The Brotherhood

Brotherhood is Games Designers Workshop's simulation of American Organized Crime. It's a relatively simple game that fits very well to postal play, as all moves are simultaneous. The game is unfortunately out of print at the moment.

These postal rules originally appeared in Shadows of Amber.


1. The Object of the Game

Brotherhood lasts 12 turns (each representing a month of real time), in which each Godfather creates revenue opportunities, fights battles, buys political influence, and generally tries to survive. At the end of the 12 turns, the richest survivor is the winner.

2. The City

The City in which the action takes place comprises 6 or more areas (depending on the number of players) in which the various godfathers can set up in business. Each area has a specific set of costs and rewards associated with it, and these are given in the tables at the end of the rules.

3. Gangsters

Each Godfather has only a limited number of hoods that they can employ during the game. Once these hoods are killed they cannot be replaced. There are two types of hoods which are:

4. Revenue (R)

Each family has twelve (12) operations which they can try and set up in the various City areas. During each revenue phase the operations will provide fresh income for the Godfather.

5. Political Influence (PI)

Each family has twelve (12) Political Influence markers that it can place in any area on the board. These strengthen and protect a families operations in the area.

The Sequence of Play

6. The Game Start

Each Godfather begins the game with $20,000. He has no Revenue or PI placed on the board. For the first 4 turns, all Godfathers are out of town, trying to reach a peaceful agreement in Chicago. From turn 5 onwards they have a special affect on the game (see the relevant section).

7. The Transfer Phase

Any Godfather may transfer ownership of any Money, Revenue or Political Influence he has to another player. If revenue or PI is transferred, then the recipient must replace the tokens with appropriate ones from his own stock. Godfathers may not gain new R or PI tokens in this manner.

8. Placement Phase

Each Godfather places and pays for any Thugs, Hitmen, Revenue and Political Influence counters in areas of the city. Godfathers may also voluntarily close down any Revenue or PI they own, in this phase.

9. Event Phase

One event card is drawn for every 5 players or part thereof. Each event card affects a random area in the city, and the effects are always unpleasant. The results can vary from having thugs, hitmen or even Godfathers sent to jail, to reducing the revenue from that area or even having Revenue or Political Influence closed down.

9.1 Jail

Thugs and Hitmen in jail cannot be used until their bail is paid. This is equal to, and in addition to their normal wages. A Godfather's bail is set at $10,000 and must be paid as soon as the money is available. All bail is paid in the placement phase.

10. Use of Political Influence

PI can be used for 3 things...

If two or more families have PI in the same area then the family with the most PI get to uses all their PI first, then the second highest and so on. It is possible for the player with the lowest PI in an area to be the only one to use his, because those with more PI have neutralized each others PI.

11. Mob Action Phase

If all else fails resort to violence. If two or more families have thugs or hitmen in the same area then they will fight it out.

Casualties are first Thugs and then Hitmen. Only when all thugs and hitmen belonging to a Godfather in the area are killed can the Godfather himself be shot. This is automatic once he is not defended.

If there is more than one family represented in the area then each player should decide at whom his forces will fire, otherwise this is determined randomly. All combat is simultaneous.

12. Extended Combat Phase

Normally only one round of combat is fought, but only under certain circumstances. Extended combat continues in a number of simultaneous rounds until there is only one force represented in the area or the surviving Godfathers come to a deal. Extended combat will occur if...

12.1 Spoils of Combat

A protected Revenue is one where the Godfather has at least one thug or hitman in the area protecting them. A single surviving hood is sufficient to protect all Revenue in that area.

If, after combat, the Revenue in the area is unprotected then it may be taken over by any Godfather with hoods present in the area. Each surviving hood in the area may take over 1 Revenue. As a family can have no more than 12 Revenue in the city this may not be possible.

12.2 Killing a Godfather

This is partially what the game is about. If a Godfather is killed then the family that killed him gain control of all his surviving Thugs, Hitmen, Revenue and PI. This then allows them to exceed the normal limit of 12 Revenue or PI in the city, as they have the assets of 2 (or more) families. They do not gain control of any money the deceased player had amassed.

13. Revenue Phase

Each Godfather collects income from any revenue markers he has in the city. Each area (see the table) has basic income it will provide. If the Godfather is the only player with Revenue and Political Influence in the area then, as he has sole control of the area, all income from it is doubled. If the number of revenue markers in the area exceeds the saturation level of the area then all income from it is halved.

A Godfather will always get a minimum of $2,000 income, even if he has no revenue in the city.

Turn 5 and Onwards

In turn 5 the Godfathers return to the city, having failed to reach a peaceful agreement in Chicago. Each turn, from now on, they must be placed in an area in the City (presumably with Thugs and or Hitmen to protect them). Once they turn up, a couple of minor rules come into play.

14. Free Thug

Due to the presence and loyalty inspired by the Godfather, one Thug will operate for free. Obviously this only applies if you have a surviving thug. If he is arrested he must be bailed for the normal $2,000, but still requires no wages.

15. Out of Town Employees

The Godfather may hire hoods from out of town. These cost $5,000 for a Thug and $10,000 for a Hitman. If any deaths occur, then out of town employees will always be the first to be shot.


Players are encouraged to make deals with each other. They can involve cash payments; promises to stay out of certain areas; Transfer, lend or rent Influence or Operations; or in fact anything the players can agree on. No one is obliged to keep any agreement made, except those made during combat involving the takeover of contested assets, which takes place immediately.


Orders should contain at least the following...

Ideally players should also provide names for each of their hoods, and also a brief description of any of the operations they set up. This helps flesh out the game and provide for a more interesting report.

AreaRevenue CostMonthly IncomePI CostSaturation Level
Status Quo$8,000$4,000$9,0003

Additional areas should be added if there are more than 5 players, starting with the cheaper areas.

A Quick Example

Player A already has 2R in Status Quo. In the Placement phase he puts 5T, 1R and 1PI in the same area.

Event Cards

  1. Petty police investigation. Roll die for each thug counter and revenue counter in the area. A roll of 1 means it is arrested and closed down.
  2. Drug shipment intercepted. No money from revenue counters in this area next turn.
  3. Senatorial bribe exposed. Ignore effect of PI this turn in this area.
  4. FBI special task force sweeps area. Roll die once for each hitman counter. On a roll of 1,2 or 3 it is arrested.
  5. Minor police harassment. Roll die for each thug in the area. A roll of 1 or 2 means it is arrested.
  6. Sporadic police raids. Roll die for each revenue counter. A roll of 1 or 2 means it is closed down.
  7. Push against mob violence. All thugs arrested.
  8. Intensive dragnet of known hoods. Roll the die once for each thug. A roll of 3,4,5 or 6 means the thug has been arrested.
  9. Big cleanup on prostitution. Cut all revenues from this area in half next turn.
  10. Crackdown on gambling. Roll die for each revenue counter. A roll of 1, 2 or 3 closes it down.
  11. Influx of plainclothesmen dampens hoods' spirits. No mob action phase in this area this turn.
  12. Internal Affairs probes police corruption. Roll the die once for each political influence counter in this area. On a roll of 1,2 or 3 it is removed.
  13. Over-zealous cops arrest any Godfather counters here. Bail is $10,000. No allocations may be made until Godfather is out of jail.
  14. Outcry against political corruption. Remove all PI counters from this area. Ignore this card if the area is controlled by a single player.
  15. Mob's ledger books impounded. Remove all Revenue counters from this area.
  16. Two (different) cards (1-15) affect this area.