I hope that all of you and your families continue to be safe and well during these difficult times. I continue to be so pleased and grateful that so many of you are using some of your downtime to play and enjoy our games and that many of you are pulling some games off your shelves that you are now getting to play for the first time! It is gratifying to know that we can play some small part in helping you through this time by finding diversion, education, and enjoyment in our games. I'm so happy, too, to see that so many of you are playing our games with your families. I hope that our new P500 addition this month from designer Ed Beach will give you one more excellent multi-player game that your family (or any group of gamers) can enjoy together.
Health-wise, we're all doing well here; to date, there are no GMT team members around the world—at least that I know of—who have contracted the virus. We do have one of our warehouse workers who won't be coming back to work next week along with the rest of us due to COVID exposure. They will self-quarantine for a couple weeks before rejoining us.
And if you missed that brief reference in the previous paragraph, the big news here is that we will be re-opening next Monday, May 25th! We are excited to get back to work sending lots of great games to our customers, answering our chat lines, and handling any outstanding customer service issues.
When we open on May 25th:
- our website will be live for ordering again,
- our chat lines will be open, and
- our office folks will start working back through their email.
If you want a quick answer from the office while they're climbing out from under the email load that's been building up for the past 10 weeks, chat is probably your best bet (click the link at the top right of any page on our website).
Our warehouse folks will be busy moving pallets and boxes around and prepping games to ship for a couple days while getting used to our new work environment. Then, on Wednesday, May 27th, we'll begin shipping Batch 1 of 3 batches of P500 orders that we'll ship out over the coming 2-3 months. Please see the "Charging and Shipping" section later in this update for all the details. It's going to be a busy and exciting time!
New Work Environment. That said, I'm going to ask all of you to please be patient with us as we re-open. As you've probably noted from governors' speeches and news coverage, "going back to work" is going to be quite a lot different for us—and much of America and the world—now. Both to ensure a safe environment for our employees and to comply with CDC and OSHA guidelines, we, like many businesses, have transformed our work space and procedures to minimize the possibility of exposing our employees to the virus as they return to work.
So, we'll be handling your games in masks and gloves, with temperature checks as employees come to work and several workspace cleanings throughout the day, staggered lunch and break times, lots of sanitizer available, etc. We've moved to two shifts to decrease "shared space" in the warehouse and moved all the workstations and build stations out of proximity from one another.
Our new warehouse shifts will run from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and 4 a.m. to noon Monday to Friday (with an hour in which both shifts will be there for cleaning and coordination). We're sending the morning shift home at noon because we don't want warehouse workers exposed to the heat of a Central California summer in a hot warehouse while wearing masks and gloves. Then, once it cools off a bit, the night shift will come in and start at 9 p.m.
The result of all this will most certainly be greater safety for our workers. It will also likely mean, for a while at least, less efficiency. As our teams get accustomed to the changes, we expect things will improve on the efficiency front, and we all live in hope that we'll be in a position to relax these requirements over the coming months. But for now, there's definitely going to be a period of adjustment and acclimation. So please be kind to our office folks when you chat or email; it's going to be a rough time for them as we return to work.
New Expanded Office and Chat Line Hours (9 p.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific time, M-F). The good news—especially for our overseas customers—is that with two shifts running (night and early morning), plus a skeleton office staff in air-conditioned offices in the early afternoon, you'll have greater access to our office folks than ever before. Bandwidth may well be an issue for us as we get up to speed, but we'll now be open with chat lines manned from 9 p.m. (2100) Pacific time until 4 p.m. (1600) Pacific time Monday-Friday. So the Chat lines will be open a total of 19 hours per day! We hope you enjoy this expanded access to our customer support staff.
Game Development and Art. As we re-open and can begin charging and shipping a backlog of P500 games now back from the printer, our development and art teams will resume their normal operating pace. We have a TON of games nearing print readiness (check out the Tentative Production Queue later in this update), and we anticipate maintaining a very full pipeline and throughput of games throughout 2020 and into 2021.
