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Nukes... - 12/29/2019 4:54:12 PM   
BeirutDude


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So just curious about people's thoughts on nukes, here are mine...

1. I know they exist and likely will be used, especially by Russia...

2. ...BUT, for a game point play of view I find them to be kind of too much. If a single shot can destroy an entire task group is that really enjoyable, or do you really learn anything except that nukes are powerful (duh! )?

That is why I have only ever designed on scenario with nukes, and that "Halloween Horror, 1991" had a very specific reason for the nukes in that one, as a rogue sub was holding the U.S. east coast hostage. Also, personally, I rarely play any scenario with them.

So curious on what people think about scenarios with them (as I'm toying with designing one set in in 2021).

_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!
Post #: 1
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 5:22:45 PM   
stilesw


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Well, CMANO/CMO is a simulation of real world military action using real world weaponry. As such, it provides players and designers with many "what if" options.

Certainly a scenario designer has complete control of what things may occur, for whatever reason, within a scenario. One example of course is to begin a scenario with a relatively simple conflict between two nations. Then, as the player makes decisions during the game (event driven) there could be a gradual change of postures (friendly > neutral > unfriendly > hostile) depending upon the alliances between the allies of the initial players and the "Collective Responsibility" settings. The jump to nuclear activity can be assigned a probability of happening based on real world political attitudes.

It is really up to the designer as to what the scenario should be like. Ideally, fun to create and enjoyable for the player.

< Message edited by stilesw -- 12/29/2019 5:23:56 PM >


_____________________________

“There is no limit to what a man can do so long as he does not care a straw who gets the credit for it.”

Charles Edward Montague, English novelist and essayist
~Disenchantment, ch. 15 (1922)

(in reply to BeirutDude)
Post #: 2
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 5:46:53 PM   
Randomizer


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Russia can accomplish its every geopolitical goal without first use of nuclear weapons and China has nothing to gain by first use as well. Read the United States 2018 Nuclear Posture Review written during Mattis' tenure as SecDef and you will see that its the US that holds first use as an option even against non-nuclear states. The whole glossy document is on line as a PDF download and I suggest reading it in its entirety. Only the US has renounced nuclear weapons control treaties, (ABM, INF, JCPOA) and is openly designing deep penetration warheads with sub-kiloton fission warheads, a first use weapon if ever there was one. Only the US has used nuclear weapons in war and remains the most likely state for first use today, at least in my well-read opinion.

That said, we simply have no data to predict what happens when a nation state or non-state actor crosses the nuclear threshold. Both India and Pakistan have shied away from public nuclear brinkmanship and Israel remains a prime candidate for first use if it feels an existential and proximate threat. North Korea is not a nuclear threat UNLESS Kim Jong Un sees the imminent demise of his regime and then all bets are off.

The problem with nuclear weapons is that they are only really effective for use against urban centres although I doubt that most modern armies and navies are as competent and well trained at NBC warfare as they were by the end of the Cold War.

I am glad that CMO has a representative nuclear weapons model and have authored a number of scenarios which feature their use against both military and civilian targets. You note one issue with their use, nuclear weapons are powerful but the game cannot model what comes next.

-C

< Message edited by Randomizer -- 12/29/2019 5:48:33 PM >

(in reply to stilesw)
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RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 5:49:39 PM   
ultradave


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A large scale nuclear exchange would certainly be kind of a pointless exercise, but in Northern Inferno there are a couple of nukes used here and there and they certainly added a "Holy Crap" moment to the course of the scenario. And of course "Eye for an Eye" in NI, your job (a difficult one) is to drop nuclear bombs on two targets. So the "limited" use of nuclear weapons can add something, depending on the scenario.

However, one of the reasons that we (the US and USSR at the time) eliminated tactical nuclear weapons back when GHW Bush was president is that the consensus was that once nuclear weapons were used, there would be no containing them and that the conflict would quickly escalate to a general exchange. Pres. Bush unilaterally withdrew all our tactical weapons hoping that the Russians would reciprocate. They did, because it made sense.

