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I just read the new published rules and documentation of Nevsky. Another Euro wargame.

No solo mode is no purchase either.

Very dense rules again. It seems my love for Ruhnke games stopped after Labyrinth’s first edition. After that EPIC experience, I felt his games were like playing too complicated euros with a disconnected historical theme.

Some wargame designers seem to have lost the forest from the trees and wonder around in euro mechanics that are so strangely detached from their wargaming subject it becomes weird, at least to me.

Fort Sumter, Churchill, COINS, ... at first it seemed intruiging, now they start losing me completely. The ratings of Fort Sumter show it too. I have a better connection with the themes in Terraforming Mars or Viticulture than in Fort Sumter frankly.

Even John Butterfield with Spacecorp has become a euro designer with a theme attached as an afterthought.

Where are my Enemy Action series ? That was the pinacle of true historical operational solo wargaming.
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Ben_Bos wrote:


Where are my Enemy Action series ? That was the pinacle of true historical operational solo wargaming.
Ditto.
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Couldn't agree more.

However, I am not sure this is a direction of sorts for the company's portfolio, since it continues to print hex based and other traditional wargames. I'd say it's probably more of a wargame designer choice these days to exploit the design space that euro mechanisms offer. I rarely care for it, but then lets not forget that wargamers are a minority in today's game hobby world. Can't blame a company for trying new things.

On a sidenote, I played solo Thunder at Cassino yesterday. Wouldn't give it up for 10 of the games you mentioned...
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pinoz64 wrote:
Ben_Bos wrote:


Where are my Enemy Action series ? That was the pinacle of true historical operational solo wargaming.
Ditto.
Yeah, Butterfield imo dropped the ball with Space Corp big time.
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Ben_Bos wrote:
Where are my Enemy Action series ? That was the pinacle of true historical operational solo wargaming.
Churchill hardly claims to be that.
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Ben_Bos wrote:
Some wargame designers seem to have lost the forest from the trees and wonder around in euro mechanics that are so strangely detached from their wargaming subject it becomes weird, at least to me.
I would respectfully disagree, many of the games you mention are attempting to model something other than operational maneuvers. It can be difficult to model things like politics in a traditional hex and counter game, hence the development of the COIN system. The recent Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India, 1917 – 1947 is a great example of how these new mechanics can be used to model uncharted historical topics in an elegant way.

As for Nevsky, I am personally very intrigued, but to each their own. Again, it all comes back to what you are attempting to model. In this case, I think Volko is trying to model feudal systems and the limits these imposed on medieval warfare, the combat itself is less important than the raising of troops. One could argue that this is a more historically significant aspect of medieval warfare given the tactics (or lack thereof) of the time.

And GMT still publishes plenty of traditional wargames (I just picked up the fantastic Ardennes '44). It might even be that the success of the euro-type games have enabled GMT to publish more traditional wargames, it would be interesting to run the numbers
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So, my feeling is quite the opposite. I find some of the design elements being used in these games to be quite liberating and to have opened up new possibilities for simulating aspects of conflicts that traditional designs have previously not. I do wonder if the perception of a design being a Euro is often conflated with the use of Euro style game components, rather than a genuine appreciation of what the design can achieve.

I haven’t played Churchill but have played and love Pericles. Blocks and cubes and cards and abstract mechanisms and even a couple of meeples....all of which produce an effect that resonates more closely with my understanding of the Peloponnesian War (a topic of special historical interest for me) than any other game on the subject that I have played. Tightly focused and connected to its theme. It’s no Euro.

There seems to be a good mix of hex and counter and more innovative designs being produced by GMT and other companies, catering for all tastes, so I can’t see that traditional wargames are being ignored....but I am grateful that they’re willing to support and promote new designs and directions for the hobby.

Brent.

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Ben_Bos wrote:


Where are my Enemy Action series ? That was the pinacle of true historical operational solo wargaming.
I saw a video (not sure whose, but one of the wargaming Youtubers) showing Butterfield testing EA: Kharkov at WBC last month, so at least that one is on the horizon somewhere.

As to your broader concern, I don't think Volko would think of himself as a "war-game" designer so much as a "historical/conflict strategy game" designer, based on the interviews I've seen. The innovations we've since since Labyrinth have opened up many possibilities to address political and economic aspects of conflict which have been under-represented in the games of prior generations, though I love those too.
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I must admit that my current preorders at GMT are very low. I think there a 2 reasons for this. My private situation! Going for a 2nd kid and looking to buy a new house... there are other priorities at this moment. The fact that I currently don't have much place left to add new games and owning to much unplayed game is also helping to keep me determined to reduce the number of new games that enter my collection.


