Here we are….a new year! A fresh start! A chance to get back to normal…whatever that looks like. The one constant in our lives is that each month GMT Games puts out their Monthly Update Email and it always seems to make the world seem a bit better and takes us away from the reality of whatever challenges we are facing at the moment. This month was a big one as there were 3 brand new P500 games added as well as 2 reprints along with lots of information about other things happening at GMT Games.
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/3610efff995e/january-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-gmt-one-solo-info-production-update-and-more
Before we get to the new games, there was an interesting piece of news in the update this month about an in-house solo game design studio being started called GMT One. The Studio will be headed by the very talented Jason Carr who has been developing games for GMT for quite some time now. Jason is a true talent and is very detailed and smart and I have had the pleasure of hosting some of his cards from Fall of Saigon over the past year or so with more to come from Tank Duel and other games. Here is the announcement verbatim from the update:
GMT One. As the boardgaming hobby grows, and wargaming within it, Solitaire gaming has become more and more of a niche-within-a-niche. Wargamers have long been willing to “play both sides” as long as it was possible to do so fairly, but with the influx of euro-gaming mechanisms into wargaming, it has become increasingly more difficult to find a fair way for wargamers to play alone—not to mention the relevance of Solitaire gaming as a way of gaming through the global pandemic.
We are proud, then, to announce an in-house development studio dedicated to enabling Solitaire gamers to enjoy the wide variety of multiplayer games that GMT publishes: GMT One. Some of you may have noticed the GMT One logo on the front of the Tru’ng Bot Update Kit for Fire in the Lake.
GMT One will help bridge the gap in knowledge and experience between our multiplayer designers and the skills and techniques used to craft Solitaire experiences and support these designers in creating top-notch designs. Our design group includes the designers who built the Solitaire systems in Tank Duel and Gandhi, and we will partner with designers like John Butterfield, Mark Herman, Volko Ruhnke, Harold Buchanan, Mike Bertucelli, and others to create best-in-industry Solitaire experiences for you.
There were 3 new P500’s added this month including In the Shadows: French Resistance 1943-1944, Prime Minister and CDG Solo System. There also were 2 reprints added in Dominant Species 6th Printing and Talon 3rd Printing.
In the Shadows: French Resistance 1943-1944
As you know, we do designer interviews on the blog on a weekly basis and try to reach to out to new designers to bring variety to them. Two designers that we have done several interviews with are Dan Bullock (No Motherland Without from Compass Games) and Joe Schmidt (several titles including Guerillas of the Peninsular War, The Present Winter, Anzac Cove and Kettle Hill). Recently they teamed up for a special game design contest called Consim Game Jam, and while their design didn’t win the contest, they have now brought their creation to reality with a deal with GMT Games.
From the game page we read the following:
In the Shadows is a two-player card-driven game about the desperate struggle of the French Resistance against the occupying Nazi and collaborating French forces between January 1943 and June 1944. In the game you will play as either the Resistance or the Occupation in a fight over the hearts and minds of the French People. The game strives to have players better understand the nuances of the resistance and the clandestine nature of the fight that led to the founding of the fourth French Republic.
Card Driven Games are one of my favorite wargame mediums as they allow for greater integration of the history of the struggles they cover but also because they are generally easy to pickup and learn. In the Shadows is a Card Driven Game but takes the medium in a new direction.
The gameplay of In the Shadows is driven by Event cards and Actions based on suits. The game relies on three different suits (the Resistance Cross, the Victory Cross, and the Iron Cross) to determine the cost and effectiveness of your Actions. Narratively, this is meant to represent the vital importance of local networks and resources. You may be working with resources in Paris but need to perform Sabotage Actions in Vichy. In this way, the game can better replicate the choices that the leaders of the Occupation and Resistance needed to make.
If you are interested in In the Shadows: French Resistance 1943-1944 you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $30.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-905-in-the-shadows.aspx
Both Alexander and I enjoy games that have player interaction and negotiation. We also enjoy historically themed board games that attempt to replicate the political process. Prime Minister appears to be a game that does all of the above and has piqued my interest for sure.
From the game page, we read the following:
In Prime Minister, 1 to 4 players take on the roles of talented politicians vying for power and prestige in Victorian-era Britain.
At the beginning of the game, each player draws a politician card representing one of the ten historical Prime Ministers who served during Queen Victoria’s reign. Each card features unique abilities that you’ll retain throughout the game. You’ll also have one of three exchangeable player mats for your Politician’s current role: Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, or Backbencher. While always keeping one eye on the upcoming election, players select and debate bills, pursue official appointments, recruit support by hobnobbing with influential Victorians, garner favor with the Queen, and, when the time is right, challenge other players for their leadership roles and seize their player mats. Politician roles and party control of government shift throughout the game, and you’ll rack up victory points as you secure personal and political achievements. Win the game by becoming the first to reach 100 victory points while holding the Prime Minister’s role.
