This month, the update from GMT Games really snuck up on me! I have been very busy at work with year end revenue projections, performance reviews, contacting new clients to get meetings setup after the first of the year and finishing projects. But, when I got home late Wednesday evening, there it was in my inbox and I was very pleased with the things that I saw inside including several new P500s and other good information on upcoming titles.
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/ceaa9a834e40/november-20-update-from-gmt-tribute-to-chad-new-p500s-more
If you are interested in my thoughts on the October Monthly Update you can read that post here: https://theplayersaid.com/2019/10/25/october-2019-monthly-update-from-gmt-games-good-things-come-in-3s-fall-sale-soon/
Before we get to the meat of the update, I wanted to share Gene’s thoughts on the passing of the great Chad Jensen. I always feel a bit uncomfortable with commenting on these type of situations as I didn’t know Chad or have any interaction with him. Never met him, as I still haven’t attended a Weekend at the Warehouse event, nor did I ever do an interview with him. But, I have played several of his games, namely Combat Commander, Dominant Species and Welcome to Centerville. And I can tell you I got a glimpse into his character and mindset and I am sure that I would have liked him if I knew him. Here are Gene’s comments from the update:
It’s a sad time here at GMT and for many in the broader gaming world. As many of you know already, late last week Chad Jensen passed from this life after a fierce battle with cancer. For those of us who knew Chad well, his passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts. Chad was certainly a giant among game designers, but more importantly, he was a devoted husband, loving father, and faithful friend. If you got to know Chad Jensen, or even if all you knew of Chad was what you gleaned through playing his designs, you were well and truly blessed.
I love this picture of Chad that Michael Arrighi took at a Weekend at the Warehouse from April 2013. Here he is, happily playing another designer’s game (as he often did) among GMT family, with stacks of his own designs behind him, wearing that trademark Chad grin with a sparkle in his eye. He was full of life and good health, enjoying playing games with Kai and his many friends. That’s definitely one of the ways I want to remember him.
Future Projects with Kai. I know from your many online comments and queries that many of you are deeply interested in what we’re going to do with Chad’s games going forward. This is not the right time for a detailed discussion of that, but the short answer is “we’re going to do whatever Kai wants to do.” She is a member of our family, and we are going to do our best to continue to provide an environment where she can do as much or as little as she wants to continue to support Chad’s work and that of GMT. She and I have discussed this briefly, and we are in agreement on general direction.
So you will see us continue to publish and produce Chad and Kai’s Combat Commander series with both reprints and, as we have new material, expansions. And Kai and Chad talked in these last weeks about the small amount of remaining work to be done on Dominant Species: Marine. Kai will make sure it is ready for press as her time and energy allow. We do have other intentions moving forward, but we all need some time to grieve and process, especially Kai. So we’ll share more details on other ways we’re going to continue to honor Chad and his work in the New Year.
Thanks to all of you who have prayed, written notes of support, donated funds, and shared your appreciation with the Jensens and with GMT over the past difficult six months. Kai made sure that Chad saw your words and knew of your contributions and shared that he found great joy and encouragement in them. From my heart to yours, thank you sincerely for helping Chad and Kai—two beloved members of the GMT family—endure a time of great trial with courage, joy, and much love.
Let’s all lift a glass to Chad and the many happy memories that he and his creations have provided us. Rest in Peace, my brother.
There were two new additions to the P500 this month and both look really good! All they needed to do was add a land based game to complete my sentence in the title! I am sure those are coming.
Red Storm: Baltic Approaches
We received our copy of Red Storm about 6 weeks ago and have yet to do anything with it other than unbox it and begin taking a look at the rules. The game is a look at the air war over Central Germany during a 1987 World War III scenario between NATO forces and the Warsaw Pact. The game looks really good, although it is not really for the faint of heart as there is some complexity to the rules (a 60 page rule book is never not complex in some form). We love air combat and have enjoyed many titles from the GMT Games Wing Leader Series and this one is simply more goodness in a different time frame. You are dealing with jets rather than propellers so there is speed! And missiles instead of machine guns so there is some pop! From the game page for the expansion, we read the following:
Red Storm: Baltic Approaches is the first expansion for GMT’s Red Storm game of operational level air combat between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Red Storm: Baltic Approaches adds the air forces of three new countries (Denmark, Sweden, and Poland) along with additional units for nations represented in Red Storm, including US Marine Corps aircraft. The game will also add naval units, anti-ship missiles, maritime weather, and rules covering other facets of air combat in the predominantly maritime domain of the western Baltic.
Scenarios featuring mission types from Red Storm (close air support, interdiction, air defense suppression, and deep strike) will be joined by new types focused on raids against enemy ships, amphibious operation support, airborne drops, and aerial mining. Solo scenarios, using the Bot system introduced in Red Storm, will also be included.