Adding New P500s - Constrained but Growing. Starting in June, we'll start adding a few more items (both new games and reprints) to the P500 list. It'll still be fewer than before we closed down, but we have quite a few exciting games to refill the P500 pipeline over the comings months.
P500 Charging/Shipping. Please see the P500 Charging and Shipping Section later in this update for full details. Briefly, though, we are going to charge for Batch 1 (4 P500 games, including Imperial Struggle) beginning THIS WEDNESDAY, May 20. Then, by next Wednesday, the 27th, we should be able to beginning shipping all four items in that batch.
Charging/Shipping Near-Term Process and Rationale. As I mentioned last month, by the time we open next Monday, we're going to have TWELVE games/modules in the warehouse as we get back to more normal operations. Our plan at this point is to charge and ship those items in three batches of four items each, roughly one month apart. (See the Charging and Shipping section below for details on the three groups.) We're doing this to try to mitigate the hit to anyone's credit card all at once. So we'll spread these out to make it easier on all of you. Note, though, that we're putting Imperial Struggle in the first batch. This is a win-win, as over 3,900(!) of you want it, the highest P500 total by far in our history. And it's a win for us because being able to charge for those 3,900+ orders will go a long way toward replenishing our cash reserves.
A Reminder Note About Your P500 Orders. (I mentioned this last month, but it bears repeating, as some of your situations may well have changed since then.) I know that this period of time has been taxing for many of us. If it has caused you financial hardship, PLEASE don't feel like you're hurting us if you need to cancel some of your P500 orders that are charging and shipping soon. I've laid out the details of what's going to charge with which batch mainly so that you can see up front what your costs will be in each of our 3 months of charges once operations begin again. If you need to pare some orders in light of that, please know that we understand. I don't want anyone to experience financial hardship because they felt like they had to "keep their promise to GMT" about a P500 order. So if you need to cancel (I know this probably sounds weird to hear a company leader say this), it's OK—we understand. Games will be there later when you're ready; please take care of yourselves first.
Last thing on this topic, for those of you who don't actually know how to cancel or reduce quantity on a P500 order, our website makes it really easy. Just go to www.gmtgames.com and go into your MY ACCOUNT section—accessed from the top right menu of any page on our website. Log in, then choose ORDER HISTORY, and you'll see all your P500 orders. In the "P500 Section" of each order, you'll see some highlighted red text with your options. Choose "Delete from Order" to delete that entire order, or if you have a quantity greater than 1 on order for that item, you can choose "Remove 1 from Order" to decrease the quantity ordered. I hope this is helpful!
Now, on to our other news for this month...
Preview of Versailles 1919, by Mark Herman and Geoff Engelstein.
This past week, Geoff and Mark created a 27-minute unboxing video, narrated (with some tips) by the designers. This is a great introduction to the game. We hope you enjoy it! Here's the link:
Versailles 1919 Designer Unboxing Video
Find Opponents on GMT's Discord Server (Managed by Mitchell Land and Joel Toppen). Fellow gamers, in this time of social distancing, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that GMT maintains a Discord server which can be used to facilitate both finding an opponent and playing with that opponent using voice communication. To keep SPAMmers and BOTs out of the server, you need to contact either Mitchell Land (email@example.com) or Joel Toppen (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a Discord invite. Enjoy the gaming and stay safe!
Discord for COIN Players! While we're mentioning Discord, we learned this past month that there is a dedicated Discord Server for COIN players! If you're interested in joining, click here for an invitation
New "Reavers and Reformers" Facebook Group. Designer Ed Beach has started a new Facebook Group to support and discuss his three 16th-century GMT games. So if you're a fan of Here I Stand, Virgin Queen, or want to get more info about Ed's newest game for us, Border Reivers, check out this FB Group. Here's the Link: Reavers and Reformers Facebook Group
Thunder Alley Continues to Roll. It's always nice to see a game that's several years old continue to receive plaudits in "Best of" lists and awards. So congrats to Jeff and Carla Horger, as their Thunder Alley was recently recognized at #7 in The Boardgame Halv's list of Top Ten Sports Games. We appreciate the recognition and congratulate Jeff and Carla for creating a game and series that continues to bring joy to our gaming tables.
