This month the Monthly Update email came on a Friday; a Friday in which I was extremely busy with preparing for lots of plans for the weekend (not to mention changing those plans due to nearly 10″ of heavy, wet snow!). I actually missed the update until late Friday night as I was laying down for bed. I was blown away though as I opened up the email and saw that there were no less than 4 new quality games being offered on P500. This was going to be a good month….again!
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/March-23–2018-Update-from-GMT-Games–New-P500s–More-.html?soid=1103480314715&aid=3Zxk98jBeoo
With my tales of busy plans and snow shoveling out of the way, here are my thoughts on the March Monthly Update from GMT Games.
Beneath the Med
Beneath the Med is a solitaire tactical-level game placing you in command of an Italian submarine during WWII. This is the fourth game in the The Hunters series designed by Gregory M. Smith, and covers one of the largest fleets of submarines in the world at the time. You command one of many submarine models available starting in 1940, and look to successfully complete patrols until the armistice in September 1943. Not only is this a standalone game, but fans of The Hunters will enjoy having the capability to complete Italian careers in one of the many interesting classes of Italian submarine.
While your mission is to destroy as much Allied shipping and as many Capital ships as possible, players will find it extremely challenging to survive until the Armistice. The reason for this difficulty are many but include the thick Allied air cover of the period and the problematic fire control systems of the Italian boats. I guess they just don’t make ’em like they used to!
I have recently found my groove with solitaire only games and am really looking forward to this one. I recently did an interview with Gregory M. Smith covering his new game with Compass Games (a competitor of GMT, I know) covering the airwar over Europe during World War II called Nightfighter Ace. Greg is a really smart designer that does a ton of historical research in order to put as much detail and realism into his games as possible. I have not played any submarine warfare solo games, but Alexander has in Silent Victory (also designed by Greg) and Depths of Courage: Volume 8 The Attack on Algeciras Harbor, July-December, 1942 from High Flying Dice Games. I am eagerly looking forward to this title and will be adding this to my P500 list straight way.
If you are interested in Beneath the Med, you can secure a copy for the reasonable P500 price of $36.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-697-beneath-the-med.aspx
Nevsky: Teutons and Rus in Collision, 1240-1242
The first entry in a new Levy and Campaign Series designed by Volko Ruhnke that takes a look at 13th century medieval warfare was added to the P500. I will be the first to say that I am just not a huge fan of the ancients line. Doesn’t mean they are bad, and it doesn’t mean that they can’t be fun to play but I am just not necessarily a fan. For that reason alone, I am going to hold off on committing to this game so that I can do some more research as the design unfolds. I should just go ahead and back it as Volko hasn’t designed a game that I don’t like yet, with some of my favorites, namely the COIN Series Fire in the Lake amongst others in the series, as well as Labyrinth, which I think is the wargame that Alexander and I have played most.
Nevsky is a board wargame about the storied clash between Latin Teutonic and Orthodox Russian powers along the Baltic frontier of the mid-13th-Century. It is the first volume in GMT Games’ Levy & Campaign Series portraying military operations in a variety of pre-industrial conflicts. In Nevsky, players raise and equip their armies, then provision and maneuver them to ravage or conquer enemy territory or defeat enemy forces in battle. Feudal politics obligate an array of lords and vassals to serve on campaign—but only for limited periods. Players must keep an eye on the calendar and reward lords to keep their armies in the field.
Sounds very intriguing and I like the hints at the various elements, including supply, building your armies and even the political side of vassalage. Should be a very interesting game but I will take my time and do some more research.
If you are interested in Nevsky: Teutons and Rus in Collision, 1240-1242, you can secure a copy on P500 for $55.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-696-nevsky-teutons-and-rus-in-collision-1240-1242.aspx
The Dark Summer
The Dark Summer: Normandy 1944 is the latest in Ted S. Raicer’s WWII operational series that began with The Dark Valley: The East Front Campaign 1941-45. The game uses a chit-pull activation system that determines both the order and type of each sides’ actions during the game’s ten action-packed turns, covering June 6 to August 21, 1944. The availability of Action Round chits (for the Germans, and separately for the British and US forces) is itself determined by the draw of Weather chits, one per turn, which reflect the importance of weather on the effectiveness of Allied air superiority and Allied shipping across the Channel. Weather also determines the number of German Reaction markers, which allow limited response to Allied actions. The “Dark” chit pull system makes The Dark Summer an excellent game for solo play, while keeping both players involved in face-to-face play. I really enjoy chit pull systems because it really messes with your best laid plans. If your plans hinge on going first, and you don’t draw a chit that activates the correct units, you are simply out of luck and have to make lemonade out of those lemons. This is, in my humble opinion, a fantastic way to simulate chaos and uncertainty on the battlefield and the more chit pull systems I play, the more I like them.
