A big monthly update from GMT Games here in February. I guess it is that time of the year when publishers seem to ratchet things up as the year gets into full gear. This month saw three new games being added to the P500, all of which I am very interested in. This Monthly Update was a very welcome surprise and provides me with lots of games to look into and try to bring more information to you.
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/February-20–2018-Update-from-GMT-Games–New-P500s–More-.html?soid=1103480314715&aid=wnXOjJoczk0
1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties
I am not an 18XX veteran but have played 1846: The Race for the Midwest, 1846-1935, which was GMT’s first foray into the 18XX genre at the end of 2016. I love good strategy games and with 18XX games you have to be on your toes, be good with planning and then stick to your plan.
From the 1862 game page, we read this about the time in which the game is set:
The year is 1843, and Great Britain is poised to see the country gripped by a new disease – Railway Mania. Rail transportation to link industrial Great Britain together has captured the public imagination, and thanks to a rapidly expanding affluent middle class, more than enough money is available to build that rail net. Scores of new railway companies spring up. With virtually no governmental oversight, many fraudulent or economically unfeasible railways appear, financed by a tidal wave of cash from starry-eyed investors. By 1849 the spectacular railway construction bubble completely bursts, thousands of individual investors are ruined, and the surviving well-run rail lines move into the financial wreckage to salvage the workable lines, continue construction through the next decade, and grow stronger.
It appears that this game is quite a bit different from other 18XX games out there. The main differences are as follows:
- random selection of companies – there are 20 different companies and only 16 will be randomly distributed each game meaning that each game will be different.
- three types of trains
- two different ways to finance companies (either by petitioning Parliament or by piecemeal capitalization in a stock round) – I am very interested in the option to petition Parliament to finance railroads. This will add some interesting twists to the game and should make it more interesting.
- allowing companies to run multiple trains over the same track – this is a huge difference from other 18XX games. Usually, you can buy and place stations that make the lines yours but it appears that may not be the case here. Interesting!
- the ability to accommodate from 1 to 8 players – I am fine with more players, but more players will mean a considerable amount of play time. The game is advertised as a 4 hour play time and I am assuming that as you add a player, it adds 30+ minutes per.
I am very intrigued by this game and will definitely be adding this to my P500 list.
If you are interested in 1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties, you can secure a copy for the reasonable P500 price of $55.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-692-1862-railway-mania-in-the-eastern-counties.aspx
Flashpoint: South China Sea
Harold Buchanan is a great designer. My proof for that statement is Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection.
The South China Sea is one of the more hotly contested areas of the Pacific Ocean and I have read where it is regarded as “Asia’s most potentially dangerous point of conflict.” Everyone tries to lay claim to the area, including China and Taiwan. This argument will involved the United States as well, if it ever escalates to the point of open conflict. The design of Flashpoint: South China Sea is a card driven game that uses a deck that captures developments ripped straight from today’s headlines, bolstered by cards with a context-setting reading of recent history, and a set of speculative cards capturing a diverse range of potential future events.
From the game page we read:
The Chinese player works to influence other countries in the region, establish territorial claims and regional hegemony, and improve its world standing. The U.S. player works to maintain influence with allied countries in the region, secure freedom of navigation, and keep China in check. Success for both players hinges on the support and allegiance of non-player countries in the region. The game stops short of dealing with a potential full-scale military conflict. Rather, it requires the nuanced exercise of political, economic, and military resources, in a form of prima facie diplomacy – on the waters, in the air, and ultimately in the minds of the people – to achieve victory.
This sounds a lot like Twilight Struggle to me, or better yet, one of the several smaller Twilight Struggleesque games from Ultra Pro like 13 Days or Iron Curtain where players struggle with each other to place influence in certain countries. Hand management is always one of my favorite parts of CDGs as you have to play your cards right to avoid damage but also trying to make your strategy work as well. Harold Buchanan has reached out to us about doing an interview and he also invited us to possibly do some playtesting. I am excited to give it a try!
If you are interested in Flashpoint: South China Sea, you can secure a copy for the reasonable P500 price of $32.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-688-flashpoint-south-china-sea.aspx
COIN Series Volume XI People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986
I love the COIN Series. Don’t need to tell you that. I own every volume with the exception of I (Andean Abyss) and II (Cuba Libre), which both will be rectified with their upcoming reprints as a part of the COINFest this summer. But a new volume in the series is still big news to me and I get excited each time.
People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 is volume XI of the highly-praised and popular COIN Series originally designed by Volko Ruhnke. This is one of only two games in the series that feature three separate factions (All Bridges Burning is the other), instead of the customary four.
This game in the series is being touted as a great introductory game due to the fact that it has a short play time and a smaller map. I still feel that it will have all of the nuances and game play that we have come to love in the series with tension and disagreement among the three factions.
