A new year has started and I have already blown my resolutions. Eating better, exercising more, spending more time with friends and family, reading….the list goes on and on. But there is one constant in my life that is always dependable and never lets me down and that is GMT Games. They always have something good cooking and this month was no different with the Monthly Update email. Not a month that blew my socks off with it’s new information, new games and the like but definitely dependable.
There were two new P500’s announced this month but lots of good information on other games in the works.
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/05c9bd3a7ca3/january-23-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-new-releases-art-samples-and-more
Also if you are interested in my thoughts on the December Monthly Update you can read that post here: https://theplayersaid.com/2019/12/23/december-2019-monthly-update-from-gmt-games-do-you-want-to-become-a-great-statesman/
There were two new P500’s added this month with one being an American Civil War game and the other a new and updated Bot for one of my favorite games of all time.
Great Battles of the American Civil War Volume VIII Into the Woods: The Battle of Shiloh
Into the Woods: The Battle of Shiloh is the eighth installment of the Great Battles of the American Civil War (GBACW) series, which is an amazing accomplishment in this day of new systems and new games grabbing most of the attention. Under GMT, the GBACW rules system has remained stable, but at the same time has shown remarkable flexibility to allow each game to smoothly incorporate additional rules to reflect the specific elements of the historical battles that make each battle so unique. The series relies on interactive chit-pull mechanics to simulate the often chaotic nature of the 19th Century battlefield at the regimental level.
From the game page we read the following:
Into the Woods: The Battle of Shiloh includes ten scenarios. They range from division level contests on half sized maps to two-map battles depicting both the first and second day of the struggle. Experienced players will be able to play many of the scenarios in one sitting. The game reflects the Confederate surprise, the “greenness” of many units on both sides, as well as the unique role Albert Sidney Johnston played in the Confederate attack.
This one is a big game as it does include 1,120 counters and two huge 22″ x 34″ double sided maps. This game does have a new designer on the project but is supported by a veteran developer and co-designer in Bill Byrne who did such a good job on the Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah project.
If you are interested in Great Battles of the American Civil War Volume VIII Into the Woods: The Battle of Shiloh you can pre-order a copy for $40.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-855-into-the-woods-the-battle-of-shiloh.aspx
Fire in the Lake: Tru’ng Bot Update Pack
Many of our favorite multi-player wargames are difficult to get on the table to solo play as there are just too many factions to control. It can be done but less than ideally. Over the past few years, published like GMT have put a lot of time and resources into addressing this problem as they have developed a system of solitaire bots that control 1, 2 or even three of the factions in a game allowing us as players to focus on just one. They have now developed a more robust and functional AI Bot for Fire in the Lake and are calling it Tru’ng. This Bot was designed by Bruce Mansfield, the designer of Gandhi and it’s Bot named Arjuna.
From the game page we read the following:
Tru’ng is the name of a new bot system for Fire in the Lake. It follows in the footsteps of the innovative card-based bot system that was first developed for Gandhi, giving fans of Fire in the Lake more opportunities to get this great game to the table.
Tru’ng is quick to use and easy to implement, but is sophisticated enough to play the full Fire in the Lake game. When selecting Operations and Special Activities, cards are drawn from the Tru’ng deck—there are six cards for each Fire in the Lake faction. Each card examines the current state of the game and selects the appropriate action for the active faction. A single, faction-specific table then determines where that action will occur. The same table is used to select spaces for Operations, Special Activities, and Events, minimizing the need to flip between multiple player aids.
If you are worried about whether the solo bot feels right when playing here is a comment from the game page:
Playing against Tru’ng feels like playing against a human opponent. It is unpredictable yet responsive to strategic needs, it goes after its enemies while keeping an eye on its ally, and makes moves up to now limited to human players—like choosing a Limited Operation to block an opponent’s Event. Tru’ng can take the place of a human player for any Fire in the Lake faction, can be used with every Fire in the Lake scenario, and can be used in any combination of player and non-player setups.
If you are interested in the Fire in the Lake: Tru’ng Bot Update Pack you can pre-order a copy for $17.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-856-fire-in-the-lake-trung-bot-update-pack.aspx
New Third Party Games in the Warehouse
As we have seen in the past, GMT sometimes imports overseas games to make them easily accessible to the US market and will occasionally stock these small company games that they think are interesting to us gamers.
