It has been a while since I wrote one of these GMT Games Monthly Update posts. Frankly, the last one was in May 2021. Yikes! One of my New Year Resolutions was to start writing them again in 2023! So, here we are with a very good update to start the year on with multiple new P500’s, great updates on the games you have P500’ed and other great details shared from Gene Billingsley’s desk. One of the things that I have already admired about GMT Games is their communication. I think that they do a really great job of keeping us up to date, including sometimes breaking our hearts.
In case you hadn’t heard, the CSR Awards were announced late last month and there were lots of winners among GMT Games releases over the past year. 4 games took home a bevy of awards, including Atlantic Chase designed by Jerry White, Bayonets & Tomahawks designed by Marc Rodrigue, Red Flag Over Paris designed by Fred Serval and Storm Above the Reich designed by Jerry White. Congratulations are in order for those game’s design and development teams.
The games won the following awards:
Wargame of the Year, designer Jerry White (I had this one as #2 on my Top 10 Wargames of 2021 list)
Best World War II Era Board Wargame, designer Jerry White
Best Solitaire or Cooperative Board Wargame, designer Jerry White
Best Board Wargame Playing Components, GMT Games
Best Board Wargame Rules, designer Jerry White
Bayonets & Tomahawks
Best Early Gunpowder Board Wargame 1453-1793 AD, designer Marc Rodrigue (This was my #1 on my Top 10 Wargames of 2021 list)
Best Board Wargame Map Graphics, map artist Marc Rodrigue (this board will be included in my Best Looking Boards in Wargaming Series soon)
Charles S. Roberts Best New Designer Award, designer Marc Rodrigue
Red Flag Over Paris
Best Late Gunpowder to Pre-World War I Board Wargame, excluding American Civil War and Napoleonic Topics, designer Fred Serval
Storm Above the Reich
Best Cover Art, box artists Antonis Karidis and Mark Simonitch (I agree with this one wholeheartedly. Antonis Karidis is on another level with his graphic skills especially with aircraft!)
If you are interested, you can see all the award categories and winners by going to the following link: https://charlessrobertsawards.com/2021-winners/
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/78838b5480dd/january-19-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-production-update-award-winners-and-more
This month there were 3 new P500’s added including Next War: Iran, Levy & Campaign Series Volume VI Seljuk: Byzantium Besieged 1068-1071 and Next War Supplement #4. There were no new P500 reprints offered this time.
Next War: Iran
I’m going to be honest here. I have yet to play any of the many Next War Series games. Alexander owns Next War: Taiwan and I have Next War: Vietnam unopened and sitting on my shelf but we just have had other games to play….and are a bit intimidated if i am being straight with you. This one may be the title that gets me off the bench though and into the game. I love a good modern wargame.
Next War: Iran is the sixth game in the Next War Series. It is being billed as a unique entry in the series because of the fact that the Allied player has to do the attacking while the non-Allied player attempts to defend its territory against neo-imperial oppression. With a long logistical tail, few true allies in the region, and the menace of Iran’s A2AD capabilities, re-opening the Straits is a tall order.
From the game page, we read the following:
Ground units in Next War: Iran primarily represent divisions and brigades of the armies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America. All ground units are rated for their attack and defense strengths, movement capabilities, and unit efficiency. The Iranian armed forces feature all three branches of land forces: Islamic Republic of Iran Ground Forces, Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; they might get some Russian intervention for whatever that’s worth. On the Allied side, the primary forces are the United States with potential involvement by the UK, Australia, France, Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
Air units represent the fighter, bomber, and attack squadrons of the major combatants. They are rated for All-Weather Capabilities, range, average pilot skill and training, and their capabilities in Air-to-Air Combat, Close Air Support, and Strike missions.
Naval units represent an abstraction of groups of ships (task forces) and allow players to conduct amphibious invasions, naval combat, naval gunfire support, and more.
In my opinion, one of the highlights of these games is always the boards and how they show the game off. They are just gorgeous and are actually some of the best wargames boards out there.
The game’s map represents the area along the coast of Iran at a scale of roughly 7.5 miles per hex. The map stretches from the important port of Chah Bahar in the east to a hundred or so miles west of the Straits of Hormuz.
There are a couple of Island Land Areas, similar to other games in the series which contain some important Petroleum Facilities the Allies will want to seize intact if they can.
Finally, the game offers several Standard Game scenarios with some of those being small and focus on limited objectives while at least one will be a larger campaign game encompassing the entire map. As has been the case in the previous games in the series, the Advanced Game scenarios will be divided into various starting points representing different levels of build-up before the game begins.
If you are interested in Next War: Iran, you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $59.00 from the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1011-next-war-iran.aspx
Ownership of any previous Next War Series titles will NOT be necessary to play Next War: Iran.
