Big news this month in several areas from the Monthly Update email from GMT Games with new P500 games being added, new reprints, some being removed (more on this later) and a focus on the deluxification (and expansion) of some new classics. Anytime there is information or news about a new COIN Series game, or even new content for an established and loved edition to the series, I am always in on that. And this month didn’t disappoint!
In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link: https://mailchi.mp/c93b392d88a0/april-18-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-production-update-art-samples-rules-posted-online-and-more
The update started with Gene providing his usual tidbits of news before the main event. He started with some interesting news about his design called Mr. President: The American Presidency, 2001-2020 and discussed that he will soon receive an advance designer copy. He says “I’m also feeling that mix of nervous anticipation that always goes along with seeing a project that you’ve worked so long on become a “real” game in a box. Hopefully you Weekend attendees will get to check out the final product later this week.”
Mr. President is a solitaire design that puts the players in the role of a newly elected President of the United States. The game allows the player to set an agenda, navigating the political process to build consensus and ultimately get that agenda accomplished by passing laws. I have seen where it is described as a resource management game “where you never have enough resources to achieve your entire agenda, and the path you take through an always unpredictable storyline rests on the choices you make. Depending on the results of those choices, and on the unfolding of a “different every game” story, you’ll either be thinking “POTUS? Piece of Cake!” or “Why was it that I WANTED this job?” many times in each game.” Sounds really interesting and I look forward to an opportunity to play it!
Final rules for the upcoming Seas of Thunder: Global Naval Warfare, 1939-45 designed by Jeff Horger were posted this week on GMT’s website. It is always good to see one of these big games that has been on the P500 for a while now come to the end of the line and get near publication. This one was initially announced in early 2017 I think so it has been on quite the journey! If you are interested, and I think that you should be if you like big World War II naval games, you can get a sneak peak look at those rules in pdf format at the following link: https://gmtwebsiteassets.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/SeasOfThunder/Seas_of_Thunder_Rules_v1.pdf
This is a game that I am very interested in and intrigued with but am frankly very intimidated by as well as it just seems HUGE! Both in scope and in play. The world’s oceans are huge after all and trying to cover them with a minimal amount of combat boats is a daunting task at best. Especially for the Pacific!
But, I was once told that true warfare cannot be called warfare without naval operations. So, I am really going to give it a good try but who knows what our outcome will be. We still haven’t done much with our huge copy of Pacific War. We posted an interview with Jeff a few years ago and you can read that at the following link to get more information on the game and how it plays: https://theplayersaid.com/2021/07/19/interview-with-jeff-horger-designer-of-seas-of-thunder-from-gmt-games/
Playdek is making good progress on the digital implementation of Twilight Struggle: Red Sea. Kyle from Playdek gave the following update: “We will be submitting to the stores for approval soon and once we are cleared there, we’ll be able to announce a release date. Keep a look out on social media as we’ll make a full announcement there. We greatly appreciate all the support we’ve received for TS: Red Sea.”
One final thing before we get to the good stuff! GMT doesn’t do this often but there was a game that was removed from the P500. I read where, “After consulting with designer Wray Ferrell, we are removing Sword of Rome, 3rd Printing from the P500 Reprint list for now.” Ok, it wasn’t moving up the P500 list and garnering a ton of orders. Well, that is to be expected with a game from 2010. An interesting tidbit, I purchase a copy of the game a few years ago but to date have not had an opportunity to get it played. Next week, Alexander and I will be traveling to Buckeye Game Fest in Columbus, Ohio for 5 days of gaming and one of those days we have scheduled a 5-player game of Sword of Rome with our friend Bill Simoni teaching us how to play.
So the game was removed, but it was removed in anticipation of something pretty interesting. GMT said that they “anticipate that we’ll see this game back on the list in the future as a Deluxe Edition product.” Ooh, Deluxification! Always a great thing. I have Deluxe Edition copies of several GMT games including Here I Stand (500th Anniversary Edition), The Dark Valley and Paths of Glory and I always love to see these classics get a bit of a facelift with new content, updated rules and inclusion of errata. I do wish though that these Deluxe Editions would include some component upgrades and art upgrades but a guy can wish!
