Game materials: Game board (world or region map), pretty plastic markers of various colors (nuclear green markers not available for all players), play money, press release cards, dice
Game materials that are actually important: Noise-cancelling ear protection, blinders, food, beverages (extra points for alcoholic beverages), subscriptions to sensationalist biased media outlets (extra points for outlets that use volume in place of logic or facts), comfy armchair, phone numbers of elected officials, distance*
Note: Players without noise-cancelling ear protection or blinders will be penalized according to their distance from the actual battlefield; players farthest away will experience the least penalties.
Purpose of the Game: This game exists to distract everyone playing that there are real wars going on, with real people dying. Therefore, we invite you to force all of your friends and acquaintances to play, otherwise they would just keep reminding you about real wars, which are boring and have absolutely no relevance to your Facebook page. As an added entertainment benefit, everything you do on the game board will be echoed, in real time and using real people, on an actual battlefield (which is where the ear protection and blinders come in).
Winning the Game: When one player is left, that player has won. However, if the player does not have at least one of every unit type in play at the time, this is not a win, and everyone else is free to beat him or her up.
Losing: You really shouldn’t worry about this, as only losers lose, and by buying our game, you have proven that you are not a loser. However, any time all non-Civilian Units are destroyed, or the player calls an Empathy Check (in other words, starts believing that other people have any value whatsoever), that player is eliminated.
At the beginning of the game, each player must decide which Command Unit they will play.
Corporations (metallic gold dollar signs): Corporations do no damage to your markers. They have the ability to transform natural resources into play money. If you nationalize a Corporation, 10% of their play money becomes yours, 80% goes to other corporations in play, and 10% of the play money goes to Politicians that are not on your side. Corporations can spend money to buy other Corporation markers, negate votes of Civilians ($1 negates 1000 votes), or undermine National Governments ($1 buys $1000 of budget money). Corporations may also steal money from other units by issuing a Faulty Product Press Release (see Actions).
Cost: $500 per every Corporation already in play. After purchasing and placing a Corporation, all National Governments must pay you twice what you paid for it. Each time you move your Corporation to another region, that region’s National Government must pay you $1000 per every other Corporation in play (you may only move each Corporation twice per turn).
Upkeep: Each Corporation must carry one-tenth of their current cost. This money may not be used to pay taxes, pay Civilians, or pay for natural resources.
Media Outlet (metallic gold broadcasting tower): Media Outlets do no damage to your Units. However, they are able to buy existing Corporations and Politicians and issue orders to any Unit owned by a player without at least one Media Outlet. Media Outlets may also incorrectly state the number of Units in play on any side, and that becomes the official count for resolving Battles and determining score. Any time a Media Outlet buys a Politicians, there is a 70% chance the Media Outlet will gain a new Journalist with no upkeep or cost, who parrots everything the Politician says. Media Outlets also issue Press Releases.
Cost: $1 per Unit in play on your side.
Upkeep: $1 per Unit in play on the other sides.
National Government (metallic gold obelisk): [Please note that the special edition National Government markers with the flashing red lights spelling out “Leech” have not been released yet.] National Governments are the only Command Units that may issue Press Releases without a Journalist. National Governments may steal money from any other unit in play on the same side. However, if a National Government steals money from a Corporation or any unit owned by a Corporation, that side immediately loses the game and players will immediately enter into a physical fight to divide up the remaining units and resources. Any National Government that has more Politicians, Journalists, Civilians, or Press Releases than another National Government may declare the other National Government a tyrant and begin bombing the crap out of it. National Governments get extra points for owning Politicians and Journalists in other countries.
Cost: Additional National Governments may not be purchased.
Upkeep: 15 other units per turn.
Grass-roots Organization (limp tie-dyed noodle): This Command Unit has been discontinued due to wide-spread public outcry from Jimmy O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart.
Once all players have picked their Command Unit and distributed the beginning cash (Upkeep), play begins.
Phase 1: Buy New Units. Command Units may purchase additional new Command Units (or Secondary Command Units – National Governments, Media Outlets, Corporations) for their side at this time, as well as all of the other available units.
