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Default MRE's

TiggerCCW UK 12-04-2005, 10:00 AM Do MRE's still come with the sundry pack containing cigarettes or tobacco? My players will all be starting with a few days MRE's and the cigarettes might help them when they're bartering.


weston617 12-04-2005, 10:44 AM Cigarettes or tobacco are definitely not issued in any of the British rations, especially since the recent re-branding in order to make them more healthy, and to 'treat the soldier as an athlete'. I'd imagine the situation was the same with US rations.


TiggerCCW UK 12-04-2005, 11:41 AM As far as I can remember they never issued cigarettes with the UK rat packs - I've had some experience with the old compo, the artic rat packs and the newer boil in the bag types, and none of them ever contained tobacco in any form, that I encountered. It was more the US rations that I was interested in as I read somewhere that they used to contain 5 (I think) cigarettes, and possbily some chewing tobacco. I'm not sure about this, but it could be useful to trade with people like the guards on the way into Krakow, as could the sachets of coffee etc.

Does anyone have a value system in place for bartering? I'm thinking that my players may well end up doing a lot of this as they are very short on kit.


Enforcer 12-04-2005, 11:55 AM US MRE's have never had any type of cig's or chew in them, The old C-Rat and possibly the K-Rat had them. I know this due to actually having worked in supply for a little bit, and I found some old C-Rats (and being bad and opening them). I also found a "regulation" sheet for what should be in them (wish I still had that sheet). I could be wrong, since I only used the first generation MRE, not the later generations which includes Kosher and vegetarian MRE meals.


weswood 12-04-2005, 11:56 AM Negative. No tobacco products. I don't know when they stopped, but in '85 when I joined there weren't any. Matches, yes. I do remember Pop bringing home C rats in cans where they had a pack of 5 ciggarettes, either Marlboro or Camels?



Enforcer 12-04-2005, 12:26 PM I do remember reading they also had Lucky Strikes in 5 packs.


ChalkLine 12-04-2005, 03:07 PM I don't know about you, but if someone's shooting 122mm howitzers at me, five smokes are not going to be enough. ChalkLine would probably have his own little smokescreen going, and I don't smoke.

In my games I put a rough value of $1 per cigarette, more closer to the front and less as you get farther to the rear. I also mandate nearly every PC smokes, just to calm the nerves, it's not like lung cancer is going to get them.


TiggerCCW UK 12-04-2005, 05:38 PM Thanks for the info folks.


graebardeII 12-04-2005, 07:58 PM Yep.. five pack, hard card board. Assorted 'flavors' were Winston, Marlboro, Lucky Strike, Salem, Pall Mall, Camel that I recall, and not really sure about Marlboro, though I think there were some other brands included. From what I heard, the tobacco companies actually 'gave' the cigarettes to the military for packing in the c-rats (here again, hear-say) as promotional and 'support the troops' of the day. Allegidly you got 15 cigarettes a day from C-rations, however there were cases where the cigarettes had been 'stripped'/stolen from the cases by those REMF's and slicky-boys in the rear that had access to the fkn PX anyways.. but I digress with distant memories..

There is NO tobacco issue today, where they push for the 'smoke free' environement as much healthier for the troops.


Enforcer 12-05-2005, 11:46 AM Being a Correctional Officer now, I have learned that a carton of cigs can go for as much as $800 to $1500 now that most every prison in the US is smoke free.


pmulcahy 12-05-2005, 01:30 PM My first experience with C-Rats was in college ROTC in 1984, and I've never seen cigarettes or tobacco products in either those or MREs (though there is a pack of matches).

Just a trivia note: Since about 1988 or so, all MREs have had a small bottle of the all-important Tabasco sauce...


Targan 12-05-2005, 01:33 PM I've got an unopened US C-ration pack sitting in a cupboard. Menu A as I recall. Probably be edible for decades.


TiggerCCW UK 12-05-2005, 01:45 PM Further to this - does anyone have any ideas of other barterable items? There are a number of obvious ones - medical supplies, food, ammo weapons etc, but I'm talking about the less obvious. Off the top of my head I can think of tobacco, coffee, alcohol and narcotics. Anything else anyone wants to add to the list?


Targan 12-05-2005, 01:53 PM Matches, lighters, flint and steel spark generators you use to light up oxy-acetylene welding torches. Fire making thingies would be tre barterable.

Light bulbs and electrical fuses (automotive types, not so much house fuses).

Oral contraceptives.

Infant formula.

