I played games with my game group after a long break. We played primarily familiar titles: Ark Nova, Krass Kariert, and Tyrants of the Underdark. However, we also gave a new game a try.
Family Inc. is a Reiner Knizia title, published by Piatnik in 2021. Like many other Knizia titles, it’s based on an older game; in this case, Cheeky Monkeys from 2007.
This is an abstract push-your-luck filler game and a straightforward one. The setting is about a mafia family dividing the loot, but it’s inconsequential. Many number chips with values 1–10 are placed on the table face down. On your turn, you draw chips one by one until you want to quit, or you draw two chips with the same number, in which case you must stop and lose the chips.
What’s the trick? It’s pretty simple: you don’t immediately score the chips you collect. Instead, you keep them in front of you and only bank them for points if you still have them when the turn comes back to you. You can steal chips from your opponents: if I have a six in front of me and you collect a six on your turn, you steal my six. This, of course, leaves you with a three-chip stack of sixes, waiting for the next greedy thief.
The first player to reach 100 points wins the game. That takes about 5–15 minutes. There’s also a nice mechanism to support unlucky players: you get a diamond as compensation if you draw doubles within your first three draws. You can cash in three diamonds to get 50 points.
All this is very entertaining. Pushing your luck is always funny, and the possibility of stealing chips from the other players really nudges this game to the next level. Each time the chips are stolen, the stack grows taller, and the stakes increase, leading to more excitement.