The July Monthly Update hit mailboxes on Friday, July 20th and it was full of good information! Gene started the email out with a soliloquy on some of the “growing pains” that GMT is recently experiencing with the change in their website, shipping an inordinate amount of games (10 games since May 22nd totaling nearly 8,000 games) plus the “Flash Sale” on July 4th where they sold out their inventory of Washington’s War, a delay on the COINFest shipment until September, and then some issues with the rules for Hitler’s Reich. [If you haven’t heard the story, there was a key part of the rules that were inadvertently not included and it made the game very difficult to play. The rule that was omitted in the text of the rules was the draw a card after playing a Conquest Card in any conflict or attempt to gain Event Cards. This caused you to lose the game as the Allies as when Barbarossa occurs and there are 4-5 battles, you will run the Allies out of cards. This rule was included in the Play Book but still caused some issues. Here is my other complaint about the rules for Hitler’s Reich. There are key events such as Operation Bagration and Operation Overlord that are not clearly outlined in the rulebook nor are they listed on the game board along side the year track or in the box in the upper left hand corner. This has led us to miss these key rules, even though we know the history of World War II, and has caused our two plays to be very frustrating. My final comment is that Hitler’s Reich is a good game with a very interesting, albeit challenging, system, that allows two players to play the entirety of World War II in the European Theater in a little over 2 hours (it is advertised “in two hours”, but we are really, really slow I guess!). Don’t give up on this game because of this error! It is interesting and you will miss out!…End of Editor’s Rant]
**** happens and us true followers of GMT Games are not going to be scared off by some glitches. In fact, I am truly pleased with the new changes. I love the website and its new, easier to use interface, its slick new look and all of the other interesting elements included, such as the best seller list! I have had very few problems with shipping and look forward to the great changes coming from this amazing purveyor of cardboard wargames. Where else are we going to go to get our fix? MMP? (Sorry, couldn’t help myself with that jab. Don’t get me wrong I have a few MMP games and love them but they are no GMT!)
The Monthly Update also included two new offerings on the P500 list; a new game in the Triumph & Tragedy Series called Expansion or Extinction and a new Men of Iron SeriesTri-Pack! It is a great time to be a wargamer!
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/35d2655fac93/july-20-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-digital-news-production-and-more?e=3de3fa57f9
One thing I wanted to point out from the update was the section that discussed the feedback on Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-61 designed by Mark Herman. Gene mentions below all of the comments on social media regarding the accessibility and quick play time of the first Lunchtime Series game. The series was designed to be challenging strategically, with interesting game play, but also non-wargamer friendly.
I can attest to that fact as well as Gene shared a quote from our twitter account regarding my wife and our many plays of this great game. My wife Paisley loves games, but typically is attracted to quicker playing games that are easy to socialize over, such as various cards games including Phase 10, Five Crowns, UNO, etc. When I introduced her to Fort Sumter, I am not going to lie, there was a lot of begging on my part involved. She was hesitant because she didn’t want to play a deep and long game (remember that she sees Alexander and I play these involved deep wargames that can take up to 12 hours to play, such as our recent 10 hour session of Holland ’44: Operation Market-Garden). I assured her that this game was designed to play in under 20 minutes and furthermore, the designer (Mark Herman) included his wife Carole in the design and playtest process and it was sure to be a game that she would enjoy. This was what sold her on that idea and she reluctantly played our first game about 3 weeks ago. I recorded that playthrough and posted on our YouTube Channel as proof that she played and enjoyed it!
Since that first play, we have played a total of 20 times and she loves it. We have had a chance to really explore the different nuances in the game and the cards and have really started to get a good feel for how to plan for the Final Crisis round. I wanted to share this as I know that many of you wargamers out there are looking for a way to engage your significant other in our hobby. I would argue that Fort Sumter is the best vehicle to get that spouse interested. Good luck with that venture!
Enough with my idle prattling, onto the rest of the story!
New P500 AdditionsThere were two new P500s offered this month, amongst other reprints. Here is my look at those new offerings.
Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game
Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game is advertised as a 4X style game based on the Triumph & Tragedy System. From the game page we read the following:
Expansion or Extinction takes 2 to 4 players into a future where Sol, after colonizing many of the closest stars, succumbed to internal pressures and died in a fiery holocaust of future weaponry. Now Earth’s colonies are recovering, and beginning to exert their own dominance on the stars around them. Based on the award-winning Triumph and Tragedy game system, Expansion or Extinction expands upon this proven and highly popular game system.
