GMT Games: State of the Union (Part 1)

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As I mentioned in last month’s Customer Update, GMT is now growing at a pace that is significantly faster than ever before in our history. Although I don’t pretend to understand precisely the mix of factors behind our exploding growth, what I believe is that we are benefitting from a sort of “perfect storm”:

  • Popular games and game series’ that are standing the test of time and continuing to sell well as they age
  • A growing corps of creative and skilled designers and design teams who continue to hone their craft and bring us innovative new games
  • An increasing awareness of our games across the broader game market due to a core group of very popular strategy games as well as the increased customer reach fostered by our expansion into digital products

Of course, these synergies are leveraged by the power of the internet, and more specifically, an increasingly varied and eclectic customer base full of people who enjoy our games and are willing and able as never before to spread the good word about them online through the powerful  tools of social media, blogs, YouTube videos, and mass-gamer sites like BoardgameGeek.

GMT LogoIn this series of GMT Games State of the Union articles, I’m going to take a look at our games, our design teams, our strategies to increase our ability to embrace and foster growth, and finally the challenges that growth is bringing and how we intend to meet and overcome them. For this Part 1, then, let’s talk about our games.

The games are the product that we ultimately trade for your gaming dollars. Their quality is paramount. The designers of these games (we’ll look at them in detail in our next installment) and their teams are our capacity to continue to create future products. Because of this, they are possibly the most important cog in the GMT machine (although all of our team members are very important) because without them, we would lose the capacity to provide quality designs to our customers. And that’s really what it’s all about; putting consistently high-quality game designs on our customers’ game tables at a pace that we can handle and that meets but does not exceed our customers’ demand.

Now let’s look at the sales of our games in a bit more detail, as we examine where GMT Games stands today.

Silver Bayonet Example of Play

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The following example of play is not based on any particular scenario. This is the same example which is available in the rules for Silver Bayonet which can be found, along with the the player aid cards and other resources at the Support Site.

Silver Bayonet Example of PlayXOP_1

This example of play, while not intended to be comprehensive, will cover most aspects of the rules. The decisions which are made and the actions which are taken are not, necessarily, the best ones. They have been chosen to highlight various rules as we follow through the Sequence of Play.

Taking a look at the situation, we can see the PAVN closing in on the garrison of Duc Co (3 x CIDG [1 x Fatigued] and DELTA). Some elements of the ARVN 3rd Armored Cavalry Squadron (HQ/3, 1/3, and 2/3 [Fatigued]) are operating to the south of Duc Co along with the Fatigued 6th ARVN Airborne Battalion and Lt. Col. Truong. One CIDG Patrol, from a previous turn is already on the map. Note that several of the units are Fatigued.
There are three PAVN battalions lurking in the jungle although the FWA player doesn’t know that because they are all under Hidden Movement markers. Those markers could all have units in them or they could all be Dummy markers. Of course, for this example, we know some of them are not Dummy markers.

70 Minutes to Victory: A Hitler’s Reich Replay with The REAL Game Components

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Introduction: Readers may wish to reference other InsideGMT material regarding this fascinating upcoming P-500 listed game for background and explanation of game mechanics whose general appreciation is presumed by this post.

Finally, a long-awaited day has come… being able to play Hitler’s Reich: A Card Conquest System Game (Hitler’s Reich) with REAL components, using the map and cards created by artist Charles Kibler from my amateurish components used to date in many a Hitler’s Reich play test game. Along with these were GMT “wooden bits” similar to what could be provided with the published game.

Although there is still some prettying up of the game’s European Theater of Operations of World War II map to be done along with minor edits of the cards; the After Action Report (AAR) described by this InsideGMT post was this designer’s first playing of the game with their professionally rendered graphic components… the same components you could experience with Developer Fred Schachter at WBC 2016.

