Weird Little Wars That Really Should Be Games
Constantine von Hoffman
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Remember that time the emus defeated the Australian army? You probably don't, which is a shame because they really did. What about the time the Austrian army got so drunk it attacked itself? Or when Napoleon lost a battle to a swarm of bunnies? Those are just a few of the odd wars that really deserve to be commemorated in game form.

NOTE:
Because BGG is the greatest web site in the world I have just found out that The Emu War game has been prototyped: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1148657/great-emu-war-1932
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1. Board Game: Emu Ranchers [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:6456]
Constantine von Hoffman
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THE GREAT EMU WAR

“If we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds [emus], it would face any army in the world. They could face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks. They are like Zulus, whom even dum dum bullets would not stop.” -- Major G.P.W. Meredith of the Seventh Heavy Battery of the Royal Australian Artillery

The Emu War, also known as the Great Emu War, was a nuisance wildlife management operation undertaken in Australia over the latter part of 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus said to be running amok in the Campion district of Western Australia. The attempts to curb the population of emus, a large flightless bird indigenous to Australia, employed soldiers armed with machine guns—leading the media to adopt the name "Emu War" when referring to the incident.

The "war" was conducted under the command of Major G.P.W. Meredith of the Seventh Heavy Battery of the Royal Australian Artillery,with Meredith commanding a pair of soldiers armed with two Lewis Automatic Machine Guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition.

1st Attack
On 2 November the men traveled to Campion, where some 50 emus were sighted. As the birds were out of range of the guns, the local settlers attempted to herd the emus into an ambush, but the birds split into small groups and ran so that they were difficult to target. Nevertheless, while the first fusillade from the machine guns was ineffective due to the range, a second round of gunfire was able to kill "a number" of birds. Later the same day a small flock was encountered, and "perhaps a dozen" birds were killed. The others vanished into the scenery without a trace. What's more, many of the birds that ran away with zero difficulty had clearly sustained hits.

The next significant event was on 4 November. Meredith had established an ambush near a local dam, and over 1,000 emus were spotted heading towards their position. This time the gunners waited until the birds were at point blank range before opening fire. The gun jammed after only twelve birds were killed, however, and the remainder scattered before more could be killed.

In the words of renowned ornithologist Dominic Serventy: "The machine-gunners' dreams of point blank fire into serried masses of Emus were soon dissipated. The Emu command had evidently ordered guerrilla tactics, and its unwieldy army soon split up into innumerable small units that made use of the military equipment uneconomic. A crestfallen field force therefore withdrew from the combat area after about a month."

2nd Attack
After the withdrawal of the military, the emu attacks on crops continued. Farmers again asked for support, citing the hot weather and drought that brought emus invading farms in the thousands. Although the military had agreed to loan the guns to Western Australian government on the expectation that they would provide the necessary people, Meredith was once again placed in the field due to an apparent lack of experienced machine gunners in the state. Taking to the field on 13 November 1932, the military found a degree of success over the first two days, with approximately 40 emus killed

Meredith then mounted one of the machine guns on the back of a truck but the emus easily outran the truck and led it over such rough terrain that the gunner didn't even manage a single shot. "The chase ended when the truck crashed through a fence, because at that point the universe was just throwing Looney Tunes tropes at them. Having had their share of humiliation, the weary soldiers had no option but to admit defeat after a week's combat. The score: 10,000 fired rounds and less than 1,000 dead emus."

Less than a week after the "Emu War" had begun the Defense Minister of the day, George Pearce, ordered a withdrawal. The action prompted debate in the House of Representatives, which included the following comments:

Mr Thorby (NSW): "Who is responsible for the farce of hunting emus with machine guns mounted on lorries? Is the Defense Department meeting the cost?"

Prime Minister Lyons: "I have been told the Defense Department will not be paying the bill."

Mr James (NSW): "Is a medal to be struck for this war?"

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emu_War

http://www.cracked.com/article_19981_the-5-most-embarrassing...

See also:
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1147244/why-isnt-published-s...
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2. Board Game: Toledo [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:2140]
Constantine von Hoffman
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THE TOLEDO WAR

The Toledo War (1835-1836) was "fought" between Michigan and Ohio over a strip of land on the border between the two states.

Acting as commander-in-chief of Ohio's militia, Governor Lucas, along with General John Bell and about 600 other fully armed militiamen, arrived in Perrysburg, Ohio, 10 miles southwest of Toledo, on March 31, 1835. Shortly thereafter, Michigan Governor Mason and General Brown arrived to occupy the city of Toledo proper with around 1,000 armed men, intending to prevent Ohio advances into the Toledo area as well as stopping further border marking from taking place.