New scenarios, for both 2-players and solo, are infcluded so you can take this game through its paces in case the 24 scenarios in the base game weren’t enough. Those new countries mean different types of aircraft with differing capabilities. Here is more info on the new hardware:
New aircraft types will include the F-4S Phantom, AV-8B Harrier II, F/A-18A Hornet, A-6E Intruder, EA-6B Prowler, Atlantic 2, P-3C Orion, F-35XD Draken, JA-37/AJ-37 Viggen, Tu-22M Backfire, Su-20 Fitter, Tu-95 Bear, IL-38 May, and more. Naval units range from cruisers and destroyers down through amphibious ships, missile patrol craft, and other types from the various countries whose navies would be engaged in the area.
If you are interested in Red Storm: Baltic Approaches you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $31.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-844-red-storm-baltic-approaches.aspx
Seas of Thunder
I once heard that proper grand strategy in wargames requires the inclusion of naval operations. While this game doesn’t have ground forces it does focus on the naval side of World War II and its many problems including too few ships to cover the whole of the vast Pacific to supply concerns. This game takes a look at the strategic picture of the naval conflict and offers over 1,200 combat ship counters to play around with. From the game page, we read the following:
Seas of Thunder not only allows players to re-create the Atlantic or Pacific theaters of the war but to see how challenging the entire picture was for their leaders. How do you protect a globe from German raiders? How desperate was it for Britain when France fell and they were left to fight Germany and Italy alone on the high seas? What is the right balance for the Soviet fleet split between for distinct fronts (Baltic, Black Sea, Arctic, and Pacific)? If the Mediterranean force weakens for the allies, where to they draw ships. from? Does Japan strike quickly or play for attrition when they arrive on the halfway point? Will America fight in two fronts, three, or four?
In Seas of Thunder, players will experience the tension of too much sea to cover with too few ships, the frustration of being caught unprepared, or the intensity of a vital stand contesting a high-value sea area. Victory is neither sudden nor guaranteed. In each battle, a flight of Catalinas, the lack of ASW, the improper distribution of air power, or even a missing minesweeper could be the difference between success or failure.
The game takes a very interesting look at scoring as the game is an area control game where each side scores differing victory points for control of areas.
At its heart, Seas of Thunder is a large area control game where the Allies score low numbers of points for control and the Axis score higher per area. Controlling 6 Areas for the Allies may not be as valuable as scoring 1 area for the Axis. The Axis player seeks to win key zones, and the Allied player must make them pay dearly for them.
Points are scored each turn for the following:
Variable points per Sea Zone controlled
Each Convoy of the opponent Sunk
Each Enemy Warship Sunk
Each Land-Based Air Unit not used (and thus allowed to participate in the ground war or strategic bombing)
The game is divided up into 7 smaller scenarios or campaigns that can be played ‘”as-is” or combined to fight a portion of the war all the way up to the entire campaign.
If you are interested in Seas of Thunder you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $45.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-845-seas-of-thunder.aspx
New P500s on the Horizon
I love this feature of the Monthly Update and have my moments of clarity when I am able to gather all of my intel and make some good guesses. Recently, I have not bee on target with my guesses so I am hoping that I am a bit better this month. Here is the information shared by Gene on upcoming titles:
Here is a brief tease for P500 additions lining up in the coming months. Note that this is not a comprehensive list, so I will switch these up a bit from month to month. My October hint of “Jeff Horger’s latest design – WWII themed” referred to this month’s new Seas of Thunder. And my previous hint of “A new expansion for one of our operational air games” referred to this month’s new Red Storm: Baltic Approaches. Over the coming 1-6 months, I anticipate that we will add:
- An operational game set in Medieval Spain – This has got to be El Cid which is Volume II in Volko Ruhnke’s Levy & Campaign Series.
- A new game in the Great Statesmen series – I really dont have any info on this one but my guess is Lincoln: The Slavery Crisis (my made up title but I think it is pretty good!)
- An expansion for one of our most popular 2019 releases – Tank Duel North Africa. Here is a look at a draft rule book cover I found on Mike Bertucelli’s Facebook page:
- A new American Civil War battle game – When Gene uses battle game that makes me think it is not hex and counter but another system. How about Commands & Colors: Gettysburg?
- A new GMT version of a Victory Games classic design – Another Mark Herman design being brought into the present? Gulf Strike
- A new Lunchtime game – Lunch the Game….I don’t know.
Those are my best guesses. I feel good about at least a few of them but you just never know what is rolling around in the mind of Gene! How did I do?
Shipping. This Friday, Nov. 22nd, GMT will begin shipping all P500 orders of the following products:
Their next P500 shipment will begin in early December (probably around the 10th, but that will depend on how quickly the 11/22 shipments are completed), and will include the following products:
Charging. Beginning Monday, December 3rd (one item per day), GMT will charge for these the following items:
Conclusion and Summary of My P500 Orders/Tracking
As I always tend to end these posts, I will post a summary of where my 36 P500 games stand as of November 22nd. 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 24th.
- 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 424 [+17 orders] – Only 93 more orders…but I saw a note on the Update last month that this was in the art department. That means they are reprinting even without the needed 500 orders which is very cool.
- The Hunters 3rd Printing – 1,333 [+35 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 6 months ago. The October Update said this would be going to the printer on October 1st but I haven’t heard anything on whether that happened or not. My guess is it will ship in December maybe.