That feeling makes these scenarios where a nuke or two is loosed off maybe just the opening shot of what would shortly be a catastrophe. But, I was an Army officer at the height of the Cold War, in field artillery, with a Nuclear Weapons secondary specialty (back when we had nuclear artillery shells), and we all pretty much assumed we wouldn't live to see 30 years old and that at some point, the world would go *poof* because the US and USSR had 70,000 nuclear weapons total and sooner or later it would happen. Saner heads and serious arms control have prevented that.

So, that's my take on it.

_____________________________

----------------
Dave A.
"When the Boogeyman goes to sleep he checks his closet for paratroopers"

(in reply to stilesw)
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RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 7:14:06 PM   
Gunner98

 

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One of the pivotal events in my life was when I took the Nuclear Fire-Planning course back in the day, we only dealt tactical nukes like the ones ultradave describes and air delivered but still very tactical. It was very scary stuff.

I don't tend to use them in scenarios because they immediately become the focal point, both their use and their effects are galvanising. Renders most other weapons or systems inconsequential. When they are meant to be the focus - such as in Randomizer's scenarios they work extremely well and those are great scenarios.

I would also chime in and say that Russia has or is likely to achieve every geopolitical goal it has had since the 50's very nicely in the past decade or so - probably the least likely nuclear power to initiate first use.

B



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(in reply to ultradave)
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RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 7:30:09 PM   
BeirutDude


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quote:

I would also chime in and say that Russia has or is likely to achieve every geopolitical goal it has had since the 50's very nicely in the past decade or so - probably the least likely nuclear power to initiate first use.


Well we're all entitled to our opinion, but I see them as being in a position of convectional weakness, not strength, with the Sa-400/500 SAM being their biggest trump card. So given the mess they have made of the PD-50 Drydock, The Admiral Nakhimov refit (now extended to 2022), the Admiral Kuznetsov fire and other assorted recent mishaps to key Russian power projection systems and the development of hypersonic missile systems I really think they are in the more likely position to use them first (thats out of the three big nuclear powers, U.S, Russia and PRC. As to Israel, DPRK, and Indo-Pakistan, they are certainly wildcards. I see the UK and France as least likely to do so.

Thanks for the replies all.

_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!

(in reply to Gunner98)
Post #: 6
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 7:34:33 PM   
Whicker

 

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I remember playing a scenario and was happily going about my business and then received a message that I was to nuke a certain area in Iran (playing as US) and it sort of pissed me off. I put all this work into achieving what I was supposed to, and then I was just going to nuke it instead. It seemed totally unreasonable to me and I quit that scen shortly after.

(in reply to Gunner98)
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RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 7:54:48 PM   
BeirutDude


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quote:

I remember playing a scenario and was happily going about my business and then received a message that I was to nuke a certain area in Iran (playing as US) and it sort of pissed me off. I put all this work into achieving what I was supposed to, and then I was just going to nuke it instead. It seemed totally unreasonable to me and I quit that scen shortly after.


Thanks Whicker, yours and a the other responses have convinced me my original instincts were right and not to go there! There was a "BBC special" (on Youtube, really using news clips to look like the BBC, but well don and since removed https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/bbc-nato-russia-nuclear-incident/ ) postulating a outbreak of a Russia-NATO conflict in the Baltic that spread to a general nuclear war. I was thinking of exploring that scenario (initial stages), but wasn't sure. Now I think its best to stay out of those waters.

< Message edited by BeirutDude -- 12/29/2019 8:19:57 PM >


_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!

(in reply to Whicker)
Post #: 8
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 7:57:29 PM   
BeirutDude


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quote:

but in Northern Inferno there are a couple of nukes used here and there and they certainly added a "Holy Crap" moment to the course of the scenario.


