I have not been as regular as I would like to be with these updates recently (maybe I need to start consuming my cardboard counters for extra fiber! Bad joke I know but I just couldn’t help myself!). I have simply become much busier than I used to be with lots of life changes. But this month, the Monthly Update has such great new additions to the P500, along with other interesting tidbits of information like the announcement of a new digital copy of one of my favorite games from 2018, that I simply couldn’t
ignore NOT write something about it!
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/f19812516752/march-26-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-digital-news-update-production-more
New Digital Game from Playdek – “A Funny Thing Happened on My Way into Work…”
I have a not so funny story associated with this item and I feel compelled to tell it because I feel so bad! I was contacted by Playdek a few weeks ago about us sharing out the message on the release of a new digital version of one of GMT’s fantastic games. I was excited and honored to be chosen for this task and was told that the info they were sending me was embargoed until March 26th. I didn’t really ask a lot of questions, which was 100% my fault, and went on my way putting together a simple post announcing the release of Fort Sumter digital. I scheduled the post to run at 9:00am on Tuesday, March 26th, which if you follow our posting schedule is a few hours later than I normally run things. I was at work when the post went off and I went about my routine of sharing the post across our social media channels and then went into a fairly lengthy meeting with a client for the next few hours, leaving my phone in my office. After the meeting was over and I returned to my desk it was around 11:30am and I noticed that I had multiple messages, both email and Twitter DM’s, about my mistake. I realized at that point that I had not been told a time to release the information, and once again I had not asked, so I had unwittingly released the info a full 3 hours ahead of their goal. I later found out that my mistake caused Gene and the gang at GMT to have to work really hard and really fast on their Monthly Update post to get it out as soon as possible. Now remember that my 9:00am post was EST while Playdek and GMT Games are on the left coast and this meant I broke the news at 6:00am PST! I can only imagine Joel from Playdek and Gene from GMT simultaneously sitting at their desks drinking their morning coffee and spewing it out all over the place once they saw my post had broken the announcement schedule. Once again, Gene and Joel, I am sorry for my mistake and want you to know that it was totally unintentional.
That being said, I am really excited to see this announcement as having Fort Sumter as a digital product will be absolutely awesome. My wife and I have now played the analog (board game version) of the game over 40 times. She loves it, I love it and we absolutely have a blast with this fast playing (15-20 minutes once you
have played the game about 15 times get the rules down) game. I can’t wait to hone my skills even more on my iPad so I can further defeat the love of my life! Look for this new game sometime during the 3rd Quarter of 2019.
P.S. They haven’t given up on Labyrinth! They are still working on it but went ahead and announced this new game to get everyone excited for the summer! Here is a little bit of an update form the team on that project:
The Labyrinth Closed Beta began earlier this month. We have a small group of beta testers who are providing excellent feedback on the interface and helping us to identify issues with the rules implementation. Offline games are being played against the bots that were included in the Awakening expansion (both jihadist and US are implemented) and online games are being played both in real time and asynchronously. There is still a lot of work we are planning to put in to the game to make it accessible to players who are unfamiliar with the board game, but we are very pleased with the progress we’ve made so far.
2 New P500’s Announced
This month, there were two new P500 releases announced and they both look really good. Both games focus on ancient times and deal with Rome in different ways. Interesting!
Caesar: Rome VS Gaul, Gallic Wars 57-52 BC
Mark Simonitch is a very talented designer! (understatement I know but its very true). His talents have given us many great games including the ’44 Series (Normandy ’44, Ardennes ’44 and Holland ’44) and the great Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage and many others (The U.S. Civil War, France ’40, etc.). I am always amazed by his talents and the way he mixes a bunch of great mechanics together to make a very playable and enjoyable simulation of historical events. Well, he is now back to the Ancients after doing several World War II games and I couldn’t be more excited.
Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul is a fast-playing, easy-to-learn, two-player card-driven game on Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. One player plays Caesar as he attempts to gain wealth and fame in Gallia at the expense of the Gauls. The other player controls all the independent tribes of Gaul as they slowly awake to the peril of Roman conquest.
Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul uses many of the core rules and systems used in Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. Players are dealt 7 cards at the start of each turn and use their cards to move their armies and place control markers. Players familiar with Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage will quickly learn this game.
The game covers the height of the Gallic Wars, the period between 57 BC and 52 BC when Caesar campaigned back and forth across Gaul putting down one rebellion after another and invading Germania and Britannia. Units are individual Roman Legions or Gallic Tribes. Each turn represents one year.