The entire thing was very silly but both sides took it quite seriously. The one "battle" took place when Michigan militia fired into the air and scared off some of Ohio's land surveyors. (For more detail see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toledo_War#War)

The lone injury occurred on July 15, 1835, when "tensions and emotions finally overflowed and blood was spilled. Monroe County, Michigan Deputy Sheriff Joseph Wood went into Toledo to arrest Major Benjamin Stickney, but when Stickney and his three sons resisted, the whole family was subdued and taken into custody. During the scuffle, Two Stickney, son of the major, stabbed Wood with a pen knife and fled south into Ohio. Wood's injuries were not life-threatening."

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3. Board Game: DrunkQuest [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:4613]
Constantine von Hoffman
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The Battle of Karánsebes

The battle took place on the evening of 17 September 1788 during a war between The Holy Roman Empire (which wasn't holy, Roman or an empire) and the Ottoman Empire.

From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kar%C3%A1nsebes):

The army of Austria, approximately 100,000 strong, was setting up camp around the town of Karánsebes (now Caransebeş, in modern Romania). The army's vanguard, a contingent of hussars, crossed the Timiş River nearby to scout for the presence of the Ottoman Turks. There was no sign of the Ottoman army, but the hussars did run into a group of Romani, who offered to sell schnapps to the war-weary soldiers. The cavalrymen bought the schnapps and started to drink.

Soon afterwards, some infantry crossed the river. When they saw the party going on, the infantry demanded alcohol for themselves. The hussars refused to give them any of the schnapps, and while still drunk, they set up makeshift fortifications around the barrels. A heated argument ensued, and one soldier fired a shot.

Immediately, the hussars and infantry engaged in combat with one another. During the conflict, some infantry began shouting "Turci! Turci!" ("Turks! Turks!"). The hussars fled the scene, thinking that the Ottoman army’s attack was imminent. Most of the infantry also ran away; the army comprised Italians from Lombardy, Slavs from the Balkans, and Austrians, plus other minorities, many of whom could not understand each other. While it is not clear which one of these groups did so, they gave the false warning without telling the others, who promptly fled. The situation was made worse when officers, in an attempt to restore order, shouted "Halt! Halt!" which was misheard by soldiers with no knowledge of German as "Allah! Allah!".

As the cavalry ran through the camps, a corps commander reasoned that it was a cavalry charge by the Ottoman army, and ordered artillery fire. Meanwhile, the entire camp awoke to the sound of battle and, rather than waiting to see what the situation was, everyone fled. The troops fired at every shadow, thinking the Ottomans were everywhere; in reality they were shooting fellow Austrian soldiers. The incident escalated to the point where the whole army retreated from the imaginary enemy, and Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II was pushed off his horse into a small creek.

Two days later, the Ottoman army arrived. They discovered 10,000 dead and wounded soldiers and easily took Karansebeş.
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4. Board Game: Pig Wars: When Men Were Men and Pigs Were Money [Average Rating:5.68 Unranked]
Constantine von Hoffman
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THE PIG WAR

The Pig War was a confrontation in 1859 between the United States and the British Empire over the boundary between the US and the British Empire. The territory in dispute was the San Juan Islands, which lie between Vancouver Island and the North American mainland. The Pig War, so called because it was triggered by the shooting of a pig, is also called the Pig Episode, the Pig and Potato War, the San Juan Boundary Dispute or the Northwestern Boundary Dispute. With no shots exchanged and no human casualties, this dispute was a bloodless conflict.

On June 15, 1859, Lyman Cutlar, an American farmer who had moved onto San Juan Island claiming rights to live there under the Donation Land Claim Act, found a large black pig rooting in his garden. He had found the pig eating his tubers. This was not the first occurrence. Cutlar was so upset that he took aim and shot the pig, killing it. It turned out that the pig was owned by an Irishman, Charles Griffin, who was employed by the Hudson's Bay Company to run the sheep ranch.

He also owned several pigs which he allowed to roam freely. The two had lived in peace until this incident. Cutlar offered $10 to Griffin to compensate for the pig, but Griffin was unsatisfied with this offer and demanded $100. Following this reply, Cutlar believed he should not have to pay for the pig because the pig had been trespassing on his land. (A possibly apocryphal story claims Cutlar said to Griffin, "It was eating my potatoes." Griffin replied, "It is up to you to keep your potatoes out of my pig.") When British authorities threatened to arrest Cutlar, American settlers called for military protection.

