I love surprises and each month I wait with baited breath when the Monthly Update email comes out from GMT Games. It absolutely is just like Christmas morning for me as I open that email and begin looking around. What new games are being added to the P500 this month? What designs are coming our way? What tidbits about the hobby is going to be shared? I even ask myself about what future P500 hints Gene will be giving us as well and whether I have some hot intel that will help me out in guessing.
Well, this month didn’t disappoint! Two new P500 games were added with a third addition being a reprint of a game that I have had my eye on for a while now as we have recently really become more interested in the ancients.
Here is a link to the Monthly Update email in case you missed it: https://mailchi.mp/7678a5819ea4/may-21st-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-new-digital-release-sneak-peeks-and-more
New P500 Additions
As I mentioned in the introduction above, there were two new games offered up on the P500 this month. One is an 18XX game called 1848 Australia and the other is a real treat Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-? and really has me salivating to give Labyrinth and Labyrinth: The Awakening another play real soon. It has been nearly a year since we last played this fantastic game, and frankly, that is too long!
Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-?
Labyrinth was our 2nd ever played game from GMT Games (Twilight Struggle was the 1st) and it set us on an interesting journey through title after title over the past 6 years or so. The game holds a special place in our mind as one of the most fascinating and well done simulations of current events in the world as it has now added a few expansions to deal with new developments in the war against terror, including the first expansion Labyrinth: The Awakening, 2010-? which added 120 new event cards and some interesting new mechanics and spaces and now this new offering which brings more recent events to the game (can you say Twitter President?). From the game page we read the following about the expansion:
Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015 – ? is a 1-2 player card-driven boardgame simulating at the strategic level the ongoing bid by Islamist extremists to impose their brand of religious rule on the Muslim world. It continues where Labyrinth: The Awakening, 2010 – ? left off and adds new event cards and rules to cover the last five years of history. Since publication of Labyrinth and its first expansion, fans of the game have expressed a desire to update it based on more recent events, and a variety of event card ideas and variants have been freely shared online. This second expansion to the Labyrinth game series fulfills that continuing interest by providing up-to-date event cards and allows the game to continue to serve as an effective strategic level model of the ongoing struggles in the Muslim world.
This expansion uses the exact same rules, victory conditions, map, components, and charts as the original game and expansion and as such you’ll have to own both Labyrinth and Labyrinth: The Awakening, 2010 – ? to play. From the game page we get the following additional insight into the events covered:
Much has happened in the Muslim World since the end of the Labyrinth: Awakening event deck (roughly 2015), with a number of sub-themes across the globe that give rise to a new narrative that has been playing out over the last five years; these include:
Growth and then Collapse of the physical Islamic State Caliphate
Increased Iranian/Saudi Arabian Rivalry and Proxy War
Government Repression of Expression (Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, etc.)
Increased Women’s Rights Activism across the region
Increased Russian and other International involvement in the Middle East
Incredible violence outside the Middle East from ISIL and others across Europe, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and elsewhere
Impact of President Donald Trump and his personality on US Foreign Policy
Continued activity of African Jihadists
Plight of International Refugees
Emerging Main-Power Rivalry between the US, Russia, China, EU and the UK
US ceding some degree of autonomy in portions of the globe in exchange for greater regional security
The expansion comes with four scenarios, two of which can be linked to the previous games to allow up to 360 event card combinations for near endless variety and discussion. I am very interested in trying out “Epic” Labyrinth and I look forward to seeing how this works. The solitaire system has been upgraded and will allow play for both sides and will include updates to the Bots for all three games in the series. This one is an auto P500 for me, especially since the price is so very affordable. I actually don’t see how they are making money on this one but that is not our problem, we simply will get more of one of the best games of all time at a rock bottom price. I am also really not surprised that the game made the cut in the first 24 hours and now has over 600 orders.
If you are interested in Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-?, you can pre-order a copy from the GMT Games website for $19.00 from the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-769-labyrinth-the-forever-war-2015.aspx
We have reached out to the designer Trevor Bender and he is willing to do an interview with us. I am currently working on the questions for him and want to provide you with an opportunity to ask anything that you are interested in knowing so let me know.
