No, Tom, I will not play this with you.

I am certain that it is not exceptional for a game to exist, but be rarely played.

I am, however, reasonably certain that The Campaign for North Africa is perhaps the only game that has never, ever been completed, not even once, by people who are not clinically insane.

You remember those “bookcase games” published in the 1970s and 1980s, from companies like Avalon-Hill and the like? These are a long way from Monopoly; they’re intricate and complex and intended for adult players or very enthusiastic teens; many take multiple sittings to complete, even at an hour or two per session. Some people like this sort of thing very much, even today, in this era of simple iPhone games.

CNA is the apotheosis of that genre, and may also be its nadir. It is so unbelievably detailed as to be, more or less, unplayable. For example:

  • It ships with 1,800 counter chits
  • The map can cover multiple normal-sized tables
  • The rulebook comes in three volumes
  • Gameplay is absurdly detailed, even down to managing individual planes and pilots in a campaign-level simulation

This complexity, of course, comes at a tremendous cost: A full game of CNA will take an estimated 1,500 hours, and requires 10 people. To put that in perspective, a 40-hour-a-week job takes about 2,000 hours per year.

iO9 has more, and there’s a MeFi thread as well.

The thing is, if it were me, I’d have stayed on “Mars”

Eight months ago, 6 faux-astronauts moved into a simulated Martian habitat in Hawaii as an experiment in closed-system living.

They emerged on the 17th, and the spin iO9 has put on it is “Hopeful Martians Emerge from 8-Month Experiment To Find Earth Horrific As Ever,” but you have to ask yourself: if you locked yourself away the day before Trump took office and only just emerged, isn’t everything pretty much exactly the shitshow you’d expect?