This month they have announced that they have both an import and the first game from a small company. The Battle of North Kursk is from Kuro Neko, well known as the publishers of Richard Berg’s The Dragon and the Cross. They also have the first game design from Companion War Games and Mark Scarbrough. They have a prior relationship with Mark and thought that his game Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Battle was worth offering. Note that this is a very limited print run, so get yours now if you want one!
The links below will take you to the game pages on the GMT Games website for more details or to order.
The Battle of North Kursk – Kuro Neko Designs
Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Battle – Companion War Games
New P500s on the Horizon
As I mentioned last month, 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 with my guesses next to each item:
- New content for fans of Unconditional Surrender – other than the supposed Armistice game using the same system (or similar) I don’t have any guess on this.
- A new game from Volko Ruhnke – this would be Volume II in the new Levy & Campaign Series. The game will be titled Almoravid.
- Another Enemy Coast Ahead design from Jerry White – don’t have any real intel on this one but we love ECA and welcome any new game. I would guess that it might involve missions in Vietnam.
- A new Lunchtime game from Jason Matthews – I know this one and even have picture of the map to share. The game will be called Twilight Struggle II Electric Boogaloo…wait…no…TS: Red Sea: Conflict in the Horn of Africa
- New Content for the Next War series – I would guess that this is a clue to a new scenario or something to do with the recent trouble with Iran.
- A new 18xx title – not really my bag baby so I don’t have a guess.
Feel pretty good about at least 2 of my guesses. How did I do Gene?
Shipping. On January 15th, GMT began shipping all P500 orders of the following products:
Combat Commander: Pacific, 2nd Printing
Combat Commander BP #1: Paratroops, 3rd Printing
Combat Commander BP #2: Stalingrad, 3rd Printing
Combat Commander BP #3: Normandy, 2nd Printing
Combat Commander BP #4: New Guinea, 2nd Printing
Combat Commander BP #5: Fall of the West, 2nd Printing
They hope to finish shipping all of these titles by mid-week this week.
The next P500 shipment will begin roughly around January 30th and will include the following products:
Charging. Starting last Friday, January 24th (one item per day), GMT started charging for the 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 38 P500 games stand as of January 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 December 20th.
- 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 446 [+2 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.
- The Hunters 3rd Printing – 1,372 [+31 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 8 months ago. The Update said this would be shipping on January 30th.
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 916 [+16 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 that I shared last month:
- Imperial Struggle – 3,358 [+100 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. Here is a look at some finalized art for the cards:
- Roads to Leningrad 2nd Edition – 190 [+9 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 – 387 [+5 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 35 new orders.
- A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 913 [+8 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 – 1,270 [+19 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.
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 613 [+19 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 – 807 [+11 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 – 764 [+15 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 – 1,285 [+20 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 – 584 [+18 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 – 844 [+39 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 – 1,090 [+31 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 – 659 [+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. Nearing art department readiness.
- Dominant Species: Marine – 1,143 [+61 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 – 839 [+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! Nearing art department readiness.
- Rebel Fury: Five Battles from the Campaigns of Chancellorsville and Chickamauga – 692 [+15 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 – 560 [+7 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 – 776 [+24 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 – 518 [+28 orders, made the cut!] – 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-? – 1,529 [+110 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. At the printer with no shipping date. Here is a look at some finalized card art:
- Storm Over Asia – 395 [+10 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 – 366 [+8 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 – 991 [+68 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. We posted an interview with Brian Train a few weeks ago. Nearing art department readiness.
- Fall of Saigon – 1,249 [+86 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. Nearing art department readiness.
- The Last Hundred Yards Volume 2: Airborne Over Europe – 534 [+42 orders, made the cut!] – 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 – 475 [+26 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 – 514 [+57 orders, made the cut!] – 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 – 991 [+99 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 – 765 [+77 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 – 402 [+60 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 – 421 [+89 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 – 273 [+130 orders] – a game similar in style and mechanics to Fort Sumter but that deals with the Parisian revolutionaries taking control of the French Capital, leading to the beginning of the Paris Commune, a socialist and popular government that would rule the City of Light from March 18 to May 28, 1871. The tension escalates between the Commune and Versailles until the tragic events of the Bloody Week. I have reached out to the designer for an interview.
- Congress of Vienna – 444 [+202 orders] – a diplomatic Strategy CDG for one to four players which is based on Churchill but that deals with the Napoleonic Wars and their end between 1813-1814. I have reached out to the designer for an interview.