Expansion or Extinction begins as each of the player’s star systems have rediscovered the technologies which make space travel possible again. Players must explore the systems around them, and attempt to bring them into their sphere of influence. This can occur either peaceably through the play of Action Cards, or through military conquest.
There are three types of star systems in Expansion or Extinction. Those closest to SOL: the Core Worlds. These worlds have been settled the longest, and thus tend to have the highest population, but have consumed most of their resources. Those furthest out: the Outer Rim worlds, which were settled just before SOL’s fall. These tend to have low population but high resources. And between those extremes are the Green Worlds…where the players start, here there is a good balance of population and resources. But beware, these worlds are on the cusp of challenging for dominance on their own, and have the fleets to make their conquest a hard fought struggle!
Like its predecessor in the series, Expansion or Extinction has multiple paths to victory, that are all very plausible. Players can win by building up their economic strength (first to 30 points wins), by developing different types of technologies (the Death Star) and a military victory by controlling three Green Worlds. The game plays very similarly to T&T and uses Action Cards whereby each player can politically influence worlds for addition to your empire as well as Investment Cards to build up technologies as well as your production levels with factories.
As is also the case in T&T, the game uses wooden blocks to represent hidden units that can add some great tension and uncertainty to battles.
I really enjoyed our play of Triumph & Tragedy a few weeks ago and am really looking forward to this game. I am only really concerned about the theme of the game. T&T was great because of the historical period and the way the mechanics worked together to simulate that conflict. Will this be the case in Expansion or Extinction? I am not sure but it definitely has peaked my interest and I will be adding this to my growing P500 list.
If you are interested in Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game, you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $69.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-717-expansion-or-extinction.aspx
Men of Iron Tri-Pack
The 2nd new P500 offering was surprising and also for me, very interesting. After I saw the offering on Friday, Alexander and I finally got to the table on Saturday The Battle of Wakefield: Yorkshire, England, 30 December, 1460 found in C3i Magazine #31. We loved the game, although it was a blood bath as York was severely routed by my Lancastrian soldiers through the use of aggressive tactics and planning. It was simple, yet has some complexity to how the units work and how they are best used, that will come with many plays of the system. With this play of the system, my interest was piqued and I will definitely be adding this offering to my growing list. I am most definitely interested in Infidel as I just seem to have a soft spot for the Crusades. This Men of Iron Series is a look at battles in medieval times involving men-at-arms, knights, longbowman, etc. The Tri-Pack includes the first three games in the Men of Iron Series: Men of Iron, Infidel, and Blood & Roses. with the Battle of Agincourt thrown in for good measure from C3i Magazine #22.
Men of Iron covers the re-emergence of infantry in the early 14th century, along with a more perceptive understanding of the value of combined-arms warfare and the effective use of defensive terrain. The scenarios highlight the key elements that made these battles so fascinating: the defensive power of the longbow, especially when used in coordination with dismounted, or even mounted, men-at-arms. Agincourt covers Henry V’s famous victory during the Hundred Years War.
The second volume in the Tri-Pack is Infidel, which focuses on the major battles of the early Crusades era between Christians and Muslims. This is a period that saw cavalry reign supreme and pitted the European mounted, armored men-at-arms – which relied on furious and direct charges with sword and lance – against the Eastern European/Turkish light cavalry tactics – focusing on the efficiency of its mounted archers.
Finally, Blood & Roses focuses on the battles of the Wars of the Roses in England, between 1455 and 1487. This was warfare in which most men were truly made “of iron”, heavily and totally armored to such a point that their mobility was suspect. It also featured the introduction of gunpowder – mostly field artillery – in noticeable numbers. And while many English men-at-arms were mounted, they did so almost entirely for transport. Most fighting was on foot…and it was quite vicious.
If you are interested in the Men of Iron Tri-Pack, you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $59.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-718-men-of-iron-tri-pack.aspx
Various Reprints Offered
There were also four new P500 Reprints added to the list this time around. This is mainly due to several key games that have sold out recently. Those reprints include the following:
1960: The Making of the President, 2nd (GMT) Printing – We really enjoyed this game and I am thinking about teaching this game to my wife next after she has loved the CDG mechanic in Fort Sumter so much. Here is Alexander’s review.
