supporting violence?

Impunity turns into banality the violence promoted by social injustice – and passivity keeps everything in its place. To use humor to discuss serious matters is a strategy to affect more people and to mobilize the means of communication in order to debate what may not only be notified.

See also the original blog in portuguese.

the release of the year

war in the “wonderful city”

Rio de Janeiro, December 2007.

After decades of abandon and despise from the authorities, the city of Rio de Janeiro is finally at war. While politicians make their speech for a disinterested middle class, extermination squads, paramilitary groups, policemen and drug dealers compete over the capital’s control.

The scenery disguises, but reality can’t deceive. In between mountains, forests and beautiful tropical beaches, “things get ugly” in the city’s streets. At some corner downtown, in a slum or in a neighborhood street, clandestinely the money changes hands and the weapon trades sides.

On this no rule board luck is needed.

the project

The aim of the project is to generate a discussion through a shameless invitation to enjoyment.

Taking opportunity of the mass phenomenon “Tropa de Elite” (movie – Elite Squad), the idea is to ask Rio’s citizens whether they think this type of entertainment goes with popcorn or with a deep thought about the reality of their city.

On the other hand, it is also a well planned and realized game: an irresistible parody for the classic and politically incorrect war recreation lovers. Instead of invading Moscow, conquer Africa or eliminate the white armies, how about invading the "Cidade de Deus" (City of God), conquer the “Baixada” (Lowlands) or eliminate the “Comando Vermelho"(Red Command)?

War in Rio is reflection and despicable entertainment.

the beginning

The Idea of creating a War board with your own city’s map has probably crossed the mind of every War lover. Living in Rio de Janeiro, reality insists in convincing you that the idea is not only viable, but has probably already been effected by the official and parallel powers that manage the urban space.

Although it's concept had been thought around 3 years ago, the project found in satellite mapping technology an extremely useful device for the creation of the board.


The main challenge behind the development of the board was to maintain in the alternative version the same dynamics of the original game. To achieve that, the distribution of the territories and the borders settled between Rio's slums should find parallels between the existing boundaries on the world map board.

To maintain the equivalence to the continents, sections were created respecting the geopolitical areas of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The outline of these areas is arbitrary, but shows considerable fidelity to the mapping of the city. The regions created were "Zona Sul" (South Area), "Zona Oeste" (West Area), Central, "Zona Norte" (North Area), "Av. Brasil" (Brasil Avenue) and "Baixada Fluminense" (Rio's Lowlands).

With the help of satellite mapping (Google Maps), the sections were divided in smaller regions, where a slum was chosen to name the territory. This way, each slum corresponds exactly to a territory on the world map and had its outlines determined by the borders needed for the structure of the game.

The designed board provides information about the location of Rio's slums, presenting in an educational way regions little known by a lot of the city's residents.

War in Rio is culture.


Unlike the original War where the players choose only the colors they want to play with, in War in Rio the participants have the fantastic possibility of choosing the armies in relation with the armed groups they will make use of. That allows the players to become even more involved in the play, defending their squads according with their own ideals.

(so that the play can have an ending, it is recommended to establish a distinction between reality and entertainment.)

The "BOPE" (Special Police Operations Battalion) is represented by the black armies, the "Comando Vermelho" (Red Command) by the red armies, the "Polícia Militar" (Military Police) is represented by the blue, the "Milícias" (Militias) by the white, the "Terceiro Comando" (Third Command) by the green and the "Amigos dos Amigos" (Friends of Friends) by the yellow armies.


The rules to the original game were kept with no alteration, and consist of the same moral principles commercialized in children's stores: to kill, destroy, conquer and eliminate your enemies.

War in Rio is friendship.


The cards of the War in Rio version were totally reconstructed. The cards with territories show the respective slum and the indication of which region it belongs to, while on their backside, the identity created for the project was printed. Like the board, the group of cards maintain the exact same structure as the original game, also respecting the distribution of the "bauhausian" elements used on the trades: circle, triangle and square.


The goals of the game were adapted to the violent reality of Rio's residents day-to-day routine. Instead of conquering continents overseas, the player has the possibility of planning an invasion of the places he or she lives or works, or places that are often highlighted on the TV News.

For example: it is possible that the player has to 'conquer all the slums located in the "Baixada Fluminense" and in the "Zona Sul", 'conquer 24 slums of your choice' or 'eliminate the militias of the city of Rio de Janeiro'.


Special thanks to Patricia Montano for the english version, to Leonardo Conrado for the photos and to my War partners: Xande, Duda, Ricky, Rodrigo and Ricardo – for the sponsorship and excellent company through these years.


If you liked the idea and have comments or suggestions to make, send an email to:


This year Santa Claus will come in a "Caveirão". Coming soon...

War in Rio was originally released in december 2007. "Caveirão"(big skull) is a popular nickname given to the armored car used by the Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) of the state of Rio de Janeiro to enter the slums. The name refers to BOPE's emblem, which appears on the side of the vehicle.