As you know, I am a huge fan of Card Driven Games (CDG) and this one looks to be right up my alley. And this one professes to be a fast playing CDG, which is always a welcome thing. As is usual for Mark and his designs, he has chosen some key points from the history of the campaigns to focus on in the design. These interesting Special Rules include the following:
- Gallic Spring Muster
- Roman Winter Attrition
- Fortified Towns
- Invasions of Germania and Britannia
The map also is a thing of beauty and deserves to be placed in a frame and hung in a conspicuous place in my game room.
If you are interested in Caesar: Rome VS Gaul, Gallic Wars 57-52 BC, you can pre-order a copy for $42.00 on the GMT Games’ website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-755-caesar-rome-vs-gaul.aspx
Banish the Snakes: A Cooperative Game of St. Patrick in Ireland
We love cooperative games here at The Players’ Aid, with one caveat, they must be good cooperative games that are a challenge and are not too easily won! Gene has been hinting at a cooperative game for a few months now in the Upcoming P500 Segment and this month has finally realized that promise. At first glance, Banish the Snakes looks very interesting and has some really interesting mechanics that are sure to be a joy to play. From the game page we read the following:
Banish the Snakes is a cooperative game that simulates Ireland in the 5th century, while the Roman Empire was collapsing in the west and Ireland was turning to the Christian religion. Players represent Saints Patrick and others (up to six of you) who set out to convert the pagans on the island. You must work as a team to convert the people of Ireland before the barbarians completely overwhelm Britain – if you fail, the Irish will not be able to save Civilization in the following centuries!
As I look at the game, it appears to use some really interesting card assisted elements that decide how you go about your business of changing the minds of the Pagans and influence them to join the Christian movement. So, a game with indirect conflict and overcoming influence. Sounds to me like a lot of the games that I personally love that use cards to influence areas such as Twilight Struggle and Washington’s War and that delves into the religious side of history like Here I Stand.
The game board to the right is a map of Ireland in the 5th century, with four Provinces-the same as today – but no counties yet formed. Wooden tiles represent the People, Druids, Chiefs, and Kings, and of course the High King at Tara. It is the players goal to invade the interrelated influences between these groups of people and get your new ideas accepted.
I also see at the very bottom of the board (not included in this picture) is a schematic type of diagram of Great Britain which is sued to keep track of the steady decline of Roman civilization in Great Britain and the continual assault on the country by barbarian invaders. As different parts of Britain succumb to the barbarians, more and more difficult challenges are added to the deck of cards, until finally Britain is completely overwhelmed, cutting off Ireland from the continent and ending the game.
The game also uses Event Cards to drive the action. Each turn a card is drawn, throwing new challenges at the group working to convert the populace. The severity of the event is determined by the previous card, and so no two games can ever play the same. The cards introduce events and ideas of the time, new saints, and historic figures such as Neil of the Nine Hostages.
Here is a look at some of the cards that are posted on the forum at Consimworld:
If you are interested in Banish the Snakes, you can pre-order a copy for $41.00 on the GMT Games’ website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-752-banish-the-snakes.aspx
New P500’s on the Horizon
This still is one of my favorite features on the Monthly Update but frankly Gene has really tightened up the ship at the warehouse and there just doesn’t seem to be as much information flowing out of its metal roofed confines. There also have not been many pictures shared by designers on Twitter, which frankly was my main source for this type of intel. Even though this is the case, I guessed one correctly (kinda, sort of) in the January update when I guessed that the new game coming from Simonitch would be focused on the Ancients! Score one for Grant!
- A strategy card game with an ancients theme – I don’t have any info on this title and with Battle Line being redone as announced earlier this year, I really don’t know what this one is about. Recently, I played an upcoming reimplementation of an Ancients card game called Milito and Alexander and I had a great deal of fun with it so whatever this could be is interesting!
- An 18xx game (the last two digits are even numbers!) – I’m going with 1888. Just a guess as I really don’t know.
- A new 20th century strategic game – 20th century means it could be a lot of things. Could be WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam. Any of that would sound good. We shall see!
- An expansion for one of our most popular games – I am calling an expansion for Fire in the Lake and I hope that I am not wrong!
- Something new for our Commands & Colors players – this is going to be a new digital game would be my guess.
How did I do Gene? You know, you should at least sow some points of false information out there to make this even more challenging. It has become more and more difficult for me and fear that I have none correct.
Additional Tid Bits of Information
This month we posted an in-depth interview with Gregory M. Smith on his upcoming title The Hunted: Twilight of the U-Boats, 1943-1945 and here is some information on that game’s schedule as well as the anticipated reprint of the The Hunters and The Russian Campaign Designer Edition.
Update on the ex-ConsimPress Games from John Kranz. John has been working with Mark Simonitch to get all the files ready for The Hunters 3rd Printing, The Hunted, and Silent Victory, 2nd Printing. One is finished; the other two are in final edits, so it looks like all three are just a couple weeks from going to the printer. John tells us that The Russian Campaign Designer Edition is likely about three months away from being ready to print.
