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NATO: The Next War in Europe» Forums » General

Subject: The game that ended before it began rss

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Micheal Marks
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This was one of the games I played with my friend back in my teenage years. It's also the only game that I didn't lose, now that I think about it. Teenage issues meant losing every game or tipping over the apple cart - laughable now, but I digress.

I didn't lose at NATO because we never actually played the game. He was the NATO side, and I the WP. Well, after I learned the game rules and thought on it a bit, the only way the WP was going to win was liberal use of Chemical Weapons at the proper time.

However, NATO declared, up front, that ANY use of Chemical Weapons would provoke a Nuclear response. Since I thought that a) the WP couldn't win without CW use, so they would be forced to Nuke First, and b) the WP would lose in a nuclear exchange as well, the Warsaw Pact would not start the war in the first place. In other words, if CW use is automatic nuke retaliation, then I won't attack, period. Since it was hopeless to convince my friend to change his mind, we never played.

So I've wondered all these years if my analysis was correct that the Warsaw Pact couldn't win if they held back their WMD's. I think it was, but I am curious if anyone has an opinion.
 
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Leo Zappa
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Well, my personal experience may bear out your observation. I've played two complete games against two different opponents. In one case I ran NATO and in the other case the Warsaw Pact. In both games the Pact side became bogged down and resorted to chemical warfare to regain the initiative. In both cases the chemical attacks succeeded in cracking the NATO defenses. In both games the NATO player then resorted to tactical nuke strikes in an attempt to stop the Pact offensive. Finally, in both cases the NATO player's use of tactical nukes triggered a general nuclear exchange and the destruction of the planet! Of course the general nuclear exchange was not an automatic given - it was the result of an unfortunate die roll by the NATO player.

So, one might conclude that your decision not to play the game simply cut to the chase and reached the inevitable conclusion. However, I'd counter that even with both of my games ending in the same way I and my opponent both had a great deal of fun along the way. Further, either game could have ended differently if the tac nuke die roll had not resulted in a general nuclear exchange. I think you two should have played the game.

Also, note that since it was the NATO tac nuke strikes that triggered the strategic exchange and destruction of the world, the Pact actually "won" both games! See, you really should have played the game!
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Dave Rubin
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"It may be doubted whether so small a number of men ever employed so short a space of time with greater or more lasting effects upon the history of the world.” — Sir George Otto Trevelyan on the Battles of Trenton and Princeton
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Your friend's declaration of automatic escalation was not credible. You should not have been fooled by such obvious disinformation.
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M@tthijs
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Did you visit my www.kobudovenlo.nl? It has game info
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I think your experience proved what a great simulation of the era this game was.

There are lots of wargames which generate results which in no way can ever reflect history or a realistic alternate history. This one is spot on.
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Bob Hansen
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Your response was pretty much the response that typified the Warsaw Pact plans should they ever invade. They planned on using tactical nukes to destroy enemy military units before they had a chance to advance into position. It should be noted that your friend's response is also quite accurate as the US had it's own plans to use tactical nukes in response, which would have surely escalated. I doubt, however, that the chemical weapons would have ever been used as the tactical nukes would have quickly escalated things to the point where it would have been moot...
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Kev.
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Rommie wrote:
This was one of the games I played with my friend back in my teenage years. It's also the only game that I didn't lose, now that I think about it. Teenage issues meant losing every game or tipping over the apple cart - laughable now, but I digress.

I didn't lose at NATO because we never actually played the game. He was the NATO side, and I the WP. Well, after I learned the game rules and thought on it a bit, the only way the WP was going to win was liberal use of Chemical Weapons at the proper time.

However, NATO declared, up front, that ANY use of Chemical Weapons would provoke a Nuclear response. Since I thought that a) the WP couldn't win without CW use, so they would be forced to Nuke First, and b) the WP would lose in a nuclear exchange as well, the Warsaw Pact would not start the war in the first place. In other words, if CW use is automatic nuke retaliation, then I won't attack, period. Since it was hopeless to convince my friend to change his mind, we never played.

So I've wondered all these years if my analysis was correct that the Warsaw Pact couldn't win if they held back their WMD's. I think it was, but I am curious if anyone has an opinion.

Make him play WP....
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James Elkins
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While all of the WP plans which have surfaced over the years called for the immediate use of nukes, I find it hard to believe that there were no alternative plans for specific pre-war conditions. CW offered too many advantages to not be used from the outset; if nothing else it/they would have undermined much of NATO's qualitative advantage on land and in the air (from chem strikes on NATO airbases). What the game doesn't reflect is the potential political fallout of a NATO nuclear first-strike. While the US could have certainly launched a unilateral nuclear attack, it's an open question whether the European NATO states (or their citizens) would have seen that as preferable to losing the war. Always felt that should have been represented. In general, though, I suspect you're correct. The likelihood of escalation was the main deterrent against a WP decision to attack.

As for your partner/opponent, too bad. He missed out on a great game....which is all it is.
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Micheal Marks
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Thanks for the responses. I'm thinking of picking up the game to try out the no-WMD option, just to see if the WP has a chance at all. Plus I'd like to start collecting the old Victory games in general. And to, you know, finally play the game laugh

As to whether my friend was bluffing about the Nukes - no, he wasn't that type. In fact, if he had been in any danger of losing the game if we played, I'm 100 percent sure he'd have launched a Nuclear first strike to "save" the NATO side. He was all about winning - like I said before, there was a lot of groovy teenage drama dynamics in play. But he would have nuked the turn after I used CW's as the WP player, guaranteed.

If the Warsaw Pact nuking first was viable, I would have played, but that looked like a dead end as well at the time. Pushing the Red Button made the WP have a bad day, no matter who's finger did it.
 
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Steve Bernhardt
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My experience with the game involved the WP using chemical weapons every time, they really need them to make headway against qualitatively superior NATO units. In both cases, the NATO player felt he could hold on and didn't need to escalate things. In one game, the WP actually initiated nuclear attacks when it was clear he had no chance on the battlefield. We then proceeded to nuke each other into the stone age, and had crippled units all over the place.

I could be wrong, but maybe the game is decent if you just house rule nukes out of the game completely.
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Joe McCabe
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In my version of the game the rules state that immediately you declare Tactical Nuclear Warfare you trigger a die roll - on a roll of 1, 2 or 3 the game ends in an immediate decisive defeat for the decalring player.

If the game continues then all Air Power is eliminated (both sides), Rail Capacity is eliminated, movement is only permitted by Tactical Ground Movement and all reinforcements which do not arrive by Road are eliminated.

So I don't really see how any of this works to the NATO players advantage. His superior air power is one of his pluses so if he eliminates that then he is in deep trouble.

Think your friend bluffed you into not playing.
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