Brigadier-General William S. Harney, commanding the Dept. of Oregon, initially dispatched 66 American soldiers of the 9th Infantry under the command of Captain George Pickett to San Juan Island with orders to prevent the British from landing. Concerned that a squatter population of Americans would begin to occupy San Juan Island if the Americans were not kept in check, the British sent three warships under the command of Captain Geoffrey Hornby to counter the Americans. Pickett was famously quoted as saying defiantly, "We'll make a Bunker Hill of it," placing him in the national limelight. (Pickett would return to the national limelight four years later at the Battle of Gettysburg when Robert E. Lee ordered him to lead his division on the suicide attack known as Pickett's Charge.) The situation continued to escalate. By August 10, 1859, 461 Americans with 14 cannon under Colonel Silas Casey were opposed by five British warships mounting 70 guns and carrying 2,140 men.During this time, no shots were fired.

The "war" came to an end when President Buchanan, in what was an unusual move for him, took action. He dispatched Gen. Winfield Scott to the scene of the crime to negotiate a truce with the British. Despite his success both sides kept troops on the island for quite some time. On November 25, 1872, the British withdrew their Royal Marines from the British Camp and the Americans followed by July 1874.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_War

It's also worth noting that this is one of two Pig Wars in history. The other was a trade war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia in 1906-1908.

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5. Board Game: Arthur Goes to the Library [Average Rating:4.37 Unranked]
Constantine von Hoffman
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THE TEXAS ARCHIVE WAR

The Texas Archive War was an 1842 dispute over an attempted move of the Republic of Texas national archives from Austin to Houston and, more broadly, over then-president Sam Houston's efforts to make Houston the capital of Texas.

The entire thing can best be summed up with: "In Austin, Captain Mark Lewis gathered a group of men to retrieve the archives. Some of the pursuers had no horses, and some had little or no weaponry. Lewis's men reached Smith's encampment in the middle of the night. They were undetected, as Smith had neglected to post guards. On the morning of December 31, the records were returned to Austin. It is uncertain as to whether Smith's men took them back or if the Austin group took custody of the records and transported them."

There were a whole bunch of shenanigans before that (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Archive_War) which would make for interesting maneuvering of one sort or another in a game.
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6. Board Game: Zanzibar [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:12117]
Constantine von Hoffman
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THE ANGLO-ZANZIBAR WAR

Lasting only 40 minutes, this is widely considered to be the shortest war in history. As such any game of it must also end after 40 minutes.

The Anglo-Zanzibar War was fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate on 27 August 1896. The immediate cause of the war was the death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini on 25 August 1896 and the subsequent succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash. The British authorities preferred Hamud bin Muhammed, who was more favourable to British interests, as sultan. In accordance with a treaty signed in 1886, a condition for accession to the sultanate was that the candidate obtain the permission of the British consul, and Khalid had not fulfilled this requirement. The British considered this a casus belli and sent an ultimatum to Khalid demanding that he order his forces to stand down and leave the palace. In response, Khalid called up his palace guard and barricaded himself inside the palace.

At exactly 09:00, General Lloyd Mathews ordered the British ships to commence the bombardment. At 09:02 Her Majesty's Ships Racoon, Thrush and Sparrow opened fire at the palace simultaneously, Thrush's first shot immediately dismounted an Arab 12-pounder cannon. 3,000 defenders, servants and slaves were present in the largely wooden palace and even with barricades of crates, bales and rubber, there were many casualties from the high explosive shells. Despite initial reports that he had been captured and was to be exiled to India, Sultan Khalid escaped from the palace. A Reuters news correspondent reported that the sultan had "fled at the first shot with all the leading Arabs, who left their slaves and followers to carry on the fighting", but other sources state that he remained in the palace for longer. The shelling ceased at around 09:40, by which time the palace and attached harem had caught fire, the Sultan's artillery had been silenced and his flag cut down.

During the bombardment a small naval engagement occurred when, at 09:05, the obsolete Glasgow fired upon the St George using her armament of 7 nine-pounder guns and a Gatling gun which had been a present from Queen Victoria to the sultan. The return fire caused Glasgow to sink, though the shallow harbour meant that her masts remained out of the water. Glasgow's crew hoisted a British flag as a token of their surrender and they were all rescued by British sailors in launches. Thrush also sank two steam launches whose Zanzibari crews shot at her with rifles. Some land fighting occurred when Khalid's men fired on Raikes' askaris, with little effect, as they approached the palace.

