Humor and Oddities in Wargames
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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Playing games is fun, period. Our spouses/significant others may laugh that we've never grown up, but who cares! The games we play run the full spectrum, from detailed simulations to 'Beer and Pretzel' dice fests. Wargames often seriously attempt to recreate or simulate history and many times come close to doing so. Still, over the years there have been designers whom either have had 'tongue firmly in cheek' or at least an odd sense of humor.

This list includes 10 games that have something weird or unique about them. It could be a rule, a playing piece or whatever. Please feel free to comment on the games and by all means add to the list, as I hardly have scratched the surface on the subject.
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1. Board Game: Battle of the Five Armies [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:8852]
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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Letting this game get away many years ago was stupidity on my part, as I had a lot of fun with it growing up. In addition to the main battle, several scenarios were included. One was the dragon Smaug against the Dwarves. Smaug was quite powerful, and could only be killed by archery. Guess what, the Dwarven player had no bows or crossbows!
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2. Board Game: Battles & Leaders [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:7182]
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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I was mighty impressed by this one back in high school. Growing up in Alabama the Civil War was still being fought verbally by some old farts, and I devoured every book and game I could on the subject. This could be described as Squad Leader goes ACW, but has't stood the test of time in my collection.

The Leader Hit Table is one for the ages. You roll two dice to generate a 11-66 result which can be good, bad, or little effect. The table has some humorous comments to go with the game effect; for example: A heavy projectile strikes the Leader in the chest mutiliating his Bible. He removes the wreckage, turns and waves it over his head remarking: "Good thing I've already read it, eh boys?"
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3. Board Game: Black Sea Black Death [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:5262]
 
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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Black Sea Black Death is one of the most detailed simulations around, as anyone whom has played it can attest. It is the last place one would expect to find a weird rule, yet one exists and I doubt Comrade Jack meant it to funny, but I am amused by its inclusion in such an otherwise detailed game.

Airborne drops are handled in a simple and convenient manner, without resorting to complicated charts and tables. You simply hold the counter two feet above the target hex and drop it! Where (and how) it lands determines either elimination, disruption, etc!
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4. Board Game: Blood on the Snow: The Battle of Suomussalmi [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:8194]
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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I almost went blind playing this thing years ago. Anyone whom has taken a long look at the map and kind of zoned out knows where I'm coming from.

The game featured a counter for a Soviet Motorized Brass Band! It was worth quite a few points to the Soviet player if it could exit the board ('Agitprop'). I've never known a Finnish player whom let that happen!
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5. Board Game: The Campaign for North Africa [Average Rating:5.35 Overall Rank:10128]
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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This game is something else. When I figure out exactly "what", I'll let you know. I've never played it and never will but I have read the rules (twice, which shows that I have no life). It is actually full of odd little rules and points of humor. My favorite is the 'Pasta' rule, which forces the Axis player to spend extra supply points to feed the Italians, whose staple diet consisted of pasta, which used up precious water to cook!
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6. Board Game: Imperium Romanum II [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:2162]
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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This is almost as epic in scope as CNA. What prevents a direct comparison is that Imperium Romanum did not come with a campaign game, though the designer evidently contemplated one (and doubtless some Noble Romans among you would have played it).

The game included an "Appeal to the Diety(s)" Table. Results would vary, and there was a table for Polytheists and Monotheists. With my Monty Python/Black Adder inspired sense of humor I was often a smart A$$ when I rolled, chanting some prayer like; "Oh Lord God, Prince of Peace, Protector of Children, smite my foes most horribly and without mercy for thine honor"
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7. Board Game: The Legend of Robin Hood [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:3224]
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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This game got me grounded back in high school. After playing it with my best pal we went out back to shoot my bow. John sneezed when drawing the thing back, the shot went wild, bounced off the garbage can we were using as a target and luckily there wasn't enough 'umph' left to puncture the passenger side tire on dad's Ford Ranger! If only mom hadn't been looking out the window........

Both Basil Rathbone and Errol Flynn (oops, Sir Guy and Robin Hood) wish to wed the fair Maid Marion. Being a family game Bigamy is specifically prohibited by rule! However, game play often sees one of the men marrying the Widow Marion (since, we assume, she is no longer a maid at that point).
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8. Board Game: The Longest Day [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:1761]
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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Would you believe I acquired this game for free! The fellow whom gave it to me had only played the Mortain scenario, and only those counters had been punched. He had, however, somehow lost about a dozen of the counters and didn't think it had any value and was never going to play it again. When asked if I wanted it, I took a split mili-second to reply, "Well, if you insist....." There were more than enough blank counters to make some homemade replacements.

