Category Archives: GMT Games

First look at WING LEADER Supremacy 1943-1945 by GMT Games

I’m terribly sorry about the vertical inclination.  I was snowed in and bored, and the box from GMT arrived last night (Oh joy!) so I thought I’d record a first look kind of post with an Ipad.  Pointed the wrong way of course!


Command and Colors: Napoleonics Scenaro THE BATTLE OF CASTALLA

Portrait of Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Well...

Image via Wikipedia

Here is another one of my fan made scenarios for Command and Colors: Napoleonics.  This one focuses on the Battle of Castalla, late in the Peninsular War.   Marshal Suchet is endangering Wellington’s line of march by threatening to join up with other French armies in the Peninsula.  Wellington had to find a way to keep the Marshal busy, and succeeds with a polyglot command of Sicilians, British, and Spanish troops under the overall command of General Murray.


Castalla mapImage via Wikipedia

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Sword of Rome night

Sword of Rome

Sword of Rome

I dropped by Steve’s place, who was hosting for a game of Sword of Rome after his gang set up their GENCON events online. This is a game of the early days of Rome when the Republic was emerging from being a city state to being a regional power trying to gain control of the Italian peninsula.

I played the Greek Colonies in Italy, Steve the Roman player, Andrew the Gauls, Jim the Etruscans and Samnites combined.  The Carthaginian player was run by card events by everyone except me (I was too close).

The last time I played this game was when it was in the playtest stage at one of the Word Boardgame Championships up in the Baltimore area. It was a slightly different game back then– if I am remembering it correctly, the Samnites and the Etruscans were separate powers in those days. Maybe.  I played the Samnites back then, and didn’t win.. the Roman player is too close and too powerful for the Samnites and their inherent ability to move over mountains easily is not enough of a bonus, in my opinion, for them to gain ascendancy.

The game began with a round of fortunate alliances for the Greeks.  I allied with the Samnites (my neighbors to the North) and the Romans allied with me.  The Gauls allied with the Romans and the Etruscans allied with the Romans as well.  This left the door open for the Gauls to fight the Etruscans, but not the Romans.  The Etruscans could fight the Gauls, but not the Romans.  The Romans could fight the Samnites, but not the Etruscans or Greeks.  The Greeks could fight the Gauls or the Carthaginians.  That suited me just fine.   I could work on some housekeeping (wiping out two thorns in my side– the two independent towns inside my lines that could influence cities to revolt), and bump up the cities loyalty factor.

I moved on the two independents, moving troops out of Syracuse to fight inside the mainland.  Didn’t succeed in the first try.  Meanwhile the Romans moved on the Samnites and the Gauls moved on the Etruscans, in a big long raiding party. I bolstered the TransAlpine Gauls a little, just in case.  Then Jim activated them as a counterbalance against the Gauls, who decided they were going to besiege one of the Etruscan cities.  The Gauls aren’t good at siege work, and it took them five phases to knock it down.  The Romans kept doing what they do best, building walled cities, from which they can reinforce the next turn, and building MORE cities, etc.

The game came to a head on turn 4, when Andrew had a “move neutral power” card in play.  His only option was Carthage, which he activated to move his largest army at Lillybaem in Sicily to attack my depleted armies in Syracuse.   I retreated my tiny garrison into the walls, and moved my larger force to relieve the siege at once.  They got there in time– through playing a couple of really expensive (one shot) cards I won the battle (odds were even up, just slightly to my advantage– I had to play a reroll card to win a storms at sea card to prevent retreat by sea by the Carthaginians).  The retreat back to Carthage was expensive for them, losing 3.  I attacked back immediately and levied a siege on Lillybeum.  We wiped out the Carthaginians on Sicily and at that point, invading Africa was looking possible, but I didn’t have the cards.

