The macaroni rule is a lie. Richard Berg, the designer of the infamously detailed The Campaign For North Africa, admits that one of the much-beloved and odder rules of his World War II board game was not based on reality. In The Campaign for North Africa, the Italian forces have to account for extra water rations for their soldiers to boil pasta. If the pasta points aren’t properly managed, Italian troops may desert, reflecting the inability to feed hungry soldiers in the field. It’s a fiddly rule for a fiddly wargame. Unfortunately, in an epic board game brimming with technical detail, this one rule has nothing to do with history. In fact, it was a joke that Richard Berg included to lampoon the absurdity of his creation.
“The reality is that the Italians cooked their pasta with the tomato sauce that came with the cans,” he says. “But I didn’t want to do a rule on that.”
To add insult to injury, Berg has never completed a playthrough of his own game.