Not only that but the new games added to P500 are not getting me excited. I think the COIN games are pretty good but they all feel the same. My opion is that once you own one of them, there is no need to get the rest as well. The first COIN game was released about 7 years ago (end of august 2012). We are about 7 years later and volume 10 and 11 are currently on P500. Just to show you that this series is going very fast and the pace at which these games are released is amazing.

While I'm happy that those games generate a nice profit for GMT and are making this company grow, I would rather see the release of COIN games slow down a bit and having some other games getting published
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durchske wrote:
Not only that but the new games added to P500 are not getting me excited. I think the COIN games are pretty good but they all feel the same.
I'm not a big COIN fan, but I don't think this criticism is fair. You could say the same thing about any wargame series. But then I don't agree with the OP that the theme is pasted on in COIN games (if that was what he meant). Like the OP, I didn't feel the theme much in Fort Sumter, though. And COIN games feel somewhat dry, even though they feel thematic enough for me. I certainly wouldn't compare them to eurogames, except for the components, but that's a very superficial similarity. I don't think anyone would compare COIN to eurogames if units were represented by counters instead of cubes/octagons.
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Christianv wrote:
Ben_Bos wrote:
Some wargame designers seem to have lost the forest from the trees and wonder around in euro mechanics that are so strangely detached from their wargaming subject it becomes weird, at least to me.
I would respectfully disagree, many of the games you mention are attempting to model something other than operational maneuvers. It can be difficult to model things like politics in a traditional hex and counter game, hence the development of the COIN system. The recent Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India, 1917 – 1947 is a great example of how these new mechanics can be used to model uncharted historical topics in an elegant way.

As for Nevsky, I am personally very intrigued, but to each their own. Again, it all comes back to what you are attempting to model. In this case, I think Volko is trying to model feudal systems and the limits these imposed on medieval warfare, the combat itself is less important than the raising of troops. One could argue that this is a more historically significant aspect of medieval warfare given the tactics (or lack thereof) of the time.

And GMT still publishes plenty of traditional wargames (I just picked up the fantastic Ardennes '44). It might even be that the success of the euro-type games have enabled GMT to publish more traditional wargames, it would be interesting to run the numbers
I also support GMT new series. I personally don’t play the coin series games because I don’t enjoy them as much but I support GMTs approach to creating historical games for several reasons:
1) GMT makes many fine wargames today ... more than I can play.
2) It makes GMT stronger financially and that’s a good thing ... see Avalon Hill for details.
3) Historically themes euros seem to me to be a great gateway to creating future war gamers
4) Adding new mechanisms to tried and true wargame systems seems like a great way to create innovative new games for the future
5) There are plenty of new wargame companies creating excellent games. If GMT release a few less wargames there will be no noticeable slack.

The new GMT approach is only a good thing.

Edit for punctuation
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Gordon Blizzard
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Making good solo modes for ye ole hex and CRT wargames is incredibly difficult unless you just toss off most of the decisions to the human, so while EA:A is an incredibly impressive effort, there's a reason most of them aren't coming with solo modes.

Honestly, there's a reason that most of the solo-friendly games are the COIN/Churchill/Pericles types that are more abstract and have more discrete decision spaces.

GMT makes a big variety of games, from 18xx to normal wargames to CDGs, to COIN games. Complaining that you're not getting enough extremely derivative hex and counter games comes off as sour grapes imo.
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Yea this is more of the classic wargamers difficulty in seeing anything besides hexes and counters on a paper map as a wargamer. Though I'm encouraged by the 90% of positive responses in this thread.

Some of these supposed "euros" do a better job of being a conflict simulation, and of modeling the intended conflict then a hex and counter ever could. Just like non traditional mechanics may have difficulty capturing the simulation of OCS, traditional mechanics would have a very hard time capturing the simulation of Churchill or this new game Nevsky.

These aren't "euros". The accusation that Churchill, COIN, etc are anything but rich wargaming simulations is ignorance. For one, the high political grand strategic model of Churchill is an intrinsically a conflict simulation as ASL. Arguable more so, as in many cases individual tactical victories are meaningless, absent of the political decisions that drive the conflict.

Ruhnke isn't here to make some attempt at operational warfare enslaved to traditional design constraints, he is using the full scope of design opportunity available to him to create an accurate simulation of the difficulties and decision space that were involved in managing a campaign in feudal Europe. To say that this can only truly be accomplished by hexes and counters is frankly, absurd.

