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

Talon Tuesday Issue #8: Under the Hood (Part 2)

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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 #8

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A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the Weapon Sheet, which we used to objectively calculate a relative point value for each weapon.  That sheet feeds this sheet, the Ship Point Sheet, which assigns a point value for every ship attribute so that a total point value for each ship can be totaled.  Our goal all along has been NOT to just balance scenarios, but to balance ship classes to make it easier for people to design their own scenarios.  Had the ships between the empires been similar, this would have been an easier task and perhaps this sheet would not be needed.  However, we played with just about every aspect of each of the ships and made each empire and each fleet unique.  Here is a look at the main parts of the sheet and the rationale behind them. (To view the Ship Point sheet, you can use this download link.)

Next War: India-Pakistan Design Notes – The Armies

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As a developer and co-designer, Doug’s been a tremendous help and force behind getting NWIP published. In this article, he profiles the orders of battle for the primary opponents and discusses the why behind some of the decisions we made. – Mitchell Land

The Armies of NWIP

Bringing the two main armies in ​Next War: India-Pakistan into the ​Next War series, the Indian and Pakistan Armies, was initially clear cut. There are many good sources on orders of battle and the types of equipment available to each side. In many ways, these two armies fit nicely into the model for the South Korean (ROK) army in ​Next War: Korea: lots of infantry with mostly independent armor/mech brigades backed by a small number of armor/mech divisions. As a result, we used the ROK army as our template for judging combat, movement, and efficiency ratings.

Talon Tuesday Issue #7: From Afterburners to Addicted

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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 #7


Jim’s Under the Hood segment will continue next week.  In the meantime, here’s an article about Talon afterburners, which was the brain child of our Lead Playtester and “Chief Tactical Officer”, K. Patrick Barley.

When I first learned about Talon, Bob was cracking open some plastic baggies with homemade counters in them and laying out his Space Empires board. I was excited by the concepts that make the game so unique, fleet level combat, micro-decision tactics and the glorious dry-erase markers. Bob and I eagerly got into it, and divided up six heavy cruiser tokes from each faction, leaving me with what might have turned out to be the most fated decision in Talon’s design history, “Terran or Talon, sir?”

I eagerly chose the Talon’s powerhouse weapons, high maneuverability and powerful forward shield array. I lined my fleet up in the right corner of the map and waited for Bob to take a similarly tight formation. Turns took off and I loved the six part Impulse breakdown, weapon charging mechanics and the inverse relationships of power to speed and speed to maneuverability. Then came the big moment, Impulse D of Round 2, I had reinforced my forward and flank side shields, moved my ships into a solid concave on Bob’s point ship and was eagerly waiting for Bob to move his ships into range three so I could get an alpha strike off before his ships got within weapons range. If I could cripple one of his three ships before they could even fire, I would be way ahead!

“I don’t get power this turn, but I’m going to use my battery to take the initiative,” Bob says confidently.


Wing Leader Scenario V25 Replay (Part 1)

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Wing Leader Cover

The following is a replay of Wing Leader Scenario V25 “Singapore Sling” which is one of the supplemental scenarios provided by Lee B-W online..

Japanese Pre-game Planning

In order to win this scenario you will definitely need to bomb the airfield and at least take it out (6 hits). The Sally’s you are using have a bomb value of 20 so you will need at least 25% of the bombs from both bombers hit. That means that when you bomb you will need to roll an 8 or higher each time you bomb (before modifiers). So you will want to be sure to keep the negative modifiers to a minimum.

There are three paths that the Japanese can take to the target.

