A downloadable game

"For the past seven months M谩laga has managed to contain the military uprising and withstand the attacks from Franco's forces. But today, that's about to change."

Are you ready to rewrite history and experience the untold tales of resilience and sacrifice? Dive into La Desband谩 1937 and discover a narrative journey like no other, where the past awaits your decision.

La Desband谩 1937 is a role-playing game based on an event of the same name that occurred during the Spanish Civil War.

Cover and back

In La Desband谩 1937, players step into the shoes of survivors navigating the harrowing aftermath of a historical tragedy, facing challenges that push their limits and testing their will to endure. As they explore the war-torn landscape, they must make tough decisions that could impact their survival and the fates of those around them. 

The game provides a blend of narrative depth and strategic gameplay, incorporating mechanics tailored for wartime survival scenarios and character development.

The road was still filled with refugees, and the further we went, the worse their situation became. Some had rubber shoes, but most had their feet wrapped in rags, many were barefoot, and nearly all were bleeding. They formed a 150-kilometer line of desperate, hungry, exhausted people, like a river that showed no signs of diminishing....

The game features a streamlined gameplay system inspired by the renowned Dark Cthulhu by Graham Walmsley, offering a user-friendly approach for both new and experienced players.

Creating a character

Central to the game is the Break system, reflecting characters' moral and physical resilience. Traumatic experiences prompt Break rolls, influencing the characters' well-being. When performing actions, players roll dice, including the Break die for added risk. The highest die result determines the action's success, adding an element of tension and unpredictability.

Combat is resolved narratively, focusing on description and outcomes rather than hit points. The Break value takes center stage, shaping the characters' fate in the midst of conflict.

Reconciliation offers characters a chance to heal and reduce their Break value, introducing a unique layer of emotional depth. However, when a character's Break reaches 6, a Breakdown occurs, presenting a pivotal moment where the character faces a profound decision that can shape the narrative's direction.

La Desband谩 1937 provides everything players need for an immersive experience, including the rules system, setting details, and a mini-campaign adventure where players can experience this story by following in the footsteps of the renowned Canadian doctor Norman Bethune.

The purpose of this book is to provide you enough information to develop your version of the story and even create new narratives within this setting.

  • Narrative Immersion: Immerse yourself in the vivid storytelling of the Spanish Civil War, experiencing the struggles and choices of everyday individuals caught in the conflict.
  • Accessible Gameplay: Enjoy a rules-light system that encourages creativity and narrative exploration, making it suitable for both experienced and novice role-playing enthusiasts.
  • In search of Norman Bethune: Experience a captivating mini-campaign adventure centered around Norman Bethune, a Canadian doctor who played a significant role during the Spanish Civil War.
  • Historical Richness: Delve into the historical context of the Spanish Civil War, with the game incorporating real events, figures like Norman Bethune, and a focus on the 1937 M谩laga tragedy.
  • Educational Focus: Learn about the Spanish Civil War while engaging in a compelling narrative, combining entertainment with historical awareness.
  • Pregenerated Character Sheets: Dive into the game without extensive preparation, using pregenerated character sheets that streamline the playing experience.
  • Historical Assets: Immerse yourself in the era with authentic assets such as maps and newspapers, enhancing the atmosphere and providing a tangible connection to the historical setting.

La Desband谩 1937 is a non-profit game available for free in digital format and at cost price for the physical version.

Dive into a world where every decision matters, every action shapes the story, and every moment is filled with tension and emotion

Physical book available at Lulu Bookstore for 4.19$

馃嚜馃嚫 Edici贸n en Espa帽ol tambi茅n disponible.

馃嚝馃嚪 脡dition fran莽aise 茅galement disponible.


La Desband谩 1937 - English Edition.pdf 756 kB
La Desband谩 1937 - VTT Assets.zip 526 kB

Development log


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I commend you for writing this rpg. This is a tragic event in Spain's history, very sadly, one of many during the Spanish Civil War. La Desbanda is deeply personal to me as my great Aunt Salvadora survived this journey as a child. Her mother accompanying her on the road to Almeria with her baby sister, Victoria. Many decades after the event Dora could still vividly recall and describe to me the horror of those desperate days and the terror of being attacked by planes. Thank you for creating a game that challenges us to explore such a heart-rending topic, to strive to find hope in the darkest of days and to resolve to resist, at every turn, the violence of fascism.

Dear Amicitia_NZ,

Thank you deeply for sharing your personal connection to the tragic events depicted in "La Desband谩 1937".

I am sincerely moved by your words and grateful for your commendation. It is my utmost hope that through this role-playing game, we can honor the memories of those who endured such hardships during the Spanish Civil War, like your great Aunt Salvadora and her family.

Your poignant account reinforces the importance of exploring challenging historical topics through mediums like games, fostering empathy, understanding, and a commitment to resisting oppression.

Thank you for being a part of this journey.

Warm regards,

Pablo L贸pez