The fighting ceased with the end of the shelling. The British controlled the town and the palace and by the afternoon Hamud bin Muhammed, an Arab favourable to the British, had been installed as sultan with much reduced powers. The British ships and crews had fired around 500 shells, 4,100 machine gun rounds and 1,000 rifle rounds during the engagement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Zanzibar_War
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7. Board Game: Battle in a Bucket [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Enrico Viglino
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Eugene
OR
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The War of the Bucket

The War of the Bucket or the War of the Oaken Bucket was fought in 1325, between the rival city-states of Bologna and Modena. It took place in the Romagna district of northern Italy. It was provoked when Modenese soldiers stole the bucket from a city well, but was really an episode in the over 300-year-long struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines. Modena won the Battle of Zappolino (the only battle of the war), and the bucket remains in Modena to this day.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Bucket
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8. Board Game: Let's Go Fishin' [Average Rating:4.43 Overall Rank:15373]
Constantine von Hoffman
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WAR OF THE CONCH REPUBLIC

The Conch Republic (República de la Concha) is a micronation declared as a tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West, Florida, from the United States on April 23, 1982. While the protest that sparked the creation of the Conch Republic (and others which have occurred since then) have been described by some as "tongue-in-cheek", they were motivated by frustrations over genuine concerns. The original protest event was motivated by a U.S. Border Patrol roadblock and checkpoint which greatly inconvenienced residents and was detrimental to tourism in the area.

On September 20, 1995, it was reported that the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion of the United States Army Reserve was to conduct a training exercise simulating an invasion of a foreign island. They were to land on Key West and conduct affairs as if the islanders were foreign. However, no one from the 478th notified Conch officials of the exercise.

Seeing another chance at publicity, Wardlow and the forces behind the 1982 Conch Republic secession mobilized the island for a full-scale war (in the Conch Republic, this involved firing water cannons from fire boats and hitting people with stale Cuban bread), and protested to the Department of Defense for arranging this exercise without consulting the City of Key West. The leaders of the 478th issued an apology the next day, saying they "in no way meant to challenge or impugn the sovereignty of the Conch Republic", and submitted to a surrender ceremony on September 22.

During the U.S. federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996, as a protest, the Republic sent a flotilla of Conch Navy, civilian and fire department boats to Fort Jefferson, located in Dry Tortugas National Park, to reopen it. The action was dubbed a "full scale invasion" by the Conch Republic. Inspired by efforts of the Smithsonian Institution to keep its museums open by private donations, local residents had raised private money to keep the park running (a closed park would damage the tourist-dependent local economy), but could find no one to accept the money and reopen the park.

MILITARY

The Conch Republic actively maintains an Army, Navy and Air Force whose primary duties are to help re-enact the Great Sea Battle of 1982 and the retaking of Fort Jefferson. The Navy comprises no fewer than 10 civilian boats and the schooner Wolf under the command of RAdm Finbar Gittelman. The Army consists of the 1st Conch Artillery, garrisoned in Fort Taylor. The Conch Republic Air Force has more than a dozen appointed aircraft in its fleet. The flagship, a 1942 Waco, was flown by Fred R. Cabanas, a legendary stunt pilot and Ambassador for the Conch Republic at air shows worldwide. He flew "Conch Fury" in the 2005 Reno Air Races. Fred was declared General of the Air Force by the mayor of Key West after intercepting a defecting Cuban MiG-23 with his Pitts Special. Following his death in January 2013, Fred was succeeded by his son, Raymond Cabanas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conch_Republic
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9. Board Game: COD WARS: Iceland vs. Great Britain in the 1970s [Average Rating:6.56 Unranked]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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Another design by BGG resident genius
Pete Belli
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The Cod Wars is the name for various tussles between Iceland and the United Kingdom over fishing rights; it particularly flared up in 1972-73. No human casualties, though fishing nets and no doubt millions of cod died.
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10. Board Game: Church Windows [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
John Kaelin
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Shepherdsville
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The (multiple) defenstrations of prague

Not sure how you would make a game about it
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11. Board Game: Hans im Glück [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Morten K
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'The conflict over Hans Island has also been characterized by an exchange of flags and alcohol. In 1984, Canadian troops visited the island, planted the Canadian national flag, and left behind a bottle of whiskey. One week later, a Danish government official replaced it with a Danish flag and buried a bottle of Danish brandy at the bottom of the flag pole, and reportedly leaving a note that welcomed visitors to Denmark. In 2005, the Canadian Defense Minister Bill Graham erected a Canadian flag, which sparked a letter of protest from the Danish government.

Interest in the island also generated a “Google war” on the Internet. In 2005, a Canadian man by the name of Rick Broadhead purchased an advertisement on Google after he saw a Danish ad on the search engine that read, "Does Hans sound Canadian? Danish name, Danish island" (Reuters 2005). The ad linked to the Danish Foreign Ministry's website. Broadhead retaliated by posting a Google ad stating: "Hans Island is Canadian" (Reuters 2005).'

http://www1.american.edu/ted/ICE/kalaallit-nunaat.html
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12. Board Game: World of Warcraft Trading Card Game [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1605] [Average Rating:6.69 Unranked]
Chris Colapietro
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Endicott
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The War of Jenkins' Ear

Quote:

From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_Jenkins%27_Ear]):

"The War of Jenkins' Ear (known as Guerra del Asiento in Spain) was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain that lasted from 1739 to 1748, with major operations largely ended by 1742. Its unusual name, coined by Thomas Carlyle in 1858,[5] refers to an ear severed from Robert Jenkins, captain of a British merchant ship. The severed ear was subsequently exhibited before the British Parliament. The tale of the ear's separation from Jenkins, following the boarding of his vessel by Spanish coast guards in 1731, provided the impetus to war against the Spanish Empire, ostensibly to encourage the Spanish not to renege on the lucrative asiento contract (permission to sell slaves in Spanish America).