This month there were 3 new P500’s added including Resisting Revolution: Expansion for Cuba Libre, Time of Crisis Deluxe Edition and Time of Crisis Deluxe Edition Update Kit. There also were two new P500 reprints offered in The Dark Valley: The East Front Campaign, 1941-45 Deluxe Edition 2nd Printing and Tyrant: Battles of Carthage Versus Syracuse 480-276 BC 2nd Printing.
Resisting Revolution: Expansion for Cuba Libre
More often than not, people refer to Cuba Libre as the gateway game to the COIN Series. There are a couple of reasons for this with one being size of the board and the limited decision space that keeps it more concentrated for new players and the other being the fact that the factions and their Operations and Special Activities being a bit easier to understand and implement. We started our journey into the COIN Series with Liberty or Death and followed that up with Fire in the Lake and A Distant Plain. We played Cuba Libre as our 4th COIN Series game and at that point found it to be very approachable. Now after about 6 plays of Cuba Libre, I am glad to see some new content being offered for it to broaden its approach and offerings.
From the game page, we read the following:
Resisting Revolution is a sequel expansion to Volko Ruhnke & Jeff Grossman’s Cuba Libre, covering the period from the rebel victory in 1959 through to the climactic showdown with the US in 1962. During this time, the new regime became increasingly alienated from the US, began to grow closer to the Soviet Union, and faced internal dissent from several sectors of Cuban society. The main expansion game charts the processes and actors that shaped Cuba during this period of struggle, with four players controlling either the new revolutionary Government, US-backed attempts to destabilize and overthrow the government, the growing Soviet influence and eventually military presence on the island, or the urban and rural Resistance to the revolution.
And that is not all. The game also has lots of new additions for the base game as well and a new mini-game focused on the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.
The expansion also includes a two-player minigame exploring hypothetical variants of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, a new three-player scenario for the original Cuba Libre game, and sixteen new Event cards for Cuba Libre that are compatible with either the three-player scenario or the normal four-player game. These additional scenarios and Event cards, combined with a Jacquard card-based non-player system for the main expansion game, will provide options for all player counts and breathe fresh life into the classic and much-loved Cuba Libre COIN experience.
All in all a very interesting looking product. And, the designer Joe Dewhurst is a rising star in the game design world and he is partnered with Stephen Rangazas as his developer who is another rising star. You might say this could end up becoming the Volko Ruhnke and Mark Herman type thing with great games coming in the future. This one is going to be very much anticipated by the two of us here at The Player’s Aid. I will be reaching out to Joe once the dust settles to do an interview on this one for sure and would also love to host some Event Card Spoiler posts as well!
If you are interested in Resisting Revolution, you can pre-order a copy for $41.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1038-resisting-revolution-a-cuba-libre-expansion.aspx
Time of Crisis Deluxe Edition
Hybrids are a good thing. In the biological world, it is the offspring of two plants or animals of different species or varieties, that typically take the best elements of each to make a better creation. In the board gaming world, a hybrid in essence, fulfills the same goal of taking two separate genres and merges them together to make something better than the sum of their parts. For example, taking something as mundane and regularly used as deck building and adding that to a more commonly used mechanic in wargames such as area control. From this merger comes a truly delectable and enjoyable experience that is found in Time of Crisis: The Roman Empire in Turmoil 235-284 AD from GMT Games. We love this game and in fact will be playing a full 4-player game coming up at Buckeye Game Fest. We have played The Age of Iron and Rust Expansion as well and always find it to be a great experience as you get 9 new cards as well as some solitaire Bots. This month came news that they were going to create a new Deluxe Edition but also adding a new mini-expansion with additional infrastructure that can be built.
