This month was a very interesting one with the Monthly Update in that we saw two new games added that were both expansions to established systems. Alexander is absolutely giddy about the Unconditional Surrender expansion and has talked my ear off about it since the announcement (I actually just got another text from him!). I am very excited about the new The Last Hundred Yards expansion as it takes us to the Pacific Theater and should be really interesting. GMT continues to forge ahead and put out superior quality games for us. I received my copy of Imperial Struggle and was really impressed with the game as I opened up the box, sorted and punched the components and began thumbing through the rulebook. I am thinking that I might like this one better than its predecessor in Twilight Struggle. Only time and several plays will tell but I am excited. Well, enough of my blabbing, let’s move onto the Monthly Update.
Also if you didn’t know, GMT offered a promotion last month for those that had lost jobs due to the pandemic. The offer included their choice of two free games. To date, it looks like many were able to apply for and be approved as they have shipped out games to 1,296 customers. This is very impressive and such a fantastic gesture! I hope that all that received these games know how great this offer was and how rare it is in our world today. Kudos to GMT!
As good as that news was, there were some bad spots shared in the update as it appears there are some who just have lost their minds. Gene mentioned that some customers demeaned their customer service staff and I simply find this reprehensible. The way you treat people is all that matters and those few people (Gene mentioned a small %) need to reconsider their approach for sure. They were probably lucky that they weren’t banned and their orders cancelled and refunded. Hang in their CS staff!
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/31cbc2b13da6/july-23-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-new-vv-games-production-updates-and-more
This month there were two new P500’s added, and interestingly each of them were expansions of a sort for established games and both are set in World War II. There also were a few 2nd Printing offerings added to the list.
Unconditional Surrender: Western Campaigns
Unconditional Surrender is one of Alexander’s favorite wargames of all time and now it looks like there is an expansion of sorts that takes the game action to focus on the Western Front which should be very interesting.
From the game page, we read the following:
Unconditional Surrender! Western Campaigns is an operational/strategic-level game covering World War 2 campaigns fought between the Axis and Western Allied factions in Western Europe. With its emphasis on force projection, players focus on the big picture of managing their military forces. Using simple mechanics and low on-map counter density, players easily handle the action without complicated subsystems or tall stacks of counters.
This game is billed as a smaller, faster playing version of Unconditional Surrender and should allow for greater exposure due to its small footprint. The game also can be used as a gateway to the larger Unconditional Surrender game for new players. There are 6 scenarios in the game that appear to be designed to expose the player to new mechanics as they progress through them. From the game page, we read the following:
From the air and ground mechanics in Poland 1939 to the airborne-assisted invasion in Denmark-Norway 1940, players learn the basic operational rules to the game that they can tune in the Balkans 1941 or French North Africa 1942 campaigns. They can then take that experience to larger, competitive scenarios like France 1940 and France 1944. You will decide how far to push your successful spearheads, not knowing how far the rest of your units will advance. You will have to decide what the right balance between timidity and recklessness is and where to commit your air and other assets for success.
This one looks amazing and I am definitely interested in seeing how it differs from the original. Differ is a bad word as it is the same system, but how they differentiate.
If you are interested in Unconditional Surrender: Western Campaigns you can pre-order a copy for $25.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-870-unconditional-surrender-western-campaigns.aspx
The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands
If you didn’t know we really enjoyed The Last Hundred Yards and are eagerly awaiting Volume 2: Airborne Over Europe. The system is very interesting and uses some novel elements in regards to how victory points are scored. Really an excellent system! Now, even though there is already a new volume in development, Mike Denson has forged ahead with the next entry which takes us to the Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II: From the game page, we read the following:
The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands is the third game in The Last Hundred Yards Series. This game focuses on the vicious and brutal Solomons Campaign, including actions to control the islands of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and New Georgia.
We really have enjoyed games covering the PTO and find them to be very chaotic and bloody. It appears that this volume will reinforce that stereotype and keep things really interesting.
When you play the Solomon Islands Campaign missions, you will experience some of the fiercest small unit actions in the Pacific Theater. The game will focus on actions involving the 1st (The Old Breed) and 3rd (Fighting Third) Marine Divisions, as well as the Army’s 25th Infantry Division—the unit that finally drove the Japanese off the island, earning them the nickname “Tropic Lightning.”
As with the previous new volume, this one will introduce new weapons and terrain including flamethrowers, anti-tank halftracks, light and heavy jungle. Each mission will provide new challenges with different elements, forces, and situations encountered.
If you are interested in The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands you can pre-order a copy for $41.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-871-the-last-hundred-yards-volume-3-the-solomon-islands.aspx
Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire 2nd Printing
I really love the system used in these solitaire First Nation wargames created by Joel Toppen. My first introduction to the series was Comanchería and I really enjoyed the system and how intelligent the AI was as I lost my first 3 or 4 plays. But I kept at it and finally won the game and now have moved to play the longer game and have won it, although I have been steamrolled several times. This one has now been added as a 2nd Printing and I would recommend that you get this one as it is really good.
Here are a few Action Point posts I wrote several years ago that will give you insight into how the game plays:
If you are interested in Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire 2nd Printing you can pre-order a copy for $44.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-872-comanchera-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-comanche-empire-2nd-printing.aspx
Charging and Shipping
The following update for Charging and Shipping was copied from the Update:
As GMT works through the logjam of great games sitting in their warehouse, they are shipping them in batches so as not to charge them all at once and cause problems for customers. Currently they have 11 items in the warehouse. They’ve already shipped Batch 1 in late June and are currently shipping Batch 2, as stated below. The remaining games will ship in August and September.
