This page last updated Sept 2, 2008, and seldom needs to be updated.

If there is any question not answered here, the official answer is "The Owner Of the Game gets to Decide the Answer." But feel free to send us any questions that you feel ought to be clarified.

See also the WMD page - it has some more rules clarifications

When adding the new booster cards to your game, some combinations of cards work better than others for a fun game. The original game was just about perfect. It has 34% megatons, 27% weapons, 4% antimissiles, 20% propaganda, and 15% secrets. (Thus in a game with 6 players, each with 9 cards to start, in the original "secret" round, there should be about 8 secret cards played). The "Proliferation" game has a few more cards than "War", and it has 31% megatons, 20% weapons, 3 1/2% antimissiles, 18 1/2% propaganda, 14% secrets, and 12% "specials". (Not 100% due to fractions). So if you put together your deck with your favorite secret cards, I would recommend that you keep approximately 30% warheads, 20% weapons & carriers, 20% propaganda, 4% ABMs, and about 26% secrets and specials. (And you probably should not duplicate any secret cards.) If you have too many secret cards, but can't bear to leave any of them out, you could take all the secrets, top secrets, and specials out of the deck, shuffle them, and add as many back to your deck as will make up about 1/4 of the deck. And if you do this each time you play, you will have the excitement of not knowing whether "supergerm" is going to show up in this game or not.

New Cards: as I hope you all know by now, we have new artwork for the Nuclear War, Nuclear Escalation and Nuclear Proliferation games. (Escalation will be back from the printer around Feb 15). The Nuclear War deck has a new SECRET card and a SPECIAL card, which it never had before. the SPECIAL card is "Advanced Recycling." The player who has this in his hand may, on his turn only, play the recycling card directly from his hand (you don't need to cycle it through the face down cards) and take the card he wants from the discard pile, putting the discard in his hand, and discarding the special card in its place. This is in addition to any normal play he may be making. Note that if he is "missing the turn" he cannot play this, so he should probably play it before he draws his card for the turn!

Even Newer cards: at Origins in Columbus, Ohio, 2006, we released two new Nuclear War cards that are not in any game or booster pack or deck. They will only be available from us by mail or at conventions. They are a secret (fold in space) and a special (mad scientist).
Alternate rules for "Fold In Space": The "Fold In Space" is intended to be a regular secret, to be played when you draw it. Once you have it, you may, on any turn, and more than once, put any special cards from your hand into the fold in space. Then you refill your hand the next time you draw cards. If your group feels the "Fold" gives a player too much of an advantage, you can rule that once anyone draws the "Fold", then everyone has a "Fold" from that point on. Or if you want to encourage everyone to buy a card from Flying Buffalo (we like this!) you could say that everyone who OWNS a "Fold" card may play it at the beginning of each game.

Important News for Nuclear War Fans:
The Nuclear War Booster Packs that we have been selling for the last year will NOT be reprinted in their current form. Normally when we do a Nuclear War product, we try to keep it in-print and available continuously. Therefor you may be assuming you can buy these whenever you get around to it. But the Booster Packs are different. When these run out, if we decide to do more, we will make different cards (presumably on topical subjects). We don't want you to be disappointed. Spread the word to your friends. (And they are now sold out. For a very limited time, you can buy an "almost complete" set hand assembled by us, for $35.)

Q: Several cards (Disinformation, Guardian Angel, etc) counter a secret card “played on you”. Does the phrase “played on you” specifically mean when a player chooses you as the enemy it affects, or anytime the secret’s instructions affect you? For example, could you use ‘Disinformation’ to cancel the effects of a secret you have to play that affects yourself? What about ‘Recession’ or ‘Computer virus’ that affects all other players, and a specific target doesn’t have to be chosen? Could you use Disinformation against such?

If a secret affects everyone, it wasn't "played on you", and disinformation cannot stop a secret that you draw yourself.

Q: At what point is a player no longer a legal target for special cards? Our game had 3 players left, and I was conducting final retaliation against the remaining 2. I wiped out one of the players (0 pop) with my first missile, and then moved on to last remaining player. He wanted to use Black Box to redirect my remaining attack to the player I just wiped out (who is now waiting to conduct his final retaliation). We ruled he couldn’t, since the that player was destroyed, even though he still has actions pending. Was this correct?