Ultradave, yes I was playing those and when I got there I stopped playing Northern Inferno. There was just something about the use of nukes that so disturbed me that I never finished the scenarios. And I knew they were in there when I bought it!

_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!

(in reply to ultradave)
Post #: 9
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 8:26:01 PM   
Randomizer


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There are as yet no scenarios that model a reasonable escalation to nuclear first use, this very topic has been discussed elsewhere in this Forum. In my scenarios nuclear release is usually a given and out of Player control entirely without any narrative regarding who nuked whom first and why. Nuclear strategy guru Herman Kahn's nuclear escalation ladder sports over forty rungs and offers fertile ground for the CMO scenario author willing to go there.

However, using Special Actions one could develop a situation where the Player could trigger nuclear release but without any downsides doing so would become the solution of choice for many Players who may not be that squeamish. On the other hand, the event editor and VP routines allow the scenario author to create huge consequences should the Player decide to cross the nuclear threshold. Events such as a massive Victory Point penalty, loss of units/groups (as Allies distance themselves from the Player's actions for example) and even an instant termination of the scenario, whether documented or not are just a few ideas for incorporating nuclear weapons into a contemporary scenario.

@Beirutdude: Your scenarios tend to be imaginative and well researched so my only suggestion is not to take nukes or the threat of them out of your scenario design toolbox entirely.

2018 Nuclear Policy Review Final Report

Managing Escalation in the 21st Century

Kahn's Escalation Ladder

-C

< Message edited by Randomizer -- 12/29/2019 8:28:41 PM >

(in reply to BeirutDude)
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RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 8:29:25 PM   
BeirutDude


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quote:

@Beirutdude: Your scenarios tend to be imaginative and well researched so my only suggestion is not to take nukes out of your scenario design toolbox entirely.


Thank you for the kind comments and I am currently reviewing the 2018 Nuclear Review.

_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!

(in reply to Randomizer)
Post #: 11
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 8:51:32 PM   
stilesw


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Christopher,

Thanks for these reference. I've added it to the CMANO/CMO unofficial Dropbox reference library.

Unofficial - i.e. not sponsored by WarefareSims, MatrixGames, Slitherine, their employees, relatives, pets or ancestors.


As always, any forum member can have access to this Dropbox resource. Just PM me with your email address.

-Wayne Stiles

_____________________________

“There is no limit to what a man can do so long as he does not care a straw who gets the credit for it.”

Charles Edward Montague, English novelist and essayist
~Disenchantment, ch. 15 (1922)

(in reply to Randomizer)
Post #: 12
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 9:34:36 PM   
BeirutDude


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So after reviewing the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, I think we could both cherry pick quotes from it to bolster our positions. Certainly the section on Russia implies a potential first use by them and their use of nuclear threats to bully their neighbors into accepting their conventional actions (Crimea for example). I think I would also like to add this document from the Federation of American Scientists that, IMHO, has some pretty good info/insights into Russian doctrine...

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R45861.pdf

All of that said, I took us on a tangent from the game play tp politics mainly as I was looking at the possibility of a Russian first use in the Baltic as my next scenario. I really have to consider that at this point.


< Message edited by BeirutDude -- 12/29/2019 9:53:08 PM >


_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!

(in reply to Randomizer)
Post #: 13
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 10:05:24 PM   
ultradave


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For some really great insight into the US thinking of the times, starting with Pres. Carter, and up to the present, and also some insights into Russian thinking, I highly recommend William Perry's book: "My Journey at the Nuclear Brink" Really excellent and if you've ever had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Perry, he is a brilliant, thoughtful man, and a good communicator.

https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=25448

This is more for background of thinking and how some ideas and policies came to be, from use of nuclear weapons and arms control and its importance.

Also, ALL of Richard Rhodes books on the history of nuclear weapons development and arms control.