The game uses a single map that extends from just south of Cherbourg (itself covered by a Cherbourg Box) southwest to Avranches and southeast to Alencon, allowing players to recreate the entire campaign from D-Day to the closing of the Falaise gap in late August. Units are mostly regiment/brigades, with a few battalions, but German mechanized forces are presented as operational kampfgruppen.
The game is touted as a moderately complex game that includes all of the depth and complexity that is usually found in a solid wargame covering the D-Day landings. The game also features German nebelwerfers….wait, stop. You had me at nebelwerfer! I will most likely go ahead and throw my hat in the ring on this one. Looks fantastic! You can also read an AAR on the game from Ted Raicer at the following link on Inside GMT: http://www.insidegmt.com/?p=19190
If you are interested in The Dark Summer: Normandy 1944, you can order a copy for the price of $38.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-699-the-dark-summer-normandy-1944.aspx
Time of Crisis Expansion
Wow! I loved Time of Crisis and highly recommend it as a light wargame experience for new wargamers. Merging elements found more commonly in Euro games, such as deck building, the game is a great entry point into the wargaming scene and is frankly very well done and most importantly fun to play. To get a feel for Time of Crisis, please check out my review posted in September 2017 at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2017/09/04/the-most-recent-fruits-of-wargame-hybridization-a-review-of-time-of-crisis-the-roman-empire-in-turmoil-235-284-ad-from-gmt-games/
So, now comes an expansion and I am really excited. The expansion adds quite a lot as well to get excited about, but most importantly it adds a solitaire variant with rules. Here is what the expansion adds:
- New Influence Cards — Deckbuilding is a key aspect of Time of Crisis, and the means by which players grow their influence among the Senate, the Legions, and the People of Rome throughout the game. While the base game provides an array of cards for players to choose from, the Time of Crisis Expansion DOUBLES the number of choices with a full new set of cards that are available for purchase alongside the existing cards. Explore new strategies and card combinations to seek new ways of building your dynasty’s Legacy. More cards with more choices is always a good thing.
- New Emperor Rules – During the Third Century, Emperors didn’t only sit on the throne in Rome – they ruled from the provinces and commanded armies in the field, where they were at risk of being killed in battle or assassinated. These optional rules place Emperors directly on the board in place of a Governor or General token. Bold use of your Emperor will grant you bonuses, but if the Emperor token should be removed from the board, your reign is at an end.
- AI Players – New optional rules for non-player factions driven by easy-to-use “artificial intelligence” instructions will allow 2 or 3 players and even solo players to enjoy a full 4-faction game. Three different AI Player profiles can fill your empty seats to provide a mix of challenges working against the human players’ Imperial aspirations.
Auto add to my list. This game is fantastic and more of a good thing is, well, a better thing! If you are interested in a copy of Time of Crisis Expansion, you can order for the paltry sum of $17.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-698-time-of-crisis-expansion.aspx
On the Horizon; Guessing What Games are Upcoming
I won’t really take a stab at this guessing business this month because I have been really busy lately and just haven’t been spending as much time trolling the internet on recon duty. Heck, I’ll give it a go. Here are the items that Gene highlighted as upcoming:
- a new theatre-level naval game from Jerry White (my previous guess was Signals Command which I am pretty sure is correct.)
- a new strategic naval game from Jeff Horger (my previous guess was World War II at Sea and I am sticking to that guess)
- an expansion for one of our most popular games (my previous guess was a Fire in the Lake expansion and I am sticking to that. Geeze, I hope I am right on this one!)
- a new volume for a popular WWII series (something Combat Commander?!? I can feel it in my bones like a rain storm coming.)
- a surprise addition from an award-winning designer (HMMMMM…no idea. There are so many great designers out there that work with GMT)
Pretty sure I have 2 right, maybe three. Gene, did I get any right from the bottom two on the list?!
New Update Kits for Reprinted COIN Series Games
One other interesting piece of news is that GMT will be offering update kits for all of their COIN Games as they are reprinted. The aptly named “COINFEST”, which will occur sometime this summer, will include new and/or updated information in each of the five COIN games that are being reprinted. For owners of previous editions of these games, GMT will be offering update kits for purchase for four of the games (one is a combined kit) including:
Andean Abyss 2nd Ed. Update Kit – Retail $20, P500 $14
Cuba Libre/A Distant Plain Combined Update Kit – Retail $15, P500 $10
Fire in the Lake Update Kit – Retail $45, P500 $30
I definitely will be looking to upgrade my copy of A Distant Plain and Fire in the Lake.
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 (now) 32 P500 games stand as of March 27th. 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 February 21st.
- 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 278 [+6 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 – 862 [+26 orders, made the cut!] WWII submarine warfare with the vaunted U-Boats! Assigned a tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018 or Early 2019”. 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.
- Navajo Wars 2nd Printing – 433 [+12 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. It is getting close. Only 67 more orders till it makes the cut!