That was correct. You can't fire a missile at someone who has already been wiped out.

Q: During final retaliation, the rules state you discard any cards not used in your attack (carriers & warheads which are all placed face-up). What about cards like RADAR Jamming device and others that may counter ABMs, and may come into play in the attack? May he keep cards such cards that may be playable during the attack? If so, is he required to place them face up with his carriers & warheads?

The rule was written before we had "special" cards, and there really wasn't a need for it, as there was nothing you could do with the rest of your cards. I'd say that if you want to use them during final retaliation you have to reveal them along with the missiles and warheads, but you can use them. However, you cannot use "super salvage" to take a card from the discard pile during final retaliation.

Q: What happens to a face-up bomber, which has face-down warhead(s) coming up the queue, if you are brought to 0 population? Is the bomber considered part of the weapons and carriers for final retaliation? If yes, are the warheads in the queue already designated for that bomber, or can they be re-assigned to other carriers? Can you add other warheads besides them if there is still space on the bomber?

Similarly, what about a space platform? We ruled that; when brought to 0 population, warheads on a space platform, stay with the platform. Nor can other warheads be added to a platform already in play for final retaliation. Is this correct?

Yes, the bomber and warheads can be used during final retaliation, and the warheads can be rearranged. But the bomber can only carry as much as it has not already carried. (i.e. if it has already dropped 20 megatons, it can only carry up to 30 more during retaliation.) The space platform can drop it's warheads during retaliation, but they must come from the platform and no more can be added during retaliation. (Nor can the space platform be "launched" during final retaliation.)

Q: In Nuclear Proliferation I drew the Top Secret card "Revolt" on the initial draw and played it on an opponent. ((which causes him to discard his entire hand)) Since he doesn't draw his hand until his turn, how does this affect the placement of face down cards? For instance, after everyone finishes clearing their secrets, the 'revolting' player doesn't have any cards in his hand to play his two face down cards. When he finally gets a turn does he draw 10 cards, place his two face down cards, then place his third, or does he just play a single card and need to wait two more turns for it to reach the "Face Up" card?
A: On his next (first) turn, he draws nine cards, plays the two face down cards, then draws a tenth card, then plays the third face down card. Note that the tenth card he draws cannot be one of the first two face down cards.

Q: Can the EKV anti missile and anti-missile Laser stop attacks from cruise missiles, space platforms, & killer satellites? A: Again, the cards mean exactly what they say. One says "any missile except Saturn" and the other says "any missile or bomber". The cruise missile is a missile. Neither the space platform nor the killer satellite is either.
Q: How do you calculate damage from "suicide bombers" and "sudden wind change" when combining all the games? A: In both cases spin the spinner. For sudden wind change, bomb shelters means he loses two, double, triple, and dud means he loses none. Suicide bombers bomb shelters, dud means he loses none, double means 2, triple means 3.
Q: Can Biglands & Visalia's powers be stopped by a spy? A: Yes. In effect they are using a propaganda card as a spy, which can be stopped by another spy.
Q: When Bigland uses his power, is a sub revealed to all players, or just Bigland? A: When a sub is "revealed" it is revealed to everyone and is now visible and can be targeted by anyone.
Q: When Bagmad uses his power, can "Sudden wind change" be used? A: Note: this question was asked before we printed the 2nd edition of the WMD game. If you are using the first edition, no, Bagmad is setting off a terrorist bomb, not "nuclear testing". If you are using the second edition, yes, the neighbor of the first victim is now hit by fallout. (In the first edition, the "sudden wind change" can only be played when someone plays a warhead that cannot be delivered, known informally as "nuclear testing". In the second edition, "sudden wind change" can be played when anyone is attacked, and a neighbor of the attacked victim is ALSO hit with radiation, amount of losses determined by spinning the spinner or turning over a card.)
Q: Is revealing a sub part of, or separate from "gathering military information"? A: Revealing a sub is "gathering military information".
Q: Can spies be used in the initial secret round? A: Yes.
Q: If a player turns up a 10MT warhead not carried by a missile or bomber, and he has an atomic cannon face up, can he choose NOT to fire the warhead? A: No. In ALL cases, if an attack card is turned up, and the player who turned it up CAN attack someone, he MUST attack someone. Once you put it into the que, you are committed to an attack.
Q: Can the UFO Technology card be used to let the space shuttle carry a warhead greater than 50 MT? A: No. The space shuttle is not "a missile system". Please go by exactly what is written on the cards.
Q: When the space platform or killer satellite is initially launched, or the space shuttle reloads a space platform, is war started? A: No. None of these is an attack. If you haven't picked a target, war hasn't started.
Q: Which cards from Proliferation and WMD can stop attacks from space platforms and killer satellites, and which cards can destroy those systems in orbit? A: None. Space platforms are dropping warheads, not missiles or bombers, and they cannot be stopped by anything unless we later add a card that stops warheads from exploding. Killer satellites cannot be stopped, and can only be shot down by other killer satellites. And only killer satellites can shoot down a space platform.
Q: If any player has an "orbital burst" misfunction does that have any effect on his or other players' space platforms or killer satellites? A: No.
Q: If you play using the countries & special powers, can you still use a deterrent force, even though there is not a space for it on the playing mat? A: Yes. "Deterrent force" merely means you are deliberately revealing some of your cards to your opponents. You can lay them on the table, or wave them about, or stick them in your hat.
Q: If the Mars Colony is played, should the Mars Probe not be included in the deck? A: No need to remove it. Just assume it is "Jupiter Probe" instead of "Mars Probe".

