What’s the most complex board game?

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“The Campaign for North Africa” is a military simulation board game released in 1979, requiring 10 players and up to 1,500 hours to complete. It features authentic WWII fighting in Egypt and Libya, with ridiculous detail. Despite poor sales, it is considered a classic by some and sells for up to $600.

War is hell, and there’s a board game that’s not far behind.

Released in 1979 under the less than glamorous title of “The Campaign for North Africa”, this board game was not meant to be a fun way to enjoy a relaxing evening with friends or family. What game designer Richard Berg had in mind was something much more challenging.
To complete the military simulation game, you and nine other players must be willing to commit up to 1,500 hours of your life, or 62 days. You’ll also need space for a 10m long map of the Sahara, 3 cardboard pawns, multiple rulebooks, and dozens of charts to track troop morale, mechanical breakdowns, and damage.

The game is based on real WWII fighting in Egypt and Libya, and Berg has done his best to be authentic, even to the point of (intentionally) ridiculous detail. For example, if the game’s Italian troops are not given an extra water ration for cooking pasta, they may not be able to fight.

Unsurprisingly, the $44 game didn’t sell well upon release, but there are some military strategy aficionados who consider it a classic and others who regard it as a valuable commodity. Sellers on eBay price copies of “The North Africa Campaign” in the $600 range.

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