I really enjoy a game that focuses on history and makes an interesting and interactive experience. I am not saying that this game reminds me of it, but Churchill is one of my all time favorite of these type of games and if this one can be even half as interesting as that I will be happy.
If you are interested in Prime Minister you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $52.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-906-prime-minister.aspx
CDG Solo System
Furthering the CDG theme, comes a new solitaire system (not really new as this has been out there for while) but a new revised system using a system designed by the infamous Stuka Joe AKA Jose Ruiz. One of the difficulties with a good CDG is that they typically require 2 players. But what if there was a workable solution to play these CDG’s with only 1 player?
From the game page, we read the following:
The CDG Solo System is a revised GMT Edition of Stuka Joe’s CDG solo method, which streamlines two-handed solitaire gameplay by decreasing turn to turn overhead and maintenance. This method of play increases narrative immersion as the great battles of history unfold on your tabletop. The GMT edition of the CDG Solo System includes professionally printed components, a custom screen-printed die, an official ruleset, and Playsheets for six of GMT’s most popular Card Driven Games.
Along with a Rules Summary and the components talked about above, the system will launch with official Playsheet support for six GMT games including Caesar: Rome vs Gaul, Commands & Colors: Ancients, For The People, Illusions of Glory, Paths of Glory and Washington’s War.
I will say this. If I have a way to play some of my favorite CDG’s without having to get together with Alexander, you can count me in.
If you are interested in CDG Solo System you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $14.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-908-cdg-solo-system.aspx
Dominant Species 6th Printing
If you haven’t played Dominant Species, you need to. It is simply one of the best and most interesting area control games that I have ever played. I recently picked up a 5th Printing copy of the game from my FLGS because it was affordable and because our friend who owned the game moved away. Now I can play my own game and attempt to survive through the Great Ice Age in approximately 90,000 BC. Also, if a game has gone through 6 printings and still going strong you know that there is something there!
Here is a link to a written review on our blog written by Tim Vail (the friend that I mentioned that moved away): https://theplayersaid.com/2016/09/07/review-dominant-species-by-gmt-games/
If you are interested in Dominant Species 6th Printing you can pre-order a copy from the P500 game page for $59.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-909-dominant-species-6th-printing.aspx
Talon 3rd Printing
We played this game a few years ago after the 2nd Printing edition was released and we really enjoyed it. What is there not to like? Large space ship tactical combat is never a bad thing and this one has several very interesting elements. From the way you use a black erasable marker on the ship tiles to mark damage and then erase them only to do it all over again to the problems inherent with maneuvering any large capital ship, either in water or in space, and getting your weapons in a position to fire and do the most damage to your opponent. This game is a solid experience and Jim Krohn did a great job with the design.
Here is a link to our video review of Talon 2nd Printing from a few years ago in case you want to get our thoughts on how the game plays and what you can expect from the experience:
If you are interested in Talon 3rd Printing you can pre-order a copy from the P500 game page for $44.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-910-talon-3rd-printing.aspx
Charging & Shipping
The following information for Charging and Shipping was copied directly from the Update:
January Batch – The following games began shipping on January 22nd:
February P500 Charge/Ship. GMT’s next charge will be on Monday, February 4th, for the following 3 games:
GMT intends to begin shipping all three games by roughly February 15th.
New P500’s on the Horizon
The past few months I have done fairly well with my guesses for the New P500’s on the Horizon segment but this month is not going to be as good for me but I think that I have 1.
Here is a brief tease for P500 additions lining up in the coming months. This month’s new In the Shadows is the game referred to in last month’s clue of “A game that features the French Resistance.” 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 WWII block game set in Russia – no guess
A game set in Southeast Asia – no guess
A game that features Hannibal – no guess
A new AmRev series game – White Plains. I am 100% on this one. I am lining up an interview with the designer soon.
A new GBACW expansion – no guess
Conclusion and Summary of the P500 Games on my watch list:
As I always tend to end these posts, I will post a summary of where the P500 games I have an interest in stand as of January 26th. I routinely check the status of each of these games and also will show the change in orders as compared to the last time I wrote them down on November 30th.
Plains Indian Wars – 537 [+13 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. Nearing art department readiness.
Flashpoint: South China Sea – 730 [+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.
People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986 – 920 [+29 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. Developer Jason Carr gave an update on InsideGMT a few months ago as they have revised the design. I might need to reach back out to Ken to discuss again in an interview. Nearing art department readiness.
Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game – 652 [+@ 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.
Storm Above the Reich – 843 [+46 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. At the printer with no shipping date yet.
Rebel Fury: Five Battles from the Campaigns of Chancellorsville and Chickamauga – 837 [+16 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.
Banish the Snakes – 661 [+15 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 earlier this year.
No Retreat! Battles: 1942 – 453 [+0 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 late last year.
COIN Series Volume XII China’s War: 1937-1941 – 1,312 [+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 late last year. Nearing art department readiness.