Questions from March 29, 2004:
In the 'Beginning Play' section it just says a player places another face down card just before turning up a card for that turn. However in the 'Rules Questions' section, it talks about the B-70 bomber being shot down by an anti-missile and says a player can require another who "neglected to play two face down cards" to fill them in with any possible warheads. That ruling tends to suggest that playing cards from your hand to the face down positions is optional in the end. Is this true?

You play one card per turn. You always have two face down cards on the table. When it is your turn, you draw a new card, play another card from your hand (so for a moment you have three face down cards) and then turn face up the front face down card. Thus you are always committed to the next two turns, and cannot change them unless someone dies and "peace" happens.

The reference to forcing a person to play two warheads is because people don't always follow the rules. A *lot* of people are so eager to play their next card that they forget to place the face down one until someone reminds them. Most of the time, they are reminded just as the next player starts his turn, and it doesn't really matter. However there is one instance where it does matter. If you have a bomber and you intend to follow it with five 10-megaton warheads, if your enemy shoots it down with an anti missile (or if you spin "bomber runs out of fuel") then for the next two turns you will be turning up wasted ten megaton warheads, in effect missing two turns. However if you "forgot" to put that second warhead down, and your bomber gets shot down, and someone reminds you to put your second card down, you would know not to put a second 10-megaton warhead, and would regain one of those missed turns because you violated the rules. Thus the specification that your opponent may force you to play a warhead anyway. This is intended as a penalty for violating the rules, not a clarification that putting face down cards is optional.

When should the Black Box be played and who rolls the dice for the attack? Should it be played when the target is delared, as with an ABM and Sabateur, or after the damage is rolled? Once the Black Box is played, can the delivery system be shot down or sabotaged by the person the attack is now directed to even though the the missle was aimed at someone else?

Absolutely when the target is declared. After the damage has been rolled, it is too late to "redirect" as it is no longer a missile or bomber but now is "damage". However, once it is redirected, the new target can play defensive cards just as if the missile were directed at him in the first place. I would say the user of the Black Box now controls the delivery system, so he should now roll for damage.

July 2, I had a fellow email me a question that I have never been asked (that I remember) in over 20 years of producing the Nuclear War Card Game. So I figured I'd just answer his email, and it wasn't worth adding to the FAQ (once in 20 years is not "frequently"!). However, every time I try to email him, AOL bounces it back with the note that he "is not accepting any email". So here's the answer: No, Mr Noemailaccepted, when you spin "double yield" on the Nuclear War spinner, you double the number of people killed, not the number of megatons.

Because the MX missile carries separate 10-megaton warheads for its attacks, does it need to be successfully launched for each increment of 10? For instance, if a 200-megaton warhead is turned up onto an MX, does the MX need to be "launched" 20 times (i.e., roll 20 times on the misfunction chart) before assessing damage? Or does it only take one roll to get it up and flying and then start rolling for damage? I ask this because it seems to me that if it took 20 rolls of avoiding a misfunction, one would need 20 saboteurs to completely avoid being damaged by the aforementioned example. Also, how is damage assessed for a misfunction of an MX missile if after rolling a "one" the launcher rolls a "six"?

