I am now starting my 8th week in quarantine and really haven’t left the house that much. I have gone into work a few times (which was a total ghost town) and went to the grocery store a few times as well. But other than that I have been in my house working from my laptop. It has given me a lot of time to work on the blog and I feel like I have played a lot of good solitaire games recently and been writing pieces on them. I have really been enjoying Nevsky more as I explore the rules without really playing but setting up scenarios and just walking through strategies. I have also dabbled in Navajo Wars and am getting ready to begin another new game after learning more of the rules. I am really grateful for the fact that I have good games to play and keep myself busy.
Well, it appears that things are starting to get at least a little back to normal as places are opening up. GMT Games announced in this update that they would be back open for business on May 25th. This is really good news as there are a ton of great games that I have been waiting for that will start shipping over the next few weeks. It’s going to be a good summer of games I think!
This month there is a very interesting looking new CDG designed by Ed Beach (of Here I Stand and Virgin Queen fame!) being added to the P500 plus lots of other good tidbits of news.
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/fc963c451f5f/may-18-update-from-gmt-re-opening-new-p500s-digital-news-more
Also if you are interested in my thoughts on the April Monthly Update you can read that post here: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/04/24/april-2020-monthly-update-from-gmt-games-no-change-on-the-horizon-but-we-are-hopeful/
Only one new addition was announced to the P500 this month but it appears to be a very interesting game in that it deals with the same time frame (generally) as games like Here I Stand and is a CDG.
Border Reivers: Anglo-Scottish Border Raids, 1513-1603
Ed Beach usually designs games that use the CDG mechanic and that allow a lot of gamers to get in on the action. Games like Here I Stand and Virgin Queen allow up to 6 players and it appears that this new game Border Reivers allows 4-6 players although 2 and 3-player versions are also supported (where each player leads both an English and a Scottish family). But, this game is not similar to the others I mentioned. Not even close! It seems to incorporate some elements of a Euro and from the pictures I can see on the game page it appears to use Meeples of sheep and cows (which frankly I am totally fine with).
From the game page, we read the following:
In Border Reivers, each player rules over one of the Marches as leader of one of the six major riding families of the border: Grey, Fenwick, Dacre, Maxwell, Kerr, or Hume. Your goal is to increase the wealth and fame of your clan throughout the reigns of Henry and Elizabeth to end the century as the most famous Border Reiver of all time. Players gain VPs from successful combats, amassing large herds of livestock, and by elevating their Notoriety above the other players in the regions of the map.
Here is a fairly detailed summary of the the different seasons and how it works:
In Summer, players build their strength through a card-drafting system that lets you strengthen your March for the winter raids that follow. Players build fortified peel defense towers, garrison old castles, and build walls around their farmhouses (creating “bastles”) to guard against enemy raids. At the same time, you recruit famous reivers and wardens to your cause and ally with the most notorious clans of the time (including the infamous Elliotts, Scotts, Johnstones, and Armstrongs). And don’t forget to buy the favor of the most powerful office holders, whether it be the Bishop of Carlisle, the Keeper of Liddesdale, or the mighty Lord Warden of the Marches.
As the air cools and Fall arrives, players commit their defensive assets to the map to prepare for the raids and feuds that are soon to follow. At this time a set of events drawn from the history of the region are chosen, presenting the players with short-term opportunities that may gain them an advantage. Events include the battles of Flodden Field and Solway Moss, Henry VIII’s Rough Wooing to try and force a marriage alliance, Mary Queen of Scots’ tour of the Scottish borders, and the Catholic Rising of the North.
To initiate Winter combats, players select one of their Target cards to secretly designate their intended combat activity. Options include launching a Raid to steal precious livestock, joining their national army as light cavalry forces in one of the historical Battles, or representing their family against a specific target player with whom you have a Feud or Gaolbreak attempt that needs to be prosecuted. Careful play of cards that were drafted during the Summer can help these combats break favorably for your clan.
At last, Spring arrives and the raiding ceases. It’s time to count points and sing of the heroic exploits just witnessed. And on the final turn, that’s exactly what happens—players cash in one or more of the Border Ballad cards for extra VP, especially if the ballad aligns with the strategic path they have followed throughout the game. Which ballad will commemorate your deeds on the Border? May you fare better than Johnny Armstrong, the subject of the famous ballad “Armstrong’s Goodnight,” that captures the spirit of the Reivers.
