This month, I have been waiting on this Monthly Update email to drop. I had heard a rumor that the update would include some news about new Combat Commander products, and if you know me at all, you know that I absolutely adore Combat Commander! When the update finally dropped late last Friday afternoon, to my surprise, there was not just one CC product but 2 with one of those being a new original product and not just a reprint. Although, the Combat Commander: Europe/Med. Master Edition is not just a reprint but does include some additional counters and some updated scenarios. I am very eager to get more information on these products and to of course get them to my table over the next couple of years.
There was also as usual lots of great information about other new P500’s, new digital products, an update on charging and shipping and some new art samples. All in all, a very good update that will keep me thinking about what is to come.
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/8f9780132907/february-24-update-from-gmt-games-new-p500s-lots-of-art-samples-updated-production-queue-and-more
One of the first highlights of the update was the announcement that Playdek will be releasing Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa on Steam on March 28th.
Here is the information from the update:
Hey everyone! Kyle here, brand manager at Playdek. I hope you all had a great President’s Day weekend. We are excited to let you know that we will be releasing Twilight Struggle: Red Sea on March 28th! It will be available on PC and Mac through Steam, and on mobile via the iOS App Store and Google Play for Android. Twilight Struggle has clearly been one of the most popular and respected GMT games for a long time, so being able to expand on that world in the digital space with TS: Red Sea is a thrill. Jason Matthews’s fantastic design really brings this unique corner of the Cold War to life.
What I love about TS: Red Sea is that it takes the familiar gameplay experience from the parent game and introduces new elements such as Flashpoint Countries, which add a whole new dynamic to the player’s method of making decisions. With TS: Red Sea coming to digital, you will be able to play against Jason Carr’s BOT design for the solo game experience, against the competitive A.I., and challenge other players online with our asynchronous system.
On February 28th, you will be able to Wishlist and Pre-Order TS: Red Sea on Steam, the App Store, and the Google Play Store, so please mark that in your calendars. The Steam Community forum will also be open at that time for everyone to start discussing strategies and engage with other players. We can’t wait to get this fantastic game in your hands! Thanks! – Kyle
Pretty exciting stuff! I still play my Steam copy of Twilight Struggle often. I only wish that the AI opponent was better as I regularly win with either side. Maybe the AI in TS: Red Sea will be improved and give us more of a run for our money.
This month there were 4 new P500’s added including Combat Commander: Europe/Med. Master Edition, Order & Opportunity, North Africa ’41 Mounted Maps and Combat Commander: Minor Nations Battle Pack. There were no new P500 reprints offered this time.
Combat Commander: Europe/Med. Master Edition
I have played both Combat Commander: Europe and Combat Commander: Mediterranean and absolutely love the narrative that the game creates. I love the cards and how they are used for combat, there are no dice in CC, activations and events. The system is just full of chaos and fun. A few years ago, they reprinted CC: Europe and it has already been sold out along with CC: Mediterranean so it is very good that they are bringing both of these volumes back into circulation so that more and more gamers can enjoy Chad Jensen’s creation (and I should also say Kai).
From the game page, we read the following:
“This format, with all six nations and the full Random Scenario Generator, is how Combat Commander was originally designed and tested. Adding in counters specific to the minor nations and updating the scenario pages with the images for their leaders and units has been on my list for years. I am delighted that GMT has presented this opportunity and believe Chad would be very happy to see the game back together after all these years”. – Kai Jensen
Combat Commander: Europe/Med. Master Edition includes all components of the original CC:E and CC:M plus additional minors counters and updated scenario pages where those minors appear.