I used to pull this gem out when I didn't know what to write about for my AP History exams - either my teacher never looked it up, or he didn't actually read my answers before assigning a grade (the more likely case). I developed a dislike for academic history in high school that I didn't recover from until I took a world history course during a college semester abroad in Italy...

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13. Board Game: Bugs Bunny Adventure Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Constantine von Hoffman
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Napoleon Loses Battle With Rabbits

"History tells us that Napoleon’s most upsetting defeat came at Waterloo. Or it may have occurred eight years earlier, after the French emperor was attacked by a relentless horde of rabbits.

There are a couple versions of this story. Most agree it happened in July 1807, after Napoleon signed the Treaties of Tilsit (which ended the war between the French Empire and Imperial Russia). Looking to celebrate, the emperor proposed a rabbit hunt, asking Chief of Staff Alexandre Berthier to make it happen.

Berthier arranged an outdoor luncheon, invited some of the military’s biggest brass, and collected a colony of rabbits. Some say Berthier took in hundreds of bunnies, while others claim he collected as many as 3000. Regardless, there were a lot of rabbits, and Berthier’s men caged them all along the fringes of a grassy field. When Napoleon started to prowl—accompanied by beaters and gun-bearers—the rabbits were released from their cages. The hunt was on.

But something strange happened. The rabbits didn’t scurry in fright. Instead, they bounded toward Napoleon and his men. Hundreds of fuzzy bunnies gunned it for the world’s most powerful man.

Napoleon’s party had a good laugh at first. But as the onslaught continued, their concern grew. The sea of long-ears was storming Napoleon quicker than revolutionaries had stormed the Bastille. The rabbits allegedly swarmed the emperor’s legs and started climbing up his jacket. Napoleon tried shooing them with his riding crop, as his men grabbed sticks and tried chasing them. The coachmen cracked their bullwhips to scare the siege. But it kept coming.

Napoleon retreated, fleeing to his carriage. But it didn’t stop. According to historian David Chandler, “with a finer understanding of Napoleonic strategy than most of his generals, the rabbit horde divided into two wings and poured around the flanks of the party and headed for the imperial coach.” The flood of bunnies continued—some reportedly leapt into the carriage.

The attack ceased only as the coach rolled away. The man who was dominating Europe was no match for a battle with bunnies.

It was Berthier’s fault. Rather than trapping wild hares, his men had bought tame rabbits from local farmers. As a result, the rabbits didn’t see Napoleon as a fearsome hunter. They saw him as a waiter bringing out the day’s food. To them, the emperor was effectively a giant head of lettuce." From http://mentalfloss.com/article/51364/time-napoleon-was-attac...
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14. Board Game: The Business Game [Average Rating:5.87 Overall Rank:8441]
Tom Bigwood
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
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Has anyone tried to make a game of The Business Plot?

In 1933, a group of conservative businessmen, angry that FDR and the democrats had abolished the gold standard, began plotting a coup. They approached General Smedley Butler and attempted to get his support. They promised Butler 500,000 troops from a fascist veteran's organization that they would create (mostly from the membership of the American Legion). These 500,000 veterans would march on Washington and overthrow the president on the pretense that his health was too poor to continue leading the country.

Butler testified against the plotters and his testimony was mostly considered credible. However, he only had contact with a few low-level businessmen and one heir to the Singer Corporation fortune. No one was ever charged with a crime and it's unclear how wide or how serious the conspiracy really was.
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15. Board Game: Coup d'État [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:6280]
Stephen Eckman
United States
Oviedo
Florida
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THE WONGA COUP

From Wikipedia:

Quote:
The 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt, also known as the Wonga coup, was an alleged coup attempt against the government of Equatorial Guinea in order to replace President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo with exiled opposition politician Severo Moto, carried out by mercenaries and organised by mainly British financiers. Equatorial Guinea has vast oil and gas reserves. One US official called it "the new Kuwait". Prosecutors alleged Equatorial Guinea's opposition leader, Severo Moto, was to be installed as the new president in return for preferential oil rights to corporations affiliated to those involved with the coup. It received international media attention after the reported involvement of Sir Mark Thatcher in funding the coup.

