Each month we all sit around and wonder what will be revealed next in the Monthly Update email. What games is the best publisher in the business going to tantalize us with? How am I ever going to be able to afford them? Recently, the games have been coming in at a pretty good clip, with at least 1-2 new additions each month. It doesn’t appear that this is slowing down anytime soon either as they added two great new titles this month.
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/482b3e9a3ace/december-18-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-production-updates-more
If you are interested in my thoughts on the November Monthly Update you can read that post here: https://theplayersaid.com/2019/11/22/november-2019-monthly-update-from-gmt-games-by-_____-air-sea/
This month saw two new P500s being added to the growing list and included games that focus on the back and forth struggle of negotiation and influence and I am really looking forward to both of these designs. There also were two reprints added to the list that I am definitely going to try and pick up including Commands & Colors: Ancient Expansion #6 The Spartan Army 3rd Printing and For the People 4th Printing.
Congress of Vienna
I love the concept of negotiation in wargames and working to build your strategy for the ongoing conflict while also keeping one eye on the post war world. I really enjoyed this concept in the framework of Churchill by Mark Herman. Still one of my favorite games that I will never say no to playing. I also enjoy seeing how your actions in the political or negotiation stage play out on the board itself as you are fighting a war. It appears that this 3rd entry into the Great Statesmen Series is following in those same footsteps.
From the game page we read the following description of the game:
Congress of Vienna is a diplomatic Strategy CDG for one to four players. It is based on Churchill, the superb, award-winning Mark Herman design, and was well received during GMT’s Spring 2019 Weekend at the Warehouse and June’s CSW Expo in Tempe, Arizona. It is the third game after Churchill and Pericles in GMT’s “Great Statesmen” series.
CoV creates an enthralling gaming arena. It allows players to become the main characters of the dramatic, titanic struggle between the struggling Napoleonic Empire and the coalition of Russia, Austria, and Great Britain (with their Prussian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Swedish allies).
The game starts after Napoleon’s disastrous 1812 retreat from Moscow, covering the decisive years of 1813 and 1814. The abstract game map involves a strategic theatre portraying Europe from the Iberian Peninsula to the boundaries of Poland and Prussia. It also includes the secondary front of Italy, an area for depicting maritime warfare and the British/American War of 1812. This game by designer Frank Esparrago and developer Dick Sauer (with much appreciated input from Mark Herman) has been created to be played as both a diplomatic and strategic military conflict without losing the taste of the Napoleonic era’s great battles.
The other element that I thought was really smart from Churchill was the use of historical figures, staff and aides to carry out the actions at the table through the play of cards. From the game page we get this further insight into this mechanic:
A CoV game turn is divided into three different Phases: Diplomacy, Government, and War; each divided into segments that facilitate interaction between players. In the Diplomacy Phase, the leaders of each Major Power and associated minor countries use their best statesmen to interact on the European diplomatic board to improve their economic and military resources and to prioritize efforts in different military fronts. During the Government Phase, the issues gained during Diplomacy are implemented. These take into account the limitations of each Major Power in terms of manpower, economic resources, political impact, and the military situation on the map. In the War Phase, in addition to recruiting new forces and moving them to campaigning armies, military operations are undertaken which on many occasions lead to huge and dramatic battles. CoV‘s system of Victory Points (VP) reward military, diplomatic, political, and economic achievements, so situationally balancing these factors usually prevails over giving sole attention to the game’s military aspects.
If you are interested in Congress of Vienna you can pre-order a copy for $55.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-850-congress-of-vienna.aspx
Red Flag Over Paris: 1871, The Rise and Fall of the Paris Commune
Next up in the Lunchtime Series of games is from a new designer and also carries the them of political wrangling over control of areas. This game is being touted as the spiritual successor to Mark Herman’s Fort Sumter, which I have thoroughly enjoyed playing with my wife numerous times (play count now exceeds 30 times) and pits two players against each other with one controlling the Communards and the other the Government in Versailles.