- 6½ countersheets
- One 24-page Rulebook
- One 52-page Playbook
- Eight PAC sheets (6 two-sided nationality cards, one Terrain chart, one misc. play aids chart)
- 439 Cards (6 decks of 72 cards each, 1 Fate card, 6 nationality reference cards)
- 24 Maps on 12 double-sided 17″ x 22″ sheets
- One 8½” x 22″ Track Display
One comment I would have about the Combat Commander system other than the fact that it is a very interesting, highly playable and fun tactical system is that it is a great value. There are at 12 scenarios in each of these volumes and when added to the Random Scenario Generator, there is ultimate replayability baked into the system.
If you are interested, here is a link to my preview of Combat Commander: Europe: https://theplayersaid.com/2016/05/17/i-was-already-playing-combat-commander-before-it-was-even-invented-a-preview-of-combat-commander-europe-by-gmt-games/
Here also is a link to my preview of Commander Commander: Mediterranean: https://theplayersaid.com/2016/07/27/a-preview-of-combat-commander-mediterranean-by-gmt-games-which-is-not-an-expansion/
If you are interested in Combat Commander: Europe/Med. Master Edition, you can pre-order a copy for $99.00 from the P500 game page on the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1028-combat-commander-europemed-master-edition.aspx
Order & Opportunity
VPJ Arponen is a great guy who designed COIN Series Volume X All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918. I loved his approach to that game and it was a blast playing that one as it has some very unique factions and interesting mechanics. He had told us at that time that he was working on a few other designs but I hadn’t heard much from him over the past 2 years. Well, now I know why as he has been busy with this new game called Order & Opportunity which takes a look at the post-Cold War world order set in the first decades of the 21st century with the major powers of the United States, Russia, China and the EU controlling the direction of the agenda.
From the game page, we read the following:
Order & Opportunity is a 1 to 4 player game with a dedicated solo system about the making of the post-Cold War world order covering the first decades of the 21st century. In the game, the United States, Russia, China, and the European Union compete over control of the agenda and ultimately over victory points in the dimensions of economic, political, cultural, and security power projection. Order & Opportunity combines card-driven, asymmetric gameplay to produce a topical and thematic historical game on a global scale. The game offers a distinctive and captivating play experience at every one of its player counts. Order & Opportunity begins in the early 2000’s and covers the next twenty years of global, multidimensional power competition. In that setting, the game aims at creating a thematic experience of the period as players are faced with historical and familiar crises, challenges, and opportunities as they emerge from gameplay.
The game is a card driven game that sees both sides struggling back and forth as they build their control as well as alliances and connections.
Order & Opportunity adapts the familiar card-driven game mechanic to introduce different types or suits of action cards (cultural, military, economic, and political) in place of the more traditional operations points. The players each hold a hand of action cards. During their turn, they select a suit and play any cards of that suit they wish. The number of cards played determines the consequences per the selected suit. These include growing domestic polarization (economic actions) and stress being put on the collectively maintained rules-based world order (security actions).
Each card is played either for its event text or for an action associated with the suit. In a game of area control and presence, card plays are used to pursue economic and other opportunities that award players more actions, fuse or defuse crises in the form of major world events on the map, and place political, economic, or military influence and alignments on the map.
Each power in the game makes use of their own associated deck of cards that they cycle through during the game. Many of the cards have effects specific to particular powers, creating asymmetry in the game.
The game also features a light deck building mechanism whereby, once at the end of their turn, powers may “build” their own deck by adding and/or removing cards from it. This enables the players to tune their decks to the strategy they have chosen.
Cards are also used to afford players reaction abilities that enable them to take actions outside of their own turn. Reactions are activated by playing cards onto the map then using them to respond to actions from other players as occasions arise.
I love the CDG mechanic and really am looking forward to this one for sure! I have already been contacted by Vez and we will be doing an interview in the next couple of months. I would also hope that he could agree to share some card spoilers with us as well as he did in the past with All Bridges Burning.
