The characters of Scarface 1920: from real life to the board
Scarface 1920 is a super immersive board game. This has been one of our most repeated claims in recent months, when we announced the game, and also during our Kickstarter campaign.
Playing Scarface 1920 is intended to be a trip to Chicago in the 1920s, to the time of the gangsters, an immersion in its dangerous streets and a first-hand experience of the fierce fight between gangs for traffic control of alcohol in the city.
In this immersion exercise, the mechanics are basic, allowing the players to feel like the true bosses of each band, but even more important is the setting. To achieve a realistic feel, Scarface 1920 is extremely faithful to some details of that time, such as the 1920’s map of Chicago itself, but also with some of the protagonists who wrote their names on the history of Prohibition.
Obviously the most famous of them was Al Capone, Scarface, who stars on the cover and gives name to the game, as well as the other three bosses fighting for the Chicago throne: Dean O’Banion, Arnold Rothstein and Stephanie St. Clair, all of them real characters whose skills in the game have to do with their personality or with the illegal businesses they developed at the time.
He took a deep breath and smelled the Chrysanthemum bouquet right in front of him. He loved his business. Dean O’Banion had bought the “Schofield’s Flowers” florist from its previous owner with $10,000 in one pocket and a 38-caliber pistol in the other. This florist was a perfect match to his real business. The one he ran from the back room. At night, he cleaned the streets of Chicago of his enemies’ henchmen, and by day he sold bouquets of flowers to his widows. He loved the smell of those chrysanthemum.
Founder and leader of the North Side Gang, O’Banion had forged his criminal career from a very young age on the streets of Chicago, where he now controlled most of the alcohol trade. He knew, however, that he had too many enemies who wanted part of the pie from him. And he had no desire to share it. At least, not voluntarily …
|Arnold Rothstein smiled and made a gesture with his right hand. Instantly, several of his men moved, as if it were a Broadway choreography. Within seconds, the bank manager walked through the door with an accounts book in his hand. Rothstein took it and held it in front of the man’s face. “As you can see, I will be especially generous with your silence.” A handshake sealed the deal. Rothstein smiled again. That was the fourth politician who fell under his particular spell.
Popularly known as The Brain, Arnold Rothstein is the most notorious gangster of the Jewish Mob. Born in Manhattan, Rothstein has had a criminal career in the world of gambling, but he knows that Prohibition can be a great opportunity for him. A businessman with important political connections, Rothstein aspires to spread his tentacles around Chicago.
STEPHANIE ST. CLAIR
Someone knocked on the door while Stephanie St. Clair was reading a newspaper. A man in a suit with a mustache and a Fedora came into her office and left a briefcase on the table full of money. St. Clair got up from her chair with the journal in his hand and, without looking at the briefcase, she addressed the guy. “Do you know who I am?” She asked her. Without leaving time for him to answer, she unfolded a page of the newspaper with a huge photo of her on it. “I am Stephanie St. Clair. And you can tell your boss that I will not work for anyone other than myself and my community. “
Of humble Caribbean origin, The Queen of Numbers made her name in Harlem thanks to illegal gambling. St. Clair is a relentless woman, a force of nature who has built her own empire from the streets, where she is respected and feared in equal measure. After dominating New York, her charismatic figure now hovers over Chicago, a new territory to conquer.
|The wind caressed his face. And the noise of the car engine gave him a certain sense of peace. He was relaxed. He thought of his years in the Five Points Gang, when he could still sleep with both eyes closed, when he did not go around the streets with the uncertainty that someone would unload a Thompson in his body. Al Capone got out of the car and a cloud of journalists was waiting for him. He wasn’t bad at fame. In fact, he liked cameras, although whenever he stepped in front of one he had to hide his scar. That horrible scar that had earned him the nickname Scarface. Only God knew how much he hated that nickname.
A New Yorker of Italian origin, Alphonse Gabriel Capone is the brain of The Chicago Outfit, the most important gang in the Windy City. Hardened in the streets of Brooklyn, Scarface is pure ambition, a public personality and an explosive character who will not hesitate to spill all the blood that is necessary to become the true master of the city.