Silver Bayonet: Playtest Report

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Y’all may know Ralph’s work from other GMT titles such as Operation Dauntless, Blood & Roses, Infidel, and the soon-to-be-published Arquebus. He was a valuable member of the playtesting team, and, below, he describes his experience with the 25th Anniversary Edition of Silver Bayonet.

When I heard Mitchell Land was working with GMT to re-issue Silver Bayonet, I approached him about playtesting the game. I knew Mitch from his Next War series and like his ideas on modern war. Many years ago, I had played the original Silver Bayonet game. It is a good game with a few flaws that kept it from being a great game. As one of the first GMT games, the rules and scenarios were ambiguous at points. The lack of smaller advanced game scenarios kept me from playing anything but the standard game. I just couldn’t convince my opponent to play the 39 turn campaign so we could use all of the cool hidden movement rules and helicopters.

Fire in the Lake:  Designer Variants

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“A game design is never finished, only published.” 

Hello COIN Series fans!  On the basis of recent tournament experience with Fire in the Lake and how some players are reacting to the US Faction mechanics, we have been noodling various modifications to the US Faction, particularly for tournament play of the Short scenario.  Also, we are trying out changes to a small number of Event cards.

Here are a set of optional changes presented for your consideration, with a few comments about why so.   We invite your feedback here, as we will use that as we consider what subset of these changes we might incorporate into the next printing of the game, currently on P500.  Thanks!

Hitler’s Reich Event Card Art Preview – or How a Real Artist Helps Bring a Design to Life

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Charles Kibler is one of GMT’s premier graphics artists, as prospective map and Conflict Card art for the currently GMT P-500 listed Hitler’s Reich amply demonstrates via the below link.  Charlie worked on many of GMT’s top designs, including my own Rebel Raiders on The High Seas, which, like Hitler’s Reich, was developed by Fred Schachter.

This spring, Charlie took my hand-drawn playtest map in hand and created a clean, clear, easy to play on map of the WWII European Theater that stretches from the blistering sands of the Sahara to the frozen waters of the White Sea and from the stormy reaches of the North Atlantic to the vast steppes of Central Russia.  The prototype for this map is truly worthy of a mounted game board, which is what those who’ll play this quick, two-hour, two-person game of WW II will find in the box.

The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble – A Newbie British Player’s Experience

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Game Developer (F. Schachter) Introduction: Most InsideGMT articles are submitted by game designers and developers; but this is authored by a play-tester who was so taken and enthused about the game that he took a multitude of photos during play and here shares his experiences of this upcoming exciting new GMT game (Thanks Jeffro!)

Although this article is illustrated, readers may find it helpful following the action by having a copy of The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble (7YW:FG) play test map available for reference.  There is also a host of material related to this forthcoming GMT publication within InsideGMT as well as the game’s P-500 site.  Hopefully, this encourages your interest in the game and placing an order for it.

Into the Wild Blue Yonder (Part Six): Operations and Progressive Campaigns

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Besides the seven Land campaigns described last time, Wild Blue Yonder includes two Operations, three Progressive campaigns, and a solitaire campaign.

Operations include one or more missions, often with a fixed order of battle.  They can be played as stand-alone campaigns, and also replace one of the “regular” missions when called for in a Land Campaign.

Illusions of Glory: Developing GMT’s Latest WW1 Card-Driven Game

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Introduction

As with other games, playtesting has led to some re-design for Illusions of Glory: The Great War on the Eastern Front.  Notwithstanding the months dedicated to research and development of IoG, this GMT P-500 game continues to be a “labor of love” for me.

The rules, strategy cards, unit counters, and map have been revised to make this WW1 Eastern Front game a better simulation—more realistic and challenging.  Short scenarios have been prepared as an introduction to the game and to accommodate players lacking time to play the entire four-year campaign.

This article will highlight the latest changes inspired by playtesting, and hopefully draw your attention to other IoG material that GMT has put on its website.  That material provides context for this particular article, and will hopefully convince you to place a P-500 order for the game.