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.

“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.

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.

The Pendragon Chronicles – Vol. 6 – Settling Britain

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Another fairly unique (within the COIN series) feature of Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain is that, at least in the scenarios starting at the very beginning of the period covered by the game (c. 360 AD), two of the four factions begin play with not one single piece on the map!  These are, of course, the two barbarian factions, the Saxons and Scotti, as Britain begins solidly in control of the Roman Empire, represented by the two Briton factions, the Dux and Civitates. While the barbarians can raid by sea and over the northern border, it will be essential for them to settle on the island itself to compete for a win:

MBT Example of Play (Part 7): Advanced Game Overrun Combat

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To see the previous parts of this Example of Play, check out Part 1 (Basic Game AP Combat)Part 2 (Advanced Game AP Combat)Part 3 (Advanced Game ATGM Dodge), Part 4 (Advanced Game GP Fire)Part 5 (Advanced Game Close Assault Combat), and Part 6 (Advanced Game Hand-to-Hand Combat) on InsideGMT.

Hitler’s Reich: AAR Using a New Solitaire System “Bot”

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Introduction by Fred Schachter- Game Developer for Hitler’s Reich: A Card Conquest System Game (henceforth referred to as simply Hitler’s Reich) – Vesa “Vez” Arponen is one of those gamers who has talents of his of own, particularly when it comes to designing solitaire-playing “Bots” for GMT Games (most recently for A Distant Plain published in Nr30 of the C3i magazine and upcoming for Colonial Twilight).

Imagine Mark McLaughlin’s and my surprise and pleasure when Vez, a Finn residing in Germany as an educator, came to us to share how thrilled he was anticipating GMT’s publication of Hitler’s Reich and wondering if he and his local gaming buddies could help play test it.  Not only that, he volunteered to create a “Bot” for the game.  Off to Germany went what was needed for Vez to construct a play test version of the Hitler’s Reich game.

How Vez accomplished creating a “Bot” for Mark’s Card Conquest System design seems is akin to magic to Mark and myself, but did it he did, and Hitler’s Reich will uniquely join GMT’s game line-up being graced with two (2) Solitaire Versions for enjoying this quick playing and entertaining game: the original Solitaire Version previously announced within InsideGMT and now this new “Bot”-driven alternative. 

The remainder of this article is Vez sharing an After Action Report (AAR) of one of his play test games of Hitler’s Reich using the “Bot”, which takes on the game’s Axis Side.  Hopefully, this will enhance readers’ appreciation of the game and, if you’ve not yet done so, place a P-500 order for it?  The exact rules and flowchart image are not here being provided; but what you’ll read is the effect of Vez’s clever work in getting his “Bot” to emulate the play of a live opponent.