Monday, February 27, 2006

The P500 system, also my Player Aid for GMT's Here I Stand (funny)

GMT is a wargame company. I don't play wargames, but I have a lot of respect for GMT. My friend Anye has always been willing to lay out for anyone who asked how her games were made, and the percentages involved at each step. It takes a lot of guts to publish board games.

GMT made a boo-boo in their calculations, once upon a time in 1999 or 2000. They basically printed up way too many copies of games that weren't being bought. The founders believed in themselves and their business, and took out second mortgages to save their business.

They also asked their fans to believe in them. They created the P500 system, described here on their website. Basically, GMT writes about games they want to make, giving lots of detail to whet the appetite of hardcore gamers. Once 500 fans sign up to buy a game, the fans' credit cards are charged a discounted price, and GMT prints up a big batch of copies to give out, with lots more to sell to actually make money. This system also means that lots of fans get their games at the same time, which helps build buzz around each one. In the old days, a few people pre-ordered, and by the time the first people convinced the second round to buy copies of older games, GMT was having cash problems.

One of the games is "Here I Stand: Wars Of The Reformation 1517-1555," and reading the teaser and rules online, I couldn't help but chuckle at a couple of the illustrations. I couldn't resist, and whipped up this player aid:

There really is a Henry VIII Wife Pregnancy table in "Here I Stand". The full rules are available at the GMT website. I haven't looked up the rating on Boardgamegeek yet. Sometimes, I don't read all the spoilers and analysis right away... it helps keep a game fresh and makes any strategies I find more rewarding when I figure it out myself.


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