< Message edited by ultradave -- 12/29/2019 10:07:34 PM >


_____________________________

----------------
Dave A.
"When the Boogeyman goes to sleep he checks his closet for paratroopers"

(in reply to BeirutDude)
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RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 10:09:23 PM   
Randomizer


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quote:

So after reviewing the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, I think we could both cherry pick quotes from it to bolster our positions

True but you ignore that target audience for the American Nuclear Policy Review, that is the United States Congress, responsible for funding the nuclear forces. Do you really believe that any potential Russian nuclear threat would be downplayed?

It is always a really bad idea when formulating foreign policies to assume that the other side sees a situation in the same light as you do. Likewise a strategy based on wishful thinking is almost certain to come up short when tested. Like the United States, Russia will act to further their own national interests and it is really, really difficult to develop a plausible scenario where crossing the nuclear threshold in the face of overwhelming NATO power actually furthers any conceivable Russian national goal. But it is certainly not impossible although I suspect that the odds of doing so are vanishingly small.

That said, CMO allows us to conjure whatever strategic reality that we wish to test.

-C

(in reply to BeirutDude)
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RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 10:10:48 PM   
BeirutDude


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Thanks I'll check it out, reviewing Kahn's Escalation Ladder right now.

< Message edited by BeirutDude -- 12/29/2019 10:11:06 PM >


_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!

(in reply to ultradave)
Post #: 16
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 10:21:31 PM   
stilesw


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quote:

I would also like to add this document from the Federation of American Scientists that, IMHO, has some pretty good info/insights into Russian doctrine...

Al,

Also added to the reference library - thanks.

-Wayne

_____________________________

“There is no limit to what a man can do so long as he does not care a straw who gets the credit for it.”

Charles Edward Montague, English novelist and essayist
~Disenchantment, ch. 15 (1922)

(in reply to BeirutDude)
Post #: 17
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 10:39:32 PM   
BeirutDude


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quote:

it is really, really difficult to develop a plausible scenario where crossing the nuclear threshold in the face of overwhelming NATO power actually furthers any conceivable Russian national goal. But it is certainly not impossible although I suspect that the odds of doing so are vanishingly small.


I truly hope you are correct, but I have been a critic of the eastern expansion of NATO since it went beyond A unified Germany. I argued a neutral "Warsaw Pact" modeled on NATO but without the nukes was the way to build a buffer between NATO and Russia. Now having former USSR members, as full NATO members right against Russia and who can blame them for feeling encircled. Then as I pointed out, they have some good conventional systems, but overall their defense budget is strained and they can't maintain most of the conventional weaponry they would need in a NATO-Russia confrontation. Given that in a conventional conflict within months to, at most, a year the balance of forces would shift to NATO even on the ground, I can see them as the threatening the use, if not the limited use of TAC/Battlefield nukes. As as they have the majority of the tac nuke systems in existence they might see an advantage in it, while threatening the West with a strategic exchange if the West responds with higher yield weapons.

I will tell you I'm frightened for my kids, so I pray you're right and I'm off base!

< Message edited by BeirutDude -- 12/29/2019 10:40:23 PM >


_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!

(in reply to Randomizer)
Post #: 18
RE: Nukes... - 12/29/2019 10:49:03 PM   
BeirutDude


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I do find it "interesting," to say the least, that NATO, and not the United States, felt it necessary to produce this document in August with respect to the current state of relations with Russia...

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_111767.htm

_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!

(in reply to BeirutDude)
Post #: 19
RE: Nukes... - 12/30/2019 12:16:28 AM   
Randomizer


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BeirutDude

I do find it "interesting," to say the least, that NATO, and not the United States, felt it necessary to produce this document in August with respect to the current state of relations with Russia...

