Last month the Monthly Update was a bit slow as far as new P500’s go but this month is like a double barreled shotgun filled with rock salt to the chest! You will walk away but not without your wallet seriously stinging. This month saw three new P500’s being added, and these three games were big ones in big series and have my juices flowing!
If you didn’t get this month’s Monthly Update email, I have provided you with easy access here: https://mailchi.mp/55854407bee5/august-21-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-production-update-rip-and-more
Farewell to Richard Berg
Alexander and I heard the somber news of Richard Berg’s passing on our last day at WBC at the end of July. We quickly saw lots of words being bandied about the internet and social media and I thought to myself “here was a man that did something with his time. Something that mattered to so many and who will be remembered”.
To start the Monthly Update, Gene Billingsley added his words to what had already been said:
First off this month, I want to acknowledge the passing of one of the great hobby designers, Richard H. Berg. As I’m sure most of you know by now, Richard passed from this life late last month.
Richard was a legend in this hobby long before GMT started up almost 30 years ago, and his impact on the craft and evolution of historical game design was huge. Especially in the first 20 years or so of GMT, Richard’s designs were a large and significant part of our game line. Even in the past couple of years, as his health deteriorated and his design production slowed, thousands of our customers continued to enjoy playing his games—as so many of them are timeless classics. As a long-time wargamer, I am indebted to Richard for the joy and insight that he brought me personally through so many of his amazing designs—including the Great Battles of the American Civil War series, Men of Iron series, and of course his Great Battles of History series with Mark Herman (his Flaming Pigs commentary in the SPQR rules remains one of the funniest things I’ve ever read in a wargame rulebook).
One of the things I enjoy most about the way we run this business is that the people we work with often quickly become our friends. I’m honored to have been Richard’s friend—and to call him mine. I’ve written an InsideGMT piece today that tells some of that story:
As I mentioned in my opening there were three new P500’s added this month along with one reprint.
COIN Series Vol. XII China’s War: 1937-1941
If you follow us and know our tastes you know that I love the COIN Series. You also know that I really like Brian Train and his designs as they just seem to speak to me. So when both of these “likes” of mine come into the same orbit you can sign me up.
Finally this month we see the addition of the next volume in the COIN Series that has long been rumored; the Japanese invasion of China leading up to World War II. I had heard a different name in the past though, Thunder Out of China, and I’m going to tell you that I’m not really hot on this simple name but it will do.
From the game page we read the following:
July 8, 1937: a nighttime skirmish at the Marco Polo Bridge near Beijing erupts into an invasion and occupation of China by the Imperial Japanese Army that would not end until 1945. Western sources call it the “Second Sino-Japanese War”; in China, it is the “War of Resistance”; and in Japan, it is blandly referred to as “the China Incident.”
China’s War: 1937-1941 examines the first five years of the conflict, when China stood alone against the Japanese Empire. Each player takes the role of a Faction seeking to attack or defend the Republic of China: the aggressive Japanese, the harried Government (represented by the Guomindang party), the rebellious Chinese Communist Party, or the unruly, fractious Warlords who are obedient when convenient but have their eye on gaining state power. Using military, political, and economic actions and exploiting various events, players build and maneuver forces to influence or control the population, extract resources, or otherwise achieve their Faction’s aims. A deck of cards regulates turn order, events, victory checks, and other processes. The rules can run non-player Factions, enabling solitaire, 2-player, or multi-player games.
You know that I’m going to reach out to Brian Train and do one of our patented designer interviews for sure. In fact, there’s so much I’m curious about with this one that I might have to return to the multi volume interview format. Brian is very detailed in his answers and always gives such good information.
If you are interested in China’s War: 1937-1941, you can pre-order a copy for $55.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-830-chinas-war-1937-1941.aspx
Fall of Saigon: Expansion for Fire in the Lake
I’ve been waiting for this one for quite some time; actually for nearly a year since seeing a copy of the game setup on Mark Herman’s wargame table in a picture on Twitter. We love Fire in the Lake and this is simply going to add more depth and replayability to an already interesting game.
From the game page we read the following:
Mark Herman and Volko Ruhnke’s award-winning Fire in the Lake revealed the factional clashes of the US insurgency in Vietnam, from the first entry of US combat troops under Westmoreland to the ’72 Christmas bombings that teed up their negotiated withdrawal. Now, Fall of Saigon expands Fire in the Lake to finish the story. Three Fall of Saigon scenarios enable 1-4 players to extend play beyond Paris, beginning before 1968’s Tet, on the eve of the 1972 Easter Offensive, or from 1964 all the way to the end of the war. A standalone 2‑player Black April scenario focuses tightly on the post-Paris sparring between NVA and ARVN, including the final massive battles, advances, and retreats.