The 2nd P500 Batch – Shipping has already commenced as of July 21st and will last through July 31st. It will include the following 4 products:
The 3rd P500 Batch – Charging will start on August 5th and shipping will start in mid-August. This batch includes the following 5 products:
New P500’s on the Horizon
This is becoming a bad thing for me. I didn’t do very well with my guesses again last month as I really had no guesses. This month appears to be a bit easier as I have some guesses that are backed up with actual intel. The offerings do intrigue me and I will continue doing some more online hunting. 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. For the record, my May hint of “A new game from Sal Vasta” referred to this month’s Unconditional Surrender: Western Campaigns. Over the coming 1-6 months, I anticipate that we will add:
A new COIN-series game with an “out of this world” theme – of all the hints we have been treated to over the past year or so this one has me both completely stumped and totally interested. I have no intel on this one and hope that this could be the first non-historical COIN Series game.
A new solo version for one of Volko’s games – I wonder if this could be an updated Bot for Labyrinth?
A new WWII Battle of the Atlantic game from a popular designer – could this be Wolfpack from Mike Bertucelli?
A stand-alone boxed Prequel to one of our most popular CDGs – this is Tanto Monta which is a prequel to Here I Stand. I feel pretty good about this guess being correct.
A new solitaire WWII air game – I also think that I know this one as it is a partnership between Jerry White and Gina Willis called Skies Above Britain.
I think that I have redeemed myself this month with at least 3 out of 5 correct. Gene, did I get those right?
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 July 24th. 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 June 25th.
- Bayonets & Tomahawks – 984 [+0 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. In final art and next to get a shipping date. Tentative shipping in approximately 4-6 months. Here is a look at final counters:
- Plains Indian Wars – 459 [+8 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 – 1,081 [+101 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 at the printer with no shipping date announced. Here is a look at a near final cover:
- All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 – 1,428 [+29 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. The plan is to ship this one in mid-September.
- Flashpoint: South China Sea – 682 [+16 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. In the art department and shipping in approximately 5-9 months . Here is a look at a draft cover that I found on the interweb:
- People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 859 [+9 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 – 969 [+66 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. Per the update it is shipping in Batch 2 now.
- Atlantic Chase – 1,089 [+36 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! In final art and next to get a print slot. Here is a look at some counters and the near final map:
- Versailles 1919 – 1,566 [+22 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! Per the update it is shipping in Batch 3 around mid-August.
- Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game – 632 [-2 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.
- Commands and Colors: Samurai Battles – 1,253 [+47 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 Napoleonicsand Ancients recently and are really anticipating this title. In final art and next to get a print slot. Should be shipping in next 4-6 months.
- Storm Above the Reich – 748 [+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 – 1,349 [+45 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 final art and next to get a print slot. Should be shipping in 4-6 months. Here is a look at near final cover art:
- Next War: Vietnam – 961 [+34 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! At the printer with no shipping date. Here is a look at the near final cover:
- Rebel Fury: Five Battles from the Campaigns of Chancellorsville and Chickamauga – 798 [+22 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 – 605 [+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. Here is a look at some art in progress for the cards:
- Caesar: Rome VS Gaul, Gallic Wars 57-52 BC – 938 [+40 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. At the printer with no shipping date.
- Banish the Snakes – 605 [+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 month ago.
- Storm Over Asia – 493 [+9 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 sometime in mid-August.
- No Retreat! Battles: 1942 – 425 [+5 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 – 1,196 [+28 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 late last year. Nearing art department readiness.
- Fall of Saigon – 1,547 [+28 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 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. In the art department and shipping in 5-9 months. We are working on a series of 12 Event Card spoilers for the game with the development team that will be posting on the blog over the next few months.
- The Last Hundred Yards Volume 2: Airborne Over Europe – 732 [+88 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. We posted an interview with designer Mike Denson last month.
- Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East – 604 [+14 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 – 664 [+21 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. Nearing art department readiness.
- SpaceCorp: Ventures – 1,284 [+24 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. In final art and next to get a print slot. Shipping in 4-6 months.
- The Weimar Republic – 1,036 [+40 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. We posted an interview with the designer Gunnar Holmbäck this past week. Nearing art department readiness.
- Red Flag Over Paris – 545 [+33 orders, made the cut!] – 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 – 752 [+33 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 and it will be posting during the first week of August.
- Into the Woods: The Battle of Shiloh – 934 [+38 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 – 716 [+36 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 – 724 [+38 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 – 716 [+36 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 have reached out to Volko and we will have an interview posting soon.
- Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa – 1,287 [+97 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 – 1,851 [+102 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. Nearing art department readiness.
- Border Reivers – 484 [+73 orders] – made by the designer of Here I Stand and Virgin Queen, this CDG is a bit different as it uses meeples. 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 VP’s from successful combats, amassing large herds of livestock, and by elevating their Notoriety above the other players in the regions of the map.
- Salerno ’43 – 884 [+789 orders] – the next operational World War II game from Mark Simonitch begings a new three game series that covers the Allied invasion of Italy.
- Drop Zone: Southern France – 149 [+54 orders] – Dan Fournie takes us into a block wargame focused on airborne operations in France after D-Day.
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 hope we all realize how great GMT Games is. From their amazing games, great designers, fantastic production staff, customer service staff and leadership. GMT is my favorite publisher and has been for a long time. I can’t imagine them not doing what they do and how they do it. I simply look forward to each new month, new year and new decade with anticipation for great games. Keep it rolling!