There are some new additions to the game which are really interesting looking. The main new addition is a Key Personality mini-hand procedure that represents the effectiveness of various generals and power brokers adding a new dimension to player actions and decisions.
Other changes or additions to the series include the following:
- Any Operation can be performed with any Special Activity; there are no restrictions. This is a change that I am a little concerned with as some of the greatest strategic parts of the initiative track are playing to limit your opponents from fully utilizing their turns by playing keep away. I hope that this doesn’t change that too much.
- Propaganda Turns have been replaced by a two-turn Election cycle. I am very interested in how this works and have appreciated the tweaks made by each volume to the Coup/Propaganda/Winter Quarters phase.
- The Personality Cards are representations of political, military and cultural figures; the “Newsmakers” of their time. They are inserted in the game by giving each faction a mini-hand of sorts which have a dual purpose of either enhancing a players turn such as adding more resources during the game or at the very end of the game by either augmenting certain victory conditions or even minimizing the enemies’ own.
- The game includes a bonus scenario that starts with the aftermath of 1981 and the first Presidential election since the lifting of Martial Law. This not only adds another Election cycle, but also an opportunity to ask “what if,” as 1983 might have ended with Aquino’s arrest or remaining in exile instead of his assassination.
Should be a blast and I am going to try to reach out to Kenneth Tee soon to get his thoughts on the game design.
If you are interested in People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986, you can secure a copy for the reasonable P500 price of $45.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-689-people-power-insurgency-in-the-philippines-1983-1986.aspx
On the Horizon; Guessing What Games are Upcoming
Gene is going to continue the On the Horizon feature by sharing tidbits about upcoming games with us. I love this segment and had a great time trying to guess last month what was upcoming. I think I only got one right out of the 5 or 6 that were listed. Let’s see if I can get a few more right this month. Here are the tidbits:
- a new theatre-level naval game from Jerry White. This one I think I’ve got nailed. Signals Command. I must admit, I get most of my intelligence to base my guesses on from Twitter. A few months ago, I saw a picture from the fall Weekend at the Warehouse of a new game credited to Jerry that looked like Ticket to Ride but using ships instead to establish supply lines. That picture is below.
- the first game in a new series from Volko Ruhnke. I also think that I know this one, once again thanks to Twitter. A game revolving around medieval warfare called Nevsky, which is the first volume in a Levy & Campaign series. As I look at the photo below, I am trying to figure out what the game is but it appears to be a point to point movement system with units that are wooden cylinders. Pretty interesting and I am sure it will be good. Remember, trust in Volko!
- a new operational wargame from Ted Raicer. I have no idea. Haven’t seen much on the design front with Ted but I am sure it will be good.
- a new strategic naval game from Jeff Horger. Could this one be World War II at Sea? I know Jeff has been busy with many of this other games including Apocalypse Road. But a strategic naval game revolving around World War II would be awesome!
- an expansion for one of our most popular games. Could this be the rumored Fire in the Lake expansion that I know Mark Herman and Volko Ruhnke are working on? Man I hope so!
- An enhanced edition of one of our sold-out wargames. No idea. This could be anything and will be well received I am sure.
That ends my guessing time. I hope I at least got 2 right. Gene? How did I do?
Conclusion and Summary of My P500 Orders
I don’t know if you really care about this list, but as I always tend to end these posts, I will post a summary of where my 29 P500 games stand as of February 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 January 24th.
- 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 272 [+18 orders] – A good month. Over half way there. At this pace, the game might be reprinted in 2089! I have heard and read that this game is amazing, and with the popularity of CDGs, this is another quality offering! I have enjoyed the InsideGMT blog posts from Clio’s Board Games on this one. Really making me want the game more. Nice! Please help me move this one along.
- The Hunters 3rd Printing – 836 [+37 orders, made the cut!] WWII submarine warfare with the vaunted U-Boats! Assigned a tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018”. Ugh! I have also had my eye on the follow-up to this game The Hunted but have yet to pull the trigger on that one. I recently did an interview with Gregory M. Smith on a non-GMT Game called Nightfighter Ace: Air Defense Over Germany, 1943-1944. It looks really good and shows how well rounded of a designer Greg is.
- Navajo Wars 2nd Printing – 421 [+6 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.
- The Last Hundred Yards – 596 [-1 order, 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 2016! Assigned tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018”. Boo! I actually received a call from the designer several months ago and he has asked if we would play a few scenarios and give him our thoughts. We have received the game and looked it over but still haven’t had a chance to play it. I apologize Mike! We will get to it soon….promise!
- Hitler’s Reich – 832 [+11 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 2016. Has been assigned a tentative shipping date of April 2018, and is actually off at the printers. Won’t be long now! This game came in at #4 on my Most Anticipated Wargames of 2018 post that came out a few weeks ago.
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 706 [+11 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 Later in 2018. In the January monthly update, the following picture was included to show some of the final look of the components. I think they look amazing!