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_111767.htm

Not really that "interesting" at all since NATO needs the proximate threat of Russia to justify its continued existence and the target audience for that paper almost certainly do not speak Russian. However, the review of the 'facts' entirely discounts how the Russian Federation sees NATO. Recall that the Warsaw Pact was created after NATO as a counter to Stalin's perception that NATO was an existential threat to the Soviet communism. All protestations to the contrary by NATO has probably done nothing to address the Russian point of view that NATO is now and always was an aggressive alliance aimed directly at them. Expansion into Poland and the Baltic States, the Kosovo intervention in 1999 and NATO actions in Libya can all be viewed as aggressive and expansionist when seen from Moscow.

Assertions from NATO regarding the alliance's benign intent probably fall on deaf ears if only because so many NATO actions since 1990 have been aggressive in nature when seen from the Russian perspective.

Remember how close we came to nuclear war during 1983's Exercise Able Archer. For us it was just a larger than usual REFORGER defensive exercise but to the Soviets it checked all of the boxes for what they anticipated a NATO assault into Eastern Europe would look like.

I have no real worries about Russia starting anything nuclear and as the US retreats from long-time "foreign entanglements", it should come as no surprise that somebody comes along to fill the vacuum.

-C

(in reply to BeirutDude)
Post #: 20
RE: Nukes... - 12/30/2019 12:27:08 AM   
BeirutDude


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quote:

I have no real worries about Russia starting anything nuclear and as the US retreats from long-time "foreign entanglements", it should come as no surprise that somebody comes along to fill the vacuum.


Has that ever turned out well? I can think of numerous power vacuums that led to conflict.

_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!

(in reply to Randomizer)
Post #: 21
RE: Nukes... - 12/30/2019 10:02:22 AM   
Gunner98

 

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quote:

Has that ever turned out well?


Not that I can recall.

Reading an interesting book that was under the Christmas tree - The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre https://www.amazon.com/Spy-Traitor-Greatest-Espionage-Story/dp/1101904216/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

In addition to a fascinating expose on things KGB, it has a very inciteful view on the Exercise Able Archer events. The author claims that it was Andropov's paranoia which was the basis of the Soviet view and that having a spy telling the Brits & Americans about it allowed them to back off. Not sure I buy it hook, line & sinker but it does throw an interesting light on the subject.

B

_____________________________

Check out our novel, Northern Fury: H-Hour!: http://northernfury.us/
And our blog: http://northernfury.us/blog/post2/
Twitter: @NorthernFury94 or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/northernfury/

(in reply to BeirutDude)
Post #: 22
RE: Nukes... - 12/31/2019 7:08:57 PM   
BeirutDude


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From: Jacksonville, FL, USA
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Thanks Gunner!

_____________________________

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, 1985

I was Navy, but Assigned TAD to the 24th MAU Hq in Beirut. By far the finest period of my service!

(in reply to Gunner98)
Post #: 23
RE: Nukes... - 12/31/2019 11:17:12 PM   
Technopiper

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: BeirutDude

So just curious about people's thoughts on nukes, here are mine...

1. I know they exist and likely will be used, especially by Russia...

2. ...BUT, for a game point play of view I find them to be kind of too much. If a single shot can destroy an entire task group is that really enjoyable, or do you really learn anything except that nukes are powerful (duh! )?

That is why I have only ever designed on scenario with nukes, and that "Halloween Horror, 1991" had a very specific reason for the nukes in that one, as a rogue sub was holding the U.S. east coast hostage. Also, personally, I rarely play any scenario with them.

So curious on what people think about scenarios with them (as I'm toying with designing one set in in 2021).

I'm sure they are somewhat powerful. Destroying an entire task group shouldn't present a great challenge. Only one nation has ever employed nukes "in anger", so as to speak, and it wasn't Russia. Oh they are very much in use nowadays. It's the only reason WWIII - war between multiple powers - is only a military fanboy's wet dream. War will be obsolete if every nation out there has some nukes, thank God. That's why we need to punish rogue nations aspiring to achieve nuclear status. Or else we wouldn't be able to throw our weight around the world ever again, right?

(in reply to BeirutDude)
Post #: 24
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