- The Last Hundred Yards – 599 [+3 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 2016! Assigned tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018 or Early 2019”. Boo!
- Hitler’s Reich – 861 [+29 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. Shipping has now been delayed to May 2018. Won’t be long now!
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 716 [+10 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 or Early 2019”. 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 – 2,395 [+51 orders, made the cut on 1st day!] Assigned a tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018 or Early 2019” 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! In February, the following picture was released as part of an update on InsideGMT showing the look of the map.
- Ariovistus: A Falling Sky Expansion – 1,485 [+46 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 Early July 2018 as a part of the COINFest. Not far off now!
- The Russian Campaign: Designer Signature Edition – 1,347 [+36 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 – 942 [+67 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! Shipping has now been delayed to May 2018. This game came in at #4 on my Most Anticipated Wargames of 2018 post that came out last month.
- Roads to Leningrad 2nd Printing – 160 [+4 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 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 – 1,502 [+83 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 – 669 [+13 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 or Early 2019”.
- Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea – 1,088 [+53 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 – 1,287 [+27 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 or Early 2019” assigned. I have reached out to Bruce to see if he would be interested in spoiling some of the cards for the game in a series of Event Card spoiler posts on our blog. We have been doing this with All Bridges Burning and look forward to bringing this inside look to the blog in the near future for Gandhi.
- France ’40 2nd Printing – 189 [+13 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 – 567 [+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 Early July 2018 as part of the COINFest.
- A World at War 3rd Printing – 142 [+8 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 2017 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 without even making the cut. 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 – 602 [+27 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 in January so that is good news! Once again delayed to a “Later in 2018 or Early 2019” printing. I really want to experience this classic game!
- Ardennes ’44 Reprint – 761 [+39 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 or Early 2019”. But, now with A Time for Trumpets, should I still get both? Yes. After playing Holland ’44, also designed by Mark and part of the same system, I have been reinforced in my resolve to have this game. The ’44 system is simply fantastic!
- Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-1861 – 791 [+35 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 delayed and will now ship in May 2018. Just one more month! This is one that I will be playing the moment I get it.
- Plains Indian Wars – 267 [+9 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. John recently asked if we would play a prototype copy of the game and make a “how to play” video. Of course, we agreed and he is currently getting a prototype together for us to play. Should be fun!
- A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 707 [+24 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 April sometime (crossing my fingers!). Assigned a tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018 or Early 2019”.
- Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah – 718 [+41 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 month. Assigned a tentative shipping date of “Later in 2018 or Early 2019”.
- Combat Commander Resistance 2nd Printing – 43 orders [+7 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 – 826 orders [+45 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. We have also been working with Vez on a series of posts where we are spoiler several Event Cards from the game along with Vez’s comments on the history behind the card, what they do, how they are best used by the factions and other neat elements. Here are our posts for the cards: #3 November Revolution in Russia and #8 General Strike. There are also 4 more of these posts that are scheduled on our blog over the next 4 weeks with more to come in the future.
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 266 orders [+130 orders] – Another new entry in the Lunch Hour game series that was announced last year and for which the first entry is Fort Sumter. The South China Sea is a source of great concern for the West and this game looks at the struggle between China and the rest of the world over influence and control in this contested quadrant of the world. I have reached out to the designer Harold Buchanan for an interview on the game. Hope to have that posted sometime in late April or early May.
- 1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties – 658 orders [+341 orders, made the cut! in the first month] – 18XX games are popular amongst wargamers and this is the 2nd game offered by GMT after their initial offering of 1846. I am looking forward to this one.
- People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 485 orders [+176 orders] – Volume XI in the COIN Series, this game is another introductory level game set on the Marcos years in the Philippines. New additions, such as key personality cards and an Election Cycle, are sure to make this game a unique addition to the series. I have reached out to designer Kenneth Tee for an interview and also made the offer for TPA to host Event Cards spoilers on our blog. More to come in the near future but this one looks great to get into the system with.
- Beneath the Med – 243 orders
- The Dark Summer: Normandy 1944 – 179 orders
- Time of Crisis Expansion – 386 orders
Another great month from my favorite publisher. I guess I shouldn’t be saying that as reviewers and content creators are supposed to be unbiased. But, dammit, its the truth and I cannot tell a lie. The games that we enjoy from GMT are just superior in so many ways. From the components, to the art (awesome work Rodger MacGowan and team) to the fantastic maps (Mark Simonitch and Terry Leeds amongst others) that are pieces of art that should be framed and hung on a wall in a temperature controlled environment and the amazingly deep and rewarding game play! But, most of all, to the great community and the closeness that we all feel with GMT and with each other. When I play a GMT Games’ game, and Tweet or Facebook pictures, I know it will generate a conversation and that people will share. You can feel it. The excitement and the passion for gaming that comes with those conversations. It moves through cyberspace and is palpable. A community is being built and it is a thing of beauty. Until next month, get to gaming!