Finally it dropped! This month, I have been anticipating the Monthly Update email since last week. Why? Because I want to see what is new. GMT Games has such great games and I just love seeing what they are doing as well as what games are nearing completion and will be shipping shortly. This month we were introduced to a new Twilight Struggle product as well as a new game designed by The Herman and a partner named Chris Fawcett (whose design credits include Bar-Lev: The 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Deluxe Edition from Compass Games, The Fall of Tobruk: Rommel’s Greatest Victory from Compass Games and Gazala Line 1942 from Against the Odds Magazine) that looks really interesting! There were also lots of great updates on the games we are hotly anticipating, great art samples revealed and some news on digital products as well. The Monthly Update rarely disappoints and this month’s was pretty darned good.

In case you missed the Monthly Update email, here is a link:

The Update started with a look at the recent Weekend at the Warehouse and when I look over those pictures I always salivate. Lots of great games on those tables, some new ones, some that will be out shortly, lots of designers and people that we read about all of the time. This fall, Alexander and I are going to try and attend. The fall Weekend at the Warehouse has been announced as October 12-15th. We are already looking for airline tickets!

There also was a new update on some of the digital games from Playdek. Kyle from Playdek informed us that “Twilight Struggle: Red Sea will be coming to Steam on Wednesday, May 24th (yesterday)! To say thank you for all your support, it’ll be available at a discount of 10% off from 5/24-5/29, so you don’t want to miss out on that. We’ll also be running a limited time discount from now until May 29th on our entire GMT collection at 75% off…what a steal!!!”

If you like good digital implementations, then there are several choices for you from Playdek. 

You can wishlist Twilight Struggle: Red Sea on Steam: 

Or purchase their GMT games at 75% off:

There also was a call for playtesters for several games in development. If you are interested in helping out, you can contact the team members for the game you are interested in at the links below.

The final piece of information before we get to the main event is an update on Rally the Troops!, which if you didn’t already know is an online site where you can play games, including several GMT Games designs such as Andean Abyss (Alexander tells me he has played 8 games but none with me yet!), Wilderness War and now Nevsky.

In case you have not yet checked out the Rally the Troops! website, you can play Wilderness War there in a fabulous on-line implementation that enforces all the rules for you! The site is cost- and ad-free, and really is a labor of love by Tor Andersson, who worked intensively with Volko Ruhnke to ensure that Rally the Troops! Wilderness War functionality is correct and official.

Recently, Tor has finished the work to bring Nevsky to Rally the Troops! You can check it out here. I love that many of our favorite games are finding their way onto digital platforms to enjoy when we can’t find an opponent to play a face to face game. Don’t get me wrong though. For me, there is no substitute for gaming with friends over a board and table. The interaction and fellowship is always just as good as the board games themselves and will never be replaced for me but it is nice to have an alternative. Heck, Alexander and I have played lots of online Gloomhaven from Cepholofair Games with our father in law and it is amazing and the best part is that we don’t have to set it up and tear it down!

New P500’s

This month there were 2 new P500’s added including Spearhead: The Balloon Goes Up! and Twilight Struggle: South Asian Monsoon. There also was 1 new P500 reprint offered in Wilderness War 4th Printing and a couple of special items with Mounted Maps and a 3″ Box for Normandy ’44 and a 2-sided Mounted Map for Clash of Sovereigns/Clash of Monarchs. Finally, there was a Custom Dice Set offered for Commands & Colors: Napoleonics that only have 400 sets so first come first served.

Spearhead: The Balloon Goes Up! Volume I

I am going to say that I am really intrigued by this offering. A game focused on specific scenarios from the 1980’s to today simply sounds fascinating. The concept of a “situation-specific scenario book” also is very intriguing as that probably means these are smaller more intense engagements rather than just a long drawn out campaign style game, although it appears to have that included as well.