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 886 [+1 orders, made the cut!] – I love a good game about the French & Indian War. Read my interview with designer Marc Rodrigue about B&T! 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 – 3,229 [+21 orders, made the cut on 1st day!] A game depicting the rivalry between France and Britain in the 18th century. I may reach out to designer Jason Mathews for an interview as I didn’t have a lot of luck with Ananda. Currently at the art department and should ship in the next 5-9 months
- Roads to Leningrad 2nd Printing – 176 [+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.
- Plains Indian Wars – 373 [+0 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. 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 about 20 new orders.
- A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 902 [+10 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 – 1,245 [+24 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. Currently in the art department and should be shipping in the next 5-9 months. Here is a look some near final art for cards by Chechu Nieto:
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 583 [+6 orders, made the cut!] – Another new entry in the Lunchtime 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. Nearing art department readiness.
- People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 791 [+5 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. Nearing art department readiness.
- Beneath the Med: Italian Submarines at War, 1940-1943 – 754 [+16 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. Currently in the art department and should be shipping in the next 5-9 months.
- Atlantic Chase – 1,011 [+13 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! Currently in the art department and should be shipping in the next 5-9 months.
- Versailles 1919 – 1,224 [+68 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! In final art and should be shipping in the 3-5 months.
- Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game – 562 [+9 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. Nearing art department readiness.
- Men of Iron Tri-Pack – 787 [+15 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 Wakefieldwas very interesting. In final art and should be shipping in the 3-5 months.
- Commands and Colors: Samurai Battles – 1,044 [+8 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. Nearing art department readiness.
- Storm Above the Reich – 634 [+16 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. Nearing art department readiness.
- Dominant Species: Marine – 1,042 [+32 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! In the art department and will be shipping in 5-9 months.
- Next War: Vietnam – 792 [+20 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.
- Battle Line, Medieval Edition – 1,395 [+154 orders, made the cut!] – The classic card game with some new rules and new art. Should be a fun one to play! Shipping November 22nd.
- Rebel Fury: Five Battles from the Campaigns of Chancellorsville and Chickamauga – 660 [+25 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. Nearing art department readiness.
- Clash of Sovereigns: The War of the Austrian Succession, 1740-48 – 543 [+14 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. Nearing art department readiness.
- Caesar: Rome VS Gaul, Gallic Wars 57-52 BC – 736 [+20 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 – 470 [+31 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-? – 1,385 [+89 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 posted an interview with the designer Trevor Bender a few weeks ago. We are also hosting a series of Event Card spoiler posts over the next few months. In the art department and will be shipping in 5-9 months. Here is a look at the near final rulebook/playbook cover:
- Storm Over Asia – 374 [+19 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! Nearing art department readiness.
- No Retreat! Battles: 1942 – 344 [+22 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 a few months ago.
- COIN Series Volume XII China’s War: 1937-1941 – 882 [+67 orders, made the cut!] – Brian Train is back on the COIN wagon as he specializes in counterinsurgency. Love his other two games in the COIN Series (A Distant Plain and Colonial Twilight) and look forward to this one as I have always had a great interest in this part of World War II. I have reached out to Brian for an interview and he enthusiastically agreed. Nearing art department readiness.
- Fall of Saigon – 1,106 [+133 orders, made the cut!] – We love Fire in the Lake and this expansion delves into the period of the Vietnam War from 1972-1975 and really boils down to a play game with the US and VC involved but their roles minimized. We played the game at WBC and posted the following video with Mark Herman and Dan Pancaldi from No Enemies Here. We have also posted a written interview with co-designer Volko Ruhnke.
- The Last Hundred Yards Volume 2: Airborne Over Europe – 470 [+48 orders] – a follow up to the hit The Last Hundred Yards focused on airborne troops. You can’t go wrong with that. I will reach out to the designer Mike Denson for an interview soon.
- Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East – 418 [+80 orders] – if you like a bit of chaos and some randomness in your lite civilization building games, then this series will be right up your alley. We have reached out to the designer Mark McLaughlin and are working on an interview that might post by year’s end.
- Conquest & Consequence – 397 [+217 orders] – The Pacific Theater of World War II using the Triumph & Tragedy system. We love block wargames and this one is going to be good. Will reach out to the designer Craig Besinque for an interview soon.
- SpaceCorp: Ventures – 767 [+330 orders, made the cut!] – We really enjoyed the space exploration in SpaceCorp and this expansion will add unique enterprises via fourteen HQ mats, each putting a player in control of a different corporation, agency, or institution with its own capabilities and missions.
- The Weimar Republic – 571 [+225 orders, made the cut!] – we love CDGs and this one looks really interesting. The game focuses on the political struggle in interwar Germany. Four factions compete for dominance: the democratic Coalition, the Soviet-backed Communist Party, Hitler’s National Socialists, and the far-right Radical Conservatives. I need to reach out to the designer for an interview.
- Red Storm: Baltic Approaches – 166 orders
- Seas of Thunder – 124 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:
We are really swamped with GMT Games goodness at the moment, and there is much more coming very soon. I bet we will see around 10 more P500 games shipped in the next few months and we will then be completely buried under an avalanche. But I am not complaining!