Charging and Shipping
The following update for Charging and Shipping was copied from the Update:
GMT will ship the TWELVE items in the warehouse in three batches, about a month apart, as follows (Note that there have been some changes to Batch 2 and Batch 3 from last month’s update):
The 1st P500 Batch – will begin charging for the 4 games, below (1 game per day), on Wednesday, May 20. The plan to begin shipping this batch is on May 27th.
The 2nd P500 Batch – charging and shipping roughly June 15-25th – will include the following 4 products:
The 3rd P500 Batch – charging and shipping roughly July 15-25th – will include the following 4 products:
*Note that it is highly likely that Versailles 1919 will be added to this 3rd Batch.
New P500’s on the Horizon
I did a terrible job last month on my guesses as I just didn’t have any intel on the games that were included in the hints. I did get 1 guess correct (Mark Simonitch’s Salerno ’43) but that was it. We shall see how I do this month. Here is the information that Gene shared in the update with my guesses added:
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. Over the coming 1-6 months, I anticipate that we will add:
- A new deep strategy game with an Ancients theme – my guess is that this is Hubris from Morgane Gouyon-Rety of Pendragon fame. I saw on Facebook the past few days that the prototype is done and ready for playtesting and a developer has signed on to the project.
- A new design by Sal Vasta – could this be Armistice, which uses the system from USE but takes it to World War I (we actually sat down with Sal at WBC in 2018 and shot the following video).
- A new game set in Afghanistan – this hint was in the update last month and I just don’t know anything at this point.
- A new edition of one of our sold out “monster” WWII games – Asia Engulfed, which is a block wargame covering WWII in the Pacific?
Those are my guesses. I feel pretty good about at least two of these, but we shall see.
Conclusion and Summary of My P500 Orders/Tracking
As I always tend to end these posts, I will post a summary of where my P500 games stand as of May 20th. I routinely check the status of each of my games and also will show the change in orders as compared to the last time I wrote them down on April 24th.
- 1989: Dawn of Freedom 2nd Printing – 550 [+17 orders] – Finally reached the 500 orders level…but we know from the Update that it will ship in the 3rd batch on or about July 15th. Here is a look at the updated 2nd Printing cover that I shared last month (but it is so good I had to share again):
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 967 [+11 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.
- Imperial Struggle – 3,958 [+180 orders, made the cut on 1st day!] – A game depicting the rivalry between France and Britain in the 18th century designed by the Twilight Struggle dynamic duo. Currently in transit to the warehouse and will begin shipping in the 1st batch on May 27th. Here is a look at the final cover:
- Roads to Leningrad 2nd Edition – 191 [+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 though as growth has slowed to a crawl on orders. Vance’s games are amazing and we have really enjoyed our plays of Demyansk Shield from Legion Wargames.
- Plains Indian Wars – 430 [+11 orders, made the cut! thanks to a mystery donor] – 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. How far this one has come. After being announced as being in danger of being removed from the P500 if orders didn’t pick up an anonymous donor has bought the remaining +/- 100 copies to get this one printed. Yeah!
- A Time for Trumpets: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – 955 [+6 orders, made the cut!] – A monster wargame covering the Battle of the Bulge (5 maps and 1,600 counters). This design seems to take many familiar elements from other designs and adds some new shiny things to spice it up. I’m really interested to see the different colors used for the various formation/HQs as this one purports to include the entire rainbow. Congrats to Bruno on making the cut so quickly. Here is our interview with Bruno for your reading pleasure. Currently in the art department and should be shipping over the next 5-9 months.
- All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 – 1,380 [+28 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 at the art department awaiting a shipping date. Here is a look at the final cover:
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 651 [+17 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 – 854 [+22 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 – 877 [+36 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 transit to the warehouse and will begin shipping in the 2nd batch after the reopen around June 15th.
- Atlantic Chase – 1,042 [+5 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! Next to get a print slot and shipping in the next 4-6 months.
- Versailles 1919 – 1,454 [+76 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 interviewwith him. Great game by the way! Currently at the printer awaiting a shipping date. Here is a look at the final cover:
- Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game – 633 [+12 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 2019 which was really good. Nearing art department readiness.
- Men of Iron Tri-Pack – 992 [+51 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. Will begin shipping in 1st batch after opening on May 25th.
- Commands and Colors: Samurai Battles – 1,175 [+25 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. In art department and shipping in the next 5-9 months.
- Storm Above the Reich – 727 [+11 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 – 1,274 [+17 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 – 902 [+18 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! In final art and next to get a print slot. Shipping in 4-6 months.
