What is the most complicated board game ever? Is there even an answer? There most certainly is and today we’ll be diving into The Campaign For North Africa.
Campaign for North Africa is a tabletop war game set in World War II. At first glance, it seems just like any other game you might have seen in the past. It looks something similar to Axis and Allies. However, Campaign For North Africa (CNA from here on out) is a beast unlike any other.
If you’re a fan of the show ‘Big Bang Theory’, and let’s be honest, who is? You might have noticed something interesting on the latest episode. In one scene they set up the game on the floor (its really the only place you can set up the 10 foot map) and then Sheldon doesn’t understand basic human interaction and the other ones make some nerd culture reference. Bazinga!
I don’t know. I didn’t watch the clip.
Picking low hanging fruit aside, I did think that this would be a good time to discuss what this game is. Plenty of other war games attempt to take the complexity of war and boil it down to something the average tabletop gamer can enjoy. CNA ain’t about that. CNA is above all else, a logistics simulator. Even the box itself proudly declares “A super detailed, intensive simulation specially design for maximum realism”. They are not kidding. EVERY detail of what goes into a war effort is noted upon. There are books of charts and tables and references for the players to use to determine what will go into each turn.
I wanted to be able to give you a proper example of how a turn plays out in CNA, but the rules are certainly no help. If you’re interested in tackling this beast, feel free to give the rules a read by clicking here. But, be ready to set aside a couple hours. Did I mention the rules are 192 pages? No? I could have sworn I did. Well, regardless, the rule books (plural) with all charts, tables and graphs totals 192 pages long so… Godspeed with that.
This is the table of contents for the first of three rule books. Let that sink in.
If all this seems overwhelming, don’t worry. It is. But, you’re not alone. The game recommends you play with a team to help you. And by “team” I mean cabinet of commanding officers. Each commander has a specific but still hugely wide role. With so much to keep track of in this game, no one person could reasonable handle it themselves.
Overall, Campaign for North Africa is a huge logistical endeavor. I want to go over how a turn plays out, but even explaining a single aspect of even 1 part of a turn is entirely too complex. Therefore, there’s not enough time nor space to go over all of that right now. If you’re curious what goes into keeping your troops fully supplied, be sure to check back in next week when we will go over how all that works.
Thanks for reading!