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Top 10 Nuclear War Games
Robert Carroll
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Lawrence
Kansas
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Below is my Top 10 list of games with nuclear war as the central theme. These are games that meet substantially all of the following criteria: (1) nuclear war and the build-up to war as the primary focus; (2) compelling "theme" where nuclear war is present in all its glory . . . I mean . . . horror; and (3) fun to play. This is a list of the BEST! As always, your mileage may vary and some entries may be "controversial." As such, please feel free to comment, debate, or just express your own point of view. Feel free to thumbsup this list (to draw attention and more comments) or any pleasing, interesting or thought provoking entries. If I missed one that you feel is essential or I am "insane for not listing" (trust me, it has been said before), then by all means let the comments fly . . . just be civil. FYI - I am a sucker for comments and discussion and usually thumbsup most if not all of them.

I specifically excluded some games which primarily cover a hypothetical WWIII, which is covered in part on Top 10 WWIII Games; games that focus on the Cold War conflict, which will be the subject of a separate list; and games which focus of post apocalyptic Earth or the effects of nuclear war, as that may be the subject of a future list.

I find that these lists sometimes are helpful for others seeking similar games and the more rich the discussion for more useful the list.

For a complete listing of my Top 10 lists, see--MetaList: Nap's Top 10 Lists.

Thanks for reading and participating!
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1. Board Game: Nuclear War [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:1775]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Another all-time favourite, I just LOVE this game. Mainly because - if you have all the expansions and extra cards - you can play it with a dozen people! It's cruel, it's fun, it is the ultimate card game. If you dont agree, you can eat my 200-Megaton Warhead. =o)

--Oliver Brettschneider (Imagine)

Includes Nuclear War family.
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2. Board Game: Toe-to-Toe Nu'klr Combat with the Rooskies [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:4467]
Robert Carroll
United States
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Kansas
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Make sure you have a copy of this game stored in your underground survival bunker. It will give you the satisfaction of nuking those Russkies back to the Stone Age while you and the women with you prepare to re-populate the planet.

Fun with nice touches of "reality" chrome! Great game to take on the road. Easy and quick playing. Recommended!

--Michael Matson (equestriancdr)
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3. Board Game: The Manhattan Project [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:141]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Global Power Struggle Begins
Which nation will take the lead and become world's dominant superpower?

The Manhattan Project makes you the leader of a great nation's atomic weapons program in a deadly race to build bigger and better bombs. You must assign your workers to multiple projects: building your bomb-making infrastructure, expending your military to protect it, or sending your spies to steal your rival's hard work!

You alone control your nation's destiny. You choose when to send out your workers–and when to call them back. Careful managment and superior strategy will determine the winner of this struggle. So take charge and secure your nation's future!

Additional description:
The Manhattan Project is a low-luck, mostly open information efficiency game in which players compete to build and operate the most effective atomic bomb program. Players do not "nuke" each other, but conventional air strikes are allowed against facilities.
The game features worker placement with a twist; There are no rounds and no end-of-round administration. Players retrieve their workers when they choose to or are forced to (by running out).
An espionage action allows a player to activate and block an opponent's building, representing technology theft and sabotage.

--Toby Merida (tobywan)
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4. Board Game: Ultimatum [Average Rating:5.53 Overall Rank:8565]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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This is a highly detailed and involved nuclear weapons/war game (even a Nuclear aficionado like me learned some things from the games thorough rulebook), though the armaments are a bit dated (game was published in 1979) and ICBMs (the game is principally focused around sub and bomber lunched missiles) are not a significant part of the game, as they would become in the 80's.

--jefF, There are some who call me... DuneKitteh (midnightmadness)
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5. Board Game: Warplan Dropshot [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:6296]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
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To simulate so many things on such a large topic with a DTP is simply impressive. This game is very good and the topic is rarely seen on our tables. A must have for Dr Strangelove fans !

--Thierry Gracia (Thierry31)
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6. Board Game: First Strike [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
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First impressions: Game needs a bigger map, otherwise the stacking in Europe gets a pain.

The different abilities to bring about Armageddon are all displayed. In the words of Bruce, the game designer, the game forces players to think about how to win a Global Thermonuclear War and we all know from the movies that this is not so easy to accomplish. Both sides have the ability to wipe each other out barring a successful first strike (a-ha!) by one player. So, either you go for a quick all-out strike or you have to think about long term strategy. Unfortunately, the sheer abundance of Soviet non-nuclear forces means that NATO does not have many choices to fight the war other by deterrence or strikes.

So, in the end this is a strange beast: a game which gives you the potential to wipe your enemy out, bringing a counterstrike which will wipe you out, too. What do you do in light of this harsh reality? It's also a game of nerves. Technological features are included as well...it's depressing however to know that even with just a fraction of your forces, you are able to bring about total destruction.

This is the essence of the game.

--Philipp Klarmann (Philipp Klarmann)
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7. Board Game: Nuclear Armageddon [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
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I played this game extensively in the late 1980's. A shipmate (US Navy) of mine owned it. He brought it along on a 6-month cruise in the Mediterranean Ocean. It is a phenominal game. What I found most interesting is how the game would stay conventional warfare until one person bought a nuclear missile. After that, everyone went nuclear on their very next turn. The "Act of God" cards are really what made the game stand out. The version we played came in a tube and had plaster game pieces painted with irredescent paint. It was impressive under a black light. I have been looking for this game off and on for 10+ years now. This is the first time I have been able to find any reference to it.

--Gene Francis (GeneTheCatalyst)
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8. Board Game: Classic Warlord [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2911]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
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Fun game from the old days. 100 times better than Risk. Simple rules, great entertainment. To nuke or not to nuke? The answer in this game is to nuke!

--Paul Nomikos (Thrylos)
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9. Board Game: I.C.B.M. [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
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The brutal fundamentals of Thermonuclear Warfare perfectly simulated: setup is critical to success or failure, with room to play after Launch restricted to:
*how you apportion your missiles vs. your opponent's Missile Bases, Cities, and (swamping his) ABMs;
*when to fire any ABMs you prepped for while avoiding your opponent's;
*whether to withhold any of your stockpile
You can see the computer graphics from "Wargames" as they blossom out into umbrellas of destruction, and feel the immense helplessness/hopelessness of a major exchange.

--Robert Ridgeway (AnalogGamer)
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10. Board Game: Ballistic Missile [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Robert Carroll
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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Unique game with tons of potential, but very long and fiddly. I never actually finished a game. It uses miniature-style, mapless movement with cardboard counters on a tabletop or flat surface. It is fairly complex and requires a lot of record-keeping. I get the distinct impression that it is ultimately not really possible for either player to win. It's totally old-school, fiddly, Mutually Assured Destruction, Cold War madness. Which, when you say it out loud, is pretty freakin' cool.

--If there's one thing I can't stand, it's being tortured by someone with cold hands. (mistermarino)
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