If you are interested in Order & Opportunity, you can pre-order a copy for $55.00 from the P500 game page on the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1027-order-opportunity.aspx
North Africa ’41 Mounted Mapboards
Based on player requests, GMT is now offering mounted maps for Mark Simonitch’s North Africa ’41. You will need to act quickly though as this is a TIME-SENSITIVE item in terms of orders, because the main game is heading to the printer by the end of February. If you want the mounted maps, they will have to be ordered within the next week or two so they know how many to print.
If you are interested in North Africa ’41 Mounted Mapboards, you can pre-order a copy for $30.00 from the P500 game page on the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1030.aspx?searchEngineName=north-africa-41-mounted-maps
Combat Commander: Minor Nations Battle Pack
If you are unfamiliar with the Combat Commander system and how they do expansions, you need to know about the concept of the Battle Pack. The Battle Pack is a way to introduce new maps, new scenarios and occasionally new units to the system to be incorporated with already existing product such as with CC: Europe, CC: Mediterranean or CC: Pacific.
Specifically, this announced Minor Nations Battle Pack contains the new Minor Nations counters already mentioned in the Combat Commander: Europe/Med. Master Edition. But if you already own both, then you can simply order the Battle Pack to get that content.
The Battle Pack will contain one 8.5″ x 11″ countersheet, one cover page, eight 8.5″ x 11″ scenario pages and one 9″ x 12″ ziplock bag.
My guess is that these counters and scenarios will simply use existing maps from those base games and only contains the scenario debrief, setup and victory conditions on the “scenario pages”.
If you are interested in Combat Commander: Minor Nations Battle Pack, you can pre-order a copy for $22.00 from the P500 game page on the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1031-combat-commander-minor-nations-battle-pack.aspx
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:
This month’s new Combat Commander: Europe/Med. Master Edition was teased last month as “A master edition multi-pack for one of our best-selling games” and the new Order & Opportunity was highlighted last month as “A 1-4 player CDG of early 21st century geopolitics.” Note that this is not a comprehensive list (nor will I preview EVERY game we have planned), 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 post-1970s operational combat game set in Europe – I actually know this one as I saw the game being play tested on Mark Herman’s Twitter account. It will cover the current war raging in Ukraine and quoting Mark here “This is my first draft of history that David Dockter and I believe must be seen. I intend to show the strategy and the horror of modern 21st century warfare. Anyone who thinks this is entertainment will be disappointed. This is my version of a history book on the here and now”. I don’t see a specific name mentioned yet but can see on the game map below the following: MD 2022: Ukraine: Module 1: Kyiv! This is one that is sure to be interesting and timely.
- A multipack of games set in South America – I mentioned this last month, but this will be the next COIN Series Multi-Pack designed by Stephen Rangazas.
- A new Twilight Struggle theater game (somewhat like TS: Red Sea) – I have no information on this one but any additional TS content is welcome.
- A new GBACW game – I also have no information on this one.
How did I do Gene? I think that both of my answers given were correct but I just don’t have any information on the other mentioned games.
Charging and Shipping
The following information for Charging and Shipping was copied directly from the Update:
Here’s a look at our current and near-future charging and shipping:
Current Charges/Shipments: We started shipping the following games earlier this week:
Paths of Glory Deluxe, 2nd Printing
The Last Hundred Yards, Volume I, 2nd Printing
Next Charges/Shipments: We plan to charge for the following items in early-mid March, and begin shipping within a week after charging:
Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East
As usually is the case, 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 shown by the final box back for the upcoming COIN Series People Power:
You can really get a good feel for the game by reading the details on the back of the box, kind of like when I was a kid and we would sit and read the back of the cereal box at the table as we devoured our Captain Crunch, Quisp, Honey Comb, Lucky Charms or Frosted Flakes! For more information, you can check out our interview with Kenneth Tee at the following link (keep in mind that the game has undergone significant changes since this interview was posted in 2018): https://theplayersaid.com/2018/05/28/interview-with-kenneth-tee-designer-of-people-power-insurgency-in-the-philippines-1983-1986-volume-xi-in-the-coin-series-from-gmt-games/
The next item shared was the final cover for the upcoming Flying Colors Volume IV Under the Southern Cross: South American Naval Battles in the Age of Sail, 1811-1841. We have not played a lot of Age of Sail games but this one looks really interesting and the series has done pretty well over the years.