Some Resources for Filling Your Downtime. We've had numerous requests from customers to give them some ideas of what GMT-related material they can read or use online to help fill the downtime many of us are experiencing. Here's a list of some resources and recent articles that we hope you'll find helpful:
- ETO Series Update. For you fans of Frank Chadwick's ETO Series, check out Alan Emrich's most recent update, focused on series improvements to the air game. When you've finished, click Home to get a list of other recent articles/resources from the ETO team.
- Lee's AirBattle Website. If you're a fan of any of the air games and series that we've published with Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, check out his website for more info and resources. Note that most of the six game/series pages on his site includes a Downloads link, where you can get files with new scenarios, tools, and additional information about the games.
- GMT Games on VASSAL: We have VASSAL modules for most of our games. So if you're missing face-to-face play, you and your friends can continue your gaming fun playing on VASSAL. The link at the start will send you to the VASSAL.org page that lists GMT Games available.
- PBEM Vassal Tournament: Next War Korea, Death Valley, and The Dark Valley. The wargameleague.com PBEM ladder site is having a PBEM Vassal Tournament. To sign up for this tournament, you must send an email to email@example.com prior to March 31, 2020. Late players beyond that date will be slotted in as well on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration is free. Further information will be provided after sign ups.
- InsideGMT Articles. If you're looking for reading material that includes more background and detail on our games, especially upcoming P500 games, InsideGMT has a LOT of it. Check out the latest articles here, or use the site's Search function to pull up all the articles about a game of your choice. Also, later in this update in the InsideGMT section, Rachel has included a bunch of links to various article series that you may find interesting.
- GMT Website. The main page lists all of our most recent shipments and new P500 additions, plus sections below detailing all our latest News and Recent Additions to the website. Click here for the P500 Pre-Order Page to browse or make orders. You can use the Search function from any page to quickly find a game page for any in-stock or P500 game (and for most of our out-of-stock games). Each of those game pages contains a list of online resources specific to that game.
- Our GMT Games Facebook Page. Feel free to drop in here to discuss or ask questions about our games with over 6,300 other GMT enthusiasts.
- Play our Digital Games! You can now play digital versions of Twilight Struggle, Fort Sumter, and Labyrinth—all from our friends at Playdek. See the Digital Games section later in this update for links to the apps on various platforms.
- Check out articles from The Players' Aid. Grant and Alexander do a great job of offering a mix of print and video replays, first looks, interviews, and strategy articles about a variety of games, both from GMT and other companies. Here's a link to one of their most recent articles—Turn 2 of a Here I Stand After Action Report-----------
Digital Labyrinth is on Steam Early Access for PC and Mac! It's here and it's really good—even on early access. And the latest update included Mac users! Playdek is clearly still working on streamlining and fixing bugs (that's what early access is for), but already we're getting lots of good feedback from players and reviewers. If you'd like to see what a walk-though of a turn looks like, check out this video of the game's Tutorial by our friends at Gaming Rules! Enjoy!
SpaceCorp with Your 5 and 7 Year Old? Yes!!! I thought it was very cool to see that Michal at The Boardgames Chronicle and his wife had introduced their boys (age 7 and 5) to SpaceCorp and played it together as a family! Check out Michal's recap here, or click the image at left.
Keep up with GMT Online
Virtually every day, we announce new information, show off upcoming products, or give you a peek under the hood of our new designs in our various online sites and forums. For those of you looking to keep up with us online, here is where you can find us. Drop in and start a conversation!
GMT Games Website
Official GMT Games Facebook Group
GMT Facebook Page
GMT Twitter Feed
GMT on Instagram
GMT on BoardGameGeek
GMT YouTube Channel
GMT on ConsimWorld
We are doing our best to segment this update so it's easier for you all to read. Here is what you'll find in the rest of today's update:
- P500 Additions
- News You Can Use
- Digital Games
- Charging and Shipping Update
- Production Outlook
- Coming Events
- Project Updates and Sample Art
- P500 Reprint Tracking
Thanks, as always, for your support of GMT Games! Enjoy the games! - Gene
New P500 Additions. We have one new P500 addition this month—and it's probably a surprise! We haven't talked much about this one in public to date, but we are very excited to bring you a brand new design from master designer Ed Beach. In my book, everything Ed touches turns to gaming gold. From our best-sellers like Here I Stand and Virgin Queen to the GCACW games he's designed for our friends at MMP, to my favorite digital game, Civilization 6, Ed just knows how to design fun and immersive games set amidst rich history.
This time, Ed's newest design transports us to the 16th century, the time of the Border Reivers who fought for dominance amongst the windswept hills and barren beauty along the Anglo-Scottish border, where prominent families on both sides of the border competed for resources, lands, and renown.
This game is set in the same period as Here I Stand and Virgin Queen, but the resemblance pretty much ends there. Border Reivers isn't a massively intricate CDG like those two games, but it is still dripping with history, as you'd expect from a game designed by Ed Beach. Border Reivers is a faster-playing game of resource competition, raids, and battle for 2-6 players. It contains elements of both wargames and thematic strategy games. It's hard to compare it to a game you've already played, because it is its own unique game. It feels a little Euro-like, but you do spend the end of each turn making a series of direct attacks on your competition. Of the GMT game line, it's probably most like Conquest of Paradise in the sense that you are planning, raiding, fighting, and competing for resources, control, and reputation. But if you also enjoy strategy games that include card drafting like Seven Wonders or building up resources to prepare you for raids as in Raiders of the North Sea, you'll probably really enjoy what Ed has created in Border Reivers.
- A new deep strategy game with an Ancients theme
- A new design by Sal Vasta
- A new game set in Afghanistan
- A new edition of one of our sold out "monster" WWII games
Here's an update from our friends at Playdek:
At the San Diego Historical Game Con, I got a playthrough of the game by Mark himself, and I have to say that it was the best playthrough I have ever received (though Jason Carr’s are a close second!). We asked Mark to make a playthrough video of the game for the elebration, and you can find it by clicking the image link below:
We are also hard at work on Labyrinth improvements and fixes and will have another update out as soon as we can. As always, thanks for playing! - Joel
Click this link to check out Playdek's cache of Digital Labyrinth Interviews and Trailers!
Digital Versions of our Games from Playdek
CSR Awards are Back! After a long hiatus, the Charles S. Roberts Awards are back this year! Voting is open until May 31. If you'd like more information about voting for your favorite Conflict Simulations, click the banner below.
Solo System for Plains Indian Wars! Thanks to a talented customer who offered to help, we're adding a solitaire system to Plains Indian Wars! When you get a minute, check out this video by Louisiana historian/Lecturer, Dr. Stephen Michot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Video for Red Flag Over Paris. For those of you who are interested in learning more about our newest Lunchtime P500 Game, Red Flag Over Paris, Designer Fred Serval has created an excellent YouTube video (in English) that gives an overview of the game, offers historical background details, and points out the design differences between Red Flag Over Paris and Mark Herman's Fort Sumter. This is an excellent "Inside the Game" video that I highly recommend you check out if you have any interest in this game or historical period. Here's the Link:
Red Flag Over Paris: 1871 Paris Commune Boardgame Video Overview
Videos for The Barracks Emperors. Many thanks to our friends at The Gimpy Gamer, who have created a couple of excellent videos that explain how to play Wray and Brad's new The Barracks Emperors strategy card game. If you have any interest at all in the "Time of Crisis" time period or in strategy games, I highly recommend that you check out these videos. Here are the links:
Overview of The Barracks Emperors Prototype
An Example Game of The Barracks Emperors
Dedicated Wing Leader Website. For you Wing Leader fans, be sure to check out Lee's Designer Website for Wing Leader for extra files and news about the series.
Official GMT Games Facebook Group. Our official GMT Games Facebook Group now is a community of over 6,300 gamers! If you have a Facebook account and you'd like to join our GMT Group to get the latest news, share game pics with other players, or just get your GMT-related questions answered, please go to https://www.facebook.com/
"Not There Yet" P500 Items That Could Use More Orders
Thanks for your orders this past month that helped Pacific War, Almoravid, Red Storm, and Next War Supplement #3 "Make The Cut"!
(Click on box image to go to Game page on our website for more info and to order.)
Coming This Week in Inside GMT!
Lots of great stuff coming this week on InsideGMT! First up, today we published an article from Albert Alegre Jove and Volko Ruhnke discussing the Taifa geography found in Almoravid: Reconquista and Reposte in Spain, 1085-1086. If you liked this article and are interested in reading more about Almoravid, check out this three part playtest report series published on InsideGMT in the last few weeks. Next, on Wednesday we will be posting a special surprise from Mike Denson on InsideGMT for you players of The Last Hundred Yards, so keep an eye out for that! Last but not least, on Friday of this week we will be publishing a SpaceCorp solitaire mode playthrough article from The Boardgames Chronicle that we think you all will enjoy.
In the production schedule later in this update, you can see that some of the most recent games that will be shipping from the warehouse are Labyrinth: Forever War Expansion, Imperial Struggle, and Wing Leader: Origins, 1936-1942. For those of you who haven’t ordered yet or who are waiting for your copy of these games to come, here are some InsideGMT articles that you can check out:
A Struggle Anew: Imperial Struggle and Its Older Cousin
Imperial Struggle Development Update: Ministry Deck, Event Cards, and New Art!
Playtesting Imperial Struggle
Imperial Struggle: Extended Example of Play
Imperial Struggle: Further Examples of Play
Labyrinth: Forever War
Labyrinth: The Forever War – Challenges in Designing a Simulation Game Based on Current Events
Wing Leader: Origins, 1936-1942
Introducing Wing Leader: Origins
I invite you to visit InsideGMT.com this week to check out the aforementioned articles (and more!) from our team of excellent InsideGMT contributors.
This Past Month in InsideGMT!
Here are links to this month's new InsideGMT articles:
Mío Cid: Almoravid Testers’ Replay – Part I
Norway 1940 Campaign: Amongst Our Weaponry
Mío Cid: Almoravid Testers’ Replay – Part II
The Battle of Leipzig in Congress of Vienna (CoV)
Here I Stand: Full 6-Player Game After Action Report
Mío Cid: Almoravid Testers’ Replay – Part III
Next War: Vietnam – What to Expect
The Taifa Geography of Almoravid
And in case you missed it, here are links to last month's InsideGMT articles:
Seas of Thunder: The Banana Boat Song
A New Wargamer’s Reflections on Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan
Optional Cultural Development Tracks for Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea (ACIS) and Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East (ACME)
Congress of Vienna Detailed Sequence of Play – The Initial Phase (Part 1 of 5)
Commands & Colors: Medieval Belisarius Campaign Part 6 – Callinicum (531 AD) Part 2
Legend of Rostam: Bonus Scenario for Ancient Civilizations of the Middle East
Congress of Vienna Detailed Sequence of Play – The Diplomacy Phase (Part 2 of 5)
Integrating La Royale – The French Fleet in Seas of Thunder
A New Wargamer’s Insights and Impressions from Peloponnesian War
Red Storm: Baltic Approaches — Playtest Report
Congress of Vienna Detailed Sequence of Play – The Diplomacy Phase Concluded and Government Phase (Part 3 of 5)
