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Subject: Global Thermonuclear War rss

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Kaspars Kadikis
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A grand strategy wargame that I have been working on for some time. It explores such Cold War concepts as ‘Balance of terror’, ‘M.A.D’ and ‘second strike capability’. It is played on a large hexagon world map in either sandbox mode or with preset scenarios. Players expand their nations by conquering neutral territories, build factories, research new technologies and then blow each other up.
The tech tree goes from roughly 1950- carriers and nuclear bombers- to mid XXI century- laser satellites, submersible carriers and asteroid mining.

The sandbox game goes in roughly three stages:
Expansion- the players race to grab the best territories (for resources or strategic position) and build up their economies. While border skirmishes over valuable lands are possible, the players must be careful to not spend too much on fighting or others will get ahead in the economic race.
Cold War- most of the land has been divided by the players. Nuclear arsenals are now big enough to wipe out an enemy nation in a single turn. Missile defenses are expensive and high on the tech tree so your best defense is the threat of retaliation with your own nukes. And if two players blow each other’s nations up, the third player is in a good position to finish them off and win the game. Thus you get a lot of maneuvers, saber rattling and diplomacy as the players build up their forces, snatch up the few last neutral hexes and expand into orbital space.
Thermonuclear War- sooner or later someone decides he has enough advantage to start a war. Or someone is falling behind the economic race so it’s now or never. Or a secret war pact against someone was made. Or someone launches a preemptive strike because their neighbor built a Silo too close to the border…
Whatever the reason, missiles start flying and cities and armies perish in nuclear flames. Alliances may well break in the same turn as the balance of power shifts.
If there are more than one survivor, its back to stage two (or even the first one, if the damage was that widespread).

A recent playtest with three of my friends:
I picked my starting position in Middle East. It had lots of nearby resources and access to three continents, but was also a potentially dangerous position because I could end between the other players. Luckily for me, Red picked North America, Blue settled in South America, and Yellow in China.
Blue managed to take Panama first. Red did some saber rattling over that but decided to build ships and expand into Pacific. Meanwhile I and Yellow had agreed to draw our border north-south across the Caspian Sea and were busy taking down neutrals in our zones of influence.

I was ahead in the economic race- more factories means more income means even more factories- but had neglected my military. Realizing that, I went for crash nuclear program- but a couple turns too late. Yellow and Red both declared war on me while I only had a single nuclear missile sub in the Mediterranean. My weapons factories were taken out on the first turn of war and both players proceeded to leisurely destroy my cities and industries. Meanwhile my only sub with two nukes aboard set out of Mediterranean to at least give one of my enemies a bloody nose in vengeance. Blue chose to stay neutral and was researching Arctic Colonization. He was probably planning to grab Antarctica while no one was looking.

But then both Red and Yellow researched the next level of Missile tech and realized they could now hit each other. Both quickly sued peace with me and paid restitution- because while my two nukes could not destroy a nation, they could considerably weaken one. A several turns followed while I quietly rebuilt. Then Red started firing at Yellow. Most of China and North America got glassed. Red still had some missiles left but could not reach the remaining Yellow bases in Central Asia, so he decided to nuke South America. Part general screw-you, part worry that Blue might exploit the chance and invade. Blue responded by burning out what remained of Red ground forces. Then I got in the fun and nuked Yellow’s remaining two war factories in Kazakhstan, leading to him and then Blue capitulating.

So what are your thoughts? Could you be interested in such a game?
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William Barnett-Lewis
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It might well be interesting on a certain level, but as soon as I saw the title, this came to mind...

devil
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Patrick Williams
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I was always a big Supremacy fan and I think your idea is interesting. It could turn into a good game.
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Andy Beaton
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It looks like good fun to me. One thing I would really like to see (I don't know if you've built it in yet or not) is the chance that no one wins. Fallout or nuclear winter or automated last strike facilities finish off the winner before he can gloat. The most satisfying games of Nuclear War that I've played have ended that way.
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Sam Carroll
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I'd certainly be interested in your game. It sounds like a fun time.
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Kaspars Kadikis
Latvia
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wlewisiii wrote:
It might well be interesting on a certain level, but as soon as I saw the title, this came to mind...
devil

The name is indeed a deliberate shoutout to the movie.

YankeeGrunt wrote:
I was always a big Supremacy fan and I think your idea is interesting. It could turn into a good game.

It started years ago when looked at a game of Risk and thought that it could be more interesting with navies and nukes, and so it grew over several stages into full blown wargame.

aiabx wrote:
It looks like good fun to me. One thing I would really like to see (I don't know if you've built it in yet or not) is the chance that no one wins. Fallout or nuclear winter or automated last strike facilities finish off the winner before he can gloat. The most satisfying games of Nuclear War that I've played have ended that way.


With enough nukes, a nation can be destroyed entirely with only a few submarines remaining. And nuclear winter is also an element. Each land nuclear detonation adds 1d4 NW points. Agricultural income drops, then arctic zones start to expand. Players can still survive though if they have researched either Arctic Colonization or Oceanic Colonization techs. They can then build Arcology and survive there. Or on Orbital colonies.
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Sounds fascinating.

Colour me interested.
 
