Enola Gay

Posted on September 9, 2011


A 7-minute story game of speculative history

For this game, you’ll need:

  • 3 people
  • 3 notecards and pencils
  • A timer

In this game, you play the 3-man crew of the Enola Gay, deep in the midst of your mission to drop the Atom bomb on Hiroshima. The game will last 7 minutes, and at the end we’ll know: Did you follow your orders and drop the bomb, or didn’t you?

The rules of the game are:

1. You portray a fictional character.
2. Whenever you speak as your character, that’s what your character says.
3. Whenever you describe what your character is doing, that’s what he does.


Now, each person choose a character and write them on your card. Write down your answers to the questions, as well.

The Commander, Paul Lewis

  • Why do you follow orders?
  • One of your crew members knew about the nature of today’s bombing mission from the beginning. Who was it?
  • The other crew member wasn’t supposed to know, but he just found out. How did he find out?

The Pilot, Thomas Tibbets

  • Why do you follow orders?
  • Why do you trust the Commander?

The Bombardier, Robert Ferebee

  • Why do you follow orders?
  • Why do you fear the Commander?

Now the Commander reads the excerpt on the Atom Bomb out loud.

The Atom Bomb

The bomb you’re carrying on this mission is an atomic weapon. When dropped, it will explode with the power of  18,000 tons of TNT. No weapon like this has ever been used in warfare. It is vastly more powerful than any other weapon you have ever seen. It has the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of people.

Next, everyone reads the answers to their questions out loud. The Commander goes last, and the answer to his last question (“How did he find out?”) will set the scene, like a movie, for what happens.


Set the timer to 7 minutes, and go. Commander, keep your eye on the timer.

Everyone, play according to the rules of the game mentioned above, plus two more rules:

4. If you want to stop another character from doing something, you can, but you have to get the third character to back you up, to unite with you in what you’re trying to stop. Say what you’re trying to do: what you’re stopping and how. Then pointedly look at the player you want to back you up. What they do then is up to them.

5. If two characters are in agreement about what they want to do, it happens and cannot be stopped.

The End

Once there’s 1 minute left on the timer, if he hasn’t already, the Commander must give a direct order about the mission, one way or the other. Drop the bomb, or don’t. What the other characters do with this order is up to them.

If time runs out and no clear decision is made about the mission, the bomb is dropped. The Commander says how this happens.


On the way back from the mission, each character can say one sentence. Start with the player on the Commander’s left and go clockwise.

(I wrote a September 11th hack of this game called ’11’. It can be found here.)

Posted in: Game Drafts