Grognard Wargamer Thread!


Half field recording, half interview

THIS podcast is offered in 2 parts, and is singularly composed of an interview with GMT Games President, Gene Biillingsley.

We will discuss his work at GMT and also his latest design, Mr President.

Gene Billingsley founded GMT Games in 1990. As Avalon Hill turned to computer games and was eventually sold to Hasbro, Gene built GMT into the new home for board wargamers. He started with some of his own designs. These titles garner instant acclaim. Operation Shoestring was nominated for a Charles S. Roberts Award and Silver Bayonet and Crisis Korea won Charles S. Roberts Awards. I’m sure his current design project, Mr. President, won’t disappoint

As the distribution network for boardgames went into retreat in the 1990s, GMT pioneered the preorder system called P500. It remains the best deal in board wargaming. The system allows GMT to thrive in uncertain waters as customers vote their interest in designs and accelerate the production schedule of the most interesting. Customers get 30% off and can cancel at any time.

The Company is now the bell weather for conflict gaming, anchored by Gene and his partners Rodger MacGowan, Mark Simonitch, Tony Curtis and Andy Lewis. GMT continues to produce quality games with marquee designers like Mark Herman, Richard Berg, Volko Ruhnke, Chad Jensen, Ted Racier and many others.

Interesting and creepy, feels like Harold is wearing a wire, really.


I’ve been intrigued by the Churchill board game in the past, but have never pulled the trigger. I own Triumph and Tragedy which may have some similarities? Thoughts on Churchill? Thanks in advance.


They have nothing in common, mechanically or otherwise.

Triumph and Tragedy is a very good take on the European theater with a lot of concessions to playability that end up helping the overall design. A worthy entry in the in the genre, well worth playing.

Churchill is a design masterpiece that is on a different conceptual level entirely. Probably one of the best designs of the past ten years, certainly the past five.


I second this. Churchill is fantastic. I have not played Triumph and Tragedy, so I cannot compare. That being said, I have never played anything quite like Churchill, and I have read the Triumph and Tragedy rules and can say that they are not really similar, other than covering the Second World War.

Churchill is an allied conference simulator, and does a good job of capturing the cooperative and competitive dynamic between the parties to the Alliance. If you have three players regularly, I would highly recommend it.


It’s also a game that really only opens up once you’ve played it once. The short game that I had the pleasure of playing with @Brooski was very interesting, but it also was a bit of a wash because inexperience didn’t reveal the depths initially.

After playing the short game, almost immediately I realized the kind of negotiation that it requires. One example is towards the end game. The British are going to run away with it if not countered, yet Bruce and I fought over the global agenda. I realized afterwards that I should have pitched him letting me have it, because while it would benefit me, it would also let me move the colonialism slider, and allow us the ability to counter the British in SE Asia. Rather than us both wasting points trying to fight over it.

And that was when I realized the game beyond the mechanics. How it wasn’t a 3 way zero sum. How him letting me have it would have been better for us both. I didn’t see it in time, but next time I would realize the power of having the players actually negotiate the issues while using cards to… negotiate the issues.

It is a really fascinating design I would love to experience the full game of, there is definitely something there.


I guess they both are 3 player games so there’s that?

Thanks for your take. Sounds like one to grab.


Can anyone give an idea of how long White Dog takes to print and ship a copy. I may or may not have just ordered one.


I got mine in the US in less than a week.


To dissent (I like dissent) on both games, John Goode at BGG sums up my feelings on T & T and offhandedly, Churchill as well.

The comments debate are worth a read as well


Nah, not worth debating that “article.”


This is his sole comment on Churchill:

Not much to debate there.


Same here.


Likewise. I ordered two games (domestically) and had them in less than a week. The publisher was very responsive to a question I had. Upon request, I also received the VASSAL modules via e-mail in one day.


I have bought two games from White Dog, and both VASSAL modules were incomplete or otherwise had problems, White Tribe vastly more so than Don’t Tread On Me.


I have never used a VASSAL module for a White Dog game as all mine are solitaire. What was wrong with them?


Missing counters for White Tribe, like a lot of them (almost all the policy counters for one thing). I can fix it, and I have been (and taking the opportunity to modify the map a little bit) but it would be nice if I didn’t have to put them in myself. I remember Don’t Tread On Me’s setup differing from the printed rulebook, and also I think there were a couple missing counters there, too.


Many spaces give the controlling player population and/or resources, though not in any realistic way. Czechoslovakia only grants population though it was relatively resource rich. I’m not aware of any strategic resources Denmark delivered (milk?) but in T&T it’s equal to Norway or all of Northern England/Scotland.

The moo-cow (thanks, Joyce) competes with Manchester.


Dunno what your point is. I’m really not interested in nitpicking a light block game on its historicity. Seems like a poor use of my free time.


I just don’t think it’s a “very good take on the ETO”. I think it’s what you just said, a light block game, that’s all.


If you want to take issue with my review, use my text, please. Not some Internet rando’s.