Civilians (clear dots): These markers are transparent to allow you to ignore them. Civilians have 1% chance of “destroying” your markers (i.e., removing specific markers from play until you buy new markers to replace them), 30% of voting (see Corporations above), and 60% chance of stealing your resources, but do not contribute to your final score. Civilians may be upgraded to Soldier at the usual cost of Soldiers. Civilians may also be turned into Suicide Bombers for a cost of $5, but only by an opposing side.
Cost: $1 per 5 Civilians.
Upkeep: Each Civilian is required to carry $1 in play money, but they are not allowed to use it.
Soldiers (dark green figures): Soldiers fight wars. Each Soldier has 3% chance of destroying an opposing player’s markers, except Nuclear Blasts.
Cost: $1 per 10 Soldiers.
Upkeep: Each Soldier must carry $5, unless the National Government has Issued a Conscription Press Release (see Actions). Any Soldier who does not have his play money stolen by a Civilian or Corporation within 5 turns is court-martialed and becomes a Civilian, with no Upkeep.
Politicians (metallic gold pedestals): The presence of a Politician in a region boosts the upkeep of a Corporation or a National Government to 3 times the original upkeep, which the Politician pockets. Politicians are required to spend all of their money on Press Releases before the end of their turn. Politicians may also issue contradictory orders to Civilians, Soldiers and other military units at any time, reducing Morale bonuses by 75%.
Cost: $500. Politicians placed in an opposing national Government’s region may not leave that region and cost $1 more.
Upkeep: Self-sufficient. Politicians get money from other units and issuing Press Releases.
Air Units (blue airplanes): Air units may strike any other marker except nuclear blasts, orbital units (buy our special Space Belongs to Us expansion, in stores now!), and Politicians. Air Units are always in sets of four; any time more than one of the set are destroyed, the remaining Air Units are upgraded to Politicians.
Cost: $2000 per four, which must be placed together.
Upkeep: $100 per Politician in play on the same side.
Tanks (blue tanks): Tanks may only strike Civilians, Soldiers, and natural resources. Any Tank that destroys another marker in the presence of a Politician has a 50% chance of being promoted to a National Government, otherwise it is court-martialed and converted into 20 Civilians (no upkeep).
Upkeep: $50 per Politician in play on the same side.
Artillery (blue cannons): Artillery hits everything, unless a Media Outlet says otherwise, except Nuclear Blasts and Orbital Units. Artillery may not be moved unless a Politician issues a Press Release, in which case it takes twenty turns and $5000 to do so (75% of which goes to the Politician who last issued a Press Release to that effect, and an additional 50% goes to the nearest Corporation).
Upkeep: $300. However, no Artillery may hold more than $301 at any time, any excess must be given to the first player who yells “Imperialist!” during the Upkeep phase.
Journalists (purple figures): Journalists do no damage, other than to Morale Bonuses. However, any Journalist in a region may, upon issuing a Press Release (Atrocity Report), assume control of any unit in the region. Journalists who control more than five Politicians become a National Government, and must be played accordingly. Journalists may also be stolen by Corporations, upon which they become Public Relations Flacks (Corporations may not issue Press Releases without a Flack).
Cost: $100 for the first Journalist, $100 per pre-existing Journalist under that Media Outlet. If a Journalist costs more than $1000, another Journalist must be converted into a Citizen.
Upkeep: $10 per Press Release issued by the same side the previous turn.
Suicide Bomber (red dot): Suicide Bombers do damage to Civilians, Soldiers, Tanks, and Artillery only. All Suicide Bombers are immune to each other. Suicide Bombers destroy 25% of these units within a region (doubled if the player yells “Infidel!” or “Abortion!” immediately beforehand). However, if the majority of Media Outlets in play do not issue Press Releases in response, the destroyed units are replaced and doubled next turn.
Cost: One Civilian of an opposing side and $5.
Upkeep: If the Suicide Bomber is not used the same turn, they are destroyed, as are all National Governments, Media Outlets, Corporations, and Politicians owned by the side that owns the Suicide Bomber.
Phase Two: Steal Money and Units – At this time, each player may try to steal other units and money from their own units. Remember, units belonging to other players cost half of the listed cost for units, except Politicians, which cost 10x as much, but these units remain in play in the middle of the other player’s region.
