I haven’t really written one of these P500 update posts since June and I really have missed doing them. Its not as if there is a lack of interest on my part in the updates but simply because the updates haven’t really had much new and interesting in them for me. So, this month, I have been waiting with baited breath as I knew that at least one new P500 game would be offered (my friend John Poniske shared that with me as a part of our last interview covering one of his new games from Compass Games called Blood on the Ohio). There are in fact two new game offerings this month as well as the usual information about production schedules, shipping updates and some information about a digital offering for a classic wargame. In case you missed it, here is a link to the August Update email from GMT Games: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/August-21-GMT-Update–New-P500s–Digital-Update–Production–More-.html?soid=1103480314715&aid=gDh3QbERlms

So, onto the news from this month’s update.

Commands & Colors Ancients Digital Update from HexWar Games

In case you had missed it, GMT has been working with HexWar Games for several months on a digital offering for one of their most beloved wargames Commands & Colors: Ancients. They have been working to create realistic looking scenery and backgrounds and in looking at the below image, I would say they have done a good job so far, although there is some room for improvement.

Commands & Colors Ancients

I really like the look of the catapults and the powerful war elephants and look forward with great interest to the final product. They have basically created the rules that will shape gameplay and have now moved onto building scenarios. I haven’t seen an anticipated release date on this but I am sure it will be out by the end of the year.

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Plains Indian Wars

One of the two new offerings on the P500 this month is Plains Indian Wars designed by John Poniske. The game is a 1-4 player game where players control the expanding settlers from the east or the various native American tribes that must fight to preserve their culture and way of life. The settlers are trying to have wagon trains reach the Rocky Mountains, which scores points at game’s end, and also build the transcontinental railroad. The game design uses cards to place various cubes on the board representing forces, wagon trains and the progress of the railroad. These cards depict various events as well as leaders. There are two types of cards: War Party/Engagement/Migration cards tell players how many cubes may be drawn from the reserve box and placed in respective home areas and how far the cubes may move. Text cards allow for special circumstances and may act as reaction or endurance cards. There is only one play immediately card reflecting George Armstrong Custer’s hubris – its play could be positive for the Cavalry player but more often than not ends in disaster. There is combat in the game which uses custom dice for each faction displaying their weapons as hit markers. Settlers have little firepower but their numbers are overwhelming while the Northern and Southern Tribes have better firepower, which improves when they combine forces, but not as good as the Cavalry. The game is billed as fast fun but also as a learning opportunity. Knowing John Poniske, and his background as a teacher, he will make this game a great play experience as well as a chance to learn something.

If you are interested in ordering a copy of Plains Indian Wars, you can follow this link to the game page on the GMT Games website: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-654-plains-indian-wars.aspx

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Crusader North Africa 1941

I have yet to play a FAB game but have had my eye on The Bulge: FAB #1 as well as Sicily: FAB #2 as I really enjoy block wargames as they give such an interesting perspective on combat and fog of war. Crusader deals with North Africa and the famous siege of Tobruk. As the Allied player, you control the XXX and XIII corps, Tobruk Garrison and the Strategic Reserve force of the 8th Army. As the Axis player, you control the DAK (Deutsches Afrika Korps), the Italian XXI corps and the Corpo d’ Armata di Manovra (CAM) of the Panzergruppe Afrika commanded by the famous Erwin Rommel. This game promises to give a great fast playing experience of desert tank warfare during World War II. I am on the fence about ordering this one as I have yet to play a FAB game but it does look interesting. Maybe it will grow on me. I plan to reach out soon to the designer Michael Gustavsson to see if he will grant me an interview.

Conclusion and Summary of my P500 Orders

I would like to wrap this post up, as I always do, with a summary of where my 26 (really only 24 active games as I received both Colonlial Twilight and Space Empires this month!) P500 games stand as of August 21st. I routinely check the status of each of my games and also will show the change in orders as compared to the last time I wrote them down on June 22nd.

