• The Nuclear Poker Project: doom with production values

    by  • August 7, 2014 • Everything Else • 6 Comments


    Please support the Nuclear Poker PLAYA EDITION 2014 fundraiser for the Nuclear Poker Hexa-Bunker. Full details below!

    Nuclear Poker is a card game designed to teach you how to think about nuclear war. Nuclear Poker is a card game design to have fast-to-play, fun, five minute rounds containing hysterical laughter, bellicose posturing and extravagant gestures. Nuclear Poker is as much satire as strategy: a mocking school teacher for a post-modern world that has forgotten itself and its reality. You should buy Nuclear Poker, so we can fully realize our wicked cool art project!

    They are still there, sleeping in the silos

    So let me tell you about the game. Ian Willey did the magnificently chilling art, and I, leashless did the majority of the rules (pdf). There’s some talk of playing it with defence bureaucrats who’re too young to really have a feel for the cold war. It’s a great conference game. The “take a stiff drink every time you get nuked” variant has great potential. It’s a fun game.

    Screenshot from 2014-08-07 16:39:13

    We’re releasing the PLAYA EDITION now, in time for Burning Man (order quick!) and to kickstart our Electromagnetic Field 2014 project, The Nuclear Poker Hexa-Bunker which is a half-scale quad dome filled with ominous things and military surplus hats and uniform fragments. Right now we’re at $500 of $2000, $2000 which will buy quite a nice production with, of course, various options for “it’ll do” along the way if we can’t quite clear the full whack. Not that that’s going to be any issue, of course, because you’re going to help us, right?

    254c873134118eb117b7a4a142a4d2e4fd651dfaLost in thought

    What we’d really like [stretch goal announcement music!] is enough spare money in the Nuclear Poker Project kitty to take the game to peace and strategy conferences alike, to teach a whole new generation of people about the realities of MAD, d├ętente and all those other scary old terms from the Cold War That Never Ended (Ukraine!).

    There are three versions of the game, with a few fun little extras to get you through the cold, dark night.

    Buy DEFCON 1 ($100 incl. $60 donation)

    Buy DEFCON 2 ($50 incl. $15 donation)
    + customizable cards

    Buy DEFCON 3 ($25 cash on the barrel head)
    + the infamous, possibly illegal in some jurisdictions, Nuclear Poker Jokers

    Yes, all these games play exactly the same way, but don’t you want emergency kittens? Don’t you love them? Don’t you want to give us a whole $60 donation so we can realize our dreams and stuff?


    Buy nuclear poker. Get the EMERGENCY KITTENS edition because you deserve it.

    The Nuclear Poker team in no way endorse nuclear war, or the planning and strategizing of nuclear wars using our game.

    flattr this!


    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


    6 Responses to The Nuclear Poker Project: doom with production values

    1. RJMeyers
      August 8, 2014 at 5:54 am

      Question about the rules: One of the possible end game conditions can be “everybody is dead.” How you determine when a player is dead/out of the game? Do players who are nuked suffer any losses to their capabilities? Are there limits on the number of nukes that a player may use against others per turn?

      Or is this all up to the players to determine via their own additional rules?

    2. August 8, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Wow, thank you for pointing that out. I guess we were too close to it.

      When you are nuked, you are dead – out of the game, immediately and permanently.

      Good job its ten minute rounds!

    3. John Parker
      August 13, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      More questions about rules.
      It seems that players can attack before testing? It is said that a target player can fizzle the attack with a test card if testing hasn’t been conducted.
      If so:
      1.Does the attacker loose the card?
      2.Does the defender loose the card?
      3.Can the aggressor attack multiple times before testing?
      4.Can the aggressor attack out of turn before testing?

      Attacking after testing:
      1. Can the attacker attack multiple times out of turn?
      2. Does the attacker loose the capability card?
      3. Can the attacker hit the adjacent players using the long range card?
      4. What is the function of the superpower card?

    4. Ian Willey
      August 13, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Hi John
      When a player has the four different technology cards and shows them to everybody at the table they have done a successful test. Players only ever need to acquire these cards once.

      There are some rare cases where players do not show their technology cards until the time when they want to use weapons capability.

      As they are in effect testing and attacking at the same time, it is this case that can be defended against with a test card, “fizzling” the attack.

      Attacking after testing:
      1. Only if they have all four different Capability cards.
      2. No.
      3. Long range can only be used if a player also has Short Range.
      4. It completes the “Capability” tree and looks pretty! ;)

    5. Q
      August 19, 2014 at 1:12 am

      So I just got my deck today and I notice ‘Plague’ capability cards that aren’t mentioned anywhere. What exactly do these do?

    6. Pingback: 45 Card Decks for Creativity - MethodKit

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