This was the Magnum Opus of designer Randall Reed, and for a 'monster' game is actually playable, all things considered. What is humorous is that Randy was obviously proud of his creation, and "signed" the map. At least I've never heard of a French village called St. Randallreed.
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9. Board Game: Pea Ridge: The Gettysburg of the West March 7-8 1862 [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:3097]
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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Okay, I admit to possibly being wrong here. I'm trying to remember a buddy's game collection from college. Since my major was drugs, sex, and rock n' roll the memory of those days some 20+ years ago is a bit spotty. I may be thinking of Drive on Washington.

Regardless, the designer Eric Lee Smith put a bit of personal history in the rules. Naming the Confederate regiment his noble ancestor served in, the Confederate player had to roll a die if that unit was eliminated. If so another die was rolled to see if Eric's kin was killed. If so, pack up the game because it was never designed!
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10. Board Game: Warhammer [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1029]
Nameless Necromancer
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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"In the Red Army it takes a brave man not be a hero." - J.V. Stalin
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If there was ever a game that sucked my hard earned money away into a bottomless pit, this is it. I am quite fortunate that middle age, with its shaking hands and failing eyesight prohibits me from buying and painting more minatures. And yes, I proudly admit to being one of the last Chaos Dwarf players in the Multi-Universe.

The game has a built in mechanism for resolving disputes, and I doubt the designers thought they were being humorous. If a rules question comes up in game play you simply roll a 6 sided to to see whose interpretation you follow. This speeds play of the game and you can discuss the rules disagrement and arrive at a consensus after the game.

Yeah, right; at least in my experiences. Never have I known a game (and this includes Diplomacy) that has witnessed more friends ceasing to speak to one another for extended periods of time than Warhammer. At my local hobby store curse words, threats and thrown minatures are the norm for resolving disputes (no, that does not include me, I'm much too frivolous to take a game that seriously). I'll never forget the time my Wood Elf army was thrashing some Undead when a Bretonnian Hero on a Pegasus came flying.....or maybe I should say crash landing, on my table. It was somewhat amusing to see that unit of skeleton warriors dissolve into a mass of bones before my eyes.
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11. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:51]
 
Will Green
United States
Alameda
California
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It took me a few plays to notice this, but once I did, it all made sense. One of the German leaders is named Pfeiffer. He also happens to be a sergeant. Pfeiffer, in German, means pepper. So, here I had been playing this great game, with Sergeant Pfeiffer, or Sergeant Pepper...as in Lonely Hearts Club Band...

The designer must have a fondness for the Beatles music.

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12. Board Game: Carrier [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:1856]
ian morris
United Kingdom
lichfield
staffordshire
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IIRC, Carrier has a scenario recreating some godawful film, where a modern US carrier (the Nimitz, I think), goes back in time and tries to prevent the Pearl Harbour debacle. In the scenario, you're expected to sink the Japanese navy without loss to yourself, or you lose.
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13. Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1212]
Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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This game includes a "LOSER!" counter for each side.

Additionally, the rules tells you to whack your opponent in the head if he puts naval units in both sea parts of the Malaya hex when you have such in one of them, since this unlikely event isn't covered by the rules.
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14. Board Game: Swords & Sorcery [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:3089]
Wendell
United States
temporarily Arlington VA
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All the little chicks with crimson lips, go...
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Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
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Maybe you don't consider this a wargame, but Swords & Sorcery was a punner's delight. See X the Unknown battle Elvish armies lead by Linfalas, Algorithm son of Logarithm. March your troops thru the Evelyn Woods and Nattily Woods. Match spells with the wizard Unamit Ahazredit (sound it out reall slow). Fear the approach of Tim the Enchanter. Flee the Killer Penguins, and watch out for the dinosaurs emerging from the Rex Rotary.

Classic.
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15. Board Game: Time Tripper [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:5391]
David Heldt
United States
Harper Woods
Michigan
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Our time-traveling hero might run into the Easy-Going Infantry, who use rubber bullets because "they don't really want to hurt anybody, they just want to go home and get stoned".

I also seem to remember a battle where the opponents are women who "are armed with whips and wear only an evil smile"--
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16. Board Game: Panzer Pranks [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:8674]
David Heldt
United States
Harper Woods
Michigan
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It's not just the source of my avatar, it's the greatest tank game ever! Featuring interesting rules like:

>National Reactions, which govern how crews behave after their tanks brew:
Americans: Try to bribe someone with nylons and chocolate bars.
British: Salute and brew tea.
French: Cry "We are betrayed!" and hug one another.
Germans: Only follow orders.
Russians: Attend a political lecture.
Japanese: Check an ephemeris to see if the sun is rising.