Phase Three: Issue Press Releases – all units with this capability can issue Press Releases with the play of a Press Release card. No action can be taken without issuing a Press Release card, except those outlined here. Some Press Release cards duplicate some of the actions here, enabling a player to act out of turn (for instance, buying units in the middle of a battle or converting a Politician to a Journalist or Flack).
Phase Four: Resolve Attacks – Units either win an attack or are destroyed (removed from play). Usually this is resolved with the dice, but customers have also reported positive playing experiences when actual handguns are used instead.
Phase Five: Clean Up – Any unit that is not carrying any Upkeep money on them is removed from play. Remember, Upkeep is played on the unit concerned. If you want money to pay for things, then you need to steal it from your units.
Phase Six: Pay Upkeep – you pay Upkeep costs at this point, so it is in your best interest to let as many units as possible die during the Resolve phase. Otherwise, you’d have to pay for them more than once.
Phase Seven: Total up Points – The number of Points you have is dependent on the number of Secondary Command Units you have. This is the amount of play money you have to start the next turn.
Phase Eight: Receive New Civilians – The only reason Civilians exist is as a handicap to your Command Units. At this time, each player receives a new batch of Civilians equal in number to the number of every other unit currently in play on that player’s side (counting units in the region owned by other players).
In our next installment, available for purchase from our website for $499.99, we discuss how to use Press Release cards, but here are some teasers to lubricate your wallet.
Empathy Check – any player who shows any remorse for the loss of a unit, on any side, loses the game immediately.
Nuclear Blast (with accompanying large green dome blast template) – all units and Command Units under the template are removed from play.
Budget Cuts – 10% of the player’s Civilians die, and 5% become Suicide Bombers under no one’s control. Corporations and National Governments get 20% more money next turn and Media Outlets get five free Journalists.
Union Strike – all costs and upkeep for the next ten turns are increased for Cost of Living.
Propaganda Blitz – (only issuable by Journalists and Flacks) all opposing Politicians are sacrificed, and the opposing players must immediately replace all Politicians with those with extremist view points. Also gives opposing players a +10% bonus to all attacks next turn.
Hiring Freeze – All Corporations get a +100% bonus to money stolen from Civilians this turn.
Atrocity Porn – All Journalists in play get a cigar, and 50% of all Civilians in play are sacrificed. Media Outlets and Politicians receive a 50% discount to upkeep costs.
Civil War – Move an opposing player’s National Government one half-inch. Opposing player must immediately change his or her name.
Election Results – Take a vote of all Civilians in play on your side, and then make something up.
Forced Empathy Check – draw little faces on an opposing player’s markers. Any such marker that is destroyed next turn forces the opposing player to lose. Also forces half of your Journalists to be destroyed as they start feeling sorry for the poor sap.
Serious Debate – may only be played when an opposing player has left the room for any reason. All attacks that turn fail, upkeep is tripled, and each player receives ten times the Civilians they are entitled to.
Serious Negotiation – You may automatically steal as many of an opposing player’s units as you have Politicians in play, without a need to roll dice. You may also discard any Press Release card any other player has in his or her hand.
Collateral Damage Report – Receive extra points for all the Civilians who die when Air Units are shot down, missiles go off target, expired medication and vaccines are shipped to refugee camps, etc.! (Requires purchase of additional blast templates, field of effect templates, and pandemic charts, available on our website).
Other Games from Self-Righteous Bastards LLC:
Hiroshima Hide and Seek: Your friends will love playing this game, as they use the included Geiger counters to figure out which one of them was fed radioactive waste (refills sold separately)!
Household Mutants: Fight the war of the future by experimenting on your relatives with this fun chemistry set!
Slingshot! Send friends and family through this electromagnetic catapult for the ride of a lifetime (congrats to Luella S., of Wallington IA, for being the first four year old to impact with the moon).
The War Game is © ® tm The Self-Righteous Bastards LLC. All rights reserved. No portion or part of this game may be duplicated, imitated, photocopied, folded, spindled, or mutilated, unless it is to tell us how great we are.