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Tim Benjamin
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So Global Thermonuclear War is the remedy for Global Warming; then why are we waiting?
 
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The War Chief
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Sounds like a good Kickstarter project to me.

Sign me up.
 
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Bill Lawson
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Global Thermonuclear War has been a hot topic in my house lately.
Been playing First Strike and waiting on the arrival of Fail Safe.

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Martin McCleary
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The topic always interests me as long as it's not fantasy.

There are several games out on this topic:

First Strike - several in the series from the 50's - thru the 80's.

The old NORAD game

The recent S&T issue Fail Safe and Red Menace by White Dog games.

and the puter game DEFCON.

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Michael Ziegler
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Let us not forget this 1981 classic.
 
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Andy Beaton
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GMCasper wrote:
Players can still survive though if they have researched either Arctic Colonization or Oceanic Colonization techs. They can then build Arcology and survive there. Or on Orbital colonies.


You can't forget subterranean mineshafts!

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Lance McMillan
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Rallye72 wrote:
First Strike - several in the series from the 50's - thru the 80's.

The old NORAD game

The recent S&T issue Fail Safe and Red Menace by White Dog games.

and the puter game DEFCON.


Bruce Costello's Warplan Dropshot and Warplan: Dropshot II/III are both in this same genre.

For a humorous take on the subject, there's also VPG's Toe-to-Toe Nu'klr Combat with the Rooskies.
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Jarratt Davis
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Global Thermonuclear War: The game where the winner is the loser who has lost the least.

Hmm wonder if anyone sells game pieces like the mushroom clouds from Supremacy?

Anyway, I say go for it.
 
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Jarratt Davis
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wlewisiii wrote:
It might well be interesting on a certain level, but as soon as I saw the title, this came to mind... devil

I have really got to watch that again one of these days!
 
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Kaspars Kadikis
Latvia
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Springheeledjack wrote:
Sounds like a good Kickstarter project to me.
Sign me up.

Kickstarter. Maybe. Since I live in Latvia (Eastern Europe) production and distribution would be problematic. It's a lot easier for authors living in USA. A print-and-play digital download could be a more doable option thought.

But what I realy would love to do would be creating a digital version. The games would be hosted on a webpage and played in a browser. Sadly my programming skills are still in the 'tetris with ASCII graphics' stage.


aiabx wrote:
You can't forget subterranean mineshafts!

At double the cost you can construct buildings underground where they have 50%+tech chance of surviving a nuclear strike. (Missile Silos are undeground by default.)


Hatonastick wrote:
Global Thermonuclear War: The game where the winner is the loser who has lost the least.

Yeah. In fact, in a 3 player game, if two players have devastating nuclear exchange, they might then decide to nuke the third neutral player with their remaining nukes just so that he doesnt win.

wrote:

Hmm wonder if anyone sells game pieces like the mushroom clouds from Supremacy?

I used chits with the radiation hazard sign.

A nuclear strike destroys all unprotected units and buildings in a hex and a leaves 3 Fallout points. Each Fallout kills 1/4 of troops moving trought the hex. Radiation levels fall by one point per turn so eventually territories can be reclaimed and rebuilt.
 
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Magister Ludi
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What you get if you are not paying attention in Twilight Struggle...
 
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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billyboy wrote:
Global Thermonuclear War has been a hot topic in my house lately.
Been playing First Strike and waiting on the arrival of Fail Safe.



I would really like hear more about Fail Safe Bill. I posted in the FS forums asking about it but havent gotten any response (Other than others echoing that they too would like to hear something about it). Any chance you could give us a run down on the overall rules and such?
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Enrico Viglino
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Aussie550 wrote:
What you get if you are not paying attention in Twilight Struggle...


Or if you're just bored in it.
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Tim Korchnoi
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calandale wrote:
Aussie550 wrote:
What you get if you are not paying attention in Twilight Struggle...


Or if you're just bored in it.


Or if you are losing badly devil

Sorry, wrong game. I was thinking of Ultimatum
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Bill Lawson
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Luftwaffe Flak wrote:
billyboy wrote:
Global Thermonuclear War has been a hot topic in my house lately.
Been playing First Strike and waiting on the arrival of Fail Safe.



I would really like hear more about Fail Safe Bill. I posted in the FS forums asking about it but havent gotten any response (Other than others echoing that they too would like to hear something about it). Any chance you could give us a run down on the overall rules and such?


Fail Safe is still in transit. I'll let you know when I get a look.
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Tim Korchnoi
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billyboy wrote:
Luftwaffe Flak wrote:
billyboy wrote:
Global Thermonuclear War has been a hot topic in my house lately.
Been playing First Strike and waiting on the arrival of Fail Safe.



I would really like hear more about Fail Safe Bill. I posted in the FS forums asking about it but havent gotten any response (Other than others echoing that they too would like to hear something about it). Any chance you could give us a run down on the overall rules and such?


Fail Safe is still in transit. I'll let you know when I get a look.


I should be able to give some information tomorrow. Fedex tracking says my copy should arrive later today cool
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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Great, thanks Tim and Bill! I'm subscribed to the FS forums so should get the update.
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Barry Kendall
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Highly interested. Contact me if you need experienced playtesters.
 
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