From the game page we read the following:
Red Flag Over Paris, the spiritual successor to Mark Herman’s Fort Sumter, is a short, yet challenging, two-player card-driven game depicting the two months of intense confrontation between the Communards and the government in Versailles during the 1871 Paris Commune. You will play as one of these factions and fight for control over Paris. But, you will also need to win the hearts and minds of the French population, as the board is divided into two areas–military and political–themselves divided into several dimensions (Political Institutions, Public Opinion, Paris neighborhoods, and the forts on the outskirts of the city). The game forces players to make tough decisions like when to focus on political influence or military dominance and how to optimize limited resources.
Into this fray is thrown a third element that players must manage that I have actually seen in a few recent games (Freeman’s Farm 1777 uses Momentum as a type of currency to be used to purchase powerful Tactics Cards) called Momentum. From the game page we read the following:
On top of controlling the military and political spaces and fulfilling your objectives to score Victory Points, you will have to manage your momentum. Versailles needs to collaborate with the Prussian invader to build up an army that will restore order in the Capital. On the other hand, the Commune needs to build a robust revolutionary momentum to ensure that the population stays mobilized after months of siege and food shortages.
Each card represents either a critical personality or a significant event of the Paris commune. You may use a card for its event, for its operational value (which allows you to place or remove influence cubes in any given area), to buy an event discarded by your opponent, or build your momentum. After up to three rounds, Red Flag Over Paris culminates in a Final Crisis where each player will have to play all the cards they left aside earlier in the game as the last opportunity to place influence before determining the winner.
If you are interested in Red Flag Over Paris you can pre-order a copy for $28.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-849-red-flag-over-paris.aspx
New P500s on the Horizon
I have not had very good luck in my guesses for this segment the past few Updates but I will not give up, in fact, I refuse to admit defeat. I will simply have to try harder. This month, here is the information shared by Gene:
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 November hints of “A new Lunchtime game” and “A new game in the Great Statesman Series” referred to this month’s new Red Flag Over Paris and Congress of Vienna, respectively. Over the coming 1-6 months, I anticipate that we will add:
- New content for fans of Unconditional Surrender – my guess on this one would be wrong I think but I am going to say this refers to the new game from Sal Vasta called Armistice! which I saw at WBC 2018 and have been thinking about ever since. If this is not considered US enough, then I will simply guess a scenario addition of some kind.
- A “Bot Update Pack” for one of our COIN games – I don’t know what this could be as the Bots underwent significant upgrades last year for the COINFest reprinting. But could this be the return of the stopped Cuba Libre expansion?
- A boxed AND a ziplock expansion for one of our most popular 2019 releases – could this be new content for Time of Crisis?
- A new Lunchtime game from Jason Matthews – no idea here but I am guessing Twilight Struggle II – Even Colder War.
- A power politics game set in the 19th century – ????
- A new 18xx title – no idea as I am not really an 18xx fan. Sorry.
I know that was a pitiful attempt and I am frankly embarrassed. Gene, did I get close on any of these guesses?
Shipping. Last Friday, December 13th, GMT began shipping all P500 orders of the following products:
The next P500 shipment will begin roughly around January 13th and will include the following products:
Combat Commander BP #2: Stalingrad, 3rd Printing
Charging. Beginning Friday, January 3rd (one item per day), they will charge for these the following items:
If you guys don’t already own Combat Commander and its many great expansions you need to take advantage of this reprint run and add these to your collection. We have really enjoyed CC here at TPA and are also needing to add Pacific to our collection. We have had many great sessions of this game together and they always seem to come down to the last few cards.
Conclusion and Summary of My P500 Orders/Tracking
As I always tend to end these posts, I will post a summary of where my 37 P500 games stand as of December 2oth. 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 November 22nd.
- 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 446 [+22 orders] – Only 54 more orders…but I saw a note on the Update last month (and again this month) that this was in the art department. That means they are reprinting even without the needed 500 orders which is very cool. Here is actual visual proof from the update that this is getting printed soon as it has been given assigned a print slot and should be out in the next 3-5 months:
- The Hunters 3rd Printing – 1,341 [+8 orders, made the cut!] WWII submarine warfare with the vaunted U-Boats! 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 Update said this would be shipping in late January and that more details will be forthcoming in the January Update.
