So, I’ve gone from having one GMT game on my shelf this time last year, to having 6. Where once there was only Twilight Struggle, there are now also Cuba Libre, Command and Colors: Ancients, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, Washington’s War and Sekigahara (with the Dominant Species card game on the way from a Facebook trade).
I’ve also gone from having a couple of games on my P500 list from GMT to having nine. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that GMT Games is my newest vice.
My own petty weakness aside, GMT have some really cool news this month, with two particularly big announcements. The first of these is the ninth game in the COIN series, Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India, 1917-1947.
The P500 page for Gandhi can be found here, and you can take a look at some gameplay and the playtest map. In addition to the typical systems and features of a COIN game, GMT list the following features of this title:
- Gandhi as the game’s sole leader piece.
- Nonviolent operations and special activities.
- Nonviolent activists that are always active, but generally immune from Raj actions until engaged in protests (or caught up in post-terror reprisals).
- Protests that erode support but leave activists vulnerable to arrest by Raj forces.
- A Hindu-Muslim Unity track that measures tensions between these two communities, affecting resources, operations, and victory.
- A British Rule track that reflects shifts in colonial policy in response to events on the map, from resolve to restraint, affecting the cost of several actions.
- British Viceroys who come and go with each passing campaign and have their own unique effects on each faction.
- An out-of-play jail space that holds nonviolent forces arrested during martial law. Pieces can be kept in jail over several campaigns, but at a cost to the Raj.
- Independent Princely States that are never controlled by any faction, yet offer a haven for violent and nonviolent insurgents alike.
- Short and medium-length scenarios that allow for the study of different periods of the struggle against British rule in India.
- Support for solitaire, 2-player, 3-player, and 4-player games.
The factions also sound really interesting, with GMT describing them in some detail:
- As Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, you have a host of nonviolent tools to break the British grip on India, but how will you achieve your goals while keeping the vast subcontinent united? You need to convince the people of India to shed their reliance on the British and reclaim their independence as a free nation. You need the support of the Muslim League but how will you keep the Muslims from splintering to form their own state? While you have rejected violence as the means to achieve independence, the Revolutionaries have not. How will you restrain their activities while avoiding being swept into British jails during martial law raids?
- As the Muslim League, you have also adopted nonviolence as your tool for achieving independence, but seek a different goal than Gandhi’s Indian National Congress. Concerned for the fate of Muslims in a future India dominated by Hindus, you fight for the establishment of a free Muslim India—the promised nation of Pakistan. But how will you foster support for a separate Pakistan without allowing India to slip into a bloody civil war between Muslims and Hindus?
- As the Revolutionaries, you seek the immediate end to British Rule in India. You are willing to use the traditional tools of violent rebellion—terror and assassination—to achieve your ends. India is vast and its cities and provinces offer many hiding spots from which to plot your next strike. But each move risks violent British reprisals and the ire of the nonviolent factions. How do you keep the British off balance while not playing into the hands of Congress or the Muslim League?
- As the British Raj, you face the difficult task of governing the large and populous colony of India. Can you maintain order and support for the colonial government in the face of determined resistance? You have the resources of a great imperial power, but the eyes of the world are on you; every arrest risks interference from London. How can you maintain both control over the colony and the continued support of its people?
I’m not the most experienced player of COIN games, but I am very interested in this title in particular, largely because it’s an area of history that I find really interesting. I wrote about it during my undergraduate degree and it has stayed an area of fascination. I’m wondering if there will be any references to B. R. Ambedkar, as I’ve always found him particularly intriguing.
The second item is the first ever 500th Anniversary Edition I’ve ever seen for a board game! Well, to be fair, it’s not the board game that is turning 500, but the historical event on which it is based. October 31st of this year (2017, if you’re counting) will be the 500th anniversary of the posting of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. GMT are taking the opportunity to not just reprint the game, as was already intended, but also to make significant updates and improvements. GMT list some of the planned enhancements:
- 6 brand new cards added to the deck, including Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Rough Wooing, and Imperial Coronation.
- Revisions to over 15 existing cards including Copernicus, Master of Italy, and Machiavelli to allow for more exciting in-game play and additional possibilities for diplomatic deals.
- A new Chateau construction table is now used to resolve France’s Patron of the Arts home card plays.
- Several Virgin Queen rule updates are incorporated back into Here I Stand, affecting minor power activation, piracy, space trading, and foreign wars.
This box is very tempting, but I find myself trying to decide whether to put in a P500 preorder for this game, or whether I should instead go for the sequel, Virgin Queen. Research is in order before I commit!
The full February update, including a cool little picture at the very end, can be found by clicking here.