I just love the third week of a month! Why you might ask? Well, there is really only one answer to that and it is the Monthly Update email from GMT Games. I just love to see what’s new and also to get bits of news about things they are doing and new updates on progress made by designers as they near completion of their games on the P500.

In case you missed the update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/f998f48d401c/january-23-update-from-gmt-free-updates-new-p500s-production-news-more

Lunchtime Games Expanded

One of the 1st things about the update that caught my attention was that the concept of the Lunchtime Game was being broadened to include not just CDG’s but any fast playing strategy game. I found this to be a breath of fresh air because we all know that GMT Games can make other great games that aren’t wargames; I’m thinking of course about such games as Dominant Species (although it’s a 3-4 hour game), Welcome to Centerville and even a new release like SpaceCorp (also a 4-5 hour game that is just fantastic!).

Here are Gene’s words on the matter:

When I set up the “Lunchtime Games” department on our site, something that is only loosely a “series,” it was driven by Mark Herman’s excellent 2-player Card-Driven Game (CDG) Fort Sumter. I was thinking that “series” would encompass Fort Sumter and all 20-60 minute CDG’s to follow. But several customers and designers have asked me over the past months why I would limit the series to CDG’s. Why not just put any of our strategy games that you can play in that time frame into that department to help our customers who like short but challenging strategy games easily find those games in our line and on our website?

That question/argument makes sense to me. So, from here on, we are not going to limit the Lunchtime Games series to CDG’s. Beginning with Volko’s Hunt for Blackbeard, a tense strategy game that plays in 30-45 minutes, I’ll start adding non-CDG strategy games that fit the time requirement to this series as well. I just want to let you all know in advance, so you don’t think that every game in the Lunchtime Games series will use the same systems.

New P500 Addition – Battle Line, Medieval Edition

There was one new P500 offered this month and it is a great looking edition of one of their best selling games of all time.

This version of Battle Line is a two-player strategy card game built around the theme of Medieval warfare. This re-themed version of Battle Line features 60 beautiful new cards by illustrator Roland MacDonald, as well as 10 full-color tactics “wildcards” that give players extra flexibility and choices and help make each new battle wildly different from the last.

Battle Line takes about 30 minutes to play. To win, you must create powerful formations along your side of the line of battle that are superior to those of your enemy. Victory goes to the player who wins 5 of the 9 battle flags (an envelopment) or three adjacent flags (a breakthrough). Based on Reiner Knizia’s original design published in Germany as Shotten-Totten, Battle Line enhances and expands that game system to give players even more tactical options and gut-wrenching decisions.

Battle Line places you in command of your army’s strategies. How will you muster your formations? Will you use your powerful KingsGuard to vanquish your enemy, or perhaps send the King of England or France to the front to win a critical flag? Or perhaps you”ll rely on your spies to determine the enemy”s strengths and weaknesses before committing your best forces. You’ll always have plenty of choices. With every card play, you’ll determine the strength and direction of your attack while plotting to fend off your enemy’s advances.

In Battle Line, you and your opponent lead the combined arms of the greatest units of the era. Will you, like the great Kings of yore, reign supreme? Play Battle Line, and find out.

The game will include terrain cards as well which should add some depth of strategy to the game and add to replayability. For me, this one is an auto P500 as I love fast playing card games that I might be able to enjoy with my wife!

If you are interested in Battle Line, Medieval Edition, you can pre-order a copy for $16.00 from the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-741-battle-line-medieval-themed-edition.aspx

New P500 on the Horizons (or Watch Grant Embarrass Himself with Terrible Guesses)

This is the much beloved segment where Gene gives almost no hint clues to us and we have to simply sit and ponder for hours the meaning. I can tell you I have spent a lot of time thinking about these new upcoming games and I would guess I have only ever got a few correct. But I am undaunted and will try anew with the new hints this month.

Here’s a brief tease as to what we have lining up for P500 addition in the coming months. Note that this is not a comprehensive list, so I will switch these up a bit from month to month. And my previous November hints of “A new edition of our 2nd all-time best-seller, with a new Theme and all new art” and “An expanded reprint edition of one of the No Retreat titles” referred to this month’s new Battle Line, Medieval Edition and No Retreat: North Africa 3rd Edition additions, respectively. Over the coming several months, I anticipate that we will add to P500:
  • A new game from Mark Simonitch – whatever this is it is sure to be AWESOME! I have no idea. Maybe Mark goes back to the Ancients. Only time will tell!
  • A new Lunchtime series game – with the new change of definition of the Lunchtime Games this could be anything. I’m excited about the possibilities!
  • A new Commands & Colors expansion – back to Napoleonics maybe?
  • A cool multi-player strategy game with a similar theme to Source of the Nile – I don’t know but sounds great.
  • A multi-pack ACW game (several battles), the first of a series – is this one from Hermann Luttman? He is a great ACW game designer.

