‘Nuclear War’ Card Game, 1965

Exhibit / December 13, 2016

 Object Name: Nuclear War card game

Maker and Year: Douglas Malewicki/Flying Buffalo, 1965/1970
Object Type: Tabletop card game
Image Source: Board Game Geek, Doug Malewicki, Flying Buffalo
Description: (Richard McKenna)

Originally designed by Douglas Malewicki, an American aerospace engineer and eclectic inventor, the object of this satirical simulation of cataclysmic nuclear war was to be sole survivor, although final retaliatory strikes often eliminated all players in a deadly chain reaction. First released by Malewicki himself in 1965—when the hands of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock stood at twelve minutes to midnight—Nuclear War was licensed in 1970 by Arizona games company Flying Buffalo, producers of Dungeons & Dragons competitor Tunnels and Trolls. In 1984, two British Labour MPs attempted to ban the game’s Nuclear Escalation extension set (the first of several add-ons), which featured glow-in-the-dark radioactive fallout dice, calling it “disgusting and offensive.”

Malewicki also designed a transforming dinosaur robot named Robosaurus, co-designed (with Robert Truax) the steam-powered Skycycle rockets flown by Evel Knievel, and conceived and patented the SkyTran Personal Rapid Transit system: high-speed, ultra-light computer-controlled cars, which are designed to hang below magnetic levitation tracks supported by utility poles or the sides of buildings.

The Doomsday Clock stands today at 3 minutes to midnight, the “probability of global catastrophe” the highest it has been since 1984.

2 thoughts on “‘Nuclear War’ Card Game, 1965

  1. Pingback: ‘Nuclear War’ Card Game, 1965 — We Are the Mutants | Miller's Tales

  2. Pingback: Portraits of the Mushroom Cloud, 1946 – 1990

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