Talon Tuesday Issue #12: The Rulebook

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“Talon Tuesdays” is an article series appearing on InsideGMT periodically on Tuesdays.  It features articles from the Talon development team regarding the game’s design, development and upcoming release.

Issue #12: The Rulebook

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This isn’t my first board game project but it is my first time as a developer. Composing a rulebook is a real challenge. They serve two diametrically opposed purposes: 1) Quickly introduce you to the game and 2) Act as a reference when rules questions occur. The challenge is to get players into your game without overloading them with rules they may not need: rules for things that may occur at the fringe of gameplay.  Working on a rulebook can be tough. It’s this (figuratively) huge, living document. A slight change to one rule can ripple out and lead to changes in other rules. You really need to understand your game in order to express it to a total newbie. Fortunately, I earned a ton of valuable experience working under Oliver Upshaw on Space Empires: Close Encounters.  He was definitely a big positive influence on me as a developer.

Talon Tuesday Issue #11: Needing Bigger Guns

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“Talon Tuesdays” is an article series appearing on InsideGMT periodically on Tuesdays.  It features articles from the Talon development team regarding the game’s design, development and upcoming release.

Issue #11: Needing Bigger Guns

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There are three weapon types for each race in Talon. This symmetry of design seemed appropriate when we first started, but as we began defining fleet doctrine and ship design for each of the races, the three weapons became less and less symmetrical. In the beginning, we started with Phasers and Torpedoes on the Terran ships, and Disruptors and Missiles on the Talon ships. This idea, that each ship had a beam weapon and a projectile weapon, was a typical trope of most space combat games, but we felt that by ensuring the weapons felt different enough we could create something dynamic there. The third weapon for each race was a powerful cannon that did devastating damage to a target, but with restricted range brackets and powerful recharge times.

GMT Weekend at the WarehouseGMTWeekendFall2014

Come join us on April 21-24, 2016, for our 31st GMT Weekend at the Warehouse! We’ll spend the better part of 3 1/2 days, often long into the night, playing your favorite GMT (and non-GMT, if you’d prefer) games. This is mostly an open gaming event, although there are a couple of tournaments this time.

Gaming starts around 8 each morning and goes until Mike Lam and the Down in Flames Aces event players collapse from exhaustion in the wee hours of the morning.

Quite a few GMT Designers and Developers attend these weekends. We’ll be updating this list often between now and the event, but for now the tentative list of Designer/Developer attendees and events looks like this:

  • Chad and Kai Jensen will attend and we think will have open testing of Welcome to Centerville and Fighting Formations 29th Infantry Division.
  • Harold Buchanan will be here to show us Liberty or Death and Tank Duel.
  • Gene Billingsley will teach and demo Mr. President.
  • As usual, Mike Lam will be running the Down in Flames Aces Event, including the two-player team tournament on Saturday.


Date: April 21, 2016—April 24, 2016
Time: 8:00 a.m to late night, ending around noon Sunday
Event: GMT Weekend at the Warehouse - April 21-24, 2016
Sponsor: Gene Billingsley
Venue: GMT Games Offices and Warehouse
Location: 13704 Hanford-Armona Rd, Suite B-1
Hanford, CA 93230
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Gallipoli, 1915 Example of Play: Moving, Firing, Assaulting, Hiding

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This example uses scenario 10.7.1 Kemal’s Counter Attack. Kemal Mustafa Atatürk was the commander of the 19th Division, the first senior commander on the scene at Anzac. His quick actions saved the day for the Ottoman Empire. In this scenario he has just issued his famous order to the 57th Regiment: “Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die. In the time that it takes us to die, other forces and commanders can come and take our place.”  Don’t let that dismay the Ottoman player – Kemal’s attack captured the vital high ground of Battleship Hill and Baby 700, which caused the ANZAC command to seriously consider evacuation under fire.

Silver Bayonet: The Game as History

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SilverBayonet25-ban1(RBM)Here’s a look at the scenarios in Silver Bayonet, and some of the history behind them.

There are two kinds of scenarios in the game: Standard and Campaign. The Standard scenarios are smaller and, for the most part, cover some portion of the action which occurred during the campaign. The Campaign scenarios are larger and more involved, although they are also divided into two categories. There are three smaller campaign scenarios, each of which deals with a particular brigade’s operations during the campaign, and there are two Grand Campaign scenarios covering the entire campaign.

Talon Tuesday Issue #10: Empire War Report

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“Talon Tuesdays” is an article series appearing on InsideGMT periodically on Tuesdays.  It features articles from the Talon development team regarding the game’s design, development and upcoming release.

Issue #10

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Empire War is a strategic game mode in Talon that does not use the written scenarios. It’s going to get its own Talon Tues in the coming weeks but I’ve got this really interesting play test report from one of our MVP playtesters, Michael that I really want to share first. I’ll explain the game mode briefly here.

