Variety is the spice of life. That’s a statement that I agree with in life as well as in board games. Who likes to eat the same thing over and over, meal after meal, even if that meal is filet mignon? I need some chicken now and again…you know?!

Why am I starting off this post this way? Well I can just hear it now. The complaints about the new addition to the P500 this month. It’s too euro! It’s not a wargame and has nothing to do with history. Well you are right but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good game. I am going to be open minded about it and check it out. One of my favorite games from GMT Games is an area control euro in Dominant Species. I am open minded and willing to give this one a chance.

In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link:

Now, onto the news.

IGA Award 2018 Nominee for Colonial Twilight

I simply copied and pasted this segment from the update for your info.

Congratulations to designer Brian Train and all of the Colonial Twilight Development, Testing, Art, and Production teams, as Colonial Twilight has been nominated for a 2018 International Gamer’s Award as the best “General Strategy Two Player Game.” In our history, we’ve only had about a dozen or so games nominated for this award, so this is a big honor for Brian and his teams, as well as for GMT. Nice work, everyone.

Congrats to Brian Train on this honor. I love Colonial Twilight (here is my review) and really appreciate Brian’s style. He works hard at this design thing and it is nice to see this honor come his way!

Mystery Wizard

Over the past few months in the “On the Horizon” feature of the Monthly Update, Gene has been teasing us with a very cryptic statement about a “fantasy themed strategy game”. Well, I have had very little idea of what the game could be, and despite my best efforts with online reconnaissance, could find no hints about the game’s identify. Until this month when the mystery became clear.

On a hexed isle far across a shining sea, wizards duel for magical supremacy and the fate of the island itself. Mystery Wizard is a game for 2 to 6 players that takes around an hour to play, starring 8 unique spellcasting characters, each providing a radically different strategic experience. When each player chooses a wizard, they are selecting a totally unique set of spells and abilities which will flavor their strategic choices and paths to victory.

Each wizard begins the game in their village, in a corner of the hexagonal board. In the center of the board is a tower filled with ancient secrets. The objective of the game is to loot the tower and return two of its Mysteries home to your village. However, Mysteries are scarce, and in order to secure your own, you’ll need to take them from someone else. Fierce opposition from rival wizards will take the form of fireballs, cyclones, wild animals, lightning bolts and more, leading to a chaotic capture-the-flag brawl where alliances can form or dissolve in the blink of an eye.

I think the game sounds fun as it is basically an asymmetric Wizards Duel with the added element of capture the flag.

Here is what another pretty good designer had to say about Mystery Wizard:

“What I adore about Mystery Wizard is all the personality packed into the various wizards that you get to try. It reminds me in a fond way of Cosmic Encounter, with complex interactions among a rotating cast of characters, playing out within a simple engine. Mystery Wizard then amps up the variation with a deck of spells and artifacts that combine in rapid-fire shootouts. The multi-way asymmetry going on in this kind of design is devilishly tricky to balance. The clever inventors of Mystery Wizard spent years tuning and trimming, and that hard works shows in every play.”  —Volko Ruhnke

For a look at gameplay, check out this post on InsideGMT written by Andrew Ruhnke:

At this point, I am intrigued by the game but want to see a bit more on how it plays before I pull the trigger.

If you are interested in Mystery Wizard, you can pre-order a copy for the P500 price of $38.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link:

Fabled Sale

I’ve been on the GMT Games bandwagon for many years and there hasn’t been a sale since 2015. That’s 3 years if you are counting. I actually wasn’t sure that this “sale” actually would ever happen. But this month comes word that there will be a sale in October!! The sale will start October 16th and will run for about a week. An update with all the details will be forthcoming soon.

In the past though, you will receive a “coupon” for each P500 you have purchased since the last sale and this “coupon” is good for 50% off any game in stock. That is a huge deal and can get a lot of new games in your collection for not much money.

New P500 Reprint Additions

This month there were two new P500 Reprints added this month. They include:

Hoplite, 2nd Printing

Washington’s War, 3rd Printing

I have not played Hoplite but I love Washington’s War. And both of these games are quality additions to the reprint list

Conclusion and Summary of My P500 Orders

As I always tend to end these posts, I will post a summary of where my 31 P500 games stand as of September 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 August 30th.

