Gérard Matthieu &
Gérard Delfanti &
Pascal Trigaux





Having some free time to spend, let me tell you a story about three friends in France who set out with the ambition to publish some extraordinary boardgames. Gérard Matthieu, Gérard Delfanti and Pascal Trigaux were the three founders of LUDODELIRE, a small publishing house which started their business about 1985 and which - during the ten years of its existence - found many enthusiastic fans around the globe. LUDODELIRE published games like Supergang, Full Metal Planete or Formule Dé, all of which have become famous for their extraordinary playing mechanisms and the wonderful graphical design which was added by comic-artist Gérard Matthieu. However, in the end LUDODELIRE went bankrupt due to some essential errors made by its owners. On the one hand, one of the friends left the company already after a few years, taking with him his part of the publishing rights of a few best-selling games like Supergang, a factor which made it impossible to license the game to other (foreign) publishers and thus increase sales numbers. Another point was the publishing strategy - news games were usually presented after Christmas, so that LUDODELIRE constantly missed the best selling time of the year. A few of the later games like Formule Dé could be licensed since they were created after the leaving of one of the founders, but concerning the older games all that remains is a faithful fan community who hopes for a re-release at some point in the future...


Having given you this introduction, let me now present you Supergang, the first game to be published by young LUDODELIRE back in 1985. Supergang takes places in a mediterranean French town somewhen around 1960, and in the game the players have taken the roles as bosses of rival gangs of gangsters who want to get control over the town. More detailed, each player tries to get control over one of the five different town districts, each of which consisting of either seven or eight buildings. To further his plan, each player has three henchmen which are just released from prison at the beginning of the game: The Killer, the Dealer and the sexy Vamp.

During his turn the active player rolls a movement-dice for each of his gangsters, and thus each of the figures must be moved for the exact amount of spaces as shown on its dice. The figures move either on the streets or into and within buildings, but there also exist five manholes into the sewers which may be used as a shortcut during movement. Once all figures of a player have been moved, he may decide whether and which kind of action he wants to perform with each of his characters:

  • A player may commit a Gangland Killing if one or more of his characters are in the same space as a character of another player.
  • While on the street, some of the street spaces bear a special illustration, allowing the player to commit a Street Crime like swindling a tourist or stealing a handbag, yielding the player a minor amount of cash.
  • In a building, a gangster may also commit a Holdup. A successful holdup in a neutral building yields a major amount of money from the bank, whereas a holdup in a building owned by another player may either be for money or for ownership of that particular building.
  • Alternatively, instead of making a holdup a gangster also may use a building to start a Racket, thus creating a continuous income source for the player.
  • However, sometimes even a gangster may resort to legal means, and thus a player also may decide to purchase a building, costing him a medium amount of money but also generating a continuous income source.

As you see, some of the actions just mentioned may generate a lasting source of income, and this income is collected by a player at the beginning of his turn before he actually rolls his dice for movement. The money may be spent either for acquiring buildings, recruiting replacements for dead gangster, purchasing drugs or bribing the Police.

Each of a player`s characters also has a special ability. Thus, the Killer is especially useful in shootings and gets a bonus when participating in a shooting. The Dealer on the other hand may purchase Drugs from certain points at the gameboard. These drugs he may carry through town and place on empty road spaces, indicating that he has claimed these spaced for drug trafficking and generating some constant income for the player. The Vamp finally can seduce an other player`s Killer or Dealer, and the player of the Vamp then will be in control of the seduced character for three full turns, using the character like one of his own.

However, as mentioned before, the town is not yet fully lost to the gangsters. Two Police-patrols still roam the town, always controlled by the active player who rolls two dice for the Police and moves their figures together with his gangsters. The Police is useful to witness crimes, and a crime can be witnessed from the Police if they come to a space adjacent to a location with a red-handed gangster. Any crimes witnessed by the Police will be entered in a gangster`s criminal record, and the police will try to capture a gangster with one or more entries on his criminal record when they should land on his space. If the gangster either complies to the arrest or looses a shootout with the police, he (or she) will be sentenced to jail where a sentence of one or more rounds of play (depending on the criminal record) must be served. However, even the Police can be bought, and thus a player who can afford to spend a huge amount of money can gain control over the Police, now using them only at his own liking.

So far you have seen that Supergang is a gangster game with rules varying between medium and advanced complexity and offering some nice twists and ideas which guarantee some playing fun, but you may ask yourself what may be the element which makes Supergang so outstanding? The absolute speciality of the game is that all kinds of shootouts are not solved simply by rolling the dice, but instead they are handled with the included dart gun and target markers for the gangsters, the police and possibly participating shop owners. At the beginning of a shootout each side rolls a number of dice (depending on the number of participating characters) to find out who has the right to shoot first, and then the player with the higher result may fire as many darts at his opponent`s figures as he rolled higher than his opponent. If he cannot bring down all opponents, it will then be the other player`s turn to try to shoot as many attackers as possible, and this way a shootout continues until all characters on one side have been hit. All hit characters landing face up are injured and must stay in the hospital for one turn, whereas all characters landing face down are killed. Killed Police units will restart at the police station, but a player only can replace a killed character by purchasing a replacement somewhere on the gameboard.

It may actually sound a bit strange to imagine the players of a boardgame to stand up and duel with a dart-pistol, but once you have participated in a round of Supergang you will understand the unique flair and fascination the game draws from its combination of interesting rules with a hilarious element of action. It is exactly this special element of interaction which only Supergang can offer, and which AVALON HILL so rightly recognized as potentially interesting especially for the American games market. They tried to get all three original LUDODELIRE-founders into giving them a license, but even a rather high bid failed due to the lasting quarrel. This way AVALON HILL released rogue game called Gangsters missing all the original spirit and including a - senseless - watergun. The fans of Supergang on the other hand hope and wait…

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany