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Subject: GMT Sweet Spot rss

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Michael @mgouker
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A while back I (and others) commented that there were so many great games on the GMT P500 list that had already qualified for printing. I mentioned their major challenge would be to actually build the games. I just want to give a progress report of how things have gone so far this year. It is a very happy story, in my humble opinion.

In the very beginning of January, Twilight Struggle appeared. It was a bit late, having been promised in December after being moved forward from its initial January slot and the game had some production problems. On the bright side, however, the game was far better than I ever imagined. It's not that my expectations were low, but the game seemed like a bit of a chance when I preordered it. Six games so far and I am very satisfied. I am sure I will be playing this a long time.

Later in January, Command and Colors: Ancients arrived. This was about a month later than I expected. A lot of people here complained about the board and the dice, but I thought the game was very well produced. It did take a long time to sticker the blocks. My first games were pretty rough, as I did not know the system and played much better players. Honestly, I do not know if I like the somewhat artificial way of only being able to order the units in your hand. I like the GBOH system better, even though all of my opponents prefer C&C: Ancients. In any case, the game will get a lot of play, but I still have some mixed feelings.

While I was in Europe, I received The Burning Blue and Saturday I was able to play it for the first time. We played the introductory scenario and set up Scenario 1 and started it, but time ran out. I got a very good feel for the game and I am really looking forward to playing more soon. As for the quality of the production, it really seems perfect. We were very impressed.

Here I Stand is likely to be here in the next couple weeks. This is a game that I have been very eager to play for a long time now. I have enormous expectations for the game and have followed the traffic on the consimworld folder for a while now. It looks like it will be very satisfying too. Right now, the anticipation is boundless.

Pax Romana is probably a little more than a month away. this is a game I have been waiting for a long time. I have played on Vassal quite a few games and the game is just phenomenal. I like playing on Vassal and really enjoy my opponents, but being able to finally put it on the table will be a real treat and a face-to-face game where we don't have to move stuff around with the mouse will feel REALLY good!

Anyway, so far, this has been one awesome year.
 
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Brian Morris
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A friend of mine informs me that he recieved an e-mail letting him know his copy of Here I Stand has shipped so it should start showing up in people's mailboxes this week.
 
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Michael Sosa
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I will be adding a few GMT titles to my collection very soon. I certainly hope we can get together to play them sometime!
 
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Philip Thomas
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Twilght Struggle is indeed a great game. I have Here I Stand, Unhappy King Charles and Winds of Plunder on order.
 
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Michael @mgouker
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Belisarius88 wrote:
I will be adding a few GMT titles to my collection very soon. I certainly hope we can get together to play them sometime!


Email sent. We are putting together a Here I Stand game (assuming I actually receive the game) for the first weekend of March.
 
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L Myrick
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My recent GMT experience:

I picked up Burning Blue from the GMT booth at ORCCON here in Los Angeles over the weekend and played the introductory scenario in the open gaming area with Rick Billings. He'd read the rules, but I only had a chance for a quick skim of the rules and scenarios--still, we were able to hammer our way through the scenario, and even add in a little extra combat to get those rules down. It looks like a very fun game and I plan on getting it on the table again soon.

As for Here I Stand--when I first got to the GMT booth I saw a shrinkwrapped copy of HIS begging me to come and buy it--but unfortunately it was the only copy and there for show only!

Twilight Struggle is an excellent game--fast to learn with plenty of depth. The whole cold war theme is done so well with the cards that it makes me want to go back and read my old John Le Carre novels.

And Command and Colors: Ancients has been my most-played game this past month--I even got in a game with the wife last night! You're right in that there is a good bit of luck in drawing the cards needed to order the units in the sections you need, but I still find there are sufficient tactics and strategy in the game to make it a blast to play--especially since most scenarios so far have played out in less than an hour.

As for the future, here are the GMT pre-order titles I'm most excited about and already have preordered:

Monmouth: the newest in Mark Miklos' Revolutionary War series

Saratoga (2nd ed.): a reprint of the first game in the above series

The Bulge-Fast Action Battles #1: A block game from Europe Engulfed designer Rick Young

Combat Commander: described by some as Squad Leader but fast to play

Dunkerque: This is a new game based on the old 'Dunkerque 1940' game, done with blocks. Looks to be great but still low in preorders--needs some help here.

The Napoleonic Wars, 2nd ed.: new edition of this classic.

Samurai: Another reprint of an OOP Richard Berg/Mark Herman classic

Deluxe SPQR: The ultimate SPQR

Hmmm... sounds like a geeklist.
 
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CHAPEL
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I really liked Manifest Destiny. I hope they make more games like that one. As for Winds of Plunder, I don't know, it was kind of drab, just wasn't my cup of tea. I probably won't pick it up when it gets printed.

I was in my FLGS yesterday and was really eying the C&C: colors. It's calling my name. I'm trying to resist only because it's a 2P, and can never get those played.
 
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John Burt
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I am running a little behind in my playing of GMT games.