Fall of Saigon – 1,688 [+29 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. Nearing art department readiness. We just finished up a series of 12 Event Card spoilers for the game with the development team. Here are links to the posts: #S11 Le Duan, #S2 War Powers Act, #S14 Four No’s, #S22 Resolution 21 and #S20 Delta Drought, #S42 “The War Has Begun Again”, #S33 Main Battle Tanks, #S74 Coup! Nixon Resigns, #S48 Ngo Quang Truong, #S69 Family Syndrome, #S49 The Final Dagger and #S75 Coup! Saigon Stands Alone.
Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East – 669 [+17 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. Nearing art department readiness.
Conquest & Consequence – 739 [+20 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. In the art department and shipping in approximately 5-9 months. Here is a look at an in-progress version of the map:
SpaceCorp: Ventures – 1,557 [+105 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 am working on an interview with the designer John Butterfield and hope to have that on the blog this month. At the printer with no shipping date yet.
The Weimar Republic – 1,164 [+47 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 earlier this year. Nearing art department readiness.
Red Flag Over Paris – 646 [+32 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 last year. 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. In the art department and shipping in approximately 5-9 months.
Congress of Vienna – 890 [+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. We posted an interview with designer Frank Esparrago a few months ago.
Into the Woods: The Battle of Shiloh – 1,036 [+30 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. In the art department and shipping in 5-9 months.
Tank Duel Expansion #1: North Africa – 852 [+29 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. In final art and next to get a printing slot. Shipping in 4-6 months. Here is a look at some tank mats and cards:
Tank Duel Tank Pack #1 – 847 [+34 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. In final art and next to get a printing slot. Shipping in 4-6 months.
Almoravid – 892 [+60 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. We posted an interview with designer Volko Ruhnke a few months ago. In the art department and shipping in approximately 5-9 months.
Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa – 1,525 [+74 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. Nearing art department readiness.
Pacific War – 2,164 [+76 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. In the art department with anticipated shipping in 5-9 months.
Border Reivers – 660 [+24 orders, made the cut!] – 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 – 1,342 [+70 orders, made the cut!] – the next operational World War II game from Mark Simonitch begins a new three game series that covers the Allied invasion of Italy. Nearing art department readiness.
The Last Hundred Yards Volume 3: The Solomon Islands – 548 [+48 orders, made the cut!] – the 3rd volume in this amazing tactical series that focuses on the Solomon Islands.
Unconditional Surrender: Western Campaigns – 493 [+30 orders] – this game is kind of a light introductory version of the Unconditional Surrender system that focuses on the Western Front of World War II.
Tanto Monta: The Rise of Ferdinand and Isabella – 694 [+54, made the cut!] – a CDG that covers the period from 1470 to 1516, the height of the Age of Discovery and the years leading immediately into the period covered by Here I Stand: Wars of the Reformation, 1517-1555. We will be reaching out to the designer Carlos Diaz Narvaez soon for an interview.
Hubris: Twilight of the Hellenistic World – 565 [+79 orders, made the cut!] – covers the fifty five years from 220 to 165 BCE, i.e. roughly from the Third Syrian War and its famous battle of Raphia between Antiochos III and Ptolemy IV, to the Third Macedonian War and the battle of Pydna between Perseous of Macedon and the legions of Consul L. Aemilius Paullus, as well as the subsequent bizarre episode of the Circle of Popilius on the beach of Eleusis in Egypt. We will be reaching out to the designer Morgane Gouyon-Rety soon for an interview.
COIN Series Volume XIII Red Dust Rebellion – 1,386 [+168 orders, made the cut on the first day!] – is the first COIN Series game not focused in history as this one tells the story of the Martian revolts of the 2250’s and the rise of Martian nationalism. I will be reaching out to the designer J. Carmichael for an interview soon.
Commands and Colors Medieval: Expansion 1 Crusades Mid-Eastern Battles 1 – 744 [+236 orders, made the cut!]- the C&C Medieval that should have been which is focused on the Crusades.
Skies Above Britain – 616 [+214 orders, made the cut!] – a solitaire game depicting a Royal Air Force squadron of Hurricanes or Spitfires waging a desperate effort to disrupt and destroy German daylight bombing raids over southeast England in the summer of 1940.
Space Empires 4X: All Good Things Expansion – 1,075 [+431 orders, made the cut!] – the third and final expansion in the Space Empires Series. It is designed to complete the game and add even more replayability and options.
Wolfpack: The North Atlantic Convoy Struggles October 1941-March 1943 – 553 [+200 orders, made the cut!] – a tactical, historical game depicting the struggles between the German submarine Wolfpacks and the allied merchant convoys of WWII set in the vast North Atlantic from late 1941 to early 1943.
In the Shadows: French Resistance 1943-1944 – 267 orders
Prime Minister – 309 orders
CDG Solo System – 864 orders, made the cut!
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:
The first update of 2021 was pretty good! Three great looking card driven wargames that I am most definitely interested in and will be hotly anticipating over the next 2 years or so as they work their way through development and playtesting. The amount of quality games that GMT seems to attract is truly a testament to their organization.