There also is a new downloadable Print and Play scenario for MBT. We played this game, liked it, but haven’t been able to give it the time necessary to develop an abiding love for the system. I know there are many rabid fans out there so here you go.
New Downloadable Print and Play Scenario for MBT. The folks at StrongPoint Simulations have created a new scenario for Jim Day’s MBT called “Plug the Gap.” Scenario Materials are available at the links below:
Conclusion and Summary of My P500 Orders
As I always tend to end these posts, I will post a summary of where my 33 P500 games stand as of April 4th. I routinely check the status of each of my games and also will show the change in orders as compared to the last time I wrote them down on January 29th.
- 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 342 [+9 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.
- The Hunters 3rd Printing – 1,164 [+69 orders, made the cut!] WWII submarine warfare with the vaunted U-Boats! The game is imminently ready to go to the printer as mentioned above. 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 – 585 [+26 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.
- The Last Hundred Yards – 814 [+131 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! Ready to ship at the end of April. Here is a look at the rather stylish box cover:
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 839 [+23 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.
- Imperial Struggle – 3,027 [+66 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.
- Roads to Leningrad 2nd Printing – 169 [+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. 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.
- Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs – 908 839 [+69 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 30, 2018 if you are interested in learning more. Here also is a look at some cards:
- Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea – 1,396 [+58 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.
- Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India 1917-1947 – 1,576 [+131 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. Supposedly shipping this month so hang on to your hats!
- Plains Indian Wars – 335 [+10 orders] – A great game that looks at the inevitable wars between the expanding United States and the proud Native American tribes of the west. Read our interview on the game with John Poniske. Please give this one a look as I can definitely say that John knows his stuff and is a very thoughtful designer, taking great care to design a playable game that teaches us something. 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.
- A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 850 [+36 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 over the next 4-6 months. Here is a look at a sample map:
- Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah – 968 [+57 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.
- All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 – 1,077 [+47 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 last 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. They are working on art and it is supposed to ship over the next 6 months. Here is a look at a near final cover:
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 534 [+44 orders, made the cut!] – 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.
- People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 701 [+19 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, #9 Call for Unity, and #53 Alejo Santos to give you some more historical and game play background into the design.
- Beneath the Med: Italian Submarines at War, 1940-1943 – 684 [+45 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.
- Atlantic Chase – 902 [+50 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!
- Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC – 1,259 [+113 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! The game is at the printer but doesn’t have a firm shipping date at this point. Here is a look at some counter art:
- Versailles 1919 – 961 [+73 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!
- Stalingrad ’42 – 1,286 [+85 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.
- Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game – 467 [+67 orders] – Very close to making the cut. 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. We also posted a written interview with him on our blog in February which was really good. Here is a look at a new version of the map:
- Men of Iron Tri-Pack – 622 [+58 orders, made the cut!] – 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. This system is very interesting and we are definitely intrigued as our play of The Battle of Wakefield was very interesting.
- Commands and Colors: Samurai Battles – 854 [+80 orders, made the cut!] – A reprint of a former game that looks amazing as I love any type of game focused on feudal Japan.
- Storm Above the Reich – 522 [+75 orders, made the cut!] – 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.
- Dominant Species: Marine – 827 [+169 orders, made the cut!] – 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!
- Next War: Vietnam – 624 [+75 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!
- Hunt for Blackbeard – 363 [+49 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.
- Battle Line, Medieval Edition – 838 [+421 orders, made the cut!] – The classic card game with some new rules and new art. Should be a fun one to play! In art and should be shipping in next 3-4 months.
- Rebel Fury: Five Battles from the Campaigns of Chancellorsville and Chickamauga – 370 orders – We really enjoyed Mark Herman’s Gettysburg game found in C3i Magazine #32 and when I heard about Rebel Fury, I jumped on it immediately. Low complexity system with some really great elements to simulate fighting in the American Civil War. I will reach out to Mark for an interview on this one soon. Here is a look at a playtest map with some counters:
- Clash of Sovereigns: The War of the Austrian Succession, 1740-48 – 356 orders – As I have said we love CDG’s and this one is on a different subject than we are used to. Very intrigued by this one and have added it to my P500 for now. Need more info though.
- Caesar: Rome VS Gaul, Gallic Wars 57-52 BC – 344 orders
- Banish the Snakes – 208 orders
A busy few months for us here at TPA; with life changes in a new job, I moved last month and sold our house in March. I feel that we are getting back to some semblance of normalcy and are ready to get back at writing and playing more wargames in 2019. We have worked on our Best Games of 2019 list and actually shot a video last week so keep an eye out for that one as there are several GMT Games’ products on that list.