I am not a true fan of 18XX games. I have played 1846: The Race for the Midwest from GMT Games but no other titles. I will tell you that I enjoyed my experience with the system, and actually had a lot of fun, even though our game lasted nearly 6 hours. We chalked that up to being noobs with the system. This is now the 3rd 18XX game being published by GMT Games and if they do as good a job as they did with 1846, this one will be a really interesting game. From the game page, we read the following:
1848: Australia is a semi-historical railroad game for 3 to 6 people. It is based on the game 1829 by Francis Tresham. Historical constraints have, as far as is possible, been taken into account. In other areas, history will be written anew. 1848 features the inclusion of The Bank of England as a public company that extends loans and administers railroads that are in receivership, dealing with the different track gauges between states, and ‘The Ghan’ special train.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about 1846 was that it was specifically designed for the “new to 18XX crowd”, which meant that it was simpler to play and understand and could also be played in 3-4 hours (note above that our game lasted nearly 6 but I blame that on Alexander and Tim!). It appears that 1848 is at least in this same mold as we read the following from the game page:
1848 has simple mechanisms at its base. The yellow, green, brown and grey tiles are placed on the map to form a network of routes, connecting stations together. The trains (train cards) make notional journeys from station to station, thereby earning money. The (imaginary) travellers pay for their journeys. The more and more important the stations a train visits, the more money it earns for the company and its shareholders.
In the game, you and your fellow players will own 6 Private Companies, shares in 8 Public Companies, as well as shares in The Bank of England. The Public Companies belong to their shareholders. The player with the most shares in a company is its Director and decides what the company will do. You will operate your companies, invest in others, buy better trains, and compete for routes. At game-end, players compute the value of their shares and add that value to their operating profits to determine their total wealth. The player with the most wealth wins.
I think that this may be one that I go ahead and back as it looks to be pretty easy to pickup and will move me along the continuum of difficulty with 18XX games. Who knows. One day, I might be really into 18XX but for now, I like to play good games.
If you are interested in 1848: Australia, you can pre-order a copy from the GMT Games website for $50.00 from the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-768-1848-australia.aspx
New P500’s on the Horizon
As I have said before, this is one of the my favorite parts of the Monthly Update, especially when I feel that I might have some idea about what the games are. Well, this month, I think I am sure about 2 of the hints, possibly 3. So, here goes.
- A new WWI game by a designer with one GMT design already published – This one is Armistice! designed by Sal Vasta. Yes the same Sal Vasta that designed one of Alexander’s favorite World War II games Unconditional Surrender!, that we still haven’t played together (We actually played the small introductory scenario Case Blue that was found in C3i Magazine)! Here is a video interview Alexander did with Sal last year at WBC for your enjoyment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKmTb9p_jwQ
- A new expansion for one of our air games – As prolific as he is, I am thinking this is a new expansion for Wing Leader from Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. I just don’t know what period it will cover.
- A new 20th century strategic game – I am going to guess (again) that this is referring to Conquest & Consequences which is Triumph & Tragedy in the Pacific Theater. Here is a picture of this one that I found on Facebook last month (sorry but it is a bit blurry):
- A new COIN series game – I think this is the one based in Syria. COIN Syria sounds really good to me and Alexander and I actually talked about this one a lot as we were playing Fire in the Lake earlier this week on Memorial Day.
- An expansion for one of our 2018 Best-sellers – SpaceCorp expansion…..please! We really loved that game.
Those are my guesses for the New P500s on the Horizon….and I really feel like I was 5/5. Right Gene? Maybe….
Playdek Releases Digital Fort Sumter as of May 21st!
You read that right. You can now download a digital copy of Fort Sumter for your Android and iOS devices and on Steam (PC/Mac). The game is really well done graphically and musically and plays great. The AI is a bit easy to defeat but you will find your most value from being able to play a real life human opponent. To date, I have played the game 24 times against the AI and am a combined 21-3 (10-1 as the Unionist and 11-2 as the Secessionist). The game is really great and I am looking even more forward to the upcoming Labyrinth and COIN Series games. Please hurry up Playdek!
Charging and Shipping
Shipping. GMT is currently shipping the following:
Commands & Colors: Medieval (We played this on Saturday and really enjoyed some of the new additions to the system including the Inspired Action Tokens and Leadership events which are really powerful.)
Fields of Fire Volume II: With the Old Breed (Don’t have our copy yet….)
Holland ’44 Mounted Maps (I really want a mounted map for this game!)