  1. 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 314 [-2 orders] – Over half way there but a few steps back this month. 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.
  2. The Hunters 3rd Printing – 1,002 [+30 orders, made the cut!] WWII submarine warfare with the vaunted U-Boats! The tentative shipping date was bumped to 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.
  3. Navajo Wars 2nd Printing – 504 [+10 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. Made the cut this month! Assigned a shipping date of Later in 2019.
  4. The Last Hundred Yards – 627 [-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 Early 2019 (with a note that it could possibly be late 2018).
  5. Bayonets & Tomahawks – 769 [+6 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 Early 2019. They have said that the box cover art will be from John Buxton and I recommend you go check out his stuff as it is simply fantastic while the component art is by Marc Rodrigue himself. A designer pulling double duty. They made a call for a final round of play testers in the Monthly Update. Here is a look at the latest version of the map:
  6. Imperial Struggle – 2,750 [+24 orders, made the cut on 1st day!] Assigned a tentative shipping date of Later in 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.
  7. Ariovistus: A Falling Sky Expansion – 1,708 [+55 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. The game will be shipping this month. Exciting!
  8. Roads to Leningrad 2nd Printing – 167 [+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. +1 order 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.
  9. SpaceCorp: 2025-3000 AD – 1,922 [+45 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 October 2018 assigned. Here is a look at some of the cards:
  10. Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs – 768 [+2 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? Posted an interview with the designer Mike Bertucelli and his developer Jason Carr on July 30th if you are interested in learning more. Tentative shipping date has been assigned as Early 2019.
  11. Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea – 1,262 [+44 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 Early 2019. Mark has been doing a series of articles on InsideGMT about the cards used in the game and they are really interesting reads.
  12. Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India 1917-1947 – 1,375 [+0 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 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.
  13. Andean Abyss: Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Columbia 2nd Printing – 665 [+16 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. Shipping now.
  14. Paths of Glory Deluxe Edition – 800 [+36 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 November-December 2018. I really want to experience this classic game!
  15. Ardennes ’44 Reprint – 889 [+13 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 Early 2019.
  16. Plains Indian Wars – 319 [+1 order] – 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, we posted a few videos on this one to help push it on up toward the P500 goal. Review video and How to Play video.
  17. A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 777 [+4 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 Early 2019.
  18. Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah – 853 [+19 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 while he died at Chancellorsville in 1863, the game covers Confederate victories in 1864 as well. I posted an interview with the game developer William Byrne in February. Assigned a tentative shipping date of Later in 2019.
  19. All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 – 964 [+26 orders, made the cut! in the first month] – Here is a link to an InsideGMT article that posted recently describing the game: 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!, #25 Disarming Russian Garrisons,#11 Weapons from Russia? and #30 Meetings in the Catacomb. Assigned a shipping date of Later in 2019. Here also is a look at a near final map:
  20. Flashpoint: South China Sea – 432 [+30 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. We were lucky enough to meet up with the designer Harold Buchanan at Gen Con and got to play the game and shoot a video interview on the game.
  21. People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 627 [+7 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, #31 The First Lady, #12 Another Beirut and #72 Rolly Kintanar 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.
  22. Beneath the Med: Italian Submarines at War, 1940-1943 – 560 [+25 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.
  23. The Age of Iron and Rust: A Time of Crisis Expansion – 940 [+21 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 month. Assigned a shipping date of January 2019.
  24. Atlantic Chase – 779 [+27 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 posted an interview with Jerry White a few weeks ago that you should read. Great looking game!
  25. The Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC – 988 [+37 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! Assigned a shipping date of Later in 2019.
  26. Versailles 1919 – 763 [+36 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. We attended WBC in July and were able to play a full game of Versailles 1919 with Mark Herman and did the following video interview with him. Great game by the way! Assigned a shipping date of Later in 2019.
  27. Stalingrad ’42 – 964 [+50 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. I will be reaching out to Mark for an interview soon.
  28. Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game – 318 [+33 orders] – If you liked Triumph & Tragedy, you will like this game…only it is in space! We were fortunate enough to play a game at WBC with the designer Stuart Pierce and also shot this video interview with him.
  29. Men of Iron Tri-Pack – 441 [+44 orders] – 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 SeriesMen of Iron, Infidel, and Blood & Roses, with the Battle of Agincourt thrown in for good measure from C3i Magazine #22. This system is very interesting and we are definitely intrigued as our play of The Battle of Wakefield was very interesting.
  30. Commands and Colors: Samurai Battles – 522 [+127 orders, made the cut!] – A reprint of a former game that looks amazing as I love any type of game focused on feudal Japan.
  31. Storm Above the Reich – 296 [+63 orders] – A follow up effort the wildly successful Skies Above the Reich. A solo game focused on depicting a Luftwaffe squadron of Fw190s struggling to deter and destroy the relentless daylight raids over Germany during World War II.

I didn’t add any games to my P500 this month, which is good for me, but I am intrigued by the new offering. I just want a little more info before I take the plunge.

Over the past few months, we at The Players’ Aid 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.

I am sorry that our output has slowed but I lost my job last month and am focused on finding new employment, which can be like a full time job. Wish me luck and Alexander and I will keep working hard to put out great content to help you all know what is upcoming in the wargaming world.

Thanks for the support and thanks to GMT for being so wonderful!