Brutus: A violent game in the Small City Universe

Live your honest life during the day and become a gangster during the night to get the most territory as possible


Brutus: The board Game


Introducing Brutus, a 30-minute board game in the Small City universe for 1 to 4 players with roman emperors and dangerous sicarii* pursuing influence, battling for control, and using intimidation to get what they want.

(le jeu ET le livre sont aussi disponibles en version française, vous déciderez de la langue de l'édition lors du pledge manager en fin de campagne).


* Sicarii were hired killers, hitmen. They derive their name from the sica, a short sword thought of as the weapon of brigands and assassins. In the game Brutus, they represent the emperors’ henchmen, their dedicated goons; they terrorize both the citizens and the commercial crates of Small City…...

Brutus is part of the Small City Universe, which includes a series of independent games with similar but varied mechanisms. 

By day, you are a citizen of Small City. By night, you take the pseudonym of a Roman Emperor that determines your special power during the game.

view of game in progress
view of game in progress

Inspired by such works as the Narcos TV series, the city's anguished and gritty reality comes alive in the Paul Laane 's artwork as its sticky ambience spreads over the territory that is yours to conquer.

close-up of the hex tiles
close-up of the hex tiles

Brutus is a game of territory influence and conquest, played on modular boards that depict Small City. At night, each turn, you try to accumulate the most influence, by visiting the most profitable districts. 


The players will deploy their henchmen, the famous sicarii, to spread fear to the residential, commercial, industrial, and leisure districts, or even better, to control the junkyard, a refuge featured in the novel Brutus, from which the game was inspired.

The Junkyard
The Junkyard

Small City becomes the playground of the “emperors” when the darkness of night meets the darkness of the soul….

Hadrian and Nero
Hadrian and Nero

Uniquely, the Brutus board game is not only inspired by the novel, but it also brings the book's atmosphere alive. A noir novel where the Emperors' violence overshadows the city's daily life. Through the game you can reach a different ending and through the novel you can experience the mythology of Brutus! 

The novel extends the story of the game, and reveals everyone's darkest secrets, even those of the author himself, who may or may not join the narrative...

You can read an extract of first chapter in EN

(Voici en avant première le premier chapitre en FR: ICI )

I have been working on this project since the end of 2015. It began with the writing of the book, and then the creation of the boardgame. 

The game is very easy to understand, but very difficult to master. Turns are fast because on each turn you perform only two actions: 

- Move your emperors and your sicarii. 

- Reap the benefits of your moves. 

When you move, you will try to either expand your territories, or benefit from the special powers of buildings you occupy — or both, if you play well!

nice place to hire your new sicarii
nice place to hire your new sicarii

 The 6 distinct miniatures add great immersion in the universe of the city and the ancient roman source material. Each emperor’s special powers are directly inspired by their historical figure: Julius Caesar is very clever and can deploy his sicarii through other emperors, Maximus can steal influence from an opposing emperor that is adjacent to him, and so on.

The novel, written in 2015, is the creation of Eric Mc Childe, and was specially conceived to be adapted into a strategic board game. I decided that the game would be a prequel to the book and narrate part of the story itself!

The modular board pieces permit you to create many different configurations of the game board. Depending on its arrangement and the orientation of the buildings you can veritably infinitely vary your games and the strategies that can be used. To make it easier to get started, the rulebook suggests some common and symmetrical setups.

This campaign will enable the financing of two versions of the game:

  • The Standard version, which contains everything you need to play Brutus. 
  • The Deluxe version, which also contains 6 miniatures (40mm, unpainted) AND the 184-page novel BRUTUS, which tells the gripping tale of what happens with these “Emperors” after a game of Brutus.
Miniature, sample, final appearance may vary.
Miniature, sample, final appearance may vary.
Brutus, the hard-boiled novel that inspired the Brutus board game.
Brutus, the hard-boiled novel that inspired the Brutus board game.

You can download the English rules for Brutus  HERE

Vous pouvez télécharger les règles Françaises de Brutus ICI

- Each emperor has a particular power, which provides asymmetric games. 