New P500s on the Horizon
This feature has become one of my favorite parts now about the updates. Each month, Gene teases us with cryptic reference to upcoming P500 games. Most of the time, these references are vague enough that you will be required to find an ancient artifact such as the Antikythera mechanism to decipher them. But, I give it a go each month and have had a few correct at times. Here are the “hints” from this month’s edition with my best guesses:
- A new game from Volko – Nevsky is still in the playtesting process and is the first entry in the new Levy & Campaign series. Could this be the next entry in the series? Maybe Longshanks?
- An (awesome!) fantasy-themed strategy game – I don’t have any intel on this one but I am here to tell you that I will love this. We recently played Wizard Kings from Columbia Games, which is a fantasy themed block style wargame, and it was a blast!
- a new Commands & Colors game – Oooh! Never played this series and I don’t know much about it. Don’t have a guess sadly.
- a new Vietnam-themed operational-level game – this was my guess last time and I am not changing it. An expansion for Silver Bayonet. I will not reveal my source, no matter the level of torture.
- A new solitaire game that you may already know how to play – the last part of this clue is the most important now as this same language was used in the clue about the space game that was announced in the Monthly Update. I still don’t have a guess but I am telling you that I am becoming a big fan of well designed solo games!
- A fast-playing quad game: theme pre-1900 warfare – I’m thinking something along the lines of Napoleonic war or more titles similar to At Any Cost. But, I don’t have a specific guess.
What are your guesses for these upcoming P500 games? Gene, did I get anything correct?
Plains Indian Wars Videos
I mentioned this in last month’s post but we did finalize our How To Play: Plains Indian Wars video and posted it to our YouTube channel at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ACT39oZajA
Gene was kind enough to mention it in the Monthly Update and we received several hundred views over the weekend. The game is really very interesting looking and I would recommend you take a look at our videos and give the game a chance.
Conclusion and Summary of My P500 Orders
Last month, I trimmed down my P500 list by a few games. It doesn’t mean that theoAs I always tend to end these posts, I will post a summary of where my 29 P500 games stand as of July 23rd. 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 18th.
- 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 305 [+6 orders] – 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. Please help me move this one along.
- The Hunters 3rd Printing – 944 [+15 orders, made the cut!] WWII submarine warfare with the vaunted U-Boats! Assigned a tentative shipping date of October-December 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.
- Navajo Wars 2nd Printing – 465 [+9 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. Only 35 more orders till it makes the cut! Assigned a shipping date of Early-Mid 2019.
- The Last Hundred Yards – 614 [+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 Early 2019 (with a note that it could possibly be late 2018).
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 746 [+12 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 October-December 2018. They have said that the art will be from John Buxton and I recommend you go check out his stuff as it is simply fantastic! Here is a look at the latest version of the map:
- Imperial Struggle – 2,621 [+114 orders, made the cut on 1st day!] Assigned a tentative shipping date of Early-Mid 2019 as they are still working on playtesting, 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!
- Ariovistus: A Falling Sky Expansion – 1,617 [+9 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 Mid-September 2018 as a part of the COINFest which was pushed back by the printer. Not far off now though!
- Roads to Leningrad 2nd Printing – 166 [-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. Backward progress 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 – 1,823 [+70 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 Late September 2018 assigned.
- Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs – 752 [+3 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 his developer Jason Carr for an interview and it is ready to post on Monday, July 30th. Tentative shipping date has been assigned as Early 2019 (artwork has been started).
- Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea – 1,226 [+24 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 October-December 2018. Mark has been doing a series of articles on InsideGMT about the cards of the game and they are really interesting reads.
- Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India 1917-1947 – 1,355 [+13 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 Early-Mid 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 but to date no progress. We have been doing this with All Bridges Burning and People Power and look forward to bringing this inside look to the blog in the near future for Gandhi.
- Andean Abyss: Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Columbia 2nd Printing – 628 [+4 orders, made the cut!] – I love the COIN Series and have finally added this one to my list as it 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 Late September 2018 as part of the COINFest.
- Paths of Glory Deluxe Edition – 728 [+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! Set a tentative shipping date of October-December 2018. I really want to experience this classic game!
- Ardennes ’44 Reprint – 853 [+17 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 October-December 2018.
