In 1987, at the height of the Central American civil wars of the 1980s, Victory Games released Central America: The United States' Backyard War. However, with turns representing two days, and scenarios ending within 45 turns at most, the game was not a study of long-term guerrilla warfare. Rather, its scenarios focused on periods of high-intensity combat, such as US invasions of Nicaragua, Sandinista invasions of Honduras, and Tet-style guerrilla offensives.

As a result of this limited timeframe, its depictions of an American invasion of Sandinista Nicaragua are akin to a simulation of the Iraq War that ends when the US captures Baghdad. This was not what most wargamers were looking for. Despite this lukewarm reaction from purchasers, it won the Charles S. Roberts Award for Best Post-World War II Board Game of 1987.

Order of BattleEdit

Reviewers generally praised the accuracy of the order of battle. Even David Gruenbaum's generally critical appraisal referred to the game's "acceptably accurate units." In fact, there are a number of inaccuracies. Most glaringly, the game mixes up the two main factions of El Salvador's FMLN guerrillas, putting the FPL in the ERP's Morazan stronghold, and the ERP in the FPL's Chalatenango base.

The Sandinista Army's Simon Bolivar battalion appears as a special forces unit, with airborne capabilities and double the strength of regular Sandinista insurgency units. Actually, it was simply another of their BLI units.


  • Fire & Movement #56
  • Fire & Movement #63
  • The Wargamer, Vol. 2 #1

Board wargames

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