  1. 1989: Dawn of Freedom – 216 [+30 orders] – A better month but I still have to ask myself why is this game moving so slowly? I have heard and read that it is amazing and with the popularity of CDGs, this is another quality offering! Also, there are not many copies at all out there on the market. Please help me move this one along.
  2. Here I Stand: Wars of the Reformation 1517-1555 – 1,167 [+264 orders, made the cut!] I love anything about the Reformation! Holy War anyone? Also assigned a tentative shipping date of September 2017.
  3. Space Empires 4x 3rd Printing – 489 [+134 orders] I received my copy of this great game in late July and have now turned my attention to both of its expansions and may add those to my list as well. This will come off my list next month!
  4. The Hunters 3rd Printing – 685 [+93 orders, made the cut!] WWII submarine warfare with the vaunted U-Boats! No tentative shipping date assigned yet.
  5. Navajo Wars 2nd Printing – 375 [+29 orders] I love stories and games about Native Americans.  When I was a kid I read dozens of history books on Native Americans. Read my interview with Joel Toppen about Navajo Wars and Comanchería. I am eagerly awaiting this game as I have simply fallen in love with Comanchería.
  6. The Last Hundred Yards – 576 [+31 orders, made the cut!] A WWII tactical game that exhibits the actions and reactions of real troops from initiative, to communication and other factors. Yes, please! Read my interview with designer Mike Denson that was posted in November! Assigned tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018”. Boo!
  7. Hitler’s Reich – 745 [+70 orders, made the cut!] WWII Card Driven Game that plays in under 2 hours. Read my interview with designer Mark McLaughlin that was posted in December. Has been assigned a tentative shipping date of December 2017. Here also is a look at its near final cover:Hitler's Reich Cover
  8. Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62 – 1,568 [+168 orders, made the cut!] I love the COIN Series of games and Brian Train is an amazing designer. Read my 3 part interview with him on CT. (Part I, Part II & Part III). This game was shipped in July, and although there were some hiccups with the cards, I finally received my copy and posted this unboxing video. This will come off my list next month!
  9. Bayonets & Tomahawks – 660 [+24 orders, made the cut!] – I love a good game about the French & Indian War. Read my interview with designer Marc Rodrigue about B&T! Assigned a tentative shipping date of 2nd quarter 2018.
  10. Holland ’44: Operation Market-Garden – 1,519 [+281 orders, made the cut!] – Airborne paratroopers over the fields of Holland. Plus, Mark Simonitch can surely design a great game – see The U.S. Civil War. Read my interview with designer Mark Simonitch about Holland ’44. This game is currently charging and set to start shipping at the end of August. Here is a look at its final cover: 600
  11. Imperial Struggle – 2,018 [+96 orders, made the cut on 1st day!] Assigned a tentative shipping date of later in 2018 so there must be some struggles ongoing with the design! I have reached out to designer Ananda Gupta for an interview.
  12. Ariovistus: A Falling Sky Expansion – 1,319 [+112 orders, made the cut!] – I love Falling Sky and when this one was offered, it didn’t take me long to order it! A 5th playable faction and some new upgraded components for the base game. My interview with co-designer Volko Ruhnke was posted in October. Tentative shipping date of 2nd quarter 2018. Still a ways off! They are looking for playtesters for the game and Volko Ruhnke posted the following message: We are looking for a few willing play testers who know Falling Sky and would like to try out Ariovistus. You would need to be willing to assemble a test kit to augment your Falling Sky set with added cards, forces pieces, markers, and charts. If interested, please let me know at  volkojill@cox.net.  Thanks! If interested, give him a shout!
  13. The Russian Campaign: Designer Signature Edition – 1,228 [+95 orders, made the cut!] – I now own an Eastern Front game (No Retreat! The Russian Front) but this one is THE quintessentially respected volume! It will be mine. Tentative shipping date of later in 2018 set at this point.
  14. Cataclysm A Second World War – 705 [+45 orders, made the cut!] – I am very interested in this sandbox style game of World War II that starts in 1933 and where anything can happen, including French tanks rolling into Berlin! Read my interview with Scott Muldoon and Bill Terdoslavich about Cataclysm! Tentative shipping date of 1st Quarter 2018 set at this point. On another interesting note, the game has gone in a slightly different direction as they have now designed not only the game covering Europe but also in the Pacific and released these images showing those final version of the maps: Cataclysm EuropeCataclysm Pacific
