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Blurbs for Friends: GMT/Consim Press' The Hunters

posted Aug 29, 2012, 12:25 AM by Douglas Sun

This is way late and no longer necessary, but I've been meaning to put in a good word for my Down in Flames buddy Greg Smith ever since news broke that Consim Press will publish his solitaire U-boat game, The Hunters, with GMT Games handling distribution. I say that my endorsement is no longer necessary, because The Hunters took off like a torpedo as soon as it hit GMT's P500 List; IIRC, it reached 500 pre-orders in less than two weeks.

I was impressed — it's not like Greg has that many friends who will stuff a pre-order list for him. Seriously, though: Getting that many P500 pre-orders in such a short period of time is almost unheard of unless you already have a following as a designer (Greg has done a lot of PC wargame design work for HPS Simulations, but The Hunters is his debut as as a tabletop wargame auteur) or the game is part of a popular series. I've followed GMT Games closely for about 15 years now, and I can't remember another case like it.

So The Hunters is in GMT's production queue and should ship later this year. Obviously, it struck a responsive chord among GMT's loyal customers, and I predict that they will not be disappointed. I had the pleasure of playtesting the game 2 years ago, when Greg brought it to Consimworld Expo to pitch it to John Kranz and Consim Press, and I found it to be both engaging and flavorful, even at that early stage of development. The mechanics are clean, simple and easy to learn, and yet the gameplay conveys a powerful sense of balance between risk and reward — between the chance at glory and the chance of getting yourself and your crew sent to the bottom of the ocean. It's also a fast-moving game — you can finish a complete patrol in 15 minutes or even less — and I think it will find a comfortable market niche as a proper historical wargame that will give you a satisfying historical wargaming experience even if you don't have an opponent or much time.

I can say this with even more confidence after having seen the reception that The Hunters got at Consimworld Expo 2012, when Greg brought his homemade components and ran a tournament (most tonnage sunk before your boat pushed its luck too far determining the winner). I never thought I would see a CSW event that would beat Mike Lam's Down in Flames Ace of Aces tournament as the center of attention, but I'd have to say that Greg did it, pulling in curious onlookers-cum-players from all over the convention. It was, literally, the talk of the con, as it seemed that if you played it you were bound to tell other people how much fun you had, to brag about the ships you sank or lament your luck if you failed.

The Hunters will be a hit. If you have any interest in submarine games and/or solitaire games, you will want it in your collection.


As an aside: I received my copy of Andean Abyss from GMT yesterday. GMT has really been stepping up its game with components lately — mounted mapboards, thick, glossy tuck boxes, heavy card stock. I'll finish reading the rules tonight, and I've got plans in place to give it a spin at Gateway Con this weekend.