Levy & Campaign Series Volume VI Seljuk: Byzantium Besieged 1068-1071
It seems that the hottest series out there today is the Levy & Campaign Series from GMT Games. Initially started by Volko Ruhnke with his Nevsky: Teutons & Rus in Collision, 1240-1242 and then followed up with Almoravid: Reconquista and Riposte in Spain, 1085-1086 there are 2 other titles currently listed on the P500 as well as the most recently shipped Inferno: Guelphs and Ghibellines Vie for Tuscany, 1259-1261 with at least another dozen (or more) that have yet to be announced but are being developed and playtested. One new one that was announced in the update was Seljuk: Byzantium Besieged 1068-1071 that pits Romans versus Turks.
From the game page, we read the following:
Anatolia, 1068. Romanos Diogenes has assumed the imperial throne of the Eastern Roman Empire. Ferocious armies of Seljuk Turks are on the doorstep, ravaging the border cities of the East and sending yearly raids and campaigns into Roman lands. Beset by political intrigue in Constantinople and assuming command of a fragile military, Romanos has only a short time to assemble the largest Roman army in over a century to drive off the forces of the Sultan Alp Arslan before the Empire collapses.
Seljuk—Volume VI in Volko Ruhnke’s Levy & Campaign Series—brings players into the challenges of medieval logistics and maneuver across Asia Minor during the clash between Orthodox Christian and Muslim power in the lead-up to the climactic Battle of Manzikert. Players will assume the role of either the Eastern Romans or Seljuk Turks as they seek to make their mark on this historic land. Asymmetric victory objectives and new and unique additions to the Levy & Campaign system mean a dynamic game of cat and mouse between these two great powers.
I am glad to see that these new entries are not just pumping out the same product, even though the system is really good and creates some very interesting challenges, but are innovating in order to meet the demands of the historical actors and periods covered. In Seljuk, it appears that both sides have to confront the real possibility that some of their allied Lords might switch sides which is always a fun mechanic.
If you are interested in Seljuk: Byzantium Besieged 1068-1071, you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $69.00 from the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1025-seljuk-byzantium-besieged-1068-1071.aspx
Next War Supplement #4
Lots of these series game ultimately come out with some type of rules and process to play them together. This month, we are getting a look at this among other new options and features for this established Next War Series.
From the game page, we read the following:
This fourth Next War supplement will contain the following items:
- Rules for playing combined games.
- An SOP specifically for Combined Games.
- Rules covering backfitting new or updated Series Rules to previous games or just catching up to changes in Orders of Battles.
- New optional rules including Limited PGMs, Traffic Jams, Unit Morale & Resiliency, and more…
- A new scenario for Next War: Iran (requiring counters from Next War: Poland and Next War: Vietnam).
- Two Insurgency scenarios for Next War: Iran.
- One counter sheet containing additional and updated counters including:
- An Italian AW249
- Tejas Mk2 for India
- Polish AH-64s
- Indonesian F-15C
- Additional German F-35As
- Various additional markers
- An update SOP for using the Alternate Advanced Game Air System 2.0 rules.
As was offered in the past as well, this Supplement has rules for at least one scenario with insurgency. And you know how we feel about insurgency and our love of the COIN Series.
If you are interested in Next War Supplement #4, you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $20.00 from the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1024-next-war-supplement-4.aspx
Not There Yet P500’s
I wanted to make sure to highlight a few of the P500’s that are not moving up the ladder quickly in their number of pre-orders but that probably deserve more orders. None of these games are being threatened with removal from the P500 but definitely need some more love.
No Retreat! Battles: 1942 – The No Retreat! Series is a very popular series that does a great job of simulating some very key battles of World War II. With editions focused on the Russian Front during Operation Barbarossa, the deserts of North Africa, the ferocious battles on the Italian peninsula and the Blitzkrieg in both the Polish and French Fronts during 1939-1940 the series is very versatile. The designer Carl Paradis has now introduced the system used for the game into a series that will focus on individual years during World War II and will have you fight key battles of that year. We reached out to Carl to talk about his vision for this new series and you can read more on our designer interview at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2019/08/12/interview-with-carl-paradis-designer-of-no-retreat-battles-1942-from-gmt-games/
Rebellion: Britannia – We became acquainted with Maurice Suckling with his game Freeman’s Farm 1777 from Worthington Publishing in 2019 and really enjoyed the mechanics of that game and how they all came together to create an interactive and interesting look at the Battle of Saratoga in the American Revolution. Since that time, Maurice has designed several games that have went onto successful Kickstarter campaigns including Hidden Strike: American Revolution, Chancellorsville 1863 and 1565 Siege of Malta. We reached out to Maurice to talk about this new planned series and you can read more on our designer interview at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2023/01/09/interview-with-maurice-suckling-designer-of-rebellion-britannia-resistance-against-rome-in-1st-century-britain-from-gmt-games/
Hannibal’s Revenge – A few years ago, the Card Conquest System made its debut in a game called Hitler’s Reich. The system uses cards and dice to decide the outcome of battles and really creates a light and engaging strategic exercise. The only problem with Hitler’s Reich was the rulebook and I think that we will not see that problem again. The next game in that series is called Hannibal’s Revenge and pits the forces of Carthage against the mighty Roman Empire in the Second Punic War. We reached out to Mark to talk about this interesting looking Ancients game and you can read more on our designer interview at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2022/04/04/interview-with-mark-mclaughlin-designer-of-hannibals-revenge-from-gmt-games/
We have plans to reach out to the designers for Iron Storm, A Fading Star, Napoleon in Egypt and Decisive Action to get their thoughts on their work. We have already reached out to Julio Nazario for Boriken and hope to have that interview on the blog in February.