There is also an excellent book on the subject.
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16. Board Game: One for the Pot! [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Barry Harvey
United Kingdom
London
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The Kettle War

Quote:
The Kettle War (Dutch: Keteloorlog or Marmietenoorlog) was a military confrontation between the troops of the Republic of the Seven Netherlands and the Holy Roman Empire on 8 October 1784. It was named the Kettle War because the only shot fired hit a soup kettle.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kettle_War

I don't know how important soup kettles are to the Dutch, but had that been the English and a tea kettle, who knows what sort of madness would have ensued.
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17. Board Game: The Cottage of Content [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Murray Fish
Australia
Canberra
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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Operation Cottage or the Battle of Kiska Island

As part of their campaign against the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands an American-Canadian force launched a combined arms assault against the Japanese garrison of Kiska Island on 15 August 1943. Following the fanatical defence of Attu, the Allied commanders expected to meet similar opposition on Kiska. However, the Japanese had recognised that the isolated island was not worth defending and the garrison was skilfully evacuated two weeks prior to the Allied assault, ending their 14 month occupation of the island.

There was extensive evidence from pre-invasion reconnaissance that Kiska was much more quiet than usual such as zero radio chatter and complete absence of anti-aircraft fire. American pilots even landed on some of the abandoned airstrips; this information was reported to their superiors but did not significantly affect the planning of the Operation Cottage.

With the decision to assault Kiska being approved, the nervous and inexperienced Allied soldiers attacked across difficult terrain with a heavy fog cover and refused to be lulled into any sense of complacency by the unopposed beach landings. Instead, fighting their way across the thick fog of the island they constantly expected to meet opposition behind every hill or rock ledge. This was exacerbated by stories circulating of abandoned Japanese bunkers being found with “food and tea still hot on the table.”

By the time they realised the mountainous and inhospitable island was undefended the troops had suffered over 300 casualties, including 32 dead – 28 American and four Canadian, from friendly fire, booby traps, accidents and the difficult environment - many casualties coming from ‘trench foot’ or other illnesses after occupying waterlogged slit trenches and foxholes. In addition, just after the Allied force had confirmed the island was unoccupied, the USS Abner Read (DD-526) struck a Japanese mine and lost 71 killed and a further 47 wounded.

In trying to extract some good from the situation (or, as some may see it, ‘spin’ the 300 casualties from an empty island) newly-promoted Vice-Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, Commander North Pacific Force, claimed the whole exercise was a “super dress rehearsal” and “good for training purposes.” This incident prompted Time magazine to create the term “JANFU” (Joint Army Navy Foul Up) to complement the extant term “SNAFU”. Tokyo Rose was right in that Kiska had given the Allies a “dreadful surprise.”

Of the forces involved, the US 7th division would later fight across the Pacific, taking heavy casualties at the Marshall Islands, Leyte and in Okinawa. The Canadian 6th Infantry Division, which provided the 13th Brigade that landed at Kiska, did not see any further action but was, after initial disbandment in December 1944, reactivated as part of the Commonwealth Corps for the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands. The USS Abner Read was repaired and provided support for Allied operations in the Pacific until being sunk bay a kamikaze attack in Leyte Gulf in November 1944, losing 22 of the 336 man crew. Admiral Kinkaid’s career was not adversely affected by the Kiska debacle and he would hold high-profile commands in the Pacific for the remainder of WWII, retiring in 1950 with many honours and decoration from the US and allied nations. From what I can gather, Kinkaid incurred more of a ‘black mark’ to his legacy for the loss of the USS Hornet (CV-8) at the Santa Cruz Islands in 1942, the last US Carrier sunk by enemy fire, than his decision to push the attack on Kiska despite strong evidence suggesting it was deserted.

Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardment_of_Kiska

Canadian heroes page: http://canadianheroes.org/henri/the-battle-for-kiska-story.h...

Not sure how you’d make a game of this, but I do remember hearing some time ago about a tactical game set in the Vietnam War that had a scenario where the US player had to navigate a map devoid of enemy (but with hidden traps and mines) and if they didn’t realise there were no live enemy on the map by a certain time they would lose.
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18. Board Game: Simply Catan [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:4183]
Barry Harvey
United Kingdom
London
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Sealand

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principality_of_Sealand

Sealand is a micronation formed in 1967 based on an old World War 2 fort in the North Sea off of the coast of England.

Now while this might make some mini Settlers-type game the story gets weird when you get to the attempted coup.

A German claiming to be the Prime Minister of Sealand, with the help of some mercenaries, attacked the fort and tried to take control of it. He failed and was captured, whereupon an official German diplomat had to be sent to negoiate his release. Prince Roy, the ruler of Sealand, stated that this meant that Germany recognised Sealand's sovreignty. Strangely enough, Germany denies this assumption.

