New Features in Under the Southern Cross, Part I

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Designing a game that is part of an established and well-liked series such as Mike Nagel’s Flying Colors (FC) requires a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, the setting for Volume IV requires some special handling: river shoals and sand bars, the preponderance of small vessels like gunboats and schooners, and some of the unusual tactics historically employed such as towing heavier warships by their own boats through shallow waters and over shoals require some special handling. At the same time, continuity with the other games in the series, keeping the flow of play and the “feel” of the FC system, means that any changes have to be very carefully considered and approached with caution.

Apocalypse Road Development Update

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Carla and I are proud to announce that Apocalypse Road is in the tidying-up stage at this point. The game just went up on the P500 last month, so this is very fortunate. The idea for the game arose from the response we got from people at conventions where we demonstrated Thunder Alley. Invariably, someone would want to ram other cars. Often the discussion went to putting guns on the cars. We took their desires to heart and sat down even before we started working on Grand Prix and tried to envision what Thunder Alley with guns would look like.

Red Storm AAR Playtest, Part 2

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The following is part 2 of an after action review of my most recent test game of Red Storm with my good friend and playtest team member Chris Baer.  This scenario is titled “Offensive Counter Air” and features two big NATO deep strike raids going over the front and into southwestern East Germany.  In Part 1 Chris and I both provided our thoughts as we went through the pre-game planning phases.  Here in Part 2 we’ll discuss some of the action in the scenario itself.

“It’s a Cruel, Cruel World!” – A Replay of a Three-Player Game of Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea

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“It’s a cruel, cruel world!” is all my friend Max told his 22 year old son, Bennett, in preparation for his first game of Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea.  Bennett soon discovered and showed us just how cruel it could be, as in just one short evening all manner of calamities befell our empires, from multiple and repeated barbarian invasions to cataclysmic earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods of Biblical proportions – not to mention the Bronze Age version of The Black Death.

Yet we three survived these travails and more – including wars and the game’s card enabled catastrophes which we vengefully inflicted upon each other (“see, it really IS a cruel world!” was the oft repeated refrain) – with Bennett’s Phoenicians vying with his father’s Mycenaeans and my Egyptians for primacy in Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea.

Tank Tales #2: Ready, Aim, Fire!

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As we have been playtesting Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs, the number one thing that players want to learn about is how the game works once the shells start flying. Tank Duel draws inspiration from games like Up Front, Panzer and Combat Commander, with an abstract movement system but detailed fire action resolution procedure which uses cards for multiple purposes. This article will give you some insight into what the fire action resolution procedure looks like, and how that information is spread out between the Battle Cards and Tank Boards.

Red Storm Playtest AAR, Part 1

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The following is an After Action Review of my most recent test game of Red Storm  on a long Friday morning and afternoon with my good friend and playtest team member Chris Baer.  This was a test of one of the bigger scenarios in Red Storm, “Offensive Counter Air”, which features two big NATO deep strike raids going over the front and into southwestern East Germany to hit Warsaw Pact airfields.  I wanted to test one of the bigger scenarios to see how certain rules “scale up” to a very large scenario.  In particular, I wanted to fully work out the SAM and Electronic Warfare rules, areas where the rules for Red Storm make some significant changes from earlier games in the series.  Here in Part 1 of the AAR I’ll go through my pre-game planning from the NATO side of things, with Chris providing some insights into Warsaw Pact planning.  In Part 2 I’ll show some images of the game with a bit of commentary on how things went.

Empire of the Sun Rules & Tactics Intro: Air Naval Combat

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A few months ago, I pointed our customers to The Player’s Aid website as a site that creates consistently high-quality articles about our games (and others). I asked Grant, one of their founders and content creators, if he’d like to write an occasional article for InsideGMT to provide some added content to our site, and also to help spread the word about their site to an even broader group of readers. He wrote us a nice article about playing the Americans in Combat Commander which is now part of a larger series on their site.  Today, the guys from The Player’s Aid  are back with a new article, this time from Alexander, another of their founders and key writers. He takes us inside air-naval combat tactics in Mark Herman’s Empire of the Sun. I hope you all enjoy the article and The Player’s Aid site! – Gene

Why We Do What We Do in The Last Hundred Yards: Time Lapse, Fire and Maneuver Systems

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Why we do what we do in The Last Hundred Yards– In these articles we discuss why we do what we do regarding the various systems and mechanics used in the LHY. On this occasion we will discuss the Time Lapse, Fire and Maneuver systems. To see the first article in this series, check out The Last Hundred Yards Designer’s Notes: Intro, Initiative, and Activation Cycle on InsideGMT.