Welcome back, Gangsters!
Make It Count DLC is just around the corner, and with it, a new way for you to make money in Chicago. It seems right to give you a little heads up on how things are gonna work when money lending opens its doors. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Up to now, your rackets have thrived thanks to one ingredient: alcohol. Sure, some places can manage by focusing attention on other forms of vice, but booze is the oil for a well-run machine. That means building breweries, keeping speakeasies fluid, and ensuring that gamblers are carrying full cargoes of Dutch courage to roll the bones down the Craps table.
Loan sharking offers a new source of income, without the need for a constant supply of alcohol, though it takes a particular type of gangster to get one up and running. Any old knucklehead can sling alcohol, but running numbers and ensuring they turn a profit?
That requires business acumen. While all Gangsters in the Black Book have useful skills and talents, not all of them extend to accountancy.
You’ll need a Fixer in your crew in order to open a Loan Shark racket. With brains best suited for keeping track of payments, they can make sure the books stay balanced in your favor. This extends to Chicago’s newest boss, Maxim Zelnick, too. While adept with numbers himself, he is a boss first, and still has to delegate Loan Shark operations to the Fixers in his crew.
Wherever there’s money, there are people trying to get their hands on as much of it as possible. The locals are no different. Open too many Loan Sharks in one place and there’ll no doubt be opportunists trying to borrow from everywhere. To protect yourself from chancers trying to bankrupt you, you can only open one Loan Shark per Precinct. Keeping the Precinct’s debtors tied to one place means a clearer paper trail and reduces the likelihood of losing track of who owes you money.
Loan Sharks require an initial investment. You can’t start lending money until you’ve got some to lend, right? Depending on the size of the racket you take over – and the size of your bank account – Loan Sharks have small or large start-up costs.
A small racket type should cost you around $5,000, and a large one around $25,000. Over a year, Loan Sharks stand to earn a lot through their interest rates, with the potential to earn you up to five times your investment cost.
You might be wondering what types of upgrades are available to Loan Sharking. Given that customers don’t spend all that long there, the ambiance of the place isn’t going to hold much of an influence. There are three possible upgrades for Loan Sharks:
- Deflect: Money lending is still a bit of a legal gray area, so anything that keeps the cops from looking too closely is a good thing.
- Security: With wads of hard-earned cash stacked in the back room, it’s wise to keep your Loan Sharks well guarded.
- Accountancy: A unique upgrade that ensures your staff knows exactly how to cook the books and increase the earnings of your Loan Shark racket.
It won’t be all plain sailing once your Loan Shark’s up and running. In a city of colorful individuals, Chicagoans can have any number of reasons to borrow from you, and twice as many excuses on why they can’t pay you back.
Loan Sharks come with their own unique set of events for you to tackle. However you choose to handle them depends on the type of Boss you are, but be warned: if you let too many things go, it could have negative effects on your honor rating. Each event gives you three options:
- Demand Money: You don’t care what kind of sob story a debtor is giving you, they owe you money and you want it back in full. There is still a chance that they won’t have what they owe and you could lose out on the debt.
- Partial Payment: Here, you’re willing to give your debtor the benefit of the doubt. They have the option to pay what they have now and give you the remainder in 30 days. Again, there is a chance that they won’t be able to scrounge together what they owe, but what you do at that point is up to you.
- Give More Time: Something in the debtor’s story has made you believe them, or, they just caught you on a good day. Either way, you grant your debtor an extra 30 days to get the payment together. There’s every chance they will, but there’s a chance they could skip town on you too.
Given that your debtors come from all walks of life, making their living doing different things, now and then they may present you with an extra option for you to choose in place of payment. Maybe they’re a contractor who can get you a cheap upgrade on your speakeasies, or maybe they know someone who can tell you where an enemy boss’s Safehouse is. It all rides on who the debtor is that’s borrowing from you, and how desperate they are for you not to break their legs.
So, there’s a new racket type to broaden business horizons and Precincts mapped out to occupy and defend. That could be a lot to manage while still making time for missions and other Boss tasks.
Worry not, we’ve streamlined economic controls for Make It Count, so managing your empire has never been easier.
The updated Neighborhood Overview screen is where you get the lowdown on other gangs operating in this part of the city, broken down by which Precinct they own. You can also see your earnings from this neighborhood so it’s easy to tell at a glance if you need to step things up or not. Any racket synergies that you have, as well bonuses specific to this neighborhood, can be found here too. Hovering over each synergy will show you what synergy you have, the rackets included in it, and the bonus you get from it.
The Precinct Overview allows you to manage all your rackets, and their upgrades, on a Precinct-wide level. This offers a more sleek and efficient way to manage your empire and keep tabs on parts that need attention. No more will a speakeasy on the outer reach of Municipal Pier get overlooked due to having heaps of rackets scattered around different parts of the city.
Available buildings can be purchased and the cost of each potential racket is displayed on the right-hand side of your screen. The Precinct Overview also allows you to keep track of the Police activity in your area, your customers, and the amount of money you’re earning from the Precinct. Lastly, you can toggle the type of alcohol you want to serve in that Precinct.
When you own a Precinct you also have the option to open an Improvement building. These are non-physical buildings that provide bonuses to specific parts of your Precinct. For instance, opening a Boxing Club will buff the security on your rackets in the Precinct, whereas a Mob Lawyer can influence the Police Activity number.
Of course, all these rackets and upgrades would mean nothing without customers coming through the doors and spending their money. With the introduction of Precincts, there is a new customer model. Each Precinct has a small number of customers. Building rackets in a Precinct means that more customers will become available. However, if a Precinct gets too crowded and there are too many options available, customer growth will be slow.
Each racket type plays a role in garnering more customers for you. Speakeasies are the workhorse for your empire, bringing in the main source of your income. Casinos, with all their flashy lights and promises of wealth, lure customers to your Precincts. Brothels help to grow the customer base for the Precinct.
As you upgrade your rackets, the number of customers will increase, as people are drawn to swankier places and the option of a better quality of alcohol. However, if not managed wisely, your Precinct could end up with negative customer growth. If the Police Activity number gets too high and their presence is felt around the Precinct, people are less likely to indulge their vices. What’s more, if you have a busy Precinct, you need to serve good quality alcohol to entice more customers in.
Loan Sharks can also lower your customer growth. Though they are a good source of revenue, people who are struggling to repay you are not likely to spend any spare cash in the pub. Like any other racket, they increase criminal activity and so the cops cannot ignore them forever. It’s all a balance, to fine-tune and perfect so that your empire comes out on top.
Well, that should leave plenty for you to chew on for the next little while. Once Chicago lets slip on some more updates, you’ll be the first to know. Until next time, keep Sinning!