Up North, the Samnites were almost wiped out, but bounced back and attacked the Romans hard, only one city away from Rome.  The Gauls finally captured the town they were after, after expending many cards to do so.  At this point, Steve’s dad dropped by and we had to call the game.  I was the official winner after my Carthaginian victory, but the next turn would have been telling for me.  The Romans would be able to reinforce at a brutal rate that I would not be able to keep up with, and I doubt I would have retained a lead more than one turn.  Still, a victory is a victory.. 😀

Here’s a slideshow.

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I enjoyed it. I’m not sure what changes have been made since I last played, but overall I think they made the game very enjoyable and unique. Each power has a different approach to victory and a different strategy. The Roman is a builder. The Etruscan/Samnite uses a combination of movement and building to counter the Romans. The Greek is a naval power, Carthaginians even more so. I was glad I had a chance to play.

The Battle of Vimiero, GMT Command & Colors first game

Gar and I were planning on attending Syndcon, up in Rockville, MD this weekend, but changed our plans — the show is not miniatures heavy and we were not inclined to drive up to Rockville for a boardgaming only event.

C&C Nappy

As part of the Alexandria/Arlington Boardgame Meetup group, Gar, his friend Ben, and I attended tonight’s Saturday night boardgame Meetup. Gar and I were eager to give COMMAND AND COLORS: NAPOLEONICS a try. This is a game that is a tad more complex than something that Gar is normally used to playing, but he was quite taken with the notion of all the different types of troops and uniforms associated with the Napoleonic Era. I know that the Command and Colors system is essentially the old Battle Cry game with some nuances for historical time periods, but the core system is easy enough to teach and a lot of fun to play, I figured Gar (at 12) could pick it up easily enough.

We chose Vimiero, a small Peninsular War battle that was a victory for the English/Allied forces. Roughly equivelant forces with the impetus on the French to attack, and terrain favorable for screened movement in the center.


Vimiero Scenario in C&C Napoleonics, French POV

The game took a while to set up, so we didnt’ get a chance to play it all the way through. Ben and Gar commanded the French; a guy named John played the Allies with me. Ben opposed me on the left flank; he came out to engage units closely with an assault card; I took some infantry losses and retreated back, but did not lose a unit. Ben was a bit reckless and moved a little too close to a combination of close range artillery and infantry fire. Two line infantry units and the arty wiped out his advance and gained a victory shield for the Allies. Both John on my right and Gar on their left NEVER saw a command card for their flank, so they pretty much took over the center of the battlefield.

The Center of Vimiero

Left Flank of Vimiero

Right Flank of Vimiero

French High Command

Both of them were more timid than Gar and did not advance on the other, but preferred to snipe at long range. So the center was pretty much indecisive. As the venue was closing down, we had to call it early, giving the Allies a minor victory for one shield achieved.

Conclusions after first play: Very enjoyable and full of period flavor, which was a surprise, since C&C is an obvious franchise.  The wide variety of unit types play a very important role in this design.  The ability to reach out and touch someone with ranged fire seems even more pronounced in this variation than Battle Cry.  This leads to overall timidity in the attack, at least it did in our game.  I really enjoyed playing this and had no difficulty picking it up, and surprisingly, neither did Ben and Garrett.  C&C: Nappy is scheduled to hit the game table again in April.

For a short time only, a 50% off coupon from GMT Games.. that is, if you can figure it out.

GMT Games 50% OFF!

GMT Games 50% OFFFF!

Click here for your audio clue for the coupon code

Ain’t I a stinker? Good luck, and study your code books!

GMT Games, major wargames publisher, to start creating Ipad and tablet style games

A very interesting news item in the recent (22 March 2011) blurb on the GMT website.   Apparently they have some tablet games in development right now at GMT, as well as a computer version of Twilight Struggle, one of their biggest selling non-series games.  From what I can gather from the news blurb, the first two games to be ported are MANOEUVRE, which I own, and DOMINANT SPECIES, which I do not (but might if I end up liking the game!).    Here’s what Gene (I suspect) had to say about tablet games:

“Electronic Products

Last Fall, I let you guys know about our Twilight Struggle computer game project. That’s still ongoing, but I wanted to use a bit of space here to update you on several additional projects we have begun recently, as well as to let you know the direction we’re heading with Computer and I-Pad games.

