The Campaign for North Africa

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The Campaign for North Africa
Designer(s)Richard Berg
Publisher(s)Simulation Publications, Inc.
Publication date1978
Genre(s)Military simulation
Playing timeUp to ≈1,500 hours

The Campaign for North Africa (generally referred to as CNA by wargamers), is an unprecedentedly detailed military simulation game of the North African Campaign of World War II.[1] It was designed by Richard Berg and published by Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI) in 1978.


Though some fans of war simulation games appreciate the detail, The Campaign for North Africa offered more detail than any board wargame before or since, leading to an ambivalent reaction. Included in the game are 1,800 counters, maps large enough to cover several tables, and a three-volume rulebook. The rules cover logistics in extreme detail, far more so than the combat simulation. It is recommended that each side be played by a five-person team, including a Commander-In-Chief and four subordinate commanders, making a total of ten players needed for a game, although it can be played with two. According to SPI, a complete game can run over 1,500 hours. However, keeping a ten-person group together for fifteen hundred hours was difficult (even for hardcore wargamers) and completed full games of The Campaign for North Africa are rare.


Due to the game's collectability and legendary status, it has long been considered a candidate for possible reissue. Decision Games expressed a desire to do so, promising "the unplayable monster made playable", which suggests that the game would be considerably revamped instead of simply reprinted. The December 2007 flyer allows a prospective purchaser to commit to buying the game if and when it is published.

Latest developments[edit]

The original game has received an extensive rules review, which nevertheless retains the unique and detailed game systems. Apart from a variety of minor fixes, a series of deeper changes have been made to "fix" the oft-criticized air game rules. An extensive spreadsheet system, backed by custom programming has been developed in association with the update. This "playable" version is hosted at the CNA Play Group.


Although The Campaign for North Africa is playable only with great fortitude, it is prized by collectors and has been praised by players who consider it the "ultimate paper war game". A commonly cited example of its level of detail (noted in SPI's advertising): Italian troops required additional water supplies to prepare pasta.[2] The game represents a brief evolutionary step between the relative simplicity of most paper war games of its time, and the dawn of computer war games, where complexity and depth need not come at the expense of playability.

The Campaign for North Africa was featured in the 2018 The Big Bang Theory episode "The Neonatal Nomenclature", where Sheldon Cooper is seen trying to lead a game to pass the time while waiting for Bernadette to go into labor with her child. Despite Sheldon's enthusiasm towards the game, his colleagues are shown to be uninterested, befuddled by its complicated rules.[3]


  1. ^ Winkie, Luke (5 February 2018). "The Notorious Board Game That Takes 1,500 Hours To Complete". Kotaku. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  2. ^ Gaynor, Michael J. (July 17, 2018). "They created maybe the best board game ever. Now, Putin is making it relevant again". The Washington Post. United States: Fred Ryan. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 2269358. Archived from the original on 31 July 2019.
  3. ^ Potts, Kimberly (2018-03-02). "The Big Bang Theory Recap: What's in a Name?". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-01-19.

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