But the bosses are not the only real characters that have a presence in Scarface 1920. There are sooooo many more. Some are part of the gangs, others are Associates and some are part of some of the dealers with whom players will be able to negotiate. But all, and here comes the important thing, have an impact on the games of Scarface 1920 similar to the one they had in the history of the time. That is, if Rocco Perri was Canada’s top bootlegger, his Associate card is a Bootlegging crime type and is specially good at dealing with alcohol through his skills.
Want to find out which characters have made the leap from real life to the Scarface 1920 board? Let’s go:
“Machine Gun” Kelly
Born in Memphis, “Machine Gun” Kelly made his fortune during the Prohibition as a bootlegger and a thief. Kelly is best remembered for the 1933 kidnapping of the oil magnate Charles F. Urschel, for which he obtained a ransom of more than $200,000 and for which he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. He died on his 59th birthday behind bars.
Bonnie & Clyde
No introduction needed for two of the most famous thieves, fugitives and criminals in the history of the United States. This couple of lovers, along with their gang, carried out more than a hundred assaults until they were shot down together in Louisiana in 1934. The car they were driving when they were killed can be visited in a Casino in Nevada, completely covered in bullet holes.
Ada and Minna Everleigh
Born Ada and Minna Simms, the Everleigh sisters have gone down in history for running the Everleigh Club, an upper-class brothel that remained open during the early years of the 20th century. At the time, the Everleigh Club was known as “the most famous and luxurious house of prostitution in the country”.
“Baby Face” Nelson
Bank robber and partner of John Dillinger, “Baby Face” Nelson has the doubtful honor of having killed more FBI agents than anyone else. He died in 1934 after the famous Battle of Barrington, where Nelson chased an FBI car with his powerful V-8 Ford, took two agents’ lives and received a total of 9 shots. He was 25 years old.
The Bondurant brothers (Jack, Forrest, Howard) were three bootleggers who, during Prohibition, turned Virginia’s Franklin County into “the moonshine capital of the world” since it is where the largest amount of illegal alcohol was produced in the United States. The film Lawless (2012) explains the history of these brothers based on a historical novel written by Matt Bondurant, Jack Bondurant’s grandson.
One of the most famous and special bootleggers of Prohibition. Bill McCoy considered himself little less than a Robin Hood of the time, since he never paid a penny to any criminal organization, to any politician or to any police officer for his protection. In addition, McCoy sold his alcohol unadulterated, which was a common practice of the time, and was considered of the highest quality. Many believe that is the origin of “The Real McCoy” expression.
Boss of the North Side Gang after the death of Dean O’Banion, George “Bugs” Moran was one of Al Capone’s main enemies in the fight for control of the city of Chicago, and one of the richest gangsters of the time. Moran failed in his attempt to assassinate Johnny Torrio and Capone on several occasions, drawing Capone’s rage, which provoked the Valentine’s Day Massacre, in which seven North Side Gang men were executed by, allegedly, Al Capone’s men. Neither Moran nor his gang recovered from that blow.
Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
Charismatic and handsome, “Bugsy” Siegel was one of the first gangsters to become a celebrity. He promoted the creation of the Las Vegas Strip, an area of Nevada City full of casinos, and had influence among the Italian or Jewish mafias, in addition to being friends with Meyer Lansky. Founder of Murder, Inc., he was a bootlegger during Prohibition and entered the world of gambling when the Dry Law ended.
American mobster, drug dealer and bookmaker in the neighborhood of Harlem (New York), Bumpy Johnson was part of Stephanie St. Clair’s gang, where he became the lieutenant of the Queen of the Numbers. He was arrested more than 40 times during his life and spent two years in prison for drug trafficking. The Godfather of Harlem series, starring Forest Whitaker, explains his life and criminal career.
Known as Tony “the Scourge”, Antonio Lombardo was an Italian-American mobster who acted as Al Capone’s consigliere after Johnny Torrio’s retirement in 1925. Lombardo was shot and killed in 1928 by the Bugs Moran men of the North Side Mob, causing Al Capone’s revenge in one of Prohibition’s most famous episodes: the Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Magician, spiritualist, mentalist and writer, Alexander Conlin made a career on stage and for private contractors during the first two decades of the last century, when he became the highest paid mentalist in the world. In shows he used to wear fancy oriental clothes and a turban.
