Wargames: Joshua’s Nuclear War Scenarios 120-140


This is it. The list of scenarios from the movie Wargames has been laid out and analyzed. It took nearly three years and as far as side projects go, this one was a lot of fun. All good things must come to an end, however, and here we are. The final twenty nuclear war scenarios from Wargames.

  • ALASKAN DISCRETIONARY– A low profile operation by the Soviets to disrupt the Alaskan pipeline or possibly disable US early warning radars in preparation for a first strike. As Alaska is US territory, this would be a direct attack upon the United States and the possibility of escalation is very high.


  • CANADIAN THRUST– A Soviet military move into Canadian territory. With East Bloc forces on North American soil the situation would become volatile very fast.


  • ARABIAN LIGHT– A regional conflict spills over and provides the spark for a global conflict. The Iran-Iraq War certainly had the potential to serve as a catalyst.


  • AFRICAN DOMESTIC– Apartheid was ugly. The South African government was a pariah and the ANC was backed indirectly by the Soviet Union. If Apartheid had exploded, the superpowers would have been drawn in. While the US had no love for the South African government, it could not allow the Soviets to gain total control of resource-rich South Africa.


  • TUNISIAN INCIDENT– Libya and Tunisia clash in an isolated action on land or at sea and it escalates.


  • MALAYSIAN MANEUVER– China begins making political and military moves to gain control of Malaysia.


  • JAMAICA DECOY– Cuba instigates an action in Jamaica to divert attention away from Soviet action elsewhere. The US responds with a Grenada-like operation and it’s all downhill from there.


  • MALAYSIAN MINIMAL– Communist insurgency rekindles in Malaysia


  • RUSSIAN SOVEREIGNTY– This could refer to an invasion of Russia by the PRC. Possible during the time period. It’s the only realistic possibility.


  • CHAD OPTION– In the late 70s and early 80s, the Libyan-Chad conflict raged. French involvement increased the potential of a wider clash between the US and Soviet Union.


  • BANGLADESH WAR– Bangladesh’s leader moved away from his country’s strong ties with India and the Soviet Union in the early 80s in favor of a strong relationship with the West. It could have sparked war with India.



  • BURMESE CONTAINMENT– Again, Burma’s inclusion on this list mystifies me.


  • ASIAN THEATERWIDE– Asia explodes. Korea, PRC-USSR, US-USSR, PRC-USA….choose your poison.


  • BULGARIAN CLANDESTINE-NATO or independent Turkish covert actions against Bulgaria, a Warsaw Pact member at the time.



  • GREENLAND INCURSION– Soviet assault to seize and destroy US military assets in Greenland. Considering that Thule AB and the BMEWS radar site are located there, escalation would’ve been assured in this scenario.


  • EGYPT SURGICAL– Libyan surgical strike against an Egyptian target. Political or economic.


  • CZECH HEAVY– Confrontation between NATO and the Warsaw Pact in Southern Germany and Czechoslovakia. NATO incursion perhaps.


  • TAIWAN CONFRONTATION– The PRC launches an offensive to reclaim the ‘lost province.’


  • GREENLAND MAXIMUM– Greenland Incursion times 5.


  • UGANDA OFFENSIVE– The Ugandans go on the offensive and occupy Congo.


  • CASPIAN DEFENSE– A NATO offensive on its southern flank, or alternatively, perhaps an Iranian offensive into the southern Soviet Union.


7 thoughts on “Wargames: Joshua’s Nuclear War Scenarios 120-140

    • Great movie from the 80s, agreed. 🙂

      No, there wasn’t a ‘Ukraine’ scenario, so to speak. But there should’ve been one.

  1. Nicely done. I’d contemplated a list like this myself–glad you saved me the work!
    IMO the blocked out ones are “NATO Light” and “Norway Limited.” Also I’m not sure “Danish Paramilitary” is the right extrapolation. I did see a “???SH PARAMILITARY.” It seems like there are only three letters before “SH.” My best guess is “IRISH PARAMILITARY–” not that it couldn’t be misspelled. I could’ve sworn one strategy was spelled “Angentina Escalation.” 😉
    I’d be interested in that undergrad list you found. But I think I was able to catch the rest of the visible strategies. Here’s what I came up with: Under(?) Blackout, Canadian Escalation(?), Hungarian(?) Diversion, Bavarian(?) Surprise, Thai Variation, Northern Territorial, Polish Paramilitary, S.African Offensive, Panama Misdirection, Scandinavian Domestic, Jordan Preemptive, English Thrust, Burmese Maneuver, Spain Counter, Arabian Offensive, Chad Interdiction, Taiwan Misdirection, Bangladesh ‘Theaterwid’

    • Thanks for checking in and glad I could save you some work. 🙂 I think I received an email from someone affiliated with the movie about the blocked out titles. I’ll look for it tomorrow.
      Irish Paramilitary is a good guess. My money is on Polish Paramilitary though. I’ll find the list too and respond after I have it available. I can always email it to you.

  2. .Excellent work on the list, fun to read through. I imagine many scenarios ended up on the cutting room floor. Someone had to advise the writers, I wonder who that was

  3. Excellent work on the list, fun to read through. I imagine many scenarios ended up on the cutting room floor. Someone had to advise the writers, I wonder who that was.

    • Thanks. 🙂 I’m sure we could guess just who advised the writers lol I’ve been thinking about personally updating this list to modern times perhaps. Give it a contemporary feel.

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