- Rebel Fury: Five Battles from the Campaigns of Chancellorsville and Chickamauga – 769 [+14 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 – 592 [+5 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 – 877 [+21 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! This game appeared on my Most Anticipated Wargames of 2020 list at #4 along with several other games on this post. In final art and next to get a print slot. Shipping in next 4-6 months.
- Banish the Snakes – 576 [+7 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. We published an interview with designer Kevin McPartland a few weeks ago.
- Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-? – 1,892 [+93 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 last year. We also hosted a series of 6 Event Card spoiler posts over the past few months. #257 Women’s Rights Activism, #315 Khashoggi Crisis, #275 Operation Inherent Resolve, #305 Presidential Whistleblower, #391 Tehran-Beirut Land Corridor and #351 Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). Shipping in the 1st batch after reopening on May 27th.
- Storm Over Asia – 471 [+13 orders, made the cut! due to an anonymous donor] – 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! Shipping in the 3rd batch after they reopen on or about July 15th.
- No Retreat! Battles: 1942 – 413 [+19 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 – 1,128 [+30 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 – 1,480 [+61 orders, made the cut!] – We love Fire in the Lakeand 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 role is 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 – 644 [+33 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 have reached out to the designer Mike Denson for an interview and I would guess it will post in June.
- Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East – 568 [+20 orders, made the cut!] – 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 – 620 [+27 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. We recently published an interview with designer Craig Besinque.
- SpaceCorp: Ventures – 1,198 [+42 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. I reached out to the designer John Butterfield for an interview and hope to have that in a few months.
- The Weimar Republic – 970 [+39 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 have reached out to the designer Gunnar Holmbäck for an interview and hope to have that posted in June.
- Red Storm: Baltic Approaches – 548 [+40 orders, made the cut!] – an expansion for the very interesting looking “Cold War Gone Hot” air war game Red Stormadding the air forces of three new countries (Denmark, Sweden, and Poland) along with additional units for nations represented in Red Storm.
- Seas of Thunder – 558 [+17 orders, made the cut!] – 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 – 457 [+60 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. We posted an interview with the designer Fred Serval a few weeks ago. We also started a new series of event card spoilers called History Behind the Cars with the first entry being #1 Victor Hugo followed by #2 Les Cantinières, #3 Les Amis de l’Ordre,#4 Georges Clémenceau, #5 Otto Von Bismarck and #6 Louise Michel.
- Congress of Vienna – 677 [+34 orders, made the cut!] – 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 – 851 [+43 orders, made the cut!] – 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. This one is a big game as it does include 1,120 counters and two huge 22″ x 34″ double sided maps along with 10 scenarios. I will be reaching out to the designer for an interview but hope that the developer Bill Byrne is involved as he did an interview with me covering Death Valley.
- Tank Duel Expansion #1: North Africa – 621 [+48 orders, made the cut!] – Tank Duel moves to the North African desert with new terrain and desert rules and allows you to take on the role of the Germans, using their Panzer III’s and IV’s or the British in their Churchill’s, Valentine’s, Matilda’s and Crusader’s.
- Tank Duel Tank Pack #1 – 636 [+53 orders, made the cut!] – 8 new tanks added to the Tank Duel system including KV-1’s, T-26, M3 Lee’s and Puma’s.
- Almoravid – 567 [+117 orders, made the cut!] – Volume II in the Levy & Campaign Series that focuses on 11th century Spain and the battle between the Moors and Christians. I will be reaching out to Volko to do an interview soon.
- Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa – 992 [+150 orders, made the cut!] – follow up to Twilight Struggle but this time focused in East Africa, the Arabian Gulf, and the vital sea lanes stretching between them.
- Pacific War – 1,515 [+697 orders, made the cut!] – Pacific War is a strategic wargame that takes you from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the climatic summer of 1945… from Australia to China… from Burma to Hawaii… from the defense of Wake Island through the invasion of Guadalcanal culminating in the desperate battles to defend the Japanese Home Islands. A super sized deluxe remake of the classic game from 1985.
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:
I want to simply say to everyone that we are nearing the end of this quarantine and I want to congratulate you all on doing your part and staying safe. I am still very hesitant about going out and won’t be returning to work for at least a few more weeks. But hang in there and hopefully we all come out clean on the other side.
I also want to thank GMT Games, their staff, designers, artists, printers and the like, for all of the hard work that they put into these games. You can see their quality upon opening the boxes for the first time, see the blood, sweat and tears that comes through in the game play, and feel the community when we smile from the fun that we have with our gaming friends and family. Thank you for all that you do and god speed!