Three Presidents for the Price of One: A Look Inside the New Version of Mr. President (Pt 1)

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As many of you have read in my most recent monthly customer updates, I’ve been back working on the new version of Mr. President weekly, and sometimes daily, over the past couple of months. The updated, streamlined design is falling into place, and we’re a little over a month away from handing the game off to Mike Bertucelli for final development and testing. In this article and those that follow, I want to give you a sense of how it feels to play the current version of Mr. President. With the able assistance of my son Luke and daughter Rachel, whose most recent plays of the game have netted two auto-losses, we’ll take you along with us as we begin a new administration. I hope you enjoy the article! – Gene

Red Storm – Solitaire Development

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One of the aspects making the Downtown series great is its intense fog-of-war.  The combination of dummy flights, hidden AAA/SAMs, generic flights, and unconfirmed bombing results add up to a lot of uncertainty for both players in most scenarios, a situation that is both realistic and fun, since neither player knows the full picture.

As cool as the system is, the extensive fog-of-war adds a lot of rules, an issue for some players with limited time, while also making the game less appealing as a solo experience.  To address both issues, early in the development of Red Storm, Gene gave me the task of working in some solo rules.  I examined as many different solo systems I could find, while also reviewing some draft solo rules that Lee Brimmicombe-Wood and Antonio Peña worked on for Downtown but never published formally.  After that research and some tinkering with various options, I settled on a “two tier” system of solo rules for Red Storm.

Solitaire Play of Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea – Greeks vs Persians: An AAR (Part 1)

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Introduction by Fred Schachter, Game Developer: There’s material within GMT’s site for Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea (ACIS); which could be read as background, but this piece is being placed here in hopes it will engender a bit more “back & forth” with readers as follow-up to Chris’ last InsideGMT article (Parts 1, 2, and 3) concerning his experience with ACIS’ The God Kings of Egypt solitaire scenario. You are encouraged to contact the ACIS Team with any and all comments and questions.

Please note this is an After Action Report of one of many ACIS Solitaire Scenarios being play tested.  Some are finished and some still in need of various degrees of development and play-balance “tweaking”.

Of course we’re also play testing the “live” versions of the game and having a blast doing so.

So with no further ado, here’s ACIS Co-Designer Chris Vorder Bruegge’s report of his experiences fending off the mighty Persian Empire with his plucky and stalwart Greeks.  Ah, after reading this I’m planning another viewing of “300”.

Tank Tales #4: Building a Solitaire Bot for a Fast Action Card Game

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As recently announced, Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs has a full Solitaire play system included. I have been working closely with Designer Mike Bertucelli to develop this system, and I’m excited to share a little bit more information about the design and how the Solitaire “Bot” works.

Red Storm – Scenario Mix

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In designing scenarios for Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987, I’m trying to provide a wide range of scenarios in terms of size, complexity, and “standard” versus “unusual” situations.  Regarding size, the variance is based on three main factors: the amount of the map in play, the number of flights on each side, and the density of ground defenses (SAMs and AAA).  Complexity varies based on who is doing what.  One side bombing?  Both sides?  Good or bad weather?  Lots of Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and electronic jamming aircraft?  The final aspect is standard vs. unusual.  Here, “standard” would be daylight missions with one or both sides bombing targets and one or both sides trying to intercept the other.  Order of Battle tables determine the exact flights and available munitions.  An “unusual” scenario would include specific pre-designated units with special rules (like a cruise missile attack, paradrop or helicopter assault).  At this point in testing, we are working on a total of 29 scenarios.  I’m not sure if all of those will make the cut, but I figure it’s good to have too many at this point instead of too few.  Any that don’t get into Red Storm will likely be future C3i magazine scenarios or be offered through some other venue.

The Pendragon Chronicles – Vol. 9 – The Fall

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Now that we have surveyed a range of individual aspects of Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain, we would like to see how they interact to transport us into the final travails of the Roman presence in Britain. As we discussed in the previous Chronicle on Imperium, Pendragon for the first time in the COIN Series not only provides a dynamic simulation of Britannia, it models the transformation of the island’s political-military-economic affairs from one system to another. While Andean Abyss enables you to enact the relations among diverse factions in modern Colombia to varying outcomes, the system of insurgency and counterinsurgency represented functions essentially the same at the end of the game as at the beginning. In Pendragon, we can begin in a diocese of the Roman Empire and end amidst warring kingdoms of the Dark Ages. To see how, we must view the behavior of Pendragon’s elements as a complex and interlocked whole.

Solitaire Play of The God-King of Egypt (Part 1)

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Introduction by Game Developer Fred Schachter: A previous two-part InsideGMT article pitted one of the Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea (ACIS) designers, Mark McLaughlin, solitaire against the trials and tribulations of this exciting, quick-to-play, and fun game. Links to Parts 1 and 2 of the article can be found here and here.

To best appreciate this article, the reader may wish to reference InsideGMT’s other content regarding ACIS for better context and reading enjoyment.  This is not necessary, but it could help enhance your appreciation of the game action. Furthermore, this article provides more detail than its predecessors regarding ACIS’ game mechanics… and there’s more to come with future pieces as the game’s development continues.

This is a replay of Mark’s co-designer Chris Vorder Brugge’s experience with another of the game’s solitaire contests: The God King of Egypt.

Can Chris fare better than his good friend Mark’s InsideGMT ACIS solitaire game experience (or the historical “Land of the Pharaohs” for that matter)?  Read on!!!