Last week I received my copy of Twilight Struggle, which I have not been able to play yet (this will be a theme). Along with TS I received my 2 half price games for getting a P500 last year, Battle Line and Santa Fe Rails. We are planning on playing SF Rails tonight after we finish our game of Sword of Rome (which I purchased from a FLGS).

My copy of Command & Colors: Ancients appears to have been lost in the mail, so I expect to get a second copy at the end of the month. Damn that Canada Post!

The other games I have on order from them are: Pax Romana, SPQR Deluxe, Winds of Plunder and Conquest of Paradise to name a few.
 
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Hermus
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My planned game purchases for 2006 include Twilight Struggle, Conquest of Paradise, and possibly Winds of Plunder.
 
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Kevin Moody
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Quote:
Later in January, Command and Colors: Ancients arrived... My first games were pretty rough, as I did not know the system and played much better players. Honestly, I do not know if I like the somewhat artificial way of only being able to order the units in your hand. I like the GBOH system better...
Whereas in GBoH you can get everyone to do something, as if they are highly-trained modern troops receiving commands from radio

The aspect of C&C:A that you don't care for is exactly what I find best about it. These are largely guys that tire rapidly and might think twice before being the first to fight (and die a horrible slow death). The same command card system as used in Memoir '44 didn't work at all for me...as if a tank company would cease firing after having engaged an enemy infantry position until the commander (you) ordered it to continue fighting at the expense of activity elsewhere on the map.

With GBoH, no one balks at what you ask them to do, and if they're near a great leader they somehow manage to do more work in the same time period as other units not so fortunate to be in the aura of a top commander.

Another advantage of C&C:A over GBoH is its minimal time requirements. So, you get hosed in your card draw -- nothing was written in stone that a particular historical commander was at his best that day nor had troops that would respond to his wishes. The hand-size is a reflection of the capabilites of the commanders, the troop quality, and the situation, but it is no guarantee of success. But if it doesn't go your way, you just set-it up for a replay. Try getting through a GBoH scenario twice in an evening (or a day).

Not to knock GBoH, as C&C:A is what it is...a light game and not a GBoH replacement, but I was really surprised and impressed how a game system that I didn't care for (in Memoir'44) could be ported so well to another theme. Bravo, Borg and GMT! And, 'geeks? Get this one while you can.
 
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Michael @mgouker
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There are a few GBOH engagements that can be played quickly, but in general you are right about that.

My arguments weren't really based on historicity of the engagements, only in what I like to do when I play and the control I like to have. I think I will _warm_ to C&C:Ancients, but the fact that it is parallel to a system I really enjoy makes it more difficult to embrace. As I mentioned, though, everyone else I play with prefers C&C:Ancients to either GBOH or SGBOH.
 
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L Myrick
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mgringo wrote:
I think I will _warm_ to C&C:Ancients, but the fact that it is parallel to a system I really enjoy makes it more difficult to embrace. As I mentioned, though, everyone else I play with prefers C&C:Ancients to either GBOH or SGBOH.


Actually, this discussion, and a few others like it, have convinced me that I have to get GBOH. I've been thinking about it for some time, but since C&C:Ancients came out, a lot of people have been making the comparisons and talking about GBOH. Now I've read enough and am convinced I want to get into it. As noted above, I've got SPQR on preorder, but I'm thinking about starting with Great Battles of Alexander Deluxe. Any other suggestions?
 
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Michael @mgouker
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SPQR, Alexander, Devil's Horsemen, Cataphract, and War Galley are the ones I have enjoyed the most. I have Alesia as well, but the game hasn't taken me by storm yet. The principal reason is that Alesia is a siege and seems very static (in stark contrast to DH!) where you test the defense until you find a weak point (or not). Add to that the fact that there are few scenarios and all are the same subject (at different points in the battle) and also the adoption of the SGBOH rules... Anyway, the jury is still out on Alesia for me.

I also have played some of the Caesar: Civil Wars and one battle from the Conquest of Gaul. Neither one sparked me, but I didn't really give them a chance. I will say that I really did enjoy the module from Caesar (forget which one) Veni Vidi Vici (and Tyrant from GBOH Alexander is also good).

I want to pick up Caesar in Alexandria before it disappears completely. I have Samurai preordered (along with Conquest of Gaul, War Galley, and Deluxe SPQR - my friend Gabi had everything - unfortunately he has some issues that have ceased his gaming options). Hopefully, Cataphract will also reprint at some point. Otherwise I will have to get it - it has some great stuff.

A great resource for the game is Dave Townshend's page:

http://patriot.net/~townsend/GBoH/gboh.html

 
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Kevin Moody
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Quote:
Any other suggestions?
I think you're right in starting with the Deluxe Alex game, and get the Tyrant module with it. A lot of the sceanrios in the game are unbalanced, but then that's the historical outcome...and you can always switch sides to get a competitive comparison. I haven't played the Tyrant scenarios, but everything I've heard about them has been positive.

I think the closer you stay to the original GBoH subject matter the happier you will be. Some of the command and control issuses I mentioned with GBoH tend to get a little absurd with Devil's Horsemen (and Cataphract)...basically, anything involving a lot of cav, since the movement allowances of the units in tandem with the perfect command and control over the units allows for lots of sweeping manuver while the opponents just stand there watching without any opportunity for reaction. If you didn't like the doubt you experienced of whether or not your units in C&C:A once engaged would continue to do your bidding, then you should like GBoH much better, where such doubt never occurs.
 
