My Customized Nuclear War Deck

By Andrew Looney

I've been a fan of the card game Nuclear War since 1979, and as each of the expansions have been released, I've eagerly bought them up. The most recent expansion was driven by the Collectible Trading Card Game craze, and is something of a problem as a result. You can't just buy lots of booster packs and add them to your existing Nuclear War set, because the ratio of missiles & warheads to secrets & specials in these booster packs is totally whacked. You instead have to set aside all the extra commons you get (i.e. duplicate secrets) and use some thought when you add new cards to your mix.

This got me thinking. Having gotten used to the idea of building and tweaking special decks of cards from playing Magic, I decided to apply this skill to Nuclear War. I had way too many cards in my Nuclear War set to deal with anyway, it being a stack of well over 300 cards. Not only that, I'm of the opinion that many of the new cards they added in the various expansions were a bit overly complicated. If you play with a totally complete set, there are so many different things going on that the clean, simple fun of blowing each other up tends to get bogged down, if for no other reason than having to constantly explain special rules to casual players. (It's not like I play Nuclear War every day, so when I do get a game going, the other players usually need to be refreshed on the rules.)

I decided therefore to slim my deck down. I set aside some of the more complex things like submarines and space platforms, left out a lot of the less interesting secrets and specials, scaled way back on the propaganda, and in general, restored to my deck the proper ratio of missiles & warheads to secrets & specials. This made for what I consider to be a much tighter and more enjoyable game set.

Additionally, I created a handy reference card, listing the dice equivalents for the spinner and the population card chart, thus allowing me to pack the whole set (deck, people, 2 dice, and said chart) into an easily-carried, 150-count plastic card collector's box. I also created another, very useful card: an anti-missile chart. There are so many missiles now that it's hard to keep track of them all, and since early anti-missiles don't list the missiles they can shoot down from subsequent expansions, it's a pain trying to figure out (without tipping your hand) what you can and cannot shoot down, particularly for the casual player. So I created a grid that lists all of the missiles and anti-missiles, and indicates what can shoot down what.

Anyway, follow this link to look at the detailed list of the contents of my customized Nuclear War set. Or, make your own! Here are the percentage breakdowns for what I feel is the correct balancing of cards:

Happy nuking!

Copyright © 1995 by Andrew Looney.

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