Coming soon! - Sealand: The Defence of a Nation - a skirmish game for up to 5 figures a side.
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19. Board Game: Scilly Gold [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Ir. Marcel
Netherlands
Meteren
Gelderland
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The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years' War

Can a war that lasted for 335 years be regarded as a "weird little war"?
It can if you consider that not a single shot was fired during the whole war. This particular war was between between the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly and took place between 30 March 1651 and 17 April 1986.

During the second English Civil War the English Royalist were fighting with the English Parliamentarians, which were were allied with the United Provinces of the Netherlands. After the loss of Cornwall to the Parliamentarians, the Royalist navy fleet was retreated to the Isles of Scilly. The Dutch navy, lead by famous admiral Maarten Tromp, arrived in Scilly on 30 March 1651 to demand reparation from the Royalist fleet for the Dutch ships and goods taken by them. Tromp received no satisfactory answer, so he declared war to them. Since most of the English mainland was at that moment already in hands of the Parliamentarians he declared war specifically upon the Isles of Scilly.
In June 1651, soon after the declaration of war, the Parliamentarian forces under Admiral Robert Blake forced the Royalist fleet to surrender. The Netherlands fleet, no longer under threat, left without firing a shot. Due to the obscurity of one nation's declaration of war against a small part of another, the Dutch did not officially declare peace.
In 1985, Roy Duncan, historian and Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Council, wrote to the Dutch Embassy in London to dispose of the myth that the islands were still at war. Embassy staff found the myth to be accurate and Duncan invited the Dutch ambassador Jonkheer Rein Huydecoper to visit the islands and sign a peace treaty. Peace was declared on 17 April 1986, 335 years after the "war" began. The Ambassador joked that it must have been harrowing to the Scillonians "to know we could have attacked at any moment."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Hundred_and_Thirty_Five_Y...
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20. Board Game: Gone Fishing! [Average Rating:5.33 Overall Rank:14404]
“It’s raining tacos, from out of the sky. Tacos, no need to ask why. Just open your mouth and close your eyes: It’s raining tacos!”
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am.
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Although no shots were fired, there was a diplomatic kerfuffle between the Principality of Outer Baldonia (located 8 miles off the southern tip of Nova Scotia) and the USSR, in which the entire Outer Baldonian Navy put to sea and the USSR fleet refused to meet it. You can read about it by following this elegant and finely-crafted link.

Sadly, the Principality of Outer Baldonia is now defunct.
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21. Board Game: The Last Invasion: The Fenian Raids on Canada – 1866 & 1870 [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
“It’s raining tacos, from out of the sky. Tacos, no need to ask why. Just open your mouth and close your eyes: It’s raining tacos!”
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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I was going to enter this, then discovered that there already *was* a game for this series of strange skirmishes.

From Wikipedia:
Quote:
Between 1866 and 1871, the Fenian raids of the Fenian Brotherhood, an Irish Republican organization who were based in the United States, on British army forts, customs posts and other targets in Canada, were fought to bring pressure on Britain to withdraw from Ireland. They divided Catholic Irish-Canadians, many of whom were torn between loyalty to their new home and sympathy for the aims of the Fenians. The Protestant Irish were generally loyal to Britain and fought with the Orange Order against the Fenians. While the U.S. authorities arrested the men and confiscated their arms, there is speculation that some in the U.S. government had turned a blind eye to the preparations for the invasion, angered at actions that could have been construed as Canadian assistance to the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. There were five Fenian raids of note and all of them ended in failure.


And here is a link to a humorous series of cartoons from the Canadian point of view (from "Hark! A Vagrant" webcomic).
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22. Board Game: Indian Arrow-Heads [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
“It’s raining tacos, from out of the sky. Tacos, no need to ask why. Just open your mouth and close your eyes: It’s raining tacos!”
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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A Naval Battle in Oklahoma?

A Confederate military force commanded by General Stand Watie (principal chief of the Cherokee tribe) -- also known as Standhope Uwaite and Degataga (Cherokee for ‘stand firm’) -- ambushed a Union supply steamboat on the Arkansas River in Indian Territory. The Confederates managed to overwhelm and disperse the token Union guards, disable the vessel, loot the cargo, then destroy the vessel before withdrawing. Although the encounter did not change the outcome of the American Civil War, it was a morale-booster for the rebel supporters and reportedly helped the Native American allies of the Confederacy prolong a stalemate in the territory until the war ended in 1865.

For more details, see the Wikipedia entry Ambush of the steamboat J. R. Williams.

The raid did not have an official military name; many years later, a publication by the Oklahoma Civil War Sesquicentennial referred to it as the "Pleasant Bluff Action.” The encounter has been called "...the only naval battle ever fought in Oklahoma."

