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GMT Games: More COIN In the Fountain

posted Nov 16, 2012, 11:28 PM by Douglas Sun   [ updated Nov 16, 2012, 11:32 PM ]

The week has flown by, but I didn't want to let it go without noting that playtesting on Cuba Libre, the next game in GMT's COIN series, continues. I sat in on a session at Game Empire in Pasadena last Saturday, and it looks like there will be a smaller session tomorrow.

As was my wish, I got to play the Syndicate. After my playtest game in Hanford last month, I had some lingering questions on whether or not it was too difficult for the Mob to win. No offense to John Leggat and how he handled that faction in that game, but he seemed a little puzzled about its path to victory, and I couldn't figure out the answers either.

Now, having played the Syndicate, I think I understand. It's probably harder for them to win in Cuba Libre than it is for the Cartels to win in Andean Abyss. But it's not impossible. Yes, your casinos are closed when you place them, and you have to open them as a separate step in order to harvest resources and fulfill your victory conditions. Yes, it costs 5 resources to place a casino and another 5 resources to open it. But closed casinos automatically open during the Propaganda phase, so you just need to time your actions accordingly.

The Syndicate's main hurdle is lack of manpower. It only has 4 guerrillas. This seems to mean that the Syndicate will always be sorely lacking the muscle that it needs to guard its casinos at times when and in places where they cannot count on the Government, and that it will never have enough bag men for harvested resources (i.e., the big bags of cash that need to be taken from the casinos back to New York or Miami). Local playtest coordinator Ken Tee and I agreed that it might be a good idea to up their manpower pool to 6 guerrillas. We'll see how it goes.

By the way, scuttlebutt has it that Volko Ruhnke and the illustrious Mark Herman will collaborate on a COIN Series Vietnam War game. Now, there's a project to get your hopes up.

Thanks to Rick Byrens, I was also able to play-test Thunder Alley, Jeff Horger's stock-car racing game and a GMT P500 candidate. It's a neat design that emphasizes strategic positioning with an eye to how cars often move in packs during stock-car races. I found it to be one of those games that you can't wait to play a second time because you know you'll enjoy it even more now that you've started to get the hang of it. I think it will be a hit.