- Into the Woods: The Battle of Shiloh – 489 orders
I also wanted to include at the end of this post our reviews/interviews/unboxing videos of recent GMT games that we have played and enjoyed:
Video Review: The Dark Sands, War in North Africa 1940-42
Unboxing Video: Navajo Wars: A History of the American Southwest 1598-1864 2nd Printing
Battle Report Video: Here I Stand: Wars of the Reformation, 1517-1555
Unboxing Video: Nevsky: Teutons and Rus in Collision, 1240-1242
Interview with Brian Train Designer of COIN Series Volume XII China’s War: 1937-1941
15 Influential Wargames from the Decade 2010-2019 which highlights several GMT Games such as Labyrinth, Sekigahara, Andean Abyss, Churchill, Triumph & Tragedy, Liberty or Death and The Last Hundred Yards
We have always loved GMT Games and their games. In fact, as many of you know, they were our attraction back into wargaming and I really love their approach and the types of games that they decide to publish. We have several GMT Games from 2019 left to play, including Nevsky, Red Storm and Stalingrad ’43, before putting out our Top Games of 2019 list but I can already tell you that GMT will most likely have 4 or 5 spots on that list! Here’s to the greatest publisher in the world!
In conclusion here is some info from the Monthly Update on the upcoming 2nd Annual INsurgency in INdianaplis at GenCon:
The Wargamer’s INsurgency at Gen Con needs you!
Harold Buchanan, The Player’s Aid Blog and others are going to be back at the Wargamer’s INsurgency at GenCon 2020 (July 30 – August 2, 2020). The goal is to bring board wargaming back to the convention that started with board wargames! GMT will be supporting Harold and the INsurgency with demo games, prizes, and several GMT team members who’ll be there to teach games or lead events.
The Wargamer’s iNsurgency needs you! Are you willing to host an event? If so, contact Harold Buchanan at buchananhg AT gmail.com . Feel free to contact him if you are interested in getting involved in any way. You can also stay informed at https://conflictsimulations.com or on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/wargamersinsurgency .
We would really like to meet many of your at this event so please take a look and consider stopping by, running an event or playing in one. Thanks to Harold Buchanan for all of his hard work on this event. You da man Harold!
Has anyone seen any graphics on the Chinese Kursk game?
Does anyone know or understand why some, as it looks, are trolling Volko Ruhnke and his Levy & Campaign Series? Look at GMT’s homepage and it certainly looks like the new title “Almoravid” caused a few to go bananas and weirdly enough try to down vote “Nevsky”.
Not that important since the world is full of idiots, in the meaning that they are clueless as how to communicate as human beings. I’m only curious. Maybe Volko unintentionally stepped on some sensitive nationalistic toe.
I’m in disbelief, will we eventually see “Imperial Struggle” on our tables? It must be tough, though, to release a game after the unprecedented success of TS.
I know there has been some angst over which period of time he would focus on for Volume 2 and some wanted an El Cid focus while he chose to go the Almovarid route. There also was concern over the cover art for Nevsky but I think it is a good change for a wargame.
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A sad moment for the community. If some are so upset, let them go ahead a design their own games to celebrate whatever hero they choose. Someone’s hero though, could according to others be a traitor or villain.
On this note I would like to recommend SU & SD’s review of “Undaunted: Normandy”. As a conclusion to the review a history “lesson” was added, which highlighted a forgotten, but important part of the WWII. For those who haven’t seen it, even if the game itself doesn’t interest you, I recommend you watch the end (starts at about 14:30).
Not every game interest me and some might not down to every detail be historically correct. Board games aren’t immune to what’s going on in the world. Even so I’m grateful for the sheer amount of games covering little known conflicts or less covered aspects of them. Since it isn’t a immensely profitable business you could expect a bit more gratitude for the work some designers put into their games.
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I might note that both Into the Woods and the Fire in the Lake reprint “made the cut” in P500 within just a few days. As of this writing, ItW has 539 preorders, while FitL has 522, after just one week. Indications of the health of both franchises!!!
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I am really hoping that Red Flag Over Paris makes the cut as it really looks like a fun game. A little bit of Fort Sumter but different enough to be exciting.
And it’s a rather unique subject too!
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It should make it. We are working on an interview with the designer and it does look interesting.
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Looking forward to that one!
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