First off, on the computer game front, we have one additional project that we have agreed to. This one is a computer version of Barbarossa: Army Group South, and hopefully eventually all of the Barbarossa series.
We’ve also begun our first two I-Pad game projects – one for Manoeuvre and one for Dominant Species.

I guess the biggest piece of news that I want to relate here, though, is that we’ve decided to expand our computer and especially our I-Pad offerings and are actively interested in working with our customers to get more of our games available as I-Pad titles. Note that I said “our customers.” We spent a while talking off and on with medium and large size development houses and at the end of the day just didn’t find a “fit” that we were comfortable with.
So basically, we decided to start looking a bit more closely at the offers to create or port our games that we’ve been getting by the dozens over the past several years. In the past, we usually said “no” or “not now” to these inquiries, but we’ve decided that ultimately, since we have nowhere near the time needed to create these products, that we would WAY rather partner with talented, creative, experienced programmers who already like our games and share revenues with them that work with a large development house that we don’t know and for whom we would typically be a small and not-very-important project.

We’re not absolutely closing the door to working with bigger companies in the future, if we happen to find the right fit, but for now we’re going to explore some of the proposals our customers have made and get more aggressive with saying “yes” to more projects so that we can get more of our line available electronically, especially on the I-Pad side of things, where a dedicated and skilled programmer really can create a quality app without having to work with a large team.

So here is the open invitation. If you are an experienced programmer, especially if you have created previous I-Pad apps, or if you work with a small programming team with such expertise, and you’d like to create I-Pad apps for some of our games, please contact me at and we’ll be happy to discuss what you have in mind. I look forward to starting some new projects and  forging more mutually profitable relationships as we move forward with our electronic game line.”

I am delighted to read this, and certainly approve of the choice of MANOEVRE, which hits all the marks for a good candidate: simple rules, simple moving and fighting, a lot of variability, lots of color, a nice military subject that could easily adapt to server host-pbem style play or hot seat.   This is great news!
I don’t know enough about DOMINANT SPECIES to even sound like I know what I’m talking about, but it looks like it might be a good crossover title and it surely is a big hit with the Euro-Family game set.
Any aspiring wargame table program designer should get in touch with GMT games, stat!

Well done, GMT Games.  You’ll get me to get an Ipad yet!

Twilight Struggle Reviewed

I just discovered GMT’s new YouTube Channel, and rather liked this review of TWILIGHT STRUGGLE, one of the games I nominated for a GAMES 100 a few years back.

My preliminary Iggies

It’s IGA time again


A long while back I got invited to work the historical wargaming selections committee for “The Gamer’s Choice Awards” which morphed into “The International Gaming Awards“. We actually take this duty fairly seriously. Well, it’s decision time again, and we had to submit our top ten list of the games that were published in 2005. This will be winnowed down to a top 3.

My preliminaries (note that this is not in any order):

Conquest of the Empire (Eagle)

It’s a reprint, yes. However, the addition of the Martin Wallace rules makes a simple plastic piece pusher into a very interesting strategic game with loads of eye candy.

Wellington (GMT)

Hands down my favorite wargame of 2005 (personally). Mark McGlaughlin’s succesor to the Nappy Wars system surpasses the parent in a CDG system game that is just a pleasure to play.

Empire of the Sun (GMT)

Mark Herman (my old Booz Allen colleague!) is a wargame designer of note, who is constantly breaking new ground. Empire of the Sun is deserving of praise..

Men of Iron (GMT)

I usually like Berg’s designs, and I really enjoyed playing this particular one. A bunch of smallish battles with a funky initiative system..

Bonaparte at Marengo (Simmons)

This game is in contention for top spot in my mind. On the face of it, it seems very simple block pushing game with the regular fog of war. The addition of the unique terrain rules really makes it a contest.

Down in Flames WWI (Verssen)

I am a big fan of the Down in Flames WW2 series from GMT and was very disappointed it never got published as a commercial product. However, Dan Verssen’s new DTP company is cranking out professional looking products that require a little assembly.