From the game page, we read the following:

The Balloon Goes Up! is a series which simulates hypothetical or actual armored warfare in Western Europe, the Middle East, and Asia from the mid 1980’s to the present day, all using a consistent core set of rules coupled with a situation-specific playbook that allows for a variety of situations to be portrayed. The first game in the series, Spearhead, represents a summer 1986 conflict between elements of the Soviet and East German armies and United States, West German, and French armies. The game emphasizes how long-range detection and firepower technologies dramatically increased the depth of the theater of operations in modern warfare. This “Deep Engagement” waged far behind the front lines can determine the outcome of a campaign even before the opposing ground forces truly come to grips. Players must learn how to fight and win the Deep Engagement to achieve overall victory, taking into account the different ways the forces of the two sides were prepared to fight.

Sounds very interesting to me. Armored warfare is something that has always been interesting to me and we have played a few modern tank games and they are always bring the juice for sure! I am very interested in what the scenario makeup might be and the game page offers the following insight.

Spearhead scenarios range from smaller battle scenarios that deal with specific situations, locations, and forces to larger campaign style scenarios that portray the wider battle between Warsaw Pact and NATO forces. Battle scenarios depict Warsaw Pact drives into the province of Hesse, with objectives of Kassel, the Fulda Gap, Frankfurt, and ultimately the Rhine River. Three different Campaign scenarios provide varied starting conditions for forces:

  • A sudden Warsaw Pact attack disguised as a training exercise, the largest one ever seen by NATO intelligence. As a precaution, reserves in West Germany are mobilized and many NATO brigades are ordered to move out of garrison in accordance with Operational Plans. Suddenly, major Pact formations strike west across the Inner German Border with little to no warning.
  • A coordinated all out “maximum effort” attack with three combined arms armies smashing through the Fulda Gap and driving to the Rhine River. NATO forces are caught with little or no warning, with only a few brigades moving out of barracks.
  • A Warsaw Pact attack after a prolonged buildup and weeks of increasingly escalated tensions. Pact rear-echelon armies begin to move towards the front, and NATO quietly mobilizes reserves and moves additional forces into place.

The look of that map even transports me back to the 1980’s and I really like it. This series promises to be very interesting and should bring us a lot of Cold War Gone Hot modern warfare goodness!

If you are interested in Spearhead: The Balloon Goes Up! Volume I, you can pre-order a copy for $41.00 on the P500 game page at the following link:

Twilight Struggle: South Asian Monsoon

We all love Twilight Struggle….and you say you don’t, you really do but just want to be different! The game is phenomenal and has done very well for GMT Games with 8 Printings as well as an expansion and now a series of smaller geographically focused spin off games starting with Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa. The most recent offering in this series is Twilight Struggle: South Asian Monsoon, that is focused on the South Asian Region including India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Taiwan, Burma and Indonesia.

From the game page, we read the following:

Twilight Struggle: South Asian Monsoon is a two-player, stand-alone, card-driven game that builds on the award-winning Twilight Struggle. While the United States and Soviet Union were locked in the Cold War, the South Asian region took on a new importance. As newly-independent countries formed out of the remains of crumbling European empires, each Superpower scrambled to establish influence with these fledgling nations. Some South Asian countries played the US and USSR against one another, seeking to maximize investment, aid, and military assistance in exchange for bases, political favors, and expressions of support. Some remained “non-aligned” and refused to join either bloc formally—which did not stop them from taking generous aid packages—and others sought the creation of a third bloc, aligned with China.

I think that most gamers see this game and think that it is just GMT repackaging Twilight Struggle to make more money. But, that is definitely not the case as this game is definitely loaded with new mechanics and new cards and events.

Twilight Struggle: South Asian Monsoon adds new mechanisms to the tried-and-true Twilight Struggle formula to account for the fluid and unpredictable politics of South Asia during the Cold War. Newly Independent Countries appear during the game, and players must prepare for their arrival while not knowing in exactly what order they will declare independence. Some Countries will join the Non-Aligned Movement and force Superpowers to remove influence each turn. Instead of competing in the Space Race, South Asian Monsoon finds Superpowers backing one or more of the Chinese factions vying to ascend to power upon Mao’s death, with benefits available to each power if they are willing to reveal who they have supported.

Finally, the game includes a full solitaire system, which is based on the system used in Twilight Struggle: Red Sea. This system can replace either the US or Soviet player and provides a difficult and unique challenge. Finally, one more note on the game and its differences in the series.