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Michael @mgouker
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I agree that Deluxe Alex is the right place to start (even though SPQR would be better if it were readily available). Pelium or Hydaspes are great battles that are very even.

With respect to DH, the terrain is huge. If you play the Kalka River scenario, you better invest in some more plexiglass. ;^)

Kevin, as far as your description of units as helpless in the face of swarms of cavalry, don't forget that you should keep missile units on the periphery - the Polish archers are a good choice here. If you do, once the ZOC is entered, you can use Entry Reaction before any further movement occurs (or before the invading unit can fire), unless the units invading are rampaging elephants... in that case, just hope that you don't rout into your own troops.

I actually think the cav rules reflect very nicely the Mongol advantage. It seems fitting to me.
 
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Kevin Moody
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Quote:
once the ZOC is entered
That's the key...IIRC, without entering the frontal hexes of an enemy unit, the cav can run around free without any chance or threat of interdiction. The exception is if a mounted archer fires at someone from more than one hex away, they fire back. Or they can ride up to just outside the adjacent hexes, moon them or whatever they did back then, and ride back and the enemy can do nothing!

In our game, it meant a cav unit riding up, flinging its arrows at one unit, that unit flinging them back, then the cav moves back to its line; another cav rides up, fires at the same enemy unit, the enemy unit fires back, etc etc...do this with 5-6 cav units and that targeted enemy unit is going to be pretty weakened and the cav units will have at worst one hit on each of them. Meanwhile, the targeted enemy's buddies beside them just sat there watching the carnage and could do nothing. Imagine how tired the arms of the defending unit was, firing all those arrows in such a short timeframe. Imagine how mad they must have been at their fellows who did nothing to help them (because they couldn't).

That seems like a lot of trouble, but since the game has no game turns it's a valid tactic to take one's time and pick the enemy apart like that before going in for the shock combat kill. (The enemy leader could, instead of issuing orders to his units, simply remove some but not all of the damage from his unit, but this eventually is impossible to overcome before the enemy unit is forced to rout away.)

Anyway, I didn't mean to drift into a DH discussion...just wanted to point out that there is little chance to make sweeping movements in Delux Alex with the enemy just sitting there motionless since the movement factors of leg units will prevent you from shifting around so drastically like you can with cavalry.
 
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Michael @mgouker
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Cohesion hits are very common on these units, but they can punish the cavalry quite a bit, especially when more than one unit moves into its ZOC. Each unit that moves into the ZOC takes reaction fire.

I will have to see if this tactic works once I have an opponent again. As I said, my friend cannot play and the local guys I know that are interested in GBOH have never played so that wouldn't be a fair test. I have this sneaking suspicion that Gabi would have found a way out of the gamey tactic. He likely would have charged my position, because even when he plays defensively, he attacks (a good GBOH tactic - it favors the attacker as you know) with often surprising results.

Anyway, in case it is not obvious I haven't played DH very much, but I did enjoy it. Mostly I played SPQR and Alexander, so I agree with Kevin that this is the way to go.
 
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Jamie Mack
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Not to push the subject back off track, but regarding command and control in GBOA Deluxe....Keep in mind that most leaders in the game have pretty low command ratings(equal to the number of individual orders he can give) and if they have a sizeable detachment to command it's a pretty slow process to get those guys all moving and into position, especially if you keep your leader with his troops. And if you don't keep your leader with his troops you'll quickly discover how fast your command structure can fall apart what with units falling behind and ending up out of their leaders command range.

And also, on the calvary approaching the flanks of units, if said unit happens to be a skirmisher(which most archers are)they can fire on their flank just as if they were being charged from the front if I'm not mistaken.

Jamie

P.S. Hey Kevin, sorry I dropped off the face of the earth, we need to get back to our ASL tutorial!!!
 
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Michael @mgouker
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I meant to post this before. Here is a link to Ed Beach's Here I Stand page. If you are like me and cannot wait to see the UPS notification, you can get a bit of a fix by checking out the material here. The rulebook is up if you want to see how the game is.

http://home.comcast.net/~ebeach/

The game is full of history. Check out this entry on Tyndale:

http://home.comcast.net/~ebeach/tyndale.htm

I'm reading through the replay while I wait:

http://home.comcast.net/~ebeach/replay.htm
 
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Dow Jones
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From GMT I have on order or am playing, all musket and Pike series.

Across the Rapahannock and C&C: Ancients.

I have a copy of World at war but is unopened

I'd like to hear more about their tactical lvl game Combat Commander.

DJ
 
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Jeff Paul
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An almost completed but not quite finished version of the Combat Commander rule book is posted on the GMT website

http://www.gmtgames.com/combatcomm/CCRules022306.pdf

(warning, it is 5MB)

I suggest you p500 this now. We wants it, we do....
 
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Dow Jones
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Jeff,

been there done that, after I read about it here!! Looks good. and will be P500'd on Monday .

DJ
 
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