It's totally understandable to say, no, these mechanics aren't for me. But to accuse these games of being anything but innovative and faithful attempts to simulate conflict is pretty ridiculous.

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Just FYI. As with EA Ardennes, Compass is publishing EA Kharkov
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GMT still makes lots of wargames, they are branching out to create more business. The COIN games are very popular (even though I don't care for them).
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I really like Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea. Enjoy (or not) a game for what it IS instead of berating it for what it ISN'T.
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Umm, dude, Nevsky isn't remotely a euro. I haven't played many euros where knights and men-at-arms (after carefully building up supplies) rampage around pillaging the countryside, capturing enemy castles along the way and fighting the occasional battle. (Funny you complain about Nevsky being a solo and in the next breath you complain about Nevsky's dense rules...)

Sorry about the no-solo mode. However, Nevsky can be played solitaire very well by just playing both sides to your best ability.

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Begins OP complaining about very dense rules, ends asking for another Enemy Action game.
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Sitnam wrote:
Begins OP complaining about very dense rules, ends asking for another Enemy Action game.
There is difference between the rule book of Enemy Action Ardennes and the typical COIN rule books.

By dense I mean a kind of highly concentrated rule set that tries to cramp in every information without a single room of space or break for the reader.

The EA:A rules were quite different with many examples, references and repeats.

——

But of course, the huge difference was NOT in the rules department.

The difference lays in the fact I no longer felt I was simulating the Cuba revolt (or had a case study about it) when playing Cuba Libre, or other games I mentioned.


————-
I always refer to a magnificent editor article from The General back in the late 80’s:

Whenever the player no longer sees the connection between the boardgame components and the theme it simulates, he/she is disconnected from the wargame as such. The fact this disconnection is THEN supplemented by highly dense rules is simply a bridge too far.

That is of course an individual problem, but still a very valid concern to continue to play these “simulations”.

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wifwendell wrote:
Umm, dude, Nevsky isn't remotely a euro. I haven't played many euros where knights and men-at-arms (after carefully building up supplies) rampage around pillaging the countryside, capturing enemy castles along the way and fighting the occasional battle.
Funnily enough Nevsky is one of the few GMT games I have on P500 right now. Precisely because it's something new and different from standard hex & counter. Same for Imperial Struggle. I will still buy hex & counter games - in fact I got Bitter Woods just this week - but those games don't need my P500 to get published.
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Might be worth reading Gene's comments on things

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.1dd12acb/113520

Quote:

I appreciate Mike T's confidence in Mark, Tony, and me in terms of continuing to produce wargames. I share that confidence, actually, and want to expand on that a bit. This is a longer conversation in terms of how I look at the market and our product mix, but the snapshot is there are two key things that drive our product mix:

1. What do our designers want to design? I don't give out design assignments. Occasionally, a designer will ask me what I want him/her to design next for us. My response is always the same. "What are you passionate about? What topics really interest you? What are you reading about now that evokes your curiosity to explore further?" Things like that. We currently have about 60 design teams working on a variety of projects. The mix of those design teams (in terms of age, experience, preferred game styles/treatments, desire to experiment with new systems or long-term commitment to series, etc) determines to a large extent what our product mix will be in any given period. Andy and I of course walk beside these teams and offer advice/insight when requested (or sometimes when we see a potential problem selling a particular game), but their interests drive the GMT content bus.

So basically as long as we have designers who want to create wargames (hex and counter or not), we're going to be committed to supporting them by at least attempting to bring those to market. So far, this is going well, in my view. Of those 60 design teams, a majority at this point are deeply interested in creating conflict simulations/games that are strongly rooted in history. That happens to be a good fit for "Gene the gamer" personally, so I'm very happy with it. I hope we have series like GBACW, GBoH, AmRev, Mark's 194x operational games, Lee's air games, EFS, and other more traditional (to many of us who are long-time wargamers) wargames in our line for as long as those guys want to create games.

But we also have design teams that prefer creating simpler, more accessible wargames (like Commands & Colors), non-war CDGs, euro style games, 18xx games, and an increasing number that want to create strategy games with unique systems that have strong ties to history. I'm good with that, too. I think diversity makes us much stronger. I've also always been very open (and remain so) to new designers with new systems and ideas. I think that helps keep us fresh and agile in the marketplace, as does the flexibility of so many of our existing designers.