While Twilight Struggle: Red Sea was a simpler Twilight Struggle experience, Twilight Struggle: South Asian Monsoon is a more complex experience. With a playtime of 90-120 minutes, South Asian Monsoon is shorter than a full game of Twilight Struggle, while introducing new mechanisms to depict unique aspects of the Cold War in South Asia.

If you are interested in Twilight Struggle: South Asian Monsoon, you can pre-order a copy for $44.00 on the P500 game page at the following link:

Wilderness War: The French & Indian War 4th Printing

One of my fondest memories of our wargaming journey was our initial experience with the full campaign game of Wilderness War from GMT Games. We were 2 very inexperienced wargamers and we slogged through a 9-hour marathon play over a few days that ended in a 0-0 tie of all things. That’s right, the game ended in a tie, even though we both had a card in hand, but I was unable to use mine to activate Levis, which was my only potential point scoring force, and Alexander’s forces were in too tenuous a position or too wounded to risk an open battle for VP’s.

You would think that this would have turned us off to the game but on the contrary it made me fall in love with asymmetric wargames and the Card Driven Game mechanic with its use of Action Points and events to wage war on the North American continent. The end score of our game really followed the tension of the game, and the blunders on the side of the British that counter balanced their various successes.

Wilderness War is a classic and it is now being offered on its 4th Printing. We purchased a 3rd Printing copy in 2016 which had a mounted map board.

From the game page, we read the following:

Wilderness War takes two players into the French & Indian War, 1755-1760, the climactic struggle between France and Britain for control of North America. It uses strategy cards and a point-to-point map similar to GMT’s award winning For the People and Paths of Glory. Players maneuver and fight over a map stretching from Northern Virginia to Canada. As the leader of French or British forces in North America, you will need to defend your frontier, raid your enemy’s frontier, build fortification networks through the harsh wilderness, recruit Indian allies, besiege forts and fortresses, and deal with events occurring in Europe that are above and beyond your control.

If you are interested in Wilderness War: The French & Indian War 4th Printing, you can pre-order a copy for $42.00 on the P500 game page at the following link:

Normandy ’44 Mounted Map + 3″ Box

One of my complaints about wargames is that sometimes once you put your counters into a nice tray after punching and clipping them, you can never fit the whole thing back in the box. This is especially true when those games come in a 2″ box and also have thick mounted map boards. One of the offerings this month is a step in the right direction to fix this problem with a new Mounted Map for Normandy ’44 as well as a larger 3″ box to put it all in.

From the game page, we read the following:

Based on customer requests, we are offering another print run of the mounted map for Mark Simonitch’s Normandy ’44. This time, we’re adding a 3″ box to the package for those of you who want a larger box to accommodate the mounted map. Enjoy!

If you are interested in Normandy ’44 Mounted Map + 3″ Box, you can pre-order a copy for $21.00 on the P500 game page at the following link:

Clash of Sovereigns/Clash of Monarchs Double Sided Mounted Map

Following along with the theme of accessorizing your games, and upgrading them to improve the gaming and the storage experience, GMT offered a new double sided mounted mapboard for two of their games including Clash of Monarchs (2008) and the newly released Clash of Sovereigns both CDG’s designed by Bob Kalinowski, one covering the Seven Year’s War and the other the War of Austrian Succession.

I am a bit surprised by this as Clash of Sovereigns was just released a few months back and I am wondering why they simply couldn’t add the mounted map board to the game at that time? Was it due to logistics issues? Printing problems? Who knows but the cool thing is that this is a double sided map board and frankly it looks so freaking sweet!

From the game page, we read the following:

This double-sided mounted map includes a new map for Clash of Monarchs  (see below) on one side and the map for Clash of Sovereigns on the other.  Plus, you get a terrific P500 discount!

If you are interested in Clash of Sovereigns/Clash of Monarchs Double Sided Mounted Map, you can pre-order a copy for $14.00 on the P500 game page at the following link:

Custom Dice Set for Commands & Colors: Napoleonics

The final bling offered this month was a custom dice set for Commands & Colors: Napoleonics. If you didn’t know, this is my favorite volume in the Commands & Colors Series because the combat is just so varied with many different types of units available for players to use. We are definitely considering buying a few sets of these to make our gaming experience that much better.