The new expansion is definitely not your father’s Fire in the Lake as the US is in the midst of pulling out, the NVA are gearing up for a push into the south and the ARVN suddenly are running low on funds and troops. And there are new toys in the form of tanks!
To show the transition from insurgency and counterinsurgency to mobile mechanized warfare, Fall of Saigon introduces an array of new features, including:
Paris Peace Talks that may result in either US or NVA Retreat—or both.
A building US Anti-War Movement and Northern War Weariness penalizing the continued campaigns.
US Posture that players influence to allow anything from full-bore US economic and financial backing of ARVN’s defense and even a return of US heavy bombers over the North to utter abandonment of South Vietnam.
Hard-hitting NVA and ARVN Armor units capable of lightning Spearhead actions and of capturing the enemy’s vehicles to turn around for their own use in the next attack.
Head-to-head action, NVA versus ARVN, using the acclaimed 2-player Initiative system from COIN Series Volume VII, Colonial Twilight, by Brian Train.
72 new Event cards for 1973-1975 and four new Pivotal Events to portray the political struggles in Washington, Hanoi, and Saigon; the building conventional military capabilities of the combatants; NVA probes and ARVN counterthrusts; threatened US enforcement of the Accords by air; and the chaos of the final collapse.
For solitaire players, Fall of Saigon introduces the popular new card-based Non-player system from Bruce Mansfield, designer of COIN Series Volume IX, Gandhi.
We played the game at WBC with Mark Herman and Dan Pancaldi from No Enemies Here and really had a great time. The tanks are devastating and will change your tactics for sure and the new Posture rules bring a whole new angle to the game.
If you are interested in Fall of Saigon, you can pre-order a copy for $33.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-832-fall-of-saigon-a-fire-in-the-lake-expansion.aspx
The Last Hundred Yards Volume 2: Airborne Over Europe
From the game page we read the following:
The Last Hundred Yards Vol. 2: Airborne Over Europe is the second game in Mike Denson’s Last Hundred Yards Series. It includes two major campaigns featuring numerous missions covering small unit actions conducted by US airborne forces in the Normandy and Market Garden operations.
Did you get that? Two separate campaigns.
In the Operation Overlord campaign, follow the elements of the American 82nd and 101st Divisions beyond the Normandy beachheads. After being scattered over a large area in Normandy on the night of June 6th, they struggle to assemble and secure their objectives to support the advance of the American units landing at Utah Beach. Later missions feature them defending against the inevitable German reaction and counterattack. Follow Lt. Dick Winters as he leads his platoon in taking out the artillery battery at Brecourt Manor near Ste. Marie-du-Mont and then faces a counterattack from elements of Col. Von Der Heydte’s 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment.
In the Operation Market Garden campaign, follow the 82nd Airborne Division after landing south of Nijmegen in the early afternoon hours of September 17th as they race to secure critical bridges over the Waal and Maas rivers, as well as those over the canal between them. Follow Lt. Foley and his men as they defend Devil’s Hill against German counterattacks on the Eiesenborne Ridge Groesbeek Heights, a mere 2-3 miles from the German Border.
This game will introduce airdrop and night rules, as well as new terrain to the series. Successfully landing airborne troops at night, assembling them from a dispersed condition, and advancing against unknown enemy resistance to secure your objectives will prove a thrilling challenge in this new game. You don’t want to miss it!
If you are interested in The Last Hundred Yards Vol. 2: Airborne Over Europe, you can pre-order a copy for $39.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-831-the-last-hundred-yards-volume-2-airborne-over-europe.aspx
New P500’s on the Horizon
One of my most anticipated sections of the Monthly Update is the “New P500’s on the Horizon” segment. Where each month, I get to make a fool of myself with misguided guesses and stabs in the dark. Well, each month no matter how I did the month before, I dust myself off and give it a go. Here are my guesses for this month’s clues:
- A new Lunchtime game – no idea at this point. Wish I did know.
- A new block game – I’ve been guessing this one the past few months but the clues have been just a bit off. This month though I think I’ve got it right. This is Conquest & Consequences which is Triumph & Tragedy in the Pacific Theater. Here is a picture of this one that I found on Facebook a few months back (sorry but it is a bit blurry):
- A new 4-player CDG on a very interesting topic – I will use my guess from last month (I will just keep using this one until I get it right or they announce it!). Could this one be the prequel to Here I Stand called Tato Mota? Here is a picture I saw in the wild:
- A new strategy game with an Ancients theme – I had no idea last month when Gene gave this hint but I am really getting into Ancients right now but don’t have a guess on this one.
