Solitaire Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea (Part 1 of 2)

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Introduction by Game Developer Fred Schachter – Prior InsideGMT articles concerning Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea focused on the multi-player versions of the game… and there’s more to come as the game’s development continues. This particular article by Designer Mark McLaughlin provides the reader insights as to the game’s basic systems and the cards that add so much entertainment, excitement and fun to the game. 

With this article, Mark shares one of the nifty solitaire versions he’s designed for the game.  We hope you find this article of sufficient interest to incite a P-500 order for Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea if you’ve not yet done so.

It should also be noted that this article provides a “first peek” as to the game’s mechanics.  Let Mark and I know if this provokes any question or request for clarification. 

“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.

Tearing Apart Hitler’s Reich: The Designers Battle It Out in the Overlord/Bagration Scenario: 1944 Game Set-Up

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This After Action Report article presumes the reader already has some familiarity with the game through perusing material now resident within its InsideGMT archive.  It is hoped this piece will add to your appreciation of this exciting and fun to play P-500 listed game and, hopefully, encourage placing an order for the game if it encourages interest.

Two Good Years Out of Seven: The View from Paris After a Game of The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble

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Introduction by 7YW:FG Game Developer – Fred Schachter

Mark McLaughlin and my designer/developer partnership span a number of fine GMT games: but since my business career took me away from the Northeast; it’s been all too rare that I could visit with my friend Mark and enjoy a good fun time gaming.  A recent trip to New York City, however, provided opportunity for a side trip to Mark’s home. 

During this visit, I re-introduced Mark to Greg Ticer’s The Seven Years War: Frederick’s Gamble, which we last played a few Impulses of during WBC 2014 when GMT introduced us to Greg.  As InsideGMT content for this game indicates; there’s been considerable progress and improvements made to this design since that WBC. 

It was a genuine pleasure to share the latest iteration of 7YW:FG with Mark. Mark had such a grand gaming experience he was inspired to write this After Action Report for InsideGMT.  I wrote the photo captions and the end game victory calculations. However, this article’s photos would be better appreciated if a reader references a copy of the 7YW:FG play test map.  Enjoy!   

The Many Paths to Victory or Defeat in GMT’s Hitler’s Reich

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Introduction: InsideGMT posts to date regarding Hitler’s Reich: A Card Conquest System Game (henceforth referred to simply as Hitler’s Reich) reference the game’s victory conditions in a somewhat disjointed basis, e.g. within context of an after-action-report, without providing an overview of players’ various potential “paths to victory” in a more cohesive manner.

This article hopefully remedies that as well as introduces the game’s various scenarios.  For more regarding this fun and exciting new GMT P-500 offered game, kindly reference the InsideGMT site for a host of related material.

Hitler’s Reich — The Reasons Why, and What the Cards Represent

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Introduction: Game Developer Fred Schachter, recently returned from WBC 2016 and its demo/playtests of Hitler’s Reich: A Card Conquest System Game (hereafter referred to as simply Hitler’s Reich); advises the game was well-received… particularly as it featured the cool card and map graphics professionally created by Charles Kibler.  It resulted in a bump of P-500 sales for which Fred and I are grateful.  

Furthermore, Fred had opportunity to actually play the game with Charlie during WBC.  A rare bit of fun for them both. 

This article is follow-up to previous InsideGMT posts, particularly those which reference Hitler’s Reich Event cards.  During WBC, between game play cards and dice flying, Fred was asked why certain Events are included while other possible ones are not.  In the following piece, I endeavor to respond to that from a designer’s perspective.

Please reference other InsideGMT Hitler’s Reich material for additional information concerning this upcoming fun and exciting to play P-500 listed game.  

The Basic Design Goal: WW2 in Europe for players in two hours

WW2 in Europe for two players in two hours: That is the basic goal behind the design of Hitler’s Reich.  Yes, the game can go longer, but it usually doesn’t, unless one or more players enjoy fully deliberating each card play… and there’s nothing wrong with that since the overarching goal of this design is to have an enjoyable gaming experience.

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.

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.

Going Solo & Schizoid in Hitler’s Reich – A Peek Into Conquering Europe All Alone

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HitlerReichTAB_P500(RBM)“World War Two for Two Players in Two Hours – or less” is the simplest way to describe Hitler’s Reich, GMT’s upcoming strategic game of the European theater in the Second World War.  Although designed for and best played by two players, it can also be played by as many three or four, or as few as one.  Although the specific guidance on how to game solitaire or multi-player are provided in the game’s Playbook, which is essentially a bonus booklet separate from the Rules, here is a quick peek into what it is like to try to conquer Europe all alone in Hitler’s Reich.

 Schizophrenic Puzzle Solving Solo Play in Hitler’s Reich

Solitaire gamers often feel like a God – they know and see everything, but as being omniscient and all-powerful not only gets old but gets boring from a lack of challenge, Hitler’s Reich offers solo gamers a unique twist: they play in Fog (of war) that keeps the game surprising.  As with many games, in Hitler’s Reich the solitaire player has to assume a schizophrenic attitude, trying to seek out the optimal strategy for one side and the best counter response by the other.  To speed up and ease that process, however, in Hitler’s Reich the solo gamer only has to make the BIG decisions – what Event Card to play for, what space on the map to Attack, and where to Fortify or place a Fleet.

As the active Player, the gamer can decide to use Event Cards in hand to increase their chances of resolving that play, and then as the opposing player can decide whether or not to toss in one or more of that side’s Event Cards to change the odds. From there on, the Fog of War takes over.