract on another player, he must choose one of his mobsters and add him to the Hit List.

He places this mobster at the end of the current line up, or "up against the wall" if there are no mobsters currently on the Hit List.

Attack Cards

  • You can counter a Contract card in two ways: with a Family Influence card, or a Mob Power card. A Family Influence card cancels the Contract card, and no mobster is added to the Hit List.

    A Mob Power card reverses the effect, so that the player using the Contract card must add one of his own mobsters to the Hit List!

    Some Contracts prevent certain Counters from being played against them. If a Contract lists "No Family Influence", then only a Mob Power may be played against it.

    Some Contracts exclude both Counter cards, and cannot be countered.

  • Priority Contract

    A Priority Contract works the same as a regular Contract card, except that the targeted mobster goes "up against the wall"-the mobster is placed first in line next to the box.

    Either a Family Influence or a Mob Power counters this card. (If a Mob Power is played, the Priority Contract player must put one of their own mobsters first in line!).

  • Double Contract

    A Double Contract has the same effect as playing 2 Contract cards on the same player. The targeted player must put 2 mobsters on the Hit List.

    Either Family Influence or Mob Power may counter a Double Contract, but the counter card only saves the first of the two mobsters. In the case of someone playing Mob Power against your Double Contract, you would place a mobster on the Hit List first, and then your opponent would place one.

  • Hit

    A Hit allows you to immediately eliminate any 1 mobster in play, whether or not that mobster is on the Hit List. However, you must add 1 of your own mobsters to the Hit List.

  • St. Valentine's Day Massacre

    The St. Valentine's Day Massacre immediately eliminates all mobsters on the Hit List.

  • Double Cross

    The Double Cross card allows you to collect 1 mobster from each opponent and add them all to the Hit List in any order that you choose.

  • Mob War

    Mob War starts (or restarts at a normal rate) a Mob War, even if there are less than 6 mobsters on the Hit List.

  • Ambush

    An Ambush starts a Mob War, with 2 mobsters killed at the beginning of each player's turn. This continues until the Mob War ends. (If a Mob War is already in effect, this has the effect of doubling the hit rate).

  • Vendetta

    A Vendetta allows you to select 2 mobsters from each opponent and add them all to the Hit List, in any order you choose. Then, a Mob War starts (or continues, if a Mob War was already in effect), with 2 mobsters killed at the beginning of each player's turn.

    This continues until the Mob War ends. If you use a Safe House counter card when Vendetta is played, your mobsters are not added to the Hit List, but the Mob War still begins.

  • Turncoat

    The Turncoat lets you switch a mobster in play (on the Hit List or in front of a player) with a mobster from the discard pile.

    The mobster being discarded must come from the player with the most mobsters in play, and the returned mobster must be for the active player with the least mobsters in play.

    In the case of a tie, you choose which of the tied players are affected. The returned mobster comes back to the same spot on the Hit List that the discarded mobster occupied, or is returned in front of the player if the discarded mobster was not on the Hit List.

    This card does not bring an eliminated player back into the game.

Rescue Cards

  • Double Contract

    Take It On the Lam lets you remove any 1 mobster from the Hit List. This is the only Rescue card that can be countered, with a Finger card. The first person to play a Finger card cancels Take It On the Lam.

  • Police Protection

    Police Protection allows you to remove any 1 mobster from the Hit List.

  • Substitution

    Substitution lets you replace 1 mobster on the Hit List with any other mobster in play, including one already on the Hit List.

  • Intrigue

    The Intrigue card allows you to rearrange the order of the Hit List. No mobsters may be added or removed.

  • Truce

    The Truce card stops a Mob War. Note that if the conditions still exist to trigger a Mob War (6 or more mobsters, or 6 or fewer mobsters left in play), a Mob War (at the rate of 1 hit per turn) would immediately restart.

  • Pay Off

    Pay Off lets you remove all of one player's mobsters from the Hit List.

  • Federal Crackdown

    Federal Crackdown returns all mobsters on the Hit List back to their players.

Counter Cards

Each of the Counter card's uses is described above. For ease of reference, the following table shows which Counter cards affect Attack and rescue cards:

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