Water purification tablets.




weswood 12-05-2005, 04:40 PM I was thinking of silverware- knives, spoons, & forks. The real silver ones obviusly, for the silver value, and stainless steel for the steel value. A spoon would make a decent head for an arrow or crossbow bolt.

liquor- the good stuff

museum displays of stuff like plows

Candles & lanterns

clothing, especially boots, maybe not right away but further along the timeline

I always wondered about the MRE's. The nukes hit civilian targets in November of '97, the game starts in the summer of 2000. That's almost 3 years that civilians and military would have to be fed. As I see it, the stored rations would go first until relocation to the food producing areas and crops could be brought in. Wouldn't prepackaged meals run out before the game starts?


firewalker 12-05-2005, 05:25 PM no tobacco is issued but i had heard that J sergeant Reynolds had offered to supply some smokeless (dip and chew i presume, apparently it was supposed to be popular for guard duty and esay of use) tobacco at one point. but there was kind of a big curfluflyu about it. as an aside how common is chewing tobacco and dip out side of the Americas?

small trade goods (hard or imposable to make)

1.ducktap, or really most other kind's of tape

2.fishing line, high tensile strength and good for a lot besides fishing

3.fishing hooks, bobbers, artificial bate ect ect

4.tin foil, hard to make but with a surprising range of uses

5.good nails or other hardware (screws, nuts bolts, wood staples)

6.pipe and tubing (some for copper content or just as piping)

7.sheat glass

8.spices (pepper and up)

9."art stuff" paints, pens, paper (not everybody will want it but those that do will want it bad)


a. non hybrid seed

b.stuff not generally grown in gardens before the war, say flax or cotton

11.DVD,CD,tape ect, if some body has the power and a player

12.books (entertainment or informational, say a complete run of "fox fire")

13.tredal powered sowing machine

14.power tool blades

15.chain (plastic or metal) or rope (synthetic)

16.uniqe historical artifacts (hope diamond, US constitution [original])


Ed the Coastie 12-07-2005, 12:43 AM I also mandate nearly every PC smokes, just to calm the nerves, it's not like lung cancer is going to get them.

Maybe not, but some players may object to being forced to play a character who smokes. I remember dropping out of a rather popular World of Darkness game a few years ago when the Storyteller decided (against my wishes) that my character was a pothead.

Tobacco may not be as "bad" as marijuana, but the principle remains the same: if I want to play a character who smokes (or drinks, or whatever), I will specify it when I create him.

That being said...

I've seen tobacco in C-Rats (we used to take them as camping rations back when I was a Boy Scout on a military base in the late 70s), but never in MREs. Lots of interesting things to be found in the MREs, though...an ROTC buddy of mine even found an "MRE Cookbook" of some sort (a dozen or so photocopied sheets of recipies using stuff from MREs and a couple of other easily-acquired ingredients) that quickly became popular with our battalion.

But no cigarettes or other tobacco products.

As far as luxury trade goods go, I think that over-the-counter medications would fetch a pretty penny. Some may laugh at the idea of something like chewable Pepto Bismol or a small tube of Orajel being valuable, but I'd wager that anyone who has had a (respectively) digestive or dental ailment while in the field really appreciates it. I used to keep such items (a small tube of Orajel, a half-dozen "Pepto-Chewies", some extra-strength Tylenol, and some Benedryl) in my First Aid kit -- they didn't take up much space, and were handy in emergencies.

Other often-overlooked "trade goods" would be a Leatherman-style multi-tool -- or even a humble Swiss-Army Knife -- or certain books. One character in a game I played in found several reams of notebook paper in the rubble of a department store and, during our downtime, made several copies -- by hand -- of selected articles from a stash of magazines (American Survival Guide, Soldier of Fortune, Mother Earth News, etc) that we had also found. He would then sell the copies as a commodity.


ChalkLine 12-07-2005, 12:49 AM I gotta be more clear.

You can decide you don't smoke, but it's assumed you do.

Also, if you don't smoke, you then get all your squad mates bludging ciggies off you!


Targan 12-07-2005, 01:01 AM In RL none of the military people or ex-military people I know smoke cigarettes. Only a few of the characters in my current campaign smoke tobacco, although the (now deceased) former CO Major John Lynch smoked everything he could get his hands on, from tobacco to pot, opium and even crack cocaine. He would even encourage his favourite subordinates to join him. Things changed somewhat when Po took over, however. Having said that, the party zealously scrounges up cigarettes and cigars for use as trade items, bribes and deal sweetners.

"Tobacco may not be as "bad" as marijuana, but the principle remains the same: if I want to play a character who smokes (or drinks, or whatever), I will specify it when I create him."