A New Wargamer’s Insights and Impressions from Nevsky: Teutons and Rus in Collision, 1240-1242
Congress of Vienna Detailed Sequence of Play – The War Phase I (Part 4 of 5)
Imperial Struggle: Further Examples of Play
Regia Marina: Italian Concerns in the Seas of Thunder Campaign Game
Congress of Vienna Detailed Sequence of Play – The War Phase II (Part 5 of 5)
More Reading for Those With Unexpected Extra Free Time
Introducing All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918
The Gandhi Chronicles Series
Red Flag Over Paris: The Terrible Year Series
Semper Fi! – The Next War at the Marine War College
Mr. President: Three Presidents for the Price of One Series
Carroll Burns the Bridge: A Narrative-Style AAR Series for Death Valley's Variant Cross Keys Scenario
Gandhi: The Arjuna Chronicles Series
What Does It Take To Have Your Game Accepted By GMT? (2 Part Series)
Many Wonderful Apocalypse Road Articles
Cleared Hot! – A Red Storm Example of Play
Why We Do What We Do in The Last Hundred Yards Series
Beneath the Med: “The Hunters” Heads to Italy
Addition by Subtraction: Creating the 2-Player Bonus Variant for Triumph and Tragedy
Playing the Story in GMT’s Enemy Coast Ahead: The Doolittle Raid
Mystery Wizard: A Detailed Look at Gameplay
Walking the Distant Plain
A Turn in a Nutshell: A Closer Look at “Welcome to Centerville”
Stay Soft or Go Hard: Deciding US Posture in Labyrinth: Awakening
General Eisenhower’s Armchair: How War Becomes a Game
Falling Sky Faction Strategy Series
Twilight Struggle Play the Experts Series
The State of Crisis: Setting the Stage for Flashpoint: South China Sea
Welcome to Frank Chadwick’s ETO Series Team!
Seas of Thunder – Sailing Outside the Edge of the Map
Pins and Strings of the Atlantic Chase
Empire of the Sun: Erasmus Version 2.0 Goes to War
Mass Shipping Day at GMT HQ
Tank Duel Scenario 2: Hold the High Ground Series
The Madness Behind a CDG Solo Method
Imperial Struggle Articles from Ananda Gupta
History Never Repeats Itself When Playing Cataclysm
Talon Tuesday Series
Replicator Tuesday Series
Anatomy of a New Map for Silver Bayonet
Plains Indian Wars Turn by Turn Series
As always, I invite you all to head over to www.insidegmt.com, check out the articles, leave us your comments, and tell us what else you'd like to see us do to make InsideGMT even better!
Charging and Shipping. We'll ship the TWELVE items in our warehouse in three batches, about a month apart, as follows (Note that there have been some changes to Batch 2 and Batch 3 from last month's update):
The 1st P500 Batch - We will begin charging for the 4 games, below (1 game per day), on this Wednesday, May 20. We plan to begin shipping this batch on May 27.
Men of Iron Tri-Pack (5 lbs)
The 2nd P500 Batch - charging and shipping roughly June 15-25 - will include the following 4 products:
Beneath the Med (3 lbs)
The 3rd P500 Batch - charging and shipping roughly July 15-25 - will include the following 4 products:
1989, 2nd Printing (4 lbs)
Flying Colors, 3rd Printing (4 lbs)
Flying Colors Update Kit (2 lbs)
Storm Over Asia (4 lbs)
*Note that it is highly likely that Versailles 1919 will be added to this 3rd Batch, but we're not going to add it until we know for certain when it will be in our warehouse.
For those of you calculating shipping charges for these games, I've included the weights we are using for shipping in parenthesis after each game title, above.
To avoid any delays in your game shipment, please make sure you've updated your charge cards on our website before we charge. If you use the "Pay by Check" P500 option, please send your checks in to arrive by the charge dates. Thanks!