- A new expansion for one of our operational air games – I know that I would love to see another great air war game but operational level has me a bit stumped. Could it be an expansion for Downtown?
I have little confidence in my guesses this month. Gene, how did I do?
Charging and Shipping
The next round of P500 shipments will begin around September 13th, with the following games shipping:
Wing Leader: Victories, 2nd Edition
Wing Leader: Victories 2nd Ed. Update Kit
Wing Leader: Eagles
Charging. GMT will begin charging for the following four items (one per day) as of Friday, August 23rd.
Wing Leader: Victories, 2nd Edition
Wing Leader: Victories 2nd Ed. Update Kit
Wing Leader: Eagles
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 August 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 July 21st.
- 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 386 [+7 orders] – Only 114 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 – 1,234 [+5 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 4 months ago. In final art awaiting a printing slot. Should ship in next 3-5 months.
- Navajo Wars 2nd Printing – 648 [+3 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 had a final preproduction copy in July and has been playing it and posting some really great pictures on his Facebook and Twitter page. Currently at the printer with no shipping date.
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 873 [+9 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 – 3,157 [+21 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. Currently at the art department and should ship in the next 5-9 months
- Roads to Leningrad 2nd Printing – 172 [+0 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 – 1,070 [+35 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. Set to charge on September 11th and shipping is slated for September 25th.
- Plains Indian Wars – 367 [+14 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. 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. It was announced as one that is in danger of being removed from the P500 if orders don’t pick up. It gained some ground after the announcement as there have been 15 new orders.
- A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 886 [+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 3-5 months.
- All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 – 1,178 [+12 orders, made the cut! in the first month] – Here is a link to an InsideGMT article that describes 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 also worked with Vez on a series of posts where we are spoiling 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 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.
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 564 [+4 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 GenCon 2018 and got to play and shoot a video interview on the game.
- People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 753 [+13 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 – 732 [+3 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 – 975 [+17 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!
- Versailles 1919 – 1,092 [+24 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 – 1,479 [+38 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. The game is at the printer with no shipping date.
- Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game – 527 [+11 orders, made 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 2018 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.
- Men of Iron Tri-Pack – 735 [+31 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 – 994 [+26 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 and Ancients recently and are really anticipating this title.
- Storm Above the Reich – 594 [+18 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 – 960 [+13 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 but no shipping date.
- Next War: Vietnam – 733 [+24 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! I have reached out to the designer Mitchell Land and we will be working on an interview over the next few months. Nearing art department readiness but no shipping date.
- Hunt for Blackbeard – 441 [+16 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 posted an interview with designer Volko Ruhnke in June. It was identified as a P500 that might be removed from the list if orders don’t pick up and I saw that it had 7 orders since that announcement.
- Battle Line, Medieval Edition – 1,094 [+49 orders, made the cut!] – The classic card game with some new rules and new art. Should be a fun one to play! At the printer with no shipping date yet.
- Rebel Fury: Five Battles from the Campaigns of Chancellorsville and Chickamauga – 595 [+19 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.
- Clash of Sovereigns: The War of the Austrian Succession, 1740-48 – 502[+37 orders, made the cut!] – 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 – 673 [+41 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 – 391 [+25 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-? – 1,121 [+80 orders, made the cut!] – 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. We love Labyrinth and this is simply more goodness. We have an interview with the designer Trevor Bender finished and it should post on September 3rd. Nearing art department readiness.
- Storm Over Asia – 251 [+137 orders] – A large companion game to the daunting A World at War that focuses on the Pacific Theater of Operations. Beginning in 1935, there are a lot of options for players to explore different what if scenarios in this deep World War II game. I added it because I couldn’t help myself!
- No Retreat! Battles: 1942 – 288 [+43 orders] – A game that looks at battles for an individual year during World War II. Game offers solitaire rules for a few of the included battles, of which there are 5 in this edition. We posted an interview with the designer Carl Paradis earlier this month.
- COIN Series Volume XII China’s War: 1937-1941 – 461 orders
- Fall of Saigon – 509 orders
- The Last Hundred Yards Volume 2: Airborne Over Europe – 202 orders
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:
As always, this month’s update was chock full of good and useful information about GMT Games’ upcoming products. We are blessed to have such a great and communicative publisher that does such good games. I look forward to each month, as I am sure that you do as well, and just love to see what is upcoming.