Tag Archives: Nuclear War

Good Weekend for Gaming

It was a nice weekend for gaming.

Saturday my son was in the mood to play some games, so I convinced him to try Sentinels of the Multiverse. He can be picky about trying new games and in the past he’s been reluctant to try this one, but this time he was intrigued. So we whipped out the cards and went to work. He played The Wraith and the might Ra while I ran Legacy and Omnitron X, and we engaged the nefarious Baron Blade in combat. The Baron put up a good fight, but in the end our heroes triumphed over evil. My son loved the game!

I’m a big fan of Sentinels of the Multiverse and I’m delighted that my son has taken to it. Plus the next time we visit Dad in a Cape, we can play with him and his girls, who are all big fans of the game. Five player Sentinels for the win!

After our superhero antics my son wanted to play Nuclear War and my daughter decided to join us. Another first! She is also rather picky about games and had been uninterested in this one, but this time she gave it a try. It was the first time she’d played and she did quite well, dropping bombs with glee from her Orbital Space Platform. In the end there was a wonderful chain reaction of final strikes, leading to everyone being vaporized in atomic fire.

On Sunday we squeezed in our weekly G+ Hangout game, though it was abbreviated due to Mother’s Day activities. Still, it was a welcome does of gaming, as my face-to-face group hasn’t met in over a month. The current game is Call of Cthulhu, based initially in 1985’s Miami, Florida. Our characters are now lost in the Dreamlands. Having escaped the doomed city of Sarnath we’ve learned that we may actually be natives of the Dreamlands who were sent to Earth for protection. We may be the only remaining members of three royal houses.

Initially our goal was to get back to Earth, though my character is now considering staying in the Dreamlands and being royalty. However at the end of last night’s session we followed an Ultharian cat through a portal into the realm of Bast. Are we still in the Dreamlands? Are we about to be made into squeaky toys for a cat goddess?

That remains to be seen.

The Wraith(1)


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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Gaming


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Christmas at Ground Zero

Merry day after Christmas!

I hope everyone had a good time and that you all escaped the lash of the Krampus.

Christmas went quite well for those in the Fractalbat Belfry.  My son, always the innovator, decided to cut out the middleman.  Instead of asking for toys and then playing all day with the box they came in, he specifically asked for big boxes so he could build a fort.  My wife, being awesome beyond description, procured enough boxes that our basement looks like a warehouse.  On more than one occasion I’d lose sight of my son and daughter, with only the rustling of cardboard to betray their presence.

We also had some good gaming in over the holiday.  The game that had the most table time was the venerable Nuclear War, from Flying Buffalo games.

Nuclear War was originally published in 1965 and has three expansions; Nuclear Escalation, Nuclear Proliferation, and Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Of these we own Nuclear Escalation.

Nuclear War is a simple card game, with each player having a stack of population cards and a hand of cards containing propaganda, missiles, warheads, “secrets”, and other special cards.  The objective is to wipe out all the other players.

To do this you take two cards from your hand and lay them face down.  Each round you draw a card, place a card face down, and then turn up the first card in your line of face down cards.  This is the mantra of Nuclear War, “Draw, Deploy, Destroy”.  Once a card is face down you can’t pick it back up or re-order them, so some forward thought is required.

Propaganda allows you to steal people from other player’s populations but these cards are only valid until a nuclear war begins, which happens the moment a bomb hits another player.  To attack someone a player first turns up a missile card, but doesn’t have to declare who it is heading for.  On the player’s next turn, if he or she turns up a warhead, then they declare who the missile hit and the war is on.  Each type of missile has a capacity on what size warhead it can carry, allowing you to put a bomb up to that size but not larger on it.  If your opponent has an interceptor missile, or a saboteur card, they can stop your attack.

Once you hit your target you spin the spinner.  The results from the spinner range from the missile exploding on the launch pad (negating the attack) to a triple yield result magnifying the casualty count.  With Nuclear Escalation they added an optional six sided die with a mushroom cloud for the number one.  If the attacker chooses to roll the die, the result counts as that many more millions of people slain.  If the mushroom cloud is rolled, then you roll again on the mishap table and something else happens.  This isn’t always bad for the attacker, but chances are that the attack will be negated somehow, or worse yet the bomb goes off over the attacker’s own country.

When a player is eliminated they get to launch a final strike, where they can match every warhead to every delivery system they have left and launch them at the other players.  This can cause a cascade effect where one final strike wipes out another player, whose final strike wipes out another player, until everyone has been eliminated from the game.  Also, if a 100 megaton bomb detonates and the spinner lands on “Triple Yield”, the explosion wipes out everyone.  So it is not uncommon for nobody to win in Nuclear War.

If there are survivors after a player is eliminated, then the remaining players pick up their cards and start over, with peace declared and propaganda effective again.  Until the next bomb hits.

The game is not without its flaws.  Invariably people will be stuck with hands containing no missiles, or no warheads, or all propaganda.  This forces the player to try and cycle the useless cards out through the face down cards, wasting turns and reducing the fun of the game.  The Nuclear Proliferation expansion added cards that helped deal with this problem, but a discard rule is sorely needed in the base game.  But the game plays fast and lighthearted enough that it’s easy to get past the flaws.

The components in early editions are very basic.  This isn’t a problem for old school gamers but for players who are accustomed to the high quality components we see in modern games it could be off-putting.  I have read that in recent releases they have updated the artwork on the cards, but I haven’t heard of any other upgrades, such as higher quality paper stock for the population cards and the spinner.

I have a special fondness for Nuclear War*.  It was one of the first games that I encountered when discovering that there were options between games like Battletech and Star Fleet Battles and the department store games like Monopoly and Parcheesi.  The black humor of the game also struck a chord with those of us who grew up during the Cold War.  Thankfully the subject matter is dated now, but for those of us who wondered if we’d live to see adulthood the chance to laugh at the threat of annihilation was a welcome respite.

Nuclear War and its expansions are still available from Flying Buffalo, whose website looks like the design hasn’t changed since the 90’s.  It’s the fun family game of global annihilation.

Skippy the Super-Virus! Wiping out entire populations for over 40 years!

*I’d like to welcome any visitors from the NSA who discovered my blog thanks to the noted sentence.  

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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in Gaming


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