The next cover shared was from the upcoming (in fact, it will be sent to the printer at the end of February/1st of March) North Africa ’41: The Western Desert, March to December, 1941 designed by Mark Simonitch and illustrated by the very skilled Antonis Karidis.
We also were shown some examples of counters from North Africa ’41 and they are so very Simonitch.
Then we have the final cover for the cooperative zombie themed game The Plum Island Horror designed by Hermann Luttmann. If you want to learn more about this game, you can read our interview with Hermann 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:
Grant’s Most Anticipated Wargames of 2023! highlighting GMT Games designs such as The British Way, People Power, Red Dust Rebellion and North Africa ’41.
The Beautiful Boards of Wargaming – Nevsky: Teutons and Rus in Collision, 1240-1242
Interview with Ted Raicer Designer of I, Napoleon
Flashpoint: South China Sea from GMT Games – Action Point 1
First Impressions Video: Almoravid: Reconquista and Riposte in Spain, 1085-1086
Unboxing Video: Skies Above Britain
Once again, thanks to GMT Games for the support that they give to us content creators out here! They always share our stuff in these updates and also on their website and retweet our tweets and it makes a huge difference to drive views to our blog and channel. Thank you! We have been pushed to the bottom of the graphic shown below, not because GMT is mad at us (I don’t think they are at least) but because more and more content is being made about their great games. We are grateful for all of those out there who do what we do and we love to support them as much as possible!
There you have it…another fantastic GMT Games Monthly Update is in the books! We had to wait on this one, and I had hoped to have this piece shared last Friday but better late than never I always say. We are getting ready to play several of their newest releases and have content coming out on various games we have played over the past few months including Flashpoint: South China Sea, Twilight Struggle: Red Sea and Charioteer to name a few.
Please let me know what caught your interest from the update and what GMT Games products have are enjoying?
GMT shouldn’t be mad at you… TPA is single-handedly to blame for the majority of my GMT orders and P500 pre-orders; they should be paying you guys! 😉
While there are so many games in your update worth discussing, the one I’m MOST Anticipating is the People Power. It seems pitched as a new introductory COIN game to compete with Cuba Libre, so hopefully more people will get into the system. I’d agree the artwork is excellent, but the theme/setting is especially unique. It’s worth looking up some of the history on Wikipedia if people are unfamiliar.
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Admittedly, I am intrigued by Order & Opportunity, although the choice of title is going to trip me up with the other excellent series Triumph & Tragedy.
The example graphic of the gameboard evoked immediate thoughts of Twilight Struggle, and interestingly, the War of Ideas track evokes thoughts of Labyrinth. Should be interesting to see what kind of game it ultimately will be.
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Great to hear O&O caught your eye. If you haven‘t yet, do check out the first insideGMT piece on the game for more information. There are many more further articles to come as well. https://insidegmt.com/order-opportunity-a-perspective-to-the-post-cold-war-period/
Also, I plan to offer online demos of the game. The next one is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 18 March, as part of the SD Hist Con online convention. https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment/schedule#?query=
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Excellent. Hope to watch a demo.
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The game looks intriguing and my interest is piqued. I just need to read and learn more to understand how it works.
The first few insideGMT pieces will focus on fleshing out the perspective that the game takes to the post-Cold War period. In later articles I’ll talk more about the mechanics of game play itself.
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The Minor Nations battle pack scenarios are just the ones from Med but updated to include the Minor Nation counters and leaders. There aren’t any “new” (either brand new or never-before-published) scenarios in it.
Though Kai did say on BGG that she would eventually like to do another battle pack with the Minor Nations with new scenarios
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