I would argue that from a physiological point of view, smoking tobacco is worse for you than smoking cannabis.

The party in my campaign keeps a large stash of items such as swiss army knives, zippos and wind-up watches for use as trade items, bribes and deal sweetners.

When Po gained access to his family's penthouse at the Po Industries Tower in NYC, he grabbed a functional laptop PC to replace the crappy PC he had been lugging around since Europe, transferred his files onto it, and uses it to help with logistics recording and planning, as well as to access files such as those he recovered from a dead PC named Malcolm Lamont (the son of important NPC in my campaign USMC Captain Bartholemew Lamont). Young Malcolm was a university civil engineering graduate, and had kept all his study notes on floppy disk, which Po recovered after his death in Krakow.


thefusilier 12-07-2005, 06:27 AM For what it is worth the Canadian rations do not come with cigs or the small rum ration which used to be there a few years ago.


graebardeII 12-08-2005, 07:13 AM To add to the trade goods list:

sewing needles of assorted sizes

nylon thread

carbon steel knives (easier to sharpen)

definately seed, with nonhybred being prefered as a tradee.

breeding stock.. or stud service from your bull, boar, stallion, ram


Privyet_Anton 12-08-2005, 07:44 PM Chello!

Tradables...what about condoms?


Copper tubing. rope. hatchets.

Pens, pencils?

and, of course...



Antenna 12-08-2005, 08:26 PM I dunno bout this but summer magazine penthouse -97 ?

Of course I speak about my own experience from airforce life when ever solider had at least 5 magazines at average in his locker and pictures on the inside of that locker, and the officers didn't mind



firewalker 12-08-2005, 09:09 PM how about stuff like makeup or perfume /cologne, antiperspirant, soap, shampoo and other personal adornments/hygiene items.

it's the sort of lujary good that you wouldn't really be able to "sell" out side of a mager population center. say karkow or some other well organized cantmont. but there will be a demand for such things even in the poorest villages. this would make stuff like a tube of lipstick marginally good as currency but exlent as a gift/bribe.


Targan 12-09-2005, 12:40 AM Agreed, personal hygiene and grooming items would be tradeable, as would disposable and non-disposable razors, scissors, hair clippers, leather strops and whetstones. Several PCs in my campaign have accumulated stashes of porn, although Sgt Che Jesus Cortez had his confiscated by the CO when it was discovered that some of it was just a bit to distasteful.

After it became common knowledge that Cpl Virgil Morris Price was a reasonably well known porn actor in a previous life, some of the PCs went searching video stores in NYC specifically for examples of his work, and a couple of tapes were exhibited back at the firebase to the delight of many personnel (with the exception of Price). As a direct result, Price received quite a few amorous approaches from female (and in one case male) personnel who had liked what they had seen.

Photographic film would be very tradeable, but most COs would order that all film found be handed over to their S2s, for use by the unit its self. Equipment needed to develop and process film would be highly sought after by Intel personnel in any unit.

Batteries are highly tradeable, especially rechargables and battery chargers. Wet cell battery electrolytes would be much sought after. Magnetic tape and magnetic disk audio, visual and data storage devices would be highly susceptible to having their data damaged or wiped due to EMP and hard radiation, so early generation CD burners and blank CDs (along with, of course, working PCs) would be greatly prized by the military. So would (as has been mentioned in other posts) printers, ink refills and paper. Old manual typewriters would suddenly become very valuable.

Po's group obtained an old non-electric printing machine from a school in Germany which used alcohol-based ink, and Po used it as part of his psy-ops to print propaganda leaflets. Later, when Po had obtained a working laptop PC and printer, he issued official-looking salvage permits on-the-spot to salvage groups encountered by the party, and charged them through the nose.

Uniforms, rank insignias, official stamps and seals and used or blank ID documents would have high black market values, as would maps, military manuals and items such as ration books. Storage containers such as tupperware and glass and plastic bottles would be useful. Distilled water, brewing and baker's yeast, sewing needles and thread, buttons and press studs, alcohol swabs, surgical instruments, surgical gloves and masks, sterile gauze and bandages, traction splints and plaster of paris, medical gas bottles such as oxygen and nitrous oxide, prosthetics, reading glasses, dentures and hearing aids might also be valuable. So could weights and measures, balance scales, spirit levels, and survey equipment such as theodolites.

