I've head the term Alpha Strike used frequently, usually to refer to a single massive attack or a single round of heavy attacks, and I'm wondering where the term originated in board gaming and its history in gaming.

I'm looking for its origin or history in actual gaming rule books or gaming reference material, not just shared verbiage among players, nor am I looking for information outside of gaming.

The earliest reference that I'm personally aware of is in the old FASA BattleTech rules, but are there earlier references than this?

2 Answers 2


It seems very likely to have originated in the US Navy, and referred to the practice of committing all of a carrier's air resources to a single mission rather than rotating them as per usual.

See the wikipedia entry here.


To build on Andrew's answer and link, the idea of an "Alpha Strike" is to try to win the game with one blow, as opposed to over several turns or a period of time that may give the opposition a chance to recover.

Imagine if instead of just attacking "Pearl Harbor," Japan tried to attack all U.S. ships in all ports at the same time.

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