- Imperial Struggle – 2,344 [+23 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 but remember, a fine wine takes time! I have reached out to designer Ananda Gupta for an interview and we just haven’t been able to get connected. Soon I am sure! Last month, the following picture was released as part of an update on InsideGMT showing the look of the map.
- Ariovistus: A Falling Sky Expansion – 1,439 [+21 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 2016. Tentative shipping date of Summer 2018 as a part of the COINFest. Still a ways off!
- The Russian Campaign: Designer Signature Edition – 1,311 [+28 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 Summer 2018 set at this point.
- Cataclysm A Second World War – 885 [+35 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 designers Scott Muldoon and Bill Terdoslavich about Cataclysm! Tentative shipping date of March 2018 set at this point and the game is off at the printers.
- Roads to Leningrad 2nd Printing – 156 [+1 order] – 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 last year! Thanks for all who ordered. Slow progress again this month. It will get there eventually. Vance’s games are amazing and we have really enjoyed our plays of Demyansk Shield from Legion Wargames.
- SpaceCorp: 2025-3000 AD – 1,1419 [+48 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 Summer 2018 assigned.
- Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs – 656 [+14 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 for an interview but it doesn’t look like it will happen. I am giving up. Tentative shipping date has been assigned as “Later in 2018”.
- Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea – 1,035 [+30 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 Summer 2018. Mark is currently doing a series on InsideGMT about the various factions and has finished entries on the Carthaginians, Gauls, Egyptians, and Trojans, amongst others. My guess is that these articles have helped the growth in orders over the past few months.
- Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India 1917-1947 – 1,260 [+26 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. Tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018” assigned.
- France ’40 2nd Printing – 176 [+9 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.
- Andean Abyss: Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Columbia 2nd Printing – 553 [+14 orders, made the cut!] – I love the COIN Series and have finally added this one to my list as it has neared 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 Summer 2018 as part of the COINFest.
- A World at War 3rd Printing – 134 [+10 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 May 2018. I’m going to be honest, I am beginning to waiver on this one. The reason is that it is a monster and I don’t know that I have time in my life for a monster right now. I have kept this one on my list after seeing some recent pictures on Twitter but it still scares me. I will continue the internal debate.
- Paths of Glory Deluxe Edition – 575 [+31 orders, made the cut!] – 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 2017. When a game is on its 6th Printing, what does that say about it? The game made the cut since the December update so that is good news! Once again delayed to a “Later in 2018” printing. I really want to experience this classic game!
- Ardennes ’44 Reprint – 722 [+28 orders, made the cut!] – I added this game to my list in late May 2017 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”. But, now with A Time for Trumpets, should I still get both? Yes.
- Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-1861 – 754 [+26 orders, made the cut!] Here is my interview with Mark Herman. I love Herman designs and this game looks to be a quick and easy play that has a lot of strategy and depth to it. The game has been assigned a tentative shipping date of March 2018 and has recently been finished and sent off to the printer. Soon!
- Plains Indian Wars – 258 [+10 orders] – A great game that looks at the inevitable wars between the expanding United States and the proud Native American tribes of the west. Read our interview on the game with John Poniske. Please give this one a look as I can definitely say that John knows his stuff and is a very thoughtful designer, taking great care to design a playable game that teaches us something.
- A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 683 [+25 orders, made the cut!] – A monster wargame covering the Battle of the Bulge (5 maps and 1,600 counters). This design seems to take many familiar elements from other designs and adds some new shiny things to spice it up. I’m really interested to see the different colors used for the various formation/HQs as this one purports to include the entire rainbow. Congrats to Bruno on making the cut so quickly. I am working on an interview with Bruno that should be posted in March sometime. Assigned a tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018”.
- Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah – 677 [+36 orders, made the cut!] – I love the gallantry and the tactics used by Stonewall Jackson during the American Civil War and in this game you get to re-enact all of his major victories in the Shenandoah Valley of 1862 and 1864. I posted an interview with the game developer William Byrne just last week. Assigned a tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018”.
- Combat Commander Resistance 2nd Printing – 36 orders [-2 orders] – I love Combat Commander and cannot wait to be able to include partisans into my OoBs and have some unorthodox fun with them.
- All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 – 781 orders [+90 orders, made the cut! in the first month] – Here is a link to an InsideGMT article that posted recently describing the game: https://t.co/TPCssBT76U I also posted an interview with designer VPJ Arponen earlier this month. Really excited about this 3-player COIN Series game.
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 136 orders
- 1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties – 317 orders
- People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 309 orders
I was a bit of a glutton this month, ordering all three of the newly offered P500s. I know Alexander will be jealous, but I am simply quicker on the draw than he is. We are alive at a great time! Not only because of our world’s technological advances and explorations into space, but because we live in a time when board gaming is really, really COOL and there are great publishers like GMT Games out there making great games. Please consider helping me out by P500’ing one or all of these great games on my list! I need to feed my addiction, my P500 addiction!