In Empire War, each player has a fleet of ships that he assigns to different sectors on a strategic map. The game has 4 sectors – Antares, Badlands, Maelstrom, and Orion and each sector is broken into a number of “Conflict Zones” where battles take place. Ship buying and assignment take place over strategic turns, and then battles are fought in each sector.  As one faction wins, the “front line” in that sector advances towards the enemy home world. The game ends when a player loses a battle over his home world.  It’s a big game and it offers players a way to run a “campaign” over multiple sessions in addition to playing the written scenarios.

As you gain territory you increase your income and decrease your opponent’s. Furthermore, there are planets in some sectors, typically guarded by bases that are worth additional income and are easier to defend since they must be invaded by the enemy to be captured.

The most important thing in an Empire War is keeping your ships alive and destroying those of the enemy. If one side gets a large fleet size advantage, they are going to be able to very easily take territory. Knowing when to retreat is an important key to victory. Empire War is honestly my favorite way to play the game in the long term.

There are ship assignment minimums that mandate a certain quantity of ships be assigned to each sector. This prevents a side from just blitzing through one sector with his entire fleet strength. Tracking ship assignments is pretty easy on the tracking sheet that comes with the game, but to make things easier, I’m working on a player aid app that will hopefully be ready shortly after the game’s release.

Michael was one of our most prolific play testers. Not only did he put in the time, he consistently wrote very detailed and insightful reports. He also tested every written scenario and wrote some of his own. He was a developer’s dream as far as play testers go. One of his last play tests was an Empire War game that he soloed. In the second strategic round of play, one of the largest battles in Talon history took place over the planet Orion.  Here’s his report:

Illustrated Example of Play #1: Anti-Tank Ditch Crossings and More

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Historical Situation, Yom Kippur War – At 2 PM on October 6th 1973, the Syrian army and air force launched a massive assault on the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. Three Syrian infantry divisions, bolstered with an armored brigade, assembled close to the border. In the rear, two powerful armored divisions were ready to exploit any breakthrough made during the initial assault. Their goal was to retake the Golan which they lost to the Israelis during the Six Day War of 1967. The attack, which was coordinated with the Egyptian assault across the Suez Canal in the Sinai Peninsula, took the Israelis by surprise and they had only two armored brigades defending the Golan border. Along the length of the Purple Line (1967 Ceasefire Line) the Israeli army dug an anti-tank ditch and built seventeen strongpoints to serve as a major obstacle to a possible Syrian attack.

Next War: India-Pakistan Design Notes – Air Forces, part 1

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In this article, Doug continues the orders of battle discussion by focusing on the air forces for the primary opponents and discusses the why of some of the decisions which were made. This is part one which details the air forces of the two protagonists, India and Pakistan. – Mitchell Land

The Air Forces of NWIP, Part 1

The advanced air system in the Next War series consists of individual aircraft units of approximately squadron size. So, generating a baseline order of battle simply requires knowing approximately how many of a given type of aircraft a country has in its inventory. However, most militaries only consider about 70% of any given type of aircraft in their inventory as “combat coded” and fully capable for combat, with the other 30% being used for training, backup inventory, or testing activities.

Talon Tuesday Issue #9: Terrain

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“Talon Tuesdays” is an article series appearing on InsideGMT periodically on Tuesdays.  It features articles from the Talon development team regarding the game’s design, development and upcoming release.

Issue #9

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We didn’t add terrain to Talon until about a year into the development cycle. The game offers enough interesting choices and the counters are large enough that the map wasn’t really screaming to be spiced up with terrain, at least initially.

We knew we needed to add it, it was important chrome plus it would help with the Space Empires crossover rules. Naturally, we thought to add Asteroids and Nebulae first since they appear in Space Empires and are decent enough SF tropes.

Our initial brainstorming sessions had some pretty wild terrain effects, some of which may get molded into other terrain pieces for expansions. A number of the effects started out with long reference tables and additional roles when moving into or firing through Asteroids/Nebulae but, like many things in this game, we were able to streamline and refine the concept.

Storming the Heights, Design Notes

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cp-logo-badgeStorming the Heights is the latest entry to hit the GMT P500 from Consim Press. This release covers one of the first major battles of the Crimean War, the Battle of the Alma, fought on 20 September 1854. This game models in a highly-playable format the key elements of the battle — command control (lack of generalship), weaponry, and tactical formations — and aims to captivate players with its strikingly beautiful period map and counters designed by graphic artist, Terry Leeds.

We hope you enjoy Joseph Miranda’s inside look into Storming the Heights and will preorder this game with confidence!
— John Kranz, Consim Press