From: Melbourne Australia
They've done it again.
This time, GMT, the prolific board wargame publisher has opened the door to a Golden Age of wargaming hearkening back to the Avalon Hill days of the 1960's and 70's.
GMT's remake of the Avalon Hill title Successors has hit the market and what a job they've done.
This company, who for decades has based its business model on paper maps, seeing the financial difficulties faced by Avalon Hill in the 1980's whose reputation for fully heavy mounted maps created a cost-benefit dilemma, has listened to customer feedback and released a 1st edition game with a fully heavy mounted map board that would make even the toughest Avalon Hill diehard cry with joy.
Faced by stiff competiton from the so called "Euro" game makers whose quality components have put many to shame, GMT appears to have bitten the bullet with this gutsy move - for the price of this glorious title is no more than would would have been with its standard 22" x 34" paper map.
The map is a georgeous splendor of hues spanning old-town Greece, through the northern empires and India and south through Judea into the Nile and the deserts of the west.
GMT showed its hand recently in capitulating to enormous demand for mounted maps with their Command and Colors: Ancients series. GMT seems to have gotten its cost model and quality right. For it cannot be stressed highly enough, that this release of Succesors is GMT's print #1. No promises of "deluxe" cardboard maps for future print runs here, as GMT was wont to do. Simply the full real deal, first time out of the gate.
Whether this can now spurn the likes of Hasbro to start re-releasing its mounted Avalon Hill catalogue, again is something that those on the outside can only speculate.
However, for now all that is moot. GMT - the paper map company - is now a true player in the quality components world.
And what does all this mean for a PC wargame industry I consider slowly on the decline? Where paper manuals made way for PDF, where color charts inside a box made way for digital scans, where boxes made way for paper CD sleeves, where rulebooks made way for strategy guides and even those soon took flight, where warrantees still guarantee nothing?
It cannot be stressed how significant a move this is for GMT. For little more than the price of a PC download, wargamers receive a huge heavy mounted map, a glossy deck of 72 quality playing cards, plastic unit stands, thick die-cut unit counters, rulebook, cardboard reference cards and two sturdy black and gold d6 dice.
This value for money just doesn't compare with a malfunctioning AI and PDF.
It also means that game collectors can now obtain the classic Card-Driven-Game successors to Mark Herman's We the People (Avalon Hill/Hasbro), fully up to date and mounted - Hannibal Rome vs Carthage by Valley Games 2007 and Successors by GMT 2008. To get around Hasbro's stubborn hold on his copyright, Mark Herman is working on a re-make of the one that started it all.