Prior to this action, Col. Waite was promoted to Brigadier General by Maj. Gen. Samuel Bell Maxey, although he didn’t receive word of his promotion until afterwards. On June 23, 1865, at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation, Watie signed a cease-fire agreement with Union representatives for his command, the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. He was the last Confederate general in the field to surrender.
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23. Board Game: Total Attack!! Soccer [Average Rating:6.65 Unranked]
Runs with scissors
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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We don't have a mention yet of the Soccer War? It was fought between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969, and also known as the 100 hour war. The war coincided with rioting during the Second N. American qualifying round of the 1970 FIFA World Cup.

The Buildup
Honduras and El Salvador met in the second North American qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup. There was fighting between fans at the first game in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa on 8 June 1969, which Honduras won 1–0. The second game, on 15 June 1969 in the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador, which was won 3–0 by El Salvador, was followed by even greater violence.[5] A play-off match took place in Mexico City on 26 June 1969. El Salvador won the decisive third game 3–2 after extra time. That same day, El Salvador dissolved all diplomatic ties with Honduras, stating that "the government of Honduras has not taken any effective measures to punish these crimes which constitute genocide, nor has it given assurances of indemnification or reparations for the damages caused to Salvadorans

The War
Late in the afternoon of 14 July 1969, concerted military action began. San Salvador City was put on a black out and the Salvadoran Air Force, using passenger airplanes with explosives strapped to their sides as bombers, attacked targets inside Honduras. The better equipped Honduran air force was caught off guard by the Salvadoran aggression. Salvadoran air-raid targets included the airport facility at Toncontin, which left the Honduran Air Force unable to react quickly. The larger Salvadoran army, launched major offensives along the two main roads connecting the two nations and invaded Honduras.

Initially, rapid progress was made by the Salvadoran army, by the evening of 15 July, the Honduran army had been pushed back over eight kilometers. The departmental capital of Nueva Ocotepeque fell shortly after along with eight other cities, placing the Salvadoran army within striking distance of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa. The momentum of the advance did not last, however. The Honduran air force reacted by striking the Salvadoran Ilopango airbase. The effectiveness of the attack on Ilopango has been called into question but it is generally accepted that the bombing of oil facilities and depots severely disrupted the logistics of the Salvadoran army.

There is enough evidence to support the contention that, after the surprise Salvadoran air-raid attacks on Toncontin, the Honduran air force did manage to establish and maintain control of the air in their territory. On 15 July, the Organization of American States met in an emergency session and demanded that El Salvador withdraw from Honduras. The government in San Salvador refused unless promised that reparations would be made to those Salvadorans who were displaced and those who remained in Honduras would not be harmed.

During the war, the Third Military Zone of the Honduran Army was discovered to have only half of its allotted soldiers. The money for the missing troops had been collected by an apparently corrupt Honduran Army officer. Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle helped Honduras by providing weapons and ammunition

More details on Wikipedia under "football war." including more on the disputes that led up to it.
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24. Board Game: Beware of the Wolf! [Average Rating:5.29 Unranked]
Constantine von Hoffman
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
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The great wolf offensive of 1916-1917

During the winter of 1916-1917, the Imperial Russian and German troops had their own "Christmas Truce", not because they were tired of fighting or a mutual feeling that they should celebrate Christmas together. No they encountered a new enemy on the battlefield that who was considered to be more dangerous than their enemies, The wolf.

That winter of 1916-17, German and Russian soldiers faced a new deadly enemy on the Eastern front, packs of hungry starving wolves started targeting groups of German and Russian soldiers in a series of vicious attacks. We can only guess what the number of casualties was that they made, or the number of attacks, but reports of those days describe that machineguns, rifle-grenades and poison were used to keep them at a distance. Sources also report that to the desperation of the soldiers, new packs simply replaced the wolves that they had previously killed.
At some point, the situation became so desperate due to the severity and extend of these attacks that a unauthorised truce was made between Russian and German field commanders to fight off the hordes of wolves together.
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25. Board Game: Mind Your Manners [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Constantine von Hoffman
United States
Boston
Massachusetts
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Lijar vs. France

n 1883, the citizens of Lijar, a small village in southern Spain were infuriated when they heard reports that, while visiting Paris, the Spanish king, Alfonso XII had been insulted and even attacked in the streets by Parisian mobs. In response, the mayor of Lijar, Don Miguel Garcia Saez, and all 300 citizens of Lijar declared war on France on October 14, 1883. Not a single shot was fired, and not a single casualty sustained on either side during the confrontation, but despite the anticlimactic war, Mayor Saez was declared “The Terror Of The Sierras,” for his exploit.
A full ninety-three years later, in 1976, King Juan-Carlos of Spain made a trip to Paris, during which he was treated with great respect by the citizens of the French capital. In 1981, the town council of Lijar ruled that “in view of the excellent attitude of the French,” they would end hostilities and agree to a ceasefire with France.
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