An MX missile is one missile when it is launched, and multiple warheads when it gets to its target. Since a saboteur must do his work before it leaves the launch pad, you only need one saboteur. You don't have to roll to "launch" an MX missile. If it's not sabotaged or shot down, then you just start spinning the spinner or rolling the radioactive die for each warhead. Note that some of the warheads could actually land on yourself (rolling a second cloud on the misfunction die), but rolling a two or three does not cancel any of the other warheads. And rolling a six means that warhead gets double damage and the victim is going to lose a turn. (However if you hit the power plant multiple times with one MX, the victim only loses one turn.)

When playing Bananaland, and it's you and one other player, can you hit him with your boat people every round? Or do you just lose your power?

Bananaland's power says specifically that it never goes in the same direction twice in a row. When it gets down to two people, you can use it on him once and thereafter it would be going in the same direction twice in a row. (So yes, you lose it.)

Civil Defense, or Bomb shelters save 2 million people: Say player 1 nukes player 2 for 10 million. Player 2, with 5 million people left, plays "Civil Defense", saving 5 million. Do they die, or lose no-one?

Civil Defense and Bomb Shelters both reduce the amount of damage that the enemy is inflicting on you. If a bomb blows up 10 million of your people, and he spins "bomb shelters" then that bomb only blows up 8 million of your people. If you only have 7 million people, you are dead, you don't have 2 million left. The only one that doesn't work that way is the "Ultimate Leadership Bomb Shelter". That one saves 1 million people from whatever damage was inflicted.

Can Hurria use its power during war? We've been allowing it to do so, getting 1 million from another player each time it plays propaganda during war instead of nothing, because we feel the power is much too weak otherwise.

Hmm. My first inclination was to say "no", but you're right, it IS a wimpy power, and the rule for Hurria does say "whenever" which would include during war. Let's go with the strict interpretation and say that he can.

When Computer Virus is played all players switch their face down cards. Does this mean swapping the position of the two cards; or, that they replace the down cards with two different cards from their hand.

No, you switch the position of your two "face down" cards, so the one that was in front is now the 2nd card, and the 2nd card is now the first card.

When Popula "discards" propaganda during war to gain population, does this card have to go through the queue or can it simply be discarded from the hand?

He has to play them like any other card that is going to be "discarded", i.e. through the queue.

Can you use UFO Technology on a submarine? After all, they launch missiles.

What is doubled is the missile. Since a sub carries missiles, yes, it can use UFO technology.

If you are hit by a meteor, while holding fewer people than it kills, do you survive with the arriving tourist population?


1) can disinformation or guardian angel be used to destroy a "running" secret like vaccination being used by another player?

Well, first of all, the vaccination is not a "running" secret. It is something that happened to you when it was played (your population was vaccinated) and you are to keep it in front of you to remind everyone that your population is immune. Once it goes into effect, it cannot ever be cancelled. Secondly, disinformation says right on the card it is to be played to cancel a secret "played on you". And the Guardian Angel is only for a secret "that you draw or is played on you". Neither could be used on a secret that someone else plays on himself.

2) can asguard keep the ozone hole secret open indefinately? this combination seems so lethal when it comes up, or as in question 1 can someone destroy it?

A player actually has to play the ozone hole on himself, thus neither Guardian Angel nor disinformation can stop it. If this combination comes up, I guess Asguard better be everyone else's main target, yes?

3) if the secret time warp is drawn immediately after the last player was wiped out and had final retaliation, would play go to the player before the one who got wiped out?

It says right on the time warp card "If the last player was doing final retaliation, ignore this card". Generally we mean exactly what it says on the card or the rules.

4) why does mars colony has spaces for submarine at sea and at port if it can't use them? just curious..

Just laziness - we used the same template for everyone.

5) can population cards be "changed" at the "bank" dead pile? Reason: say you have only two population cards left and one is a 25 million and you are afraid someone will draw an exchange student secret. Can a person make change without losing any population. (We have been playing that change can only be made when a player loses people.)