From the game page, we read the following:
Time of Crisis Deluxe Edition contains the original base game AND everything from The Age of Iron and Rust Expansion that provides even more deckbuilding options, multiple options for Emperors, and AI bot players for solo play! PLUS, for the first time ever:
- A combined rulebook that incorporates all errata/clarifications plus several minor rule changes for improved balance
- Updated Amphitheater tokens
- Updated Foederati cards
- An all-new mini expansion containing 3 new types of Improvements that you can build in your provinces for even more strategy options.
I love getting new content that can be added to an already classic game. When The Age of Iron and Rust Expansion came out, Alexander and I spent several plays getting used to the new toys included on the cards and also ran the Bots through their paces. I am really interested in this one and also am grateful that GMT has an option for those of us who already have the game and love it in the Update Kit (more on this in the next part).
Here is a link to our written review for the game penned in 2017: https://theplayersaid.com/2017/09/04/the-most-recent-fruits-of-wargame-hybridization-a-review-of-time-of-crisis-the-roman-empire-in-turmoil-235-284-ad-from-gmt-games/
Here also is a link to our video review for Time of Crisis:
Here is a link to our video review for The Age of Iron and Rust Expansion:
As I am also want to do, I wrote several Action Point posts on the game and you can read those at the following links:
Time of Crisis Action Point 1 – Control of Provinces and Placement of Governors
Time of Crisis Action Point 2 – Deck Building
The Age of Iron and Rust Action Point 1 – Spiculum
The Age of Iron and Rust Action Point 2 – Triumph and Demagogue
The Age of Iron and Rust Action Point 3 – Mobile Vulgus and Ambitus
The Age of Iron and Rust Action Point 4 – Solitaire Bots
If you are interested in Time of Crisis Deluxe Edition, you can pre-order a copy for $55.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1039-time-of-crisis-deluxe-edition.aspx
Time of Crisis Deluxe Edition Update Kit
If you own Time of Crisis already (and let me tell you that you should and we will need to talk later), then never fear! GMT Games has you covered with their Time of Crisis Deluxe Edition Update Kit.
From the game page, we read the following:
This update kit includes the components necessary to upgrade the 1st or 2nd Printings of Time of Crisis to the Deluxe Edition. It includes the following:
- One updated rulebook
- One countersheet (12 updated Amphitheater tokens and 36 new improvement tokens)
- 14 updated cards (8 updated Foederati and 6 updated Damnation Memoriae)
- One 9″ x 12″ ziplock bag
I am really looking forward to this new content and can’t help but think about what the new improvement tokens might be. Could they be Temples? Bath Houses? Aquaducts? Roads? Gladiatorial Ludus? Who knows but it will for sure be interesting to think about over the next few months.
If you are interested in Time of Crisis Deluxe Edition Update Kit, you can pre-order a copy for $19.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1040-time-of-crisis-deluxe-edition-update-kit.aspx
Remember, you will have to already own a 1st or 2nd Printing copy of Time of Crisis to be able to use the Update Kit.
The Dark Valley: The East Front Campaign, 1941-45 Deluxe Edition 2nd Printing
Big wargames that get deluxe treatments are a good thing! Such is the case with The Dark Valley: The East Front Campaign, 1941-45 designed by Ted Raicer. We love The Dark Series and have played The Dark Sands and The Dark Summer together.
From the game page, we read the following:
The Dark Valley covers the entire East Front campaign in World War II, on a 34” x 44” standard hex map stretching from Leningrad in the north to the Caucasus Mountains in the south. Three and a half 1/2” counter-sheets represent every major unit that appeared during the course of the conflict. Initially most Soviet infantry are divisions, but as the game progresses these are replaced by armies and corps so that players are not overwhelmed by the increasing Soviet Order of Battle. German mechanized units are divisions while their infantry is a mix of division and corps.
Although the game is a semi-monster and covers the entirety of the conflict from the launch of Barbarossa to the end of the war, the game system emphasizes playability rather than rules overhead, allowing the players to concentrate on strategy choices rather than rules minutiae.