“Hinky Dink” Kenna
Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna was the Alderman of the 1st Ward in Chicago. His fortune was built around graft: offering protection and special permits to bathhouses, brothels and saloons from his position in power. He ran what was known as the “Gray Wolves“, an organization which collected bribes from businesses who wanted to provide services to the city.
Al Capone’s treasurer, Frank Nitti was one of The Chicago Outfit leader’s most trusted men. Nitti was convicted of tax evasion alongside Capone in 1931, although he got only 18 months. Upon his release from prison, Nitti took over the reins of The Chicago Outfit and extended his criminal empire through gambling and extortion until his death, under strange circumstances, in 1943.
Known as “the only man Al Capone feared,” Hymie Weiss was a Polish-born gangster who led the North Side Gang during Prohibition following the assassination of Dean O’Banion. Weiss was killed in 1926, aged just 28, and is buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery (Hillside, Illinois), very close to O’Banion and Al Capone.
Al Capone’s henchman, Jack McGurn was one of the most feared gangsters during Prohibition. Born in Sicily, he is accused of being the mind behind the Valentine’s Day Massacre, one of the bloodiest episodes of Prohibition. An amateur golfer, McGurn was shot and killed seven years after the Valentine’s Day episode, although the massacre was never officially solved.
One of the most famous gangsters of the Great Depression and pop icon, John Dillinger and his gang robbed some twenty banks during the 1920s. Dillinger escaped from prison on several occasions and lived a movie-like life until he was shot dead in July 1934, just a few weeks after Bonnie and Clyde were also killed. More than 15,000 people visited his coffin in just one day.
Known as “Two Gun,” Louis Alterie was one of the North Side Mob’s deadliest hitmen during Prohibition. Western movies fan, he wore a cowboy hat, had a ranch in Colorado and never separated from his two ’45 Colts. Sources at the time claimed that he killed more than 20 members of The Chicago Outfit and the Genna family before being taken down in Chicago in July 1935. Days before, he had testified in a trial against Ralph “Bottles” Capone, Scarface’s brother. He was shot by snipers lying in wait for him across from his apartment, using a technique he had pioneered during Prohibition.
One of the most famous members of organized crime in the United States. Meyer Lansky, known as “Mob’s Accountant”, was along with Charles “Lucky” Luciano one of the promoters of the National Syndicate of Crime in the USA. He developed an empire around gambling and became the owner of casinos in Cuba, Las Vegas or London. He dedicated more than 50 years to organized crime and was never convicted of anything relevant. He died at 80 in Miami. His bank accounts were empty, although it is said that he had a fortune of more than 300 million dollars that has never found.
Al Capone’s cousin, Rocco Fischetti was one of Scarface’s henchmen at The Chicago Outfit. He served as a bodyguard, bootlegger or chauffeur before running illegal gambling operations himself for more than two decades. Two of his brothers, Charlie and Joseph, were also part of Capone’s gang during Prohibition and the years after. He died of a heart attack on 1964 when he was 61 years old.
Calabrian by birth, Rocco Perri was one of Canada’s most important gangsters during Prohibition, to the point that he was known as “King of the Bootleggers” or even “Canada’s Al Capone”. After spending several periods in prison, Perri disappeared in April 1944 and was presumed dead, although his remains were never found. Some say that he was murdered at Lupara bianca, others that he changed his identity to live his last years in peace.
An actress and businesswoman, Texas Guinan is remembered for owning several speakeasies during Prohibition, when she was known as “Queen of the night clubs”. She participated in numerous theater plays and movies, and even tried to bring some of her shows to Europe, until she passed away from a parasitic disease in November 1933, just a month before the end of Prohibition. She was 49 years old.
Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo
Born in Chicago, although of Italian roots, Tony Accardo, better known as Big Tuna, is one of the oldest gangsters in history. His criminal career spans eight decades, from the days he took his first steps as a thug for Al Capone to when he became the leader of The Chicago Outfit. He died in 1992, aged 86, after having spent one single night in jail during his entire life.