From the game page, we read the following:

We ordered a limited number (400) of these sets of dice that come in the new Commands & Colors: Napoleonics. If you’d like an extra set of dice, get them while they last!

If you are interested in the Custom Dice Set for Commands & Colors: Napoleonics, you can order a copy for $15.00 on the P500 game page at the following link:

Keep in mind that they only have 400 sets of these custom dice though so you are going to have to act fast or they will be gone! Don’t miss out on this golden opportunity to truly pimp out your game. You will regret it after I think!

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 very cryptic comments about an upcoming project and we are supposed to somehow decipher his meaning from these “clues”. I really have noting but guesses this month though.

Here is a brief tease for P500 additions lining up in the coming months. This month’s new Spearhead was teased last month as “An operational wargame of the cold war going hot in the 1980s.” The new Twilight Struggle: South Asian Monsoon was highlighted as “A 20th century CDG set in South Asia.” 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 pre-WWI deckbuilding game (for you Time of Crisis fans). – I have no idea on this one but with the success of the Undaunted Series from Osprey Games and its deck building, I am really looking forward to this!
  • A Multipack game from Mark Herman and Alan Ray – this team has brought us lots of Great Battles of History games so I am guessing something in the Ancients line.
  • A new Levy & Campaign Series game – there are so many of these out there right no (at least 238 in design games and counting). I am guessing Žižka: Reformation & Crusade in Hussite Bohemia, 1420-1421.
  • A Deluxe GMT Edition of a popular game that was originally from another publisher – I am going to guess Gulf Strike or Aegean Strike here designed by Mark Herman. These were initially published by Victory Games and with last year’s Pacific War this might be a good guess.

I know that I had a few guesses in several of these so that is like cheating but I bet I got at least 1 or 2 correct. Gene? How did I do?

Charging & Shipping

The following information for Charging and Shipping was copied directly from the Update:

Current Charges/Shipments: GMT finished shipping all P500 orders for the following games late last week: 

Seas of Thunder

The British Way 

Next Charges/Shipments: GMT has a BIG shipment arriving in the warehouse later this week. And they pretty much have to ship all of these together because there are a bunch more titles scheduled to arrive in July. The good news is that their “Consolidated Shipping” feature is going to save significantly on shipping for those of you with multiple games on order in this batch.

Because of the large volume of orders for these five items, it’s going to take the office and warehouse folks a bit longer than usual on both the “prepare for shipment” after charging and the shipping itself. So they’re going to charge later this week, on May 25th and plan to start shipping roughly June 5-10. The goal will be to finish shipping all (currently around 7,200) games in this group within 4 weeks of the start of shipping. The games that will charge and ship in this batch are going to charge later this week, on May 25th and plan to start shipping roughly June 5-10. The games they will charge and ship in this batch are:

Border Reivers
Mr. President: The American Presidency, 2001-2020
People Power
The Barracks Emperors
Under the Southern Cross 

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 the update on various games as they run up to production.

The first piece shown was the box back for the upcoming Sovereign of Discord: A Fire in the Lake Expansion that takes a look at the Diem Regime during the period of 1961-1963. One of our favorites in the COIN Series is Fire in the Lake, and this one adds some new and interesting takes on the Vietnam War in its early years. The game is currently at the printer but has no shipping date as of yet.

They also showed the final cover for the game as well and I think that it looks really great! Sovereign of Discord was sent to the printer this month. Remember that these COIN Series games feature solo bots that have been designed by the team at GMT One. Sovereign of Discord features the same card-based bot play as the Tru’ng bots and the Fall of Saigon. Joe Dewhurst and Kevin Crooks were the work behind these bots and according to Jason Carr “did a phenomenal job with the bots in Sovereign of Discord.”