The best part of The Dark Series though is its use of the Chit Pull Activation System that just tells such great narratives and keeps the game chaotic.
The core of the game system is a “chit-pull” activation system. Each turn a variety of action chits are drawn, in a random order, from the Action Chit Pool, and it is this that determines the exact flow of operations on that turn. This chit-pull system imposes constant uncertainty upon the player and introduces considerable tension into the game. It also allows the game to model the evolution of the Soviets and the devolution of the Germans over the course of the campaign.
Here is a link to Alexander’s video review for The Dark Valley (I wasn’t able to play with him as this was over COVID Quarantine):
If you are interested in The Dark Valley: The East Front Campaign, 1941-45 Deluxe Edition 2nd Printing, you can pre-order a copy for $55.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1041-the-dark-valley-deluxe-edition-2nd-printing.aspx
Tyrant: Battles of Carthage Versus Syracuse 480-276 BC 2nd Printing
We have played the Great Battles of History Series a few times with SPQR and really have enjoyed the way the system models combat in the ancient world. I have not however played Tyrant. The design is by Dan Fournie, who is a real aficionado on ancients, and it does look good.
From the game page, we read the following:
The Tyrant module will be included in the upcoming Great Battles of Alexander – Expanded Deluxe Edition but is offered here for those who already have the previous edition of Great Battles of Alexander – Expanded Deluxe Edition but need to acquire Tyrant.
Tyrant is a tactical simulation of combat between the armies of Carthage and Syracuse, from 480-276 B.C. To play Tyrant, you will need Great Battles of Alexander – Expanded Deluxe Edition for maps, basic rules, and some counters. Tyrant can also be played with the Simple Great Battles of History Rules.
There was as special note in the update as follows: P500 orders for Tyrant is first-come, first served for a limited number of copies (280) that are “extras” (that we will assemble and ship as ziplocks) from the Great Battles of Alexander, Deluxe Edition print run. Our system will cut off ordering after the 280 copies have been ordered.
If you are interested in Tyrant: Battles of Carthage Versus Syracuse 480-276 BC 2nd Printing, you can pre-order a copy for $20.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1042-tyrant-2nd-printing.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”. Last month I did pretty well by guessing 2 correctly of the 4 games that were hinted at. I do not feel as confident as I did last month though…but I do have a few guesses!
Here is a brief tease for P500 additions lining up in the coming months. This month’s new Resisting Revolution was teased last month as “An expansion/sequel for one of our most popular COIN games.” 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 game from Matt Calkins – this one is a sports themed game. I am not fully up to date on the specific details but did hear about this a few months ago on Harold on Games Podcast with Matt. It revolves around tennis. It sounds interesting as there is some aspect of “dice bluffing”, but I am not sure what that means and I don’t know what the title is.
- An operational wargame of the cold war going hot in the 1980s – no guess.
- A game set in the early 20th Century, pre-WWI – no guess.
- An expanded edition of a game set in the American Civil War – no guess.
I only had a bit of inside information about this month’s New P500’s on the Horizon and don’t want to embarrass myself. I realize that by not answering or even attempting a guess, I am going to strike out but this is where I am this month!
Charging & Shipping
The following information for Charging and Shipping was copied directly from the Update:
Current Charges/Shipments: We finished shipping all P500 orders for the following games last Friday, April 14th:
Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East
Next Charges/Shipments: We plan to charge for the following items on April 25, and begin shipping within a week after charging:
As is always the case, GMT is working hard to get these great projects completed and ready to ship out to us hungry gamers. I think that 2023 is going to be a banner year for GMT!
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 an update on various games as they run up to production.
