Jim Day has been a respected designer in our hobby going back to the 1970s. When Andy told me a few years back that we had an opportunity to work with Jim on completely retooled versions of his terrific tactical wargames, I was thrilled, as I knew his systems were first-rate and was impressed at the major effort he was making to simplify those tactical systems while retaining the immersive game play that was their hallmark. What I didn’t know at the time is that Jim is a dream to work with. He’s a perfectionist when it comes to his systems, lavishing great time and much attention to detail on his creations, but he works well with others and shows great appreciation for the efforts of his team members. Those traits fit in really well with the way we approach things here at GMT, and they represent more than just the “Standard Designer Skill Set,” in my experience.
So I’m very thankful for the opportunity to work with Jim, and am really pleased that our first print run of his new Panzer was so well received that it quickly sold out. (Please go order the P500 reprint so we can print MORE! ) His next game, MBT, just passed 500 on the P500 list, so we’ll be prepping to give it a production slot over the coming months.
The design background piece that Jim presents below is the kind of insight into the design process that I enjoy, and I very much appreciate Jim creating it for InsideGMT. By the way, my two cents on the new GMT versions, as a player, is that Jim “nailed it.” Less complexity, less time to play, but I get bigger battles, same historicity, and lots of scenarios for high “bang for my gaming buck.” But I have admit, I am just ever-so-slightly biased. 🙂 I hope you guys enjoy Jim’s article, and the games! – Gene
What is the relationship between the new GMT Games versions of Panzer and MBT and earlier versions of those designs? What follows is some historical perspective on the designs, as well as my VERY subjective arguments on the reasons for the new “GMT” version of the game system.
In its day, the original Yaquinto Panzer’s, and its successors, detail was quite in-depth while supporting a high degree of playability. Although certainly not the first game on the topic of tactical combat, it was probably one of the first to translate miniatures style play to a board game format. Because the game system was originally designed as a miniatures game, that wasn’t too much of a leap.
Although it is often a struggle to determine what represents a reasonable balance between realism, complexity and play balance, the game elements and level of complexity of the Yaquinto version were right in step with the games of its day. The use of simultaneous movement (written orders) was not common in all games, but on the other hand was not an oddity either. As in the current game, each vehicle, gun, aircraft, leg unit, and others had their own specific data card that summarized all of the necessary information to play the game. The system worked very well on a small force basis and was better for modeling vehicles than infantry. The morale rules were a little simplistic, but worked well enough as most players did not want that level of complexity.