- The modular boards are printed double-sided, which allows for a different city in each game - not only in shape, but also in content. Depending on the types of buildings in the city, certain strategies will become more or less viable.

- The game lasts around 30 minutes, which allows you to play it several times in a row, and quickly become more experienced with it.

commerce, ready to be racketeered by your sicarii
commerce, ready to be racketeered by your sicarii

I use Kickstarter to finance innovative projects, and not as a pre-order shop. Brutus is a new concept, in the way it combines boardgames with literature. 

Although the two works are completely independent, having both allows you to create a full-fledged universe that spans the contemporary world (the city, the game, the luxuries) and the ancient one (the Roman emperors). 

You will come to realize that there are numerous bridges between these two worlds. Are we so far from Ancient Rome? The prevalent violence, the games of influence, and the quest for power and territory — both in the game and in the novel — constantly remind us...

 You might want to try the game on Tabletopia.

The game is perfectly balanced as it is. Adding more stretch goals is dangerous and increases the production time, making it unpredictable at the end.

The box already has all the components required to play the game, and they are the best quality possible. Moreover, more SG multiplies the number of mistakes during the fulfillment process, and they prevent us from perfectly planning the shipping costs of the game. Nobody likes mistakes.

AVStudioGames is a single-man company I have managed since 2012. I follow my own route and I try to release games I design through Kickstarter. But my games are not distributed by major distributors. I don't use Kickstarter as a pre-order platform; I use Kickstarter to fund my games. 

If you pledge now, you help me to fund the game, which won't exist without your help.

I am the designer of numerous board games, such as CliniCTramwaysSmall City, Card City XLTown Center, and the highly rated Tramways Engineer's Workbook. Since 2012, I have been creating different games, from alpha to omega, from concept to marketing, from first prototypes to after-sales service. 

By backing this campaign, you are helping a freelance designer, who favors direct contact with the players and his fans. This project is particularly close to my heart, because it creates a bridge between the gaming world and literature, a link that in my opinion has not been exploited enough. 

A number of books could be adapted to games, and vice versa. This would refresh the pool of mechanisms in modern games, and literature would be the harbinger of beautiful new stories….

Sampo Sikiö has been helping me since day 1 with this task. He was one of the first to buy the very first version of Town Center that I made by hand, with my very own scissors. Then he aided me with CliniC in 2014, and since then, we have become friends. He works as an architect in Espoo, Finland, and he loves everything about cities that can pile up on a desk: maps, old transport tickets.... He has already agreed to work on the second volume of the Tramways Engineer’s Workbook!

Paul Laane has worked with me before on my Tramways project. He is a very busy illustrator, but I am lucky enough that he agreed to work with me again. We have been of one mind again with an overhead view of a night city, but as well-illuminated as possible…. You might want to check this website for his folio HERE

Like our past campaigns for games such as Tramways, the Tramways Engineer's Workbook, and Card City XL and its expansion, we have respected the delivery time, and in some case, boxes were even delivered earlier than expected (depending on how complex production of the game has been). 

For example, for the Card City XL and Tramways Engineer's Workbook campaigns, thanks to very rigorous management of the files, and great contacts at the manufacturers, we managed to deliver the game 2 months early! 

We expect the game to be ready for December, the miniatures are the most complex part of the components to produce, and samples of them are mostly ready.

Because you are helping me finance my project, I will help you finance your shipping: I will pay part of the cost, so you only have to pay $10 ($15 for some countries...) for shipping a game of this size. It is the least I can do.

Follow my projects on Twitter :

Become a fan on BoardGameGeek :

all tiles city
all tiles city

21 August 2020

First draft of the campaign is posted on the web site

No rewards, and no dates for the launching, but we are working hard to make something great soon

End of 2020 or Spring 2021


No Backers yet


0 €
collected of 5 000 € goal
Crowdfunding finished
The project has not been financed. You will be fully refunded in the coming days. Thank you for your participation.
Timezone: Europe/Paris

This page shows the actual crowdfunding campaign or promote the future campaigns