The first piece shown was the box back for Downfall: Conquest of the Third Reich designed by Chad Jensen and John Butterfield with design consultation by Kai Jensen. This game looks really interesting as each player will control one of the Allies, either the Western Allies pushing through France or the Soviets pushing through the Eastern Bloc along, and then one of the defending Axis fronts, OKH faction that is the German and minor Axis armies battling the Soviet Union in the east (Oberkommando des Heeres) or the OKW faction, that is the German and Italian armies facing the Western allies in the west (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht). This is a really unique way of dealing with this and I really look forward to playing the game.
Then we got a look at the final cover art for the game as well. I am really glad to see original art being used for these covers now rather than a collage of historic pictures. I just think that art brings such an interesting and different take on history and really enjoy what these artists are putting out there. Picture is by Marcos Villarroel.
The last item they provided was the final board for the very interesting looking Vijayanagara: The Deccan Empires of Medieval India, 1290-1398, which is a part of the Irregular Conflicts Series. This game is very cool and will appeal to COIN Series fans as well as those that like assymetric games. Here is a link to our interview with the design team: https://theplayersaid.com/2021/11/16/interview-with-saverio-spagnolie-mathieu-johnson-cory-graham-and-aman-matthews-designers-of-vijayanagara-the-deccan-empires-of-medieval-india-1290-1398-from-gmt-games/
We also published a series of History Behind the Cards posts and you can check those out at the following links to get a better feel for the history involved as well as how the game plays:
Card #2 – Uprising in Daulatabad
Card #3 – Kakatiya Empire Extinguished
Card #4 – The Hare and the Hounds
I want to end this post by sharing our recent content on the blog and YouTube Channel for GMT Games products including reviews/interviews/unboxing videos:
Rebellion: Britannia – Resistance Against Rome in 1st Century Britain – Event Card Spoilers with Designers Maurice Suckling and Daniel Burt – Card #1 Roman Supply Lines Tested, The Tribes Bristle and Development
Best 3 Games with…Ancients! featuring Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul and SPQR
Flashpoint: South China Sea – Action Point 4
Interview with Julio Nazario Designer of Borikén: The Taíno Resistance
Flashpoint: South China Sea – Action Point 5
Sovereign of Discord – A Fire in the Lake Expansion – Event Card Spoilers with Designer Stephen Rangazas – #P17 Law 10/59
Interview with Morgane Gouyon-Rety Designer of Hubris: Twilight of the Hellenistic World – Part II
First Impressions: COIN Series Multi-Pack I The British Way: Counterinsurgency at the End of Empire
Unboxing Video: COIN Series Multi-Pack I The British War: Counterinsurgency at the End of Empire
Video Review: COIN Series Multi-Pack I The British Way: Counterinsurgency at the End of Empire
That was a lot of content on our radar and I hope you enjoyed it all.
Thanks so much for following along as I droned on about all of the great things included in this month’s update. I always love these updates. Look forward to these updates. Love reading through these updates and gleaning any bit of interesting news I can find and then share with you. I love it!
Please let me know what caught your interest from the update and what GMT Games products that you have been enjoying lately.
For “A game set in the early 20th Century, pre-WWI ,” I don’t have any inside knowledge, but my prediction is that it’s a game covering the Russo-Japanese War. There aren’t many other traditionally “gamed” conflicts in the “early 20th Century, pre-WWI” and a search of GMT’s catalog suggests that it doesn’t have any Russo-Japanese War titles.
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My guess is that I am going to pony up the cash for Mr. President. I need to watch the videos that were posted recently that show actual gameplay, but I am nonetheless encouraged that Gene let this one simmer in the pot for a long time–hopefully will be worth the wait.
Time of Crisis deluxe expansion kit: yes. It reminds me I need to play this game more (like a bunch of other games of the shelf).
I’m curious to know more about the Cuba Libre expansion. Is this a rekindling of the earlier expansion project that was cancelled years ago, or is this a new project altogether?
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Found it on BGG: completely new design.
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Completely new project.
GMT continues to set the standard with top quality games at affordable prices. Seas of Thunder looks like War at Sea on steroids. That’s where I started back in the 70s. Really looking forward to that one, myself. So much good stuff here…
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