New P500’s on the Horizon
One of the features that I have always enjoyed about these Monthly Updates has been the New P500’s on the Horizon where Gene Billingsley shares a few cryptic comments about an upcoming project and we are supposed to somehow decipher his meaning from these “clues”. With that being said, and my alibi for total failure having already been stated, here goes my guesses for this month:
- A master edition multi-pack for one of our best-selling games – methinks this could be for Twilight Struggle which would combine the original, Turn Zero and various promo packs, the cool new dice and the newly released Twilight Struggle Red Sea.
- A new game from Matt Calkins – I recently really loved playing his game Charioteer but I have no guess for this one.
- A 1-4 player CDG of early 21st century geopolitics – I have no intel on this one…sadly!
- A new COIN multi-pack – This will be designed by Stephen Rangazas and will be set in Cold War Latin America but I don’t remember the title.
I think I have at least 1 correct but I might have gotten lucky and hit on at least 2. Gene? How did I do?
Charging and Shipping
The following information for Charging and Shipping was copied directly from the Update:
Current Charges/Shipments: GMT started shipping the following games as of January 18th:
Next Charges/Shipments: GMT plans to charge for the following items in early February, and begin shipping within a week after charging:
That is a lot of gaming goodness that is about to hit our gaming tables!
Project Updates and Sample Art
One final thing that I wanted to share this month is all of the great sample art that has been shared as a part of various games as they run up to production. The first piece we saw was the cover as well as the box back for the upcoming (set to go to the Printers in January) The Barracks Emperors designed by Brad Johnson and Wray Ferrell.
First, the cover. I love this look. It is a bit washed out and appears almost impressionist but definitely gives you the fell of the Roman Empire.
The box back is also filled with lots of good information as you can see the board is somewhat of an abstracted look at the whole of the Roman Empire and you can see some of the cards as well. The Barracks Emperors is a card game that finds players playing cards to influence issues on this board. For more information, you can check out our interview with Brad and Wray at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2019/10/14/interview-with-wray-ferrell-brad-johnson-designers-of-the-barracks-emperors-from-gmt-games/
Next, we were shown the cover for the upcoming Levy & Campaign Series game based on the Wars of Roses from Francisco Gradaille called Plantagenet: Cousins War for England, 1459-1485. If you want to learn more about the game, you can check out our interview with the designer at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2021/12/14/interview-with-francisco-gradaille-designer-of-plantagenet-cousins-war-for-england-1459-1485-from-gmt-games/
Once again, we see a bit of a washed out format which I am really liking. I also really like the red and white roses being incorporated into the crown at the top of the title. Nice work!
Next, we see a near final version of the board for the upcoming A Gest of Robin Hood: Insurrection in Nottinghamshire designed by Fred Serval. If you want to learn more about the game, you can check out our interview with the designer at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2022/11/21/interview-with-fred-serval-designer-of-a-gest-of-robin-hood-insurrection-in-nottinghamshire-from-gmt-games/
Then we were shown a near final player board for the French Power from Tanto Monta: The Rise of Ferdinand and Isabella, which is the prequel to Here I Stand. We interviewed the designer Carlos Diaz Narvaez and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2021/04/12/interview-with-carlos-diaz-narvaez-designer-of-tanto-monta-the-rise-of-ferdinand-and-isabella-from-gmt-games/
Finally, we saw the updated standees for the cool looking zombie themed game designed by Hermann Luttmann called The Plum Island Horror, which is in art and final development. If you want to learn more about the game, you can check out our interview with the designer at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2022/10/31/interview-with-hermann-luttmann-designer-of-the-plum-island-horror-from-gmt-games/
I want to end this post by sharing our recent content on our blog and YouTube Channel for GMT Games including reviews/interviews/unboxing videos:
It feels good to get back to sharing the news from the fantastic GMT Games. I am going to really commit to getting these updates up at the end of each month once the email releases. Thanks for following along this month as I have changed the format a bit, cut out some content that I used to include that I am not sure was getting read. I am really looking forward to the games releasing soon as well as the new P500’s shared this month. I swear to you we are going to roll up our sleeves and get going on the Next War Series games that we own, all in anticipation for this new volume which looks so good. Finally, thank you for the great support we get for our efforts here at The Players’ Aid. Till next month!