>The rules for sex and violence, including tank pregnancy.

>Optional rule for collecting movement points.

>The Polish Corridor Strategic Scenario, direct from the local Sons Of Krakow Hall.
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17. Board Game: Back to Iraq [Average Rating:4.96 Overall Rank:10100]
Mo Caraher
Canada
Coquitlam
British Columbia
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One of the three versions includes a Godzilla counter and a few rules to govern his use. I can't help but feel that Godzilla woulda had Iraq fully democratized by now
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18. Board Game: Empire 1 [Average Rating:4.86 Unranked]
Bruce Baskir
United States
Missouri
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One of the star systems is named "Regnad Kcin". The name is easier to recognize if you are an old "Fireside Theater" fan.
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19. Board Game: South Africa [Average Rating:4.74 Overall Rank:10770]
Bruce Baskir
United States
Missouri
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I may be mistaken, but I believe the Black Nationalists can keep the game going indefinitely. The game is over either when they win or when they get bored and give up, but I'm not sure that they can ever be forced to lose.
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20. Board Game: Jerusalem [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:5170]
Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
Tennessee
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Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
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The one colorful rule I can think of is in the old Jerusalem game. I can't remember what number it was but the rules states if __ is rolled el Katub has blown himself up and has gone to join Allah.
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21. Board Game: Panzer Grenadier: Eastern Front [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:2051]
Wes Nott
United States
Warrensburg
Missouri
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Panzer Grenadier has a wonderful rule...rule 6.66!!

6.66 Rule of the Beast.
If two KOMs are in play and only one Soviet unit in play is demoralized, then only one KOM need move toward it.

Ok so it's an actual rule about Komissars, but...great rule name and number.
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22. Board Game: Iliad: The Siege of Troy [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:5811]
Winky Blinky
Canada
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The last paragraph of the rules reads:

"One final note: players wishing to simulate the Odyssey, Homer's other great epic poem, may do so by, after they are finished playing Iliad, taking the Odysseus counter and tossing it in a random direction. Odysseus now has ten years to find his way back to the box."
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23. Board Game: Aliens [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:1237]
Magnus Berglund
Sweden
Upplands Vasby
Unspecified
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The Petty Revenge scenario - For the player who has lost too often against the Aliens.

The marines fly back to the Sulaco and nuke the site from orbit.
Roll a die how many nukes that hit - no matter the number of nukes, the player wins.
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24. Board Game: This Hallowed Ground [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:2742]
 
Dan Taylor
United States
Berryville
Virginia
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Just Another Washed Up Wargamer
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The Gamer's This Hallowed Ground features rules for Jenny Wade, the only civilian killed at Gettysburg. One features "good Jenny," the humble civilian who was killed making bread.

There's a whole other section detailing "Bad Jenny," the "baker of bread" (wink-wink, nudge-nudge), with detailed rules for handling what happens when generals enter her... um... "hex."

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25. Board Game: Gringo! [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:2947]
oystein eker
Norway
Unspecified
sola
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Richard Berg 1.

This list would not be complete without R.Berg. Excerpts from Gringo!:


UNUSUAL EVENTS AND RULES
Duty Calls #1: Ole Davy Twiggs
This rule concerns one of those tangential stories that
make reading about wars and the people who fought
them so much less depressing than it ought to be. Seems
that the irrepressible Twiggs had this great fear of getting
a bullet in the belly and dying from, not the actual wound, but
the infection that would quickly result. Ole Davy, who was not the
Mensa representative at Monterey, theorized that if he emptied his
colon of all matter there would be a much lesser chance of succumbing
to such a horrible death. It, therefore, occurred to him that
taking a laxative right before the battle would allow him to enter the
fray clean as a whistle, at least “colonically.” Then, extending that
line of thinking to the sort of conclusion Ole Davy often came up
with, he figured an extra dose would keep him extra spanking clean
…cleaner than clean, as it were.
Doesn’t take too long to figure out where Twiggs spent the 21st: in
back of his tent, glued to his seat, lending depth to the phrase hors
de combat.
For those of you wishing to simulate this, at the start of each Period
of play, roll a die for Twiggs. If the die roll is odd, Davy’s on the
throne and is unavailable for the day’s events. Garland now commands
his division, with Major Lear running the 3/1 brigade. If
even, duty has called (ahem), and Twiggs is fit to command. Well,
he never was really fit to command—but at least he’s upright. This
can only happen once.
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