Playing Nuclear War
by the Rules!
continued, part 2
The owner begins play by removing all Secret and Top Secret cards from his hand, follows the instructions thereon and places them on a discard pile in the center of the table. He immediately draws replacement cards from the center pile and proceeds to play any more Secret or Top Secret cards that he has drawn. The process continues until his nine card hand contains no Secret or Top Secret cards. The player on his left then plays his cards in the same manner, and so on around the table (when a Secret or Top Secret card is drawn any time during the game, it is immediately played and replaced).
Each player then makes his first strategy decision by placing two cards face down on the table as shown in the diagram. Since these cards will be turned up on succeeding turns, the player has thus committed himself to a specific playing strategy for the first two turns*.
The strategy followed will reveal whether he is:
___A warmonger who chooses to begin a nuclear holocaust;
___A cold-war antagonist who hopes to secure victory through propaganda;
___A clod who triggers war accidentally through careless strategy;
___A strategist who hopes to achieve his goal through devious tactics.
*The game is also unusual because of this two turn lag. Whenever it is your turn, you first pick a new card from the pile, then place your next strategic move card face down in the #3 position. Then and only then, you turn up card #1 to finally enact the strategy you committed to two turns ago. Like the real world, a player cannot instantly respond to the action going on. His response of the moment takes two more turns to become reality! It drives players nuts and makes for more fun!
These are a few of the typical SECRET and TOP SECRET cards used in the game. When it's your turn and a TOP SECRET card is staring you in the face, it creates great tension and anticipation - because these cards can either be a great help or can cause a disaster to your strategy! As you can see, some of the cards are VERY obsolete - Man first explored the Moon 28 years ago on July 20, 1969 - four years AFTER the game was first published and when that card seemed a logical incentive!
The perennial favorite and Nuclear War Game MASCOT! Supergerm is available on T-Shirts, Bumper Stickers and Temporary Tatoos! In the expansion/update versions of the game, he has spawned SuperVirus (Nuclear Escalation - 1982) and Son of Super Germ (a younger version wearing a propellor beanie cap - Booster Packs - 1995)
If you know your history, you might catch on that the Supergerm creature really is a cartoon based on the Apollo Command Module - the living quarters for the Apollo Moon Mission astronauts and the only piece of hardware that made it back to earth! I was a young aerospace engineer working on the Apollo project for North American Aviation, Space & Information Systems Division at the time. This company later became Rockwell and more recently a part of Boeing. (Note: Super Virus, created in 1982, is another Aerospace related cartoon subject. Take a guess when you come across his likeness AND check out the answer at the end of these Nuclear War Game pages!)
Any player who has been eliminated through use of Secret and Top Secret cards or nuclear weapons, has the privilege of immediate final retaliation before retiring from the game (he does not have this privilege if he was beaten peacefully with Propaganda cards). This player combines each acceptable missile (or bomber) and warhead combination from the nine cards in his hand, announces his target and spins the dial (unless, of course, the enemy intercepts). He may concentrate his retaliation on a single foe, or he may scatter his attacks against all opponents. Cards in the player's hand that cannot be used in retaliation are discarded, and the player retires.
The last player remaining in the game claims victory only if he has at least one million of his own population remaining. Thus, there may not be a winner in the Nuclear war game...... just losers!
Hah! From the start, we knew that everyone could lose! We just weren't fully aware of the eventual 2/3rd's statistic!
It took a long time, and it hasn't been formalized with a plaque or certificate, but the Peacenik contingent now recognizes we have a cool way to teach people the absolute futility of Nuclear War! When you think about it - if you started out with a population of say 75 million and end up winning the game because you still have 3 million people left after everyone else is wiped out - did you really win??
AND the serious question remains "What is wrong with you people who buy a game with such a low probability of winning?? Oh, by the way, Thank you all!
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