The Roosevelt Island community in NYC in my campaign had a treadle-powered dentist's drill machine, and many communities have started to scrounge for and construct items such as spinning wheels and hand looms. Disposable tool parts would be popular, such as drill bits and hacksaw blades, grinding disks, welding and soldering rods, and gaskets/gasket cork/gasket goo. Blacksmiths' tools, bellows, forges and anvils would be sought after. Pre-ICE farm equipment would be the subject of small wars I would expect, such as animal-drawn ploughs, mill stones, manually powered threshers, and tack and harness for oxen and draft horses. I wonder how hard it would be to refurbish and operate a tire re-treading machine?


TR 12-10-2005, 09:24 AM The C-Rats also had provisions for things in them like coffee mix, cream, chicklets, toliet paper in this little packet... enterprising individuals would use the coffee mix, cream and a couple other items to make Ranger Pudding which was esentially a chocalte type desert... it was actually quite good, and in some cases better than the C-Rats themselves!


Aaron 12-10-2005, 02:50 PM No cigarettes but there are other items some might find valuable for barter.

In addition to the main meal, you will find

Small bottle of tabasco 1/2-1oz? (makes the inedible edible)

Chewing gum (2 pieces of chicklets style gum, various flavors most are minty though)

A pretty durable plastic spoon

Toilet Paper

Drink mix, either hot chocolate or a kool aid type punch

Packet of instant coffee

little packs of salt and pepper

packet of non dairy creamer

packet of sugar

a desert (candy or, a (usually pretty crummy) baked item, cookies, cake, brownie etc


Peanut butter or cheese spread

book of paper matches

the later MRE's (1992+?) include a chemical heater pouch (just add water and it gets pretty hot)

For general roleplaying purposes the trading of MRE's for prefered flavors is a popular excercise in real life (I'm not military but we have case loads of MRE's for eating at long fires)

Off the top of my head these are the flavors that have been or are available, the better ones are more recent.

Beef Stew

Spaghetti (not a favorite for most)

Beef franks (hot dogs) (these are universally disliked in my experience)

Chicken patty

Cheese tortalenni

Maccaroni & cheese

Thai Chicken (this is actually pretty good)

Ham ommlette (another one thats not real popular, I have heard that this one flavor nearly caused the 82nd airborne to mutiny during Operation Desert Sheild, I've had it and I wouldn't have blamed them)

Salsbury steak (fancy name for a meat hocky puck in brown sauce, but its not too bad)

Beef strogenoff with noodles (actually pretty tasty if you heat it up)

Chicken tetrazini (something like that, basically chicken and noodles with a white sauce)

Ham slice with scalloped potatos (hit or miss, some I know really like this others hate it)

There are about 20 flavors so I know I'm leaving some out but that should give you an idea, for the really sadistic GMs let the PC's find a case that has been hydrated (no idea why this particular term is used but it means someone went throught and pulled out the good ones and replaced them with disliked flavors), I'd suggest beef franks, ham ommlette, and maybe one or two Spaghetti or Ham slice to let them fight over.


Ed the Coastie 12-10-2005, 11:16 PM ...enterprising individuals would use the coffee mix, cream and a couple other items to make Ranger Pudding which was esentially a chocalte type desert... it was actually quite good, and in some cases better than the C-Rats themselves!

Ranger Pudding was great! My ROTC cadre sergeant taught a few of us how to make it...much to the annoyance of our cadet colonel.

(As an aside, this was the same cadet colonel who never figured out why the cadre sergeant was smiling whenever we would be on an FTX and I would pop "Colonel Napoleon" a parade-ground salute whenever I saw him.)

There are about 20 flavors so I know I'm leaving some out but that should give you an idea...

I think my favorite was "Beef Chunks in Barbeque Sauce", although the "Chicken a la King" wasn't all that bad. The "Beef Patty" was pretty nasty, unless you had the chance to broil it over some coals.

The sergeant had also taught us how to make a sort of biscuit using ground up crackers, a bit of salt, and a couple of other things. I don't remember anymore how to make it, but it made for a pretty good bun for the beef patty.

Of course, we used to supplement our MREs whenever we had the opportunity. Trips to fast-food restaurants would net us any reasonable number of condiment packets: ketchup, mustard, taco sauce, barbecue sauce, horseradish sauce, honey, and others. (Pizza Hut was a favorite -- we would wrap small piles of parmesean cheese and red pepper in paper napkins and later put them in small containers.) Hard candies, small packages of nuts, carefully-wrapped chunks of jerky...the possibilities were virtually endless. I used to carry my condiments and extras in an ammo pouch; a second pouch had a selection of small toiletries and additional personal medical supplies.

Needless to say, "Colonel Napoleon" got a bit upset when he tried to gig me for them and found out that there was no regulation against it.

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