So the interests of our designers are always going to drive our product mix, and currently I'm quite pleased with the games they're interested in creating, and also with their overall levels of attention to what types of games gamers are asking for today. The mix all these diverse skills and views bring to GMT is what gives us a broad and diverse product line, which I think makes us better.

2.What games do our customers want to buy and play? As evidenced daily here, on BGG, and in various social media outlets, this is a bit of a moving target. If we tried to keep our finger on the pulse of "what the game market wants" as our primary driver of what we create, we'd be constantly chasing our tails, as the market is diverse, quickly diverted to new types of games, and we don't have the tools or the time to pin down with precision the "what do they want?" piece of the puzzle. So what do we do?

We use #1 above as our PRIMARY DETERMINANT for what we're going to create. And then we let customers choose from among that mix what they want to see (via P500). This is not a perfect system, especially in terms of drawing in new gamers and showcasing games that our core group of gamers are unfamiliar with, as many would attest. But it is a strong system to allow our existing customers to tell us what they'd prefer we produce from among the mix of products that those 60-odd design teams create.

I could write about this for hours, as there are a LOT of details I think about in terms of both design teams and customers, but I will spare you the trouble of reading it. The bottom line is we build relationships with designers, developers, and their teams and adopt their visions for the types of games they want to create into our product lines. Then we stick with them, learn from our mistakes along the way, and make better and better games with them (due to experience and those lessons learned) over a long period of time. Our secret sauce, if we have any, is those relationships we build and that they are peer relationships, not top-down. Then within those relationships, we encourage one another to listen to our customers, pay attention to what works (on P500 and in the broader marketplace) and what doesn't, and get better together.

That probably sounds pretty simple and easy. Trust me, it's not. But it's the way we've chosen to build the company - on the bedrock of long-term relationships - and THAT (and I think that's much more robust than just what Tony, Mark, and Gene prefer in terms of games) is what's going to make sure we stay both true to our roots and relevant in the marketplace as we more forward.

I hope this is helpful perspective.

Enjoy the games!

Gene

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Just checked - I have eight games on pre-order from GMT at the moment, and each and every one of them is a hex-and-counter game. Most are operational scale traditional wargames (e.g. Stalingrad '42, Next War: Vietnam), with one naval wargame (Flying Colors reprint) included as well. I just point this out because while I'm not a fan of COIN games and the like, GMT is still managing to pump out more traditional fare than I can keep up with.

Footnote: I am currently punching and clipping Ukraine '43 (second edition), another recent GMT publication, and another traditional operational hex and counter game).
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Ben_Bos wrote:
Sitnam wrote:
Begins OP complaining about very dense rules, ends asking for another Enemy Action game.
There is difference between the rule book of Enemy Action Ardennes and the typical COIN rule books.

By dense I mean a kind of highly concentrated rule set that tries to cramp in every information without a single room of space or break for the reader.

The EA:A rules were quite different with many examples, references and repeats.

You mean rule books, three of them. 65, 50 and 70 pages. I am not saying the game isn't good or the rules aren't well written.

I'm saying your criticism bat is being swung a little wide.
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goshublue wrote:
So, my feeling is quite the opposite. I find some of the design elements being used in these games to be quite liberating and to have opened up new possibilities for simulating aspects of conflicts that traditional designs have previously not. I do wonder if the perception of a design being a Euro is often conflated with the use of Euro style game components, rather than a genuine appreciation of what the design can achieve.

I haven’t played Churchill but have played and love Pericles. Blocks and cubes and cards and abstract mechanisms and even a couple of meeples....all of which produce an effect that resonates more closely with my understanding of the Peloponnesian War (a topic of special historical interest for me) than any other game on the subject that I have played. Tightly focused and connected to its theme. It’s no Euro.

There seems to be a good mix of hex and counter and more innovative designs being produced by GMT and other companies, catering for all tastes, so I can’t see that traditional wargames are being ignored....but I am grateful that they’re willing to support and promote new designs and directions for the hobby.

Brent.

However, I do think that many attempts to produce non hex and counter wargames on the same subjects as previous such games mostly fail. I strongly dislike Ancients and several similar games. They remove so many elements for the sake of simplicity that the games does not feel like their theme at all. I also have no interests in stuff like Bonaparte at Marengo that is general conflict simulations rather than something spesific for the period.

However, I do like the COIN games, Time of Crises and similar games a lot. Expect to love Churchill and Pericles as well, just have not had time to play them yet. These are subjects where a hex and counter game would not be appropriate.

I also have experienced that it have become much easier to get people to play something like Combat Commander, and later other wargames, exactly because they carry the same label as Dominant Species
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