Well. last time this situation came up for ME, I assumed I had to wait until I lost people, so I guess you have to also!

6) if a player announces their target and the delivery system can't reach the target (e.g. player forgets bomber can't reach mars colony) must that bomber or whatever, target another country? (i know this is an odd question but its happened, i say that it must hit a target)

If we let a guy get away with this, he could do it on purpose, and you do have to hit a target once you have put a viable bird in the air. (Unless Mars colony is the only other player left in the game. Then it becomes a discard as a player does not have to target himself.)

7) time travel gives a player only TWO turns in a row right ? not their regular turn plus two more turns = 3 turns .


8) if i have a salvage card can i sabotage my own launch and take the delivery system back into my hand? Sort of a poor mans foolja..

The sabotage card says right on it "launch of an ENEMY weapons system." You're still not reading the cards...

9) clarification on world blows up solar system blows up and mars colony. a roll of 12 on a single 100 meg warhead causes the world to blow up right? same as an 11 or 12 on a 200 meg. Wouldn't Mars colony be immune to this outcome? solar system blows up only happens when you misfunction on a 100 or 200 meg and get triple yield right? then mars colony would blow up.

I'm not quite sure I understand your question. A roll of 12 on a single 100-megaton warhead causes the solar system to blow up, not the world. EVERYBODY dies. We intended (in 4 words) to imply that the whole solar system blows up for the 200 megaton card on both double yield and triple yield. There is no situation where the "world" blows up but the "solar system" does not.

10) can a mole card be used to examine and steal one card from a players hand after they have stolen a secret card? can that mole then steal that secret card that was just stolen and not yet played?

Sure, why not?

11) when more than one secret card is stolen are they both placed in the players hand or face down on the table so the other players can see where each one is and which was stolen first so they will have a chance to steal what they think to be the better secret.

They are both placed face down so the player who lost each secret can know which one to steal back if he wants to. For that matter, if you have two or more secrets in your hand you have to take one out and hold it up when you announce "I have a secret". You are not allowed to announce a secret, and then wait to choose which one after you find out whether anyone is going to steal it.

> Thank you for all your time. This game is THE cure for the internet > and computer games and (GULP) i hate to say this but in its own way > brings the family closer together.... Thank YOU for the kind words.

Now for old questions:
The Mole is a spy, and can be "counterspied".
The UFO technology can be used on a missile, but not on a bomber.
Any anti-missile that can shoot down any bomber, can shoot down the Delta Clipper.
If you have the Doomsday Device, during final retaliation, when it says to discard secrets and specials, you don't draw more to replace them.
All face-down cards (on submarines or space platforms) and all "Deterrent force" cards are "in your hand" or "unplayed cards" for purposes of being examined, stolen, or lost via secret ("lose one warhead"). A cruise missile can count as the "one warhead" you lose. If you are supposed to lose both a missile and a warhead, the cruise missile counts for both.
When you launch a cruise missile, you roll a die to see if it successfully launches. You don't roll again for "extra damage" when it strikes your enemy.
Scud missiles can be used to launch a killer satellite.
In Nuclear Proliferation, Little BittyLand has the power to use three propaganda cards to make "Peace" break out. He doesn't get to collect propaganda for these cards - he is discarding them in order to end the war.
On the "Marshall Plan" card, when you hand someone a card, he immediately gives you one back, before you give one to the next player. Thus you can give the card you just got, to the next person.
Only one "Super fallout shelter" can be played per warhead dropped on you. Yes, the "faulty fallout shelters" can be used to cancel the "ultimate leadership bomb shelter".
You cannot use an antimissile to shoot down a missile aimed at someone else.
If you get wiped out by a secret card you drew yourself, you DO get final retailiation. ("anything other than propaganda").
If you draw a secret card that says "You miss your turn" that is immediately the end of your turn and you do not draw another card to replace it.

When people see the new 200 megaton warhead card, the first question is of course, '"What can carry it?" Escalation has two cards that can: the MX Missile, and the Space Platform. (The MX carries warheads 'bigger than 10 megatons' and the space platform carries 'warheads'). If you only have Nuclear War, the Saturn missile can carry the 200 megaton card if you also have the new card "UFO Technology". If you only have the Proliferation game, unfortunately there is no card that can carry the 200 megaton card, so you'd better go out and buy the other two games!