- Plains Indian Wars – 304 [+20 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. As you may have read previously, we will have a few videos posted soon on this one to help push it on up toward the P500 goal.
- A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 752 [+9 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. Here is our interview with Bruno for your reading pleasure. Assigned a tentative shipping date of October-December 2018.
- Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah – 810 [+32 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 in February. Assigned a tentative shipping date of Early-Mid 2019.
- All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 – 927 [+15 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 year. 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 to date for the cards: #3 November Revolution in Russia, #8 General Strike, #9 Declaration of Finnish Independence, #27 The Reds Launch a Major Offensive, #43 Rough Justice, #45 Finland’s Fate Hangs in Balance, #24 Red Revolt! and #25 Disarming Russian Garrisons,#11 Weapons from Russia? and #30 Meetings in the Catacomb. There are also more of these posts to come in the near future. Assigned a shipping date of Early-Mid 2019.
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 369 [+35 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. He is super busy though with other game projects as well as his new podcast, which is pretty good by the way! It will post soon I hope.
- People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 614 [+18 orders, made the cut!] – Volume XI in the COIN Series, this game is another introductory level game set in 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. Here is our interview with designer Kenneth Tee. We also posted the first few cards in our series of Event Card spoilers for the game including #51 Aquino Dead and #31 The First Lady to give you some more historical and game play background into the design. More to come in the near future but this one looks great to get into the system with.
- Beneath the Med: Italian Submarines at War, 1940-1943 – 503 [+34 orders, made the cut!] – A follow on to the The Hunters Series, this game takes you into the Mediterranean Sea during World War II to battle beneath the waves as the Italians. Designer Gregory M. Smith knows solo sub games and this one looks fantastic. Here is our interview with Gregory and it is a really good looking game.
- The Age of Iron and Rust: A Time of Crisis Expansion – 854 [+74 orders, made the cut!] – Not surprised at all that this game made the cut so quickly as Time of Crisis is simply a fantastic game that hits the spot with both wargamers and Eurogamers. New added cards, new Emperor rules and a solitaire version makes this game a must add to your collection. We posted an interview with both designers Wray Ferrell and Brad Johnson last week.
- Atlantic Chase – 701 [+59 orders, made the cut!] – simulates the naval campaigns fought in the North Atlantic between the surface fleets of the Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine between 1939 and 1942. It utilizes a system of trajectories to model the fog of war that bedeviled the commands during this period. This leads to my affectionate nickname for the game “Ticket to Ride: North Atlantic” as you will see lines of ships on the map much like the lines of trains in that game. Alexander has reached out to Jerry for an interview and it should be posted in August.
- The Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC – 877 [+123 orders, made the cut!] – an enhanced version of Mark Herman’s solo game published by Victory Games covering the Peloponnesian War. Get your Greek on for sure. This game simply looks awesome!
- Versailles 1919 – 659 [+121 orders, made the cut!] – This game is designed as a more accessible and easy to learn version than Churchill but still will generate significant interest from wargamers who have enjoyed Mark’s other creations in this area. Also, the game will have a solitaire system included. I have reached out to Mark and Geoff for an interview that they are currently working on. Hope to have it ready for posting in late August. We will be attending WBC next week and hope to play a round or two of Versailles 1919 with Mark Herman and do a video with him and Geoff!
- Stalingrad ’42 – 805 [+434 orders, made the cut!] – Not surprising that this game made the cut so quickly. After playing The U.S. Civil War a few years ago, and most recently Holland ’44, I was hooked on any game designed by Mark Simonitch. He simply has a real talent for making these huge operational level games that don’t feel overly complex. He also uses some really interesting mechanics, such as the ZOC Bond and Infiltration, really well that make for some very interesting decision points and create an experience for players that I have not necessarily seen in other designs.
- Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game – 162 orders
- Men of Iron Tri-Pack – 246 orders
Another great Monthly Update email from Gene at GMT Games, which in my humble opinion, is the Santa’s Workshop of Wargames. They seem to have a continual slate of quality games waiting in the wings. Over the past month, we have received a lot of great games, including Cataclysm, Hitler’s Reich, Skies Above the Reich, Gallipoli 1915, Fort Sumter and No Retreat 3, all that we are in the process of playing, doing quick video reviews and more in-depth written reviews. Lots of content coming from The Players’ Aid over the next month. Thanks for all the support that our readers give us. We truly appreciate it!