Shared next was the final cover for the very interesting looking Vijayanagara: The Deccan Empires of Medieval India, 1290-1398, which is a part of the Irregular Conflicts Series. The game is currently in final art and proofing so is probably a late 2023 release if we are lucky. This game is very cool and will appeal to COIN Series fans as well as those that like asymmetric games. Here is a link to our interview with the design team:

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 #1 – Capital Relocated

Card #2 – Uprising in Daulatabad

Card #3 – Kakatiya Empire Extinguished

Card #4 – The Hare and the Hounds

Card #5 – The Raichur Doab

Card #6 – A New Calculus

The next cover they shared was not my favorite but it is the final cover for The Last Hundred Yards: The Russian Front which is headed to the printer later this month. I am just not a huge fan of using historical images anymore as a main focus. There are too many great artists out that who can create some fascinating and entrancing images for these game covers.

They also shared a look at the final counters for The Last Hundred Yards: The Russian Front and they look really sweet. I am a fan of NATO Symbols on my counters most of the time but in a smaller scale tactical game like this I am a fan of silhouettes for the units and these look particularly good. Tank, tanks and more tanks!

Next was a look at the final version of the board for the very cool looking Prime Minister designed by Paul Helyer which is headed to the printer later this month.

The final item I will share is the near final board for China’s War designed by Brian Train. Brian gave a brief update on the progress of the design as follows:

Since first going up for P500 in August 2019, this design is now north of 1,600 pre-orders. It has had a bit of a bumpy ride due to the continual disruptions of COVID and the competing demands of developing other GMT designs. I’m very lucky and grateful to have Jason Carr and Joe Dewhurst working on this game, but unfortunately we cannot clone these guys. The game has been proceeding through playtesting and development well, just not always at the same speed…but in my opinion the motion has been uniformly good progress!

The basic mechanics of the game have remained much the same since it was submitted. Also we have spent a good deal of time working through the cards in the Event Deck to tweak their powers and effects, which is always an involved step in working out a GMT COIN system design. We are now at the point of finalizing the look of the thing—illustrated above is the latest version of the map by the talented Matthew Wallhead, which I think will also be close to the final version.

We think you’ll be pleased! – Brian

Because it has been quite a while, I wanted to re-share our interview with Brian Train that was posted on the blog way back at the end of 2019:

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:

Grant’s Top 10 Solitaire Wargames of 2022! featuring Flashpoint: South China Sea at #6

Sovereign of Discord – A Fire in the Lake Expansion – Event Card Spoilers with Designer Stephen Rangazas – #P22 Exterminate Traitors

Rebellion: Britannia – Resistance Against Rome in 1st Century Britain – Event Card Spoilers with Designers Maurice Suckling and Daniel Burt – Card #2 Military Occupation, Clash of Cultures and Prasutagus Dies

Rebellion: Britannia – Resistance Against Rome in 1st Century Britain – Event Card Spoilers with Designers Maurice Suckling and Daniel Burt – Card #3 Bountiful Land, The Tribes Bristle and Venutius Rebels

Best 3 Games with…World War I! featuring Fields of Despair: 1914-1918 and Paths of Glory: The First World War, 1914-1918

Interview with Mark Simonitch Designer of North Africa ’41: The Western Desert, March to December 1941

Buckeye Game Fest 2023 Debrief – 5 Days of Big Wargaming Goodness! featuring a partial AAR on our play of Unconditional Surrender! and a look at our COIN Series Teach & Play Events

Sovereign of Discord – A Fire in the Lake Expansion – Event Card Spoilers with Designer Stephen Rangazas – #P41 Robert Thompson

Unboxing Video: Inferno: Guelphs and Ghibellines Vie for Tuscany, 1259-1261

One final thing I want to share. It is always great to see when GMT shares the content and reports of the various content creators out there and also that they provided games and sponsor events so people like us can spread the word about their great games. Last month, Alexander and I attended 5 days of Buckeye Game Fest in Columbus, Ohio and played lots of GMT Games designs with new gamers.

Here is a look at their use of a snippet of our report about the event:

Both Alexander and I want to thank GMT Games for their support in sharing our content and providing games for us to play and review and giveaway from time to time at events. We also want to thank each of you for all your support in reading our posts, watching our videos and joining along on this crazy wargaming journey we have been on since 2016 (that is 7 years if you are counting!). We always are glad to meet new gamers to discuss games, play games and just hang out. I am really grateful for the friends we have made along the way and for the help we have received. THANK YOU!

Please let me know what caught your interest from the update this month and what GMT Games products that you have been enjoying lately.