Fire in the Sky (MMP)

MMP’s translation of Tetsuya Nakamura’s Pacific War game received a lot of raves in 2005, and with some justification.

Battleships at War (Minden)

Seems like this is pretty old for 2005, because I remember buying it a while ago. In any event, I’m a big fan of both Minden and their miniatures style ship system. Battleships at War basically is minis with paper, combining just about everything that’s been published in the series so far.

Silent War (Compass)

Even though the game is hideously high priced (in my own opinion) I can’t deny that Compass Games has finally put out a game that I have been jonesing for since the late 90s.

Gazala 1945 (avalanche)

This is my personal favorite of the “modern micros” that Avalanche has been publishing lately, most of all because it’s not about the Eastern Front, but also because I love the graphics work done on this design. The map is wonderful.

2005 was a great year for wargame designs, which made my choices a lot harder than in years past.

The Big, Dreaded, End of the Year wrapup

I peruse blogs quite a bit and interact with a buttload of boardgaming blogs. This seems to be the time of year for people to wistfully proclaim what they played and didn’t play in the previous year. Well, I can’t do that. At least, I can’t present a detailed gaming diary like some of my compadres can, come 01 January. What I can do is talk about trends in gaming, as it applies to me.

Looking back upon the previous year I can see that my boardgaming hobby is starting to overtake the miniatures hobby somewhat. I still love to collect minis, paint minis and run games, but it’s so much work any more, I just don’t have the time I used to have to do it. So I played in more miniatures games than I ran and I ran less than I did last year.
A disturbing trend.

Boardgames got more play this year, and card games before boardgames. Why? Well, that’s simple. I play mostly with kids these days, and they have the attention span of chipmunks. So games that can be resolved in an hour or less are preferred. Big hits in 2005: Wings of War (particularly with Garrett), Balloon Cup (several plays), Battleground: Fantasy Warfare (three plays so far), Cheapass’ Give Me the Brain and Very Clever Pipe Game, Castles (I didn’t care for it, the kids did), Before I kill You Mr. Bond (it sucks, but the kids like it), Fluxx, Nanofictionary, Once Upon a Time, Cthulhu 500, Gloom.

I played a surprinsing amount of board wargames last year, but didn’t keep a diary or anything. Standouts in my memory are FRIEDRICH (multiple plays), WELLINGTON (multiple plays), BONAPARTE AT MARENGO, REVOLUTION: THE DUTCH REVOLT, LILY BANNERS (multiple plays… for a magazine article), 3DOG version 3, GRINGO, DOWN IN FLAMES, FLYING COLORS, WARP WAR, OGRE/GEV, ICE WAR, and quite a few others that I haven’t recalled. I seem to recall a spate of pulling out SPI games very early in the year, and playing some S&T games, but I can’t remember which.

I played an even larger portion of either Euro, Family, or borderline strategy or fantasy/sf games last year: ACQUIRE (many times), ARKHAM HORROR, WAR OF THE RING, CONQUEST OF THE EMPIRE, BOOTLEGGERS, KING OF NEW YORK (yes, I have a weakness for plastic pieces), but also SETTLERS (for the first time) METRO, ARENA MAXIMUS (sucks), CIRCUS MAXIMUS, PLUNDER, and quite a few others that aren’t on the forefront of my brain.

PBeM is down, via utilities like Cyberboard and ADC2. PBeM via Web or just via Email has gone up to a great extent, due to the convenience factor.

I’ve done a lot of solitaire gaming, but very rarely with solitaire designs. Most of this was to try out a scenario at least once for a review I was writing. Sometimes it was something small, like a magazine game (Catherine the Great — the jury’s still out) or playing myself in a microgame (I still like these). I don’t have a dearth of opponents, but I do have a dearth of time to get out except for maybe, possibly once a week if I am very lucky. One final thing about 2005– once again I was not a flavor the week kind of gamer. I played a lot of older products last year.

So those were the prevailing trends of my 2005 gaming.. for what it’s worth.