The Last Hundred Yards (We got our copy last week and haven’t had a chance to do anything with it.)
The next P500 shipments will be in roughly 10-14 days, when they’ll start shipping Gandhi.
It’s possible, just depending on when Peloponnesian War arrives in the warehouse, that they could ship it along with Gandhi. If not, it’ll ship as soon as they finish the Gandhi shipment (it should take about 10 days).
Charging. GMT charged for Peloponnesian War on May 19th.
Conclusion and Summary of My P500 Orders
As I always tend to end these posts, I will post a summary of where my 34 P500 games stand as of May 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 April 26th.
- 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 357 [+7 orders] – Only 143 more orders…feels like it might as well be 1,000. I have heard and read that this game is amazing, and with the popularity of CDGs, this is another quality offering! 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 – 1,197 [+19 orders, made the cut!] WWII submarine warfare with the vaunted U-Boats! The game is imminently ready to go to the printer. 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. We published an interview with designer Gregory M. Smith 2 months ago.
- Navajo Wars 2nd Printing – 608 [+6 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. Looks like Joel Toppen has a final preproduction copy and has been playing it and posting some really great pictures on his Facebook and Twitter page.
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 859 [+3 orders, made the cut!] – I love a good game about the French & Indian War. Read my interview with designer Marc Rodrigue about B&T! Currently in the art department with an anticipated ship date of 5-9 months. 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. Currently in the art department and should ship in the next 5-9 months.
- Imperial Struggle – 3,063 [+15 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. This game doesn’t appear anywhere on the radar for shipping. My guess is this one is a 2020 release.
- Roads to Leningrad 2nd Printing – 169 [-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. 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 – 971 [+33 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. At the printer but no official ship date. Here also is a look at some cards:
- Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea –1,446 [+35 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 at the printer but not official shipping date.
- Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India 1917-1947 – 1,768 [+138 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 initial designer interview with Bruce Mansfield. We also published a follow-up interview with Bruce just this week. Supposedly shipping in next few weeks. Here is a look at the final components:
- Plains Indian Wars – 337 [-2 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. Please give this one a hard look as it really was an interesting and fun light Euro style wargame.
- A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 857 [+7 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. Currently in the art department and should be shipping over the next 5-9 months. Here is a look at a sample map:
- Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah – 1,013 [+35 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. Currently at the printer with no official shipping date.
- All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 – 1,126 [+28 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 5-9 months. Here is a look at a near final cover:
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 550 [+9 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 and shoot a video interview on the game.
- People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 720 [+0 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 – 707 [+8 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 – 921 [+9 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! Nearing art department readiness.
- Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC – 1,554 [+211 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 and could be shipping in next few weeks. Here is a look at the final cover and components:
- Versailles 1919 – 1,012 [+34 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! Nearing art department readiness.
- Stalingrad ’42 – 1,365 [+53 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. The game is at the art department and should ship in 3-4 months.
- Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game – 4988 [+11 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 – 661 [+2- 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 – 907 [+32 orders, made the cut!] – A reprint of a former game that looks amazing as I love any type of game focused on feudal Japan. We have been playing lots of C&C Napoleonics recently and are really anticipating this title.
- Storm Above the Reich – 561 [+13 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 – 900 [+29 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! Nearing art department readiness.
- Next War: Vietnam – 668 [+36 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 – 399 [+15 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. We are working on an interview on this one that I am hoping will be posted sometime in mid to late June.
- Battle Line, Medieval Edition – 979 [+80 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 – 512 [+70 orders, made the cut!] – 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 – 437 [+39 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 – 560 [+90 orders, made the cut!] – 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. This one looks great!
- Banish the Snakes – 328 [+35 orders] – 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. We love good and interesting cooperative games.
- Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-? – 650 orders, made the cut!
- 1848: Australia – 579 orders, made the cut!
I also wanted to include at the end of this post our reviews/interviews/unboxings of recent GMT games that we have played and enjoyed:
Interview with Gary Weis Chief Technology Officer with Playdek (By the way, have you downloaded digital Fort Sumter yet? Well, what are you possibly waiting for?).
Top 10 Wargames from 2018 Video (we had several GMT Games on the list but you’ll have to watch to learn which ones)
As always, thanks for reading and consuming all of our blog content and videos on YouTube.