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 January 28th. 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 October 25th.

  1. 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 333 [+11 orders] – Over half way there and some new Orders this month. 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. Maybe this is one that GMT will reprint even if it doesn’t make the 500 goal but gets really close. Maybe! Please.
  2. The Hunters 3rd Printing – 1,095 [+73 orders, made the cut!] WWII submarine warfare with the vaunted U-Boats! The game has been sent to the printer in late October. I’m not sure when it will ship but I would guess in the next 30-60 days. 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 – 559 [+42 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 several months ago and is currently in the art department being finalized.
  4. The Last Hundred Yards – 683 [+49 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! Currently at the printers and no firm shipping date yet but soonish!
  5. Bayonets & Tomahawks – 816 [+32 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. Should ship in next few months. Here is a look at the latest version of the map:
  6. Imperial Struggle – 2,961 [+131 orders, made the cut on 1st day!] A game depicting the rivalry between France and Britain in the 18th century. I have reached out to designer Ananda Gupta for an interview and we just haven’t been able to get connected. Here is a look at the draft final map:
  7. Roads to Leningrad 2nd Printing – 165 [-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. Another step back this month. Maybe it is time that I start looking for this one some other way. Vance’s games are amazing and we have really enjoyed our plays of Demyansk Shield from Legion Wargames.
  8. Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs – 839 [+64 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. Here also is a look at a near final cover:
  9. Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea – 1,338 [+56 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. The game is currently in proofing with final art to come after.
  10. Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India 1917-1947 – 1,445 [+55 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. Here is a look at a near final cover:
  11. Ardennes ’44 Reprint – 1,078 [+168 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! Charging now and shipping in a matter of days.
  12. Plains Indian Wars – 325 [-8 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, 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.
  13. A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 814 [+26 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. Going to the printer and should be shipping soonish. Here is a link at a sample map:
  14. Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah – 911 [+33 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 2018.
  15. All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 – 1,030 [+55 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!, #25 Disarming Russian Garrisons,#11 Weapons from Russia? and #30 Meetings in the Catacomb. Here is a look at a near final cover:
  16. Flashpoint: South China Sea – 490 [+40 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.
  17. People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 682 [+41 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, #72 Rolly Kintanar and #9 Call for Unity to give you some more historical and game play background into the design.
  18. Beneath the Med: Italian Submarines at War, 1940-1943 – 639 [+63 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.
  19. The Age of Iron and Rust: A Time of Crisis Expansion – 1,098 [+113 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. Currently at the printer and shipping in early February.
  20. Atlantic Chase – 852 [+49 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 last year that you should read. Great looking game!
  21. The Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC – 1,146 [+27 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!
  22. Versailles 1919 – 888 [+103 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. We attended WBC in July 2018 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!
  23. Stalingrad ’42 – 1,201 [+161 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.
  24. Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game – 400 [+55 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. He is currently working on a written interview for us that I hope posts in February. Here is a look at a new version of the map:
  25. Men of Iron Tri-Pack – 564 [+72 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.
  26. Commands and Colors: Samurai Battles – 776 [+156 orders, made the cut!] – A reprint of a former game that looks amazing as I love any type of game focused on feudal Japan.
  27. Storm Above the Reich – 447 [+34 orders] – A follow up effort to 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.
  28. Dominant Species: Marine – 658 [+329 orders] – if you like Dominant Species, and I sure do, you are bound to love this take on the genre as marine life fights it out beneath the primordial waves!
  29. Next War: Vietnam – 549 [+238 orders, made the cut!] – the fifth game in the Next War Series this game returns the action to Asia and the powderkeg surrounding the South China Sea. This time the Chinese don’t intend a limited, punitive expedition; they intend to squash the burgeoning threat from their southern border once and for all and prove, through force of arms, that the South China Sea is theirs. I can’t wait to slug it out in and above the jungles of Vietnam!
  30. Hunt for Blackbeard – 314 [+156 orders] – the Hunt for Blackbeard pits two players against one another as hunter and hunted in a fast-moving game of detection, deception, and confrontation. Volko makes a great game and this one is great but in 30-45 minutes. I’ll be reaching out soon to get an interview on this one.
  31. Battle Line, Medieval Edition – 407

Lots of progress being made on these P500 games and I expect to see many of these on my list print this year. Once again, thank you for all the thoughts, prayers and well wishes you have given me over the past few months. My new job is going well and I just finished my fourth week and am enjoying it this far. Here’s to more gaming for Alexander and I and to more consistent content in 2019!