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 900 [+14 orders, made the cut!] – I love a good game about the French & Indian War. Read my interview with designer Marc Rodrigue about B&T! Getting really close now. Still in the art department with shipping scheduled for the next 5-9 months. Here is a look at the near final cover art:
- Imperial Struggle – 3,258 [+29 orders, made the cut on 1st day!] A game depicting the rivalry between France and Britain in the 18th century. Currently in final art and should ship in the next 3-5 months
- Roads to Leningrad 2nd Edition – 181 [+5 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. Here is a snip of an interesting insight on this 2nd Edition game from the designer Vance von Borries:
- Plains Indian Wars – 382 [+9 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 30 new orders.
- A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 905 [+3 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 – 1,251 [+6 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 initial interview with designer VPJ Arponen last year and now have a follow-up piece with him discussing the design experience. 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 final art and should be shipping in the next 3-5 months. Here is a look at some near final components:
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 594 [+11 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 – 796 [+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 – 749 [-5 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 – 1,008 [-3 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 – 1,265 [+41 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 – 566 [+4 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 – 805 [+18 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. Currently at the printer but no shipping date yet.
- Commands and Colors: Samurai Battles – 1,059 [+15 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 – 646 [+12 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 – 1,082 [+40 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 – 803 [+11 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! Nearing art department readiness.
- Rebel Fury: Five Battles from the Campaigns of Chancellorsville and Chickamauga – 677 [+17 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 – 553 [+10orders, 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 – 752 [+16 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 – 490 [+20 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-? – 1,419 [+34 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 hosted a series of 6 Event Card spoiler posts over the past 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 – 385 [+11 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 – 358 [+14 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 – 923 [+41 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 and it should be posting in the next few weeks. Nearing art department readiness.
- Fall of Saigon – 1,163 [+57 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 – 492 [+22 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 – 449 [+31 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 posted an interview with designers Mark McLaughlin and Christopher Vorder Bruegge.
- Conquest & Consequence – 457 [+60 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 – 892 [+125 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 – 688 [+117 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 – 342 [+176 orders] – an expansion for the very interesting looking “Cold War Gone Hot” air war game Red Storm adding the air forces of three new countries (Denmark, Sweden, and Poland) along with additional units for nations represented in Red Storm.
- Seas of Thunder – 332 [+208 orders] – allows players to re-create the Atlantic or Pacific theaters of the World War II but to see how challenging the entire picture was for their leaders with too much ocean to cover with too few ships.
- Red Flag Over Paris – 143 orders
- Congress of Vienna – 240 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:
Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea – Action Point 4
Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-? Event Card Spoiler – #351 Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)
Interview with VPJ Arponen Designer of COIN Series Volume X All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918
Interview with Mark McLaughlin, Christopher Voder Bruegge Designers and Fred Schachter Developer for Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East
Unboxing Video for Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs
Unboxing Video for Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Infantry Division and the Battle for Kharkov Expansion
Unboxing Video for Stalingrad ’42: Southern Russia, June-December, 1942
Another month has come and gone and we need to get back to playing our many great games from GMT. In January, we are hoping to revisit Tank Duel and shoot a video review (we have played twice but need a third play), we still need to play The Last Hundred Yards again and shoot a video and we want to give our new copy of Twilight Struggle Turn Zero Expansion a play and also shoot a video. Lots of games yet to explore but so little time!
Unconditional Surrender! “content” sounds like less than a full game to me, so I’d assume it’s not Armistice! Maybe a scenario?
As for the Jason Matthews game, he has been mentioning an Ogaden War board game: https://twitter.com/JasonDCMatthews/status/1207725701966766081?s=19 Would be very interesting!
…but maybe I am most interested in the 19th century power politics game.
Anyway, Gene’s teases this month had me salivating!
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Would love to get back into playing 1989, after only a few plays many years ago. If you’re ever looking for an internet opponent… 🙂