Caudillo now available for free PnP


Cover by John Kula. His last published work.

Several times over the past few years I have mentioned Caudillo (pronounced “caw-DEE-yo“), a 2-5 player card game I designed three years ago on power politics in the fictional Latin American country of Virtualia, after the departure from power of its strongman leader Jesus Shaves (pronounced “hay-sus sha-bezz“).

The game was of course about a thinly-disguised post-Chavez Venezuela (though in 2013 it wasn’t post-Chavez yet), and just to drive it home, its original title was Dios o Federacion, a takeoff on “Dios y Federacion”, the national motto of Venezuela.

I liked working on this game because there is a constant tension within it between competition and cooperation. As players vie to create the largest and most durable personal power base, the card deck delivers more and more crises that players must deal with collectively, or the country will collapse. There are coups, too!

Anyway, I do not think that there will be any time soon that I could find this game a properly professional publisher, with 90 pieces of original card art and high-class production to match. And Venezuela looks as if it is really about to implode, with rampant inflation, riots, political intrigue and so on.

So, as my Christmas present to you all, I am now making the files for Caudillo available for free download and print-and-play (PnP).

The free PnP version consists of 90 cards, 230 counters, and the usual rules and play aids. You print ’em, you cut ’em, you stick ’em or sleeve ’em.

And, just for fun, I will also be making a limited number of hand-made copies of the game for sale too, through BTR Games. Besides the rules and play aids, this version has:

  • 90 cards printed on coloured cardstock and hand-cut;
  • 120 die-cut, pre-punched counters;
  • 120 small coloured wooden cubes;
  • nice cover art by John Kula. His last published work.

Price is $50 US, which includes postage. If you want one of these, let me know at; I take (and prefer) Paypal.

Here are the files for the free version:

caudillo-pnp-crisis-cards (Crisis cards and Scoring Round cards)

caudillo-pnp-group-cards (Group cards, Personality cards, Sequence of Play reminders)

caudillo-ctrs-pnp191216 (counters)

caudrls-124 (rules and play aid)

caud-pnp-assembly-notes (notes on how to print and assemble the cards and counters)

I hope you will enjoy this game, in either format.

Feliz Navidad!

PS: the game now has a Boardgamegeek entry:

About brtrain
This blog is mostly devoted to posts, work and resources on "serious" conflict simulation games.

7 Responses to Caudillo now available for free PnP

  1. Jesús Couto Fandiño says:

    First, sorry for your loss.

    Second, I have to say I’m very very much surprised about this game. I just played Cuba Libre with some friends and looking at BBG material about it I found out the “Dios o Federación” thing and now I’m here… and I’m just wondering why the interest in Venezuela? Not that I’m complaining, not at all – I was born in Caracas and really if you made it without proxies I would be perversely delighted, but just wondering how come the situation there inspired you for 3 years already.

    In any case, just looking at the files now, seems very interesting!

    • brtrain says:

      Thanks Jesus. I’m reaching the age where my older friends are starting to succumb.

      I originally designed this game back in 2013 while Chavez was still alive, but I knew he was going to pass from power one day – whether by election, or another coup, or by death – and I wanted to do a game about filling a power vacuum after a strong leader had left.
      I didn’t want to make it a literal simulation of the situation in Venezuela because that would have been very complicated, required many more than 5 players and would be dated the moment I released it.
      There would be no end of people asking, why did I pick this bank over that bank, why isn’t Minor Political Party X in there, and so on.
      I wanted something that would concentrate on the mechanics and impulses of such a game, not the details of its components, so I made up the country of “Virtualia”.

      Actually, I made up Virtualia in 2008, when I made a detailed game on urban insurgency in the city of “Maracas” after the deposing of Jesus Shaves – you probably recall that during the W-Bush years there was an effort to paint Venezuela as an enemy of the United States, or at least a harbour for its other enemies, and there were invasion scares (real or perceived) during those years.
      I never published that game, but I used some ideas form it in other games, and it gave me the setting for this one.

      Hope you will enjoy this game in the spirit in which it is offered.


  2. ks0710 says:

    Hi Brian, Just received Finnish Civil War. Is there a PDF of the rules rather than mauling my Paper Wars? I’m hoping to play asap! 🙂 Love your work. Regards Kevin

  3. defling says:

    Games as journalism. Excellent. Of course this will get even less attention than long-form journalism. On the other hand, it will earn a better quality of attention. Anyway, happy to see this as PnP.

    • brtrain says:

      Of course it will get less attention; I see by the website stats that the files for this PnP have been downloaded quite a few times, but nowhere near as many visits as Ukrainian Crisis (which was ignored for both the same and different reasons).

      I’ve been working on and testing this game for several years, I thought I really ought to just release it into the wild as there wasn’t much left to do with its system or mechanics.
      Besides, it was interesting to work on a combined co-op/ competitive game.

  4. Pingback: “Maduro?” “Guaido!” | brtrain

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