  15. Roads to Leningrad 2nd Printing – 146 [+12 orders] – This game is medium complexity and has high suitability for solitaire. Also, this is the 2nd edition and they are fixing some of the rules, updating the map and player aides (full color) and also there are 528 counters! I love counters and this game has 528. Read my interview with designer Vance von Borries. Game was saved from P500 purgatory earlier this year! Thanks for all who ordered.
  16. SpaceCorp: 2025-3000 AD – 1,200 [+184 orders, made the cut!] I love a good Sci-Fi themed game and this one looks great. I also really enjoy John Butterfield’s designs.  Read my interview with John for some great insight into the game and the design process. Tentative shipping date of 2nd quarter 2018 assigned.
  17. Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs – 588 [+192 orders, made the cut!] Tank on tank combat in World War II for up to 8 players! Panzers, T34’s, what more could you want in a game? I have reached out to designer Mike Bertucelli and he is working on my interview. Tentative shipping date has been assigned as later in 2018.
  18. Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea – 763 [+238 orders, made the cut!] A fantastic looking abstracted game of civilization building in the Mediterranean designed  by Mark McLaughlin and Christopher Vorder Bruegge. This game is sure to be a winner! Read my interview with Mark McLaughlin and Christopher Vorder Bruegge. Assigned a tentative shipping date of 2nd quarter 2018.
  19. Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India 1917-1947 – 1,097 [+196 orders, after only 2 days…made the cut!] – I love the COIN Series of games and this one includes a Non-Violent faction, in a wargame. I have got to see this in action! Read our interview with designer Bruce Mansfield. No tentative shipping date assigned as of yet.
  20. France ’40 2nd Printing – 114 [+33 orders] – Reprint of a great looking game on the initial push of the Germans into France during World War II and it is designed by Mark Simonitch.
  21. Andean Abyss: Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Columbia 2nd Printing – 456 [+15 orders] – I love the COIN Series and have finally added this one to my list as it nears the required 500 orders. I cannot wait to play the first game in the series to see how the system has evolved from the beginning. Assigned a tentative shipping date of 2nd quarter 2018.
  22. A World at War 3rd Printing – 73 [+9 orders] – A monster wargame for sure but it is one that I have wanted in my collection for a while now. When it was offered in April as a reprint, I was sucked into its tractor beam and had no choice but to order it! Curiously assigned a tentative shipping date of 1st quarter 2018.
  23. Paths of Glory Deluxe Edition – 371 [+80 orders] – Ted Raicer’s fantastic Card Driven Game set in World War I,  but this version will be deluxe, which means shiny and new. I had to add this classic to my list in April. When a game is on its 6th Printing, what does that say about it?
  24. Ardennes ’44 Reprint – 553 [+57 orders, made the cut!] – I added this game to my list in late May as I have always wanted a good game on the Battle of the Bulge and have heard that this one fits that bill. Mark Simonitch designs are always good and this one actually looks great! Assigned a tentative shipping date of later in 2018.
  25. Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-1861 – 575 [+309 orders, made the cut!] Here is my interview with Mark Herman.
  26. Plains Indian Wars – 44

I ended up ordering 1 new game this month on the P500 bringing my total to 24 (was 26 but remember I received 2 games in July)! I don’t know why I can’t resist the games. Actually, I do know why, they are great games made by a great company and they are such a great value on the P500, sometimes nearly 30% off retail. I still have my eye on several of the other recent new offerings (including Golden Gate Park and Red Storm) as well as others that have been on the list for a while (Absolute War! The Attack on Russia 1941-1944). Please consider helping me out by P500’ing one or all of these great games on my list! You will be helping me personally as I can get to play these great games sooner and you also will be helping out GMT Games, who has given us all such great joy with their creations!

Keep up the great work GMT and I look forward to the many new games we will all get to explore over the next year with you!