1. Dive down as soon as possible to altitude 0 and head straight for the Airfield and bomb. Then RTB (Return to Base).


Talon Tuesday Issue #6: Under the Hood

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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 #6 

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Thus far on Talon Tuesday, we have taken a look at an overview of the game, a detailed example of play, and even some fan fiction and back story of the Talonverse.  Today starts a series where we look “under the hood”.  So much work has been done on this system.  It has been refined, refined, and refined.  Some of this work can be seen in the spreadsheets that we have laid out for point values…..and, frankly, I want to show them off.  🙂

The weapon sheet is a good example of this extra work.  There are six major weapon systems in the game and each is COMPLETELY different.  They have different damage, to-hit probabilities, ranges, charging systems, etc.  Originally, point values for weapons were estimated and plugged into a larger spreadsheet on ship points.  The goal was to balance them through playtesting.  However, to balance such different systems proved very difficult, especially as we made changes.  A major change in some ways would invalidate previous playtesting.  We needed a system to rate weapons, and the power of weapons, so that changes would not upset balance.  Extra credit goes to Patrick Barley, one of our playtesters, who really helped immensely with the development of this sheet.  In fact, whereas I was the driving force for the ship point sheet, he was the driving force on the weapon point sheet.

Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection and the Event Cards (Part 4)

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The following are a few British Faction first Event cards and the associated history:

27. The Queen’s Rangers Show for Battle

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The Loyalist regiment with a history reaching back to Rodger’s Rangers in the French and Indian War was renamed in honor of Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III. Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe turned the Queen’s Rangers into one of the most successful British regiments in the war.



Next War Series Supplement #1

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I’d like to announce the availability of the first supplement for the Next War Series.

This supplement will contain the following items:

  • Cyber Warfare Capabilities
  • Alternate Advanced Air Game
  • Submarines
  • Random Events
  • Optional Rules
  • One and a half counter sheets (containing the counters necessary for Cyber Warfare, Alternate Air Game, and Submarine Markers, as well as some useful game state markers)
  • One new Advanced Game Sequence of Play (incorporating necessary changes for the new rules)
  • One Player Aid Card
Cyber Warfare Capabilities
Although for the most part, cyber warfare will take place in the shadows and behind the scenes, the very real possibility exists that some fleeting advantage can be gained when targeting enemy warfighting systems. These rules attempt to provide an abstract framework within which this electronic conflict can be gamed to affect the battlefield.
In general, each nation involved in the conflict depicted by the particular game will receive a number of Cyber Warfare Markers each game turn. During the game turn, at various points, players will be able to use the markers to affect things like Air Defense detection, combat, or the enemy’s Cyber Warfare ability itself. These rules are intended to be used with the Advanced Game only.

Talon Tuesday Issue #5: The Talonverse (Part 2)

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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 #5

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…And now the conclusion of Patton’s Story…

SPOILER ALERT:  The following is a SPOILER for the story of the scenarios covering the First Talon War.

Stay Soft or Go Hard: Deciding US Posture in Labyrinth: Awakening

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In Labyrinth, US players generally try to keep their government in the Hard category in order to more efficiently prosecute the Global War on Terror (GWOT).  Regime Change Operations are only permissible when the US has a Hard posture, and Disrupt Operations performed against Jihadist Cells in the US are more effective if the US is Hard.  Events that could make the US become Soft, such as US Election, Leak or Safer Now, where frequently seen as a distraction requiring the US player to play two 3-value Cards to perform a Reassessment to switch back.

The complimentary strategy to the US staying Hard is a worldwide War of Ideas (WOI) campaign to convince Allies to join the cause and adopt a Hard posture too.  US player’s typically find this to be an efficient use of 1 cards as most European countries are Good governance thus only require a 1 card to dice for their posture, and frequently a 1 card cannot be used by itself for Disrupt operations as most Muslim countries are Fair or Poor requiring a greater expenditure of OPS (2 or 3 respectively).

The Labyrinth: Awakening expansion to Labyrinth requires greater consideration in deciding upon US Posture; no longer is it nearly a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the US to stay Hard.  The expansion begins with the Arab Spring in December 2010.  The United States is still engaged in both Iraq and Afghanistan, though the former is winding down.  President Obama has a different agenda for the Middle East than his predecessors and the Awakening expansion reflects this by assigning the US a Soft posture at the beginning.  Not so with America’s Allies.  France and Britain are leading the response to international events in ways that we have not seen since the Suez Crises of 1956, and they both begin the game as Hard, thus the US starts with a GWOT penalty of -2 (starting position below).

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