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FRIDAY

Back in the days before Matthew Broderick sat down to play Global Thermonuclear War over the phone lines, if a junior general wanted to test his tactical worth, he had to punch out a thousand little cardboard game pieces first. In those days, faux battles were determined by such antiquated measures as dice rolls. And, unlike the computer games that followed them, these war games involved at least a little bit of social interaction. This weekend, the Smithsonian harks back to the war-nerd era of yore with three days of gaming, sans binary code, with The World in Flames: A World War II Wargaming Event, in cooperation with the Georgetown Center For Living History. There’s even a break for lunch, which will provide an opportunity for event participants to practice their social skills. Meet your enemy at the introduction to the program, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. $240 (for all three days). (202) 357-3030. (Mike Kanin)