(1) if you shoot up a 100 megaton in an MX missile, then you roll a 12 on the dice, (or spin 'triple yield') do you still blow up the solar system?

If you put a 100-megaton warhead on an MX missile, it is no longer a 100-megaton warhead. It is now ten 10-megaton warheads. Thus the "blowing up the solar system" rule no longer applies.

(1a) When an MX missile carries an "odd-megaton" warhead (i.e. 15 and 75) is the extra 5 lost?

No. Consider it a 5 megaton warhead that kills one million people, to be rolled for after all the tens are done.

(2) if you are playing bananaland, is there a limit to how many people you can send away per turn? for example, if you have an enormous population, or a bunch of propaganda cards, you could in effect keep anyone from ever going. You could play a "steal 25 million" propaganda, then distribute 12 million to keep the 6 other players from playing, then play another. You could keep this up almost the entire game.

Bananaland's power is intended to be "once per turn". I realize we didn't specifically say that, but it is implied when we say that you can't send the people to the same other player "twice in a row". Actually I believe most of the powers are "once per turn".

(3) if you are playing asgard, and in final retaliation you kill off others, do you get the1 million population that you kill? logic would say no, but there is nothing from what i have seen that would dictate otherwise.

No, Asgard cannot come back to life during final retaliation.

(4) if you are playing hinja, and you both have a 10 megaton warhead for example and you demand foreign aid, it is physically a different card, but is the same description. Which definition of different do you follow?

"Different" as in "something other than a 10 megaton card". We should have added "if possible" in case someone is stuck with all 10-megaton cards in his hand.

(5) What do you do if you have no cards you can play face down? (i.e. a hand of all special and anti-missile cards)

You can always play any card face down. But if it is inappropriate (such as an anti-missile, a warhead without a carrier, a propaganda during war, etc) it becomes just a discard and is thrown away when it is turned up.

(6) Can the Submarine launch the new 15 megaton warhead? Can you double the yield of a 15 megaton warhead with the Smart Bomb card?

Yes to both. What we intended for both the submarine and the smart bomb was "up to 20 megatons" and we should have said it that way.

(7) Is the Delta Clipper a missile or a bomber? Can it hit the "Mars Colony", which "cannot be targeted by bombers"?

No, the Delta Clipper is considered a bomber, therefor it cannot target or be used by the Mars Colony.

(8) When you are playing the country Radonia,and a ten megaton warhead is played by you, but when you spin the spinner and it lands on ' Bomb shelter saves 2 million ', does the radonias ability of using ' Dirty Bombs ' still cause one million people to die?

Yes. The reference to a "successful hit" means that it was not a dud warhead or bomber runs out of fuel or shot down by an abm or sabateur.

(9) In the Nuclear War Booster packs, the Secret Arms sale states that you give a player a warhead or launch system if you have one. Now, in some cases this brings a players hand to ten cards. So, is the card meant to say that you give a card to a player and he must give you one back?

No, actually I had in mind that the recipient would not draw a card on his next turn but instead would assume that the card you gave him would be his "draw". Generally if you start your turn with more than 9 cards, you don't draw. And if you start your turn with less than 9 cards, you draw as many as necessary to fill your hand.

What is the distribution of the population cards?

Each game and expansion has the same number of population cards:
ten 1 million
ten 2 million
ten 5 million
six 10 million
four 25 million

Note that there is a complete list of the cards for the three games at nwoldcrd.htm and a complete list of the booster cards at nwcrdlst.htm.

If you have other questions that you think should be added to this list, write to rick at flying buffalo dot com.

I have been asked for a copy of the "dice chart" from the Nuclear War spinner from someone who lost his spinner. If you need the dice chart you can find it here..

Here is a Nuclear War Player's Guide with playing hints from a player.

The inventer of the Nuclear War Card Game, Doug Malewicki, has more recently created a giant robot dinosaur called "Robosaurus". If you want to read about "Robosaurus" or send email to Doug Malewicki, click here. Note that rules questions, orders, suggestions, etc, should be sent to Flying Buffalo. Only write to Doug if you want to tell him what an awesome machine Robosaurus is, or what a great game Nuclear War is.

email to rick at flying buffalo dot com

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