ConSimWorld '21 Update
Frank Chadwick’s ETO was well represented by development team member and ambassador Ike Eicher and his son, Jason, at the recent 2021 ConsimWold Expo. With many a visitor and luminaries (including expert game analyst, Kevin Roust, and our Vassal guy, Ken Keller) stopping by the game table, the action for Thunder in the East continued each day of the convention. For example, here at the beginning of this CSW video, Stuka Joe features Thunder in the East before walking the ballroom before taking you on a tour of all the other game floor action:
Ike reports the great reactions to the game at the convention. He showed off many TITE 2 playtest components and explained the future of the project to players and onlookers alike. Those attending were excited to see the changes and the additional polish being added through continued playtesting and editing.
The Core Questions
Ike said the top questions asked at the show were:
1. The new stuff for the ETO series is great. Do I need to buy the 2nd edition from GMT or will there be an update kit? GMT will be taking care of current owners when the new edition comes out. All of our discussions with them have touched on how best to accommodate first edition owners of TITE.
2. Have the rules changed much? Well, “much” is subjective. The team has been working on the full, combined, five-volume series as a fully integrated entity to make sure every bolt fits properly. A naval system has been added and politics/diplomacy has its place in the series, but playtesting has revealed many small things we are pleased to polish up. The best news for the development team from the convention is how little the players needed to reference the rules!
More importantly, much of what Frank Chadwick has been doing since the game’s last features were added, is to cut, squeeze, and trim any rule or exception that can be removed. It is a Herculean task to edit game rules for maximum simplicity and clarity, but the scope of the ETO projects demands it.
3. When will it be added to the GMT P-500s? With all the pandemic delays in production and shipping, and the prodigious cost increases to both, GMT’s latest newsletters reflect their circumspection about launching more P-500s and shipping more products destined to meet delays in China. The dust IS up and we must all wait for it to settle, so from our vantage point, we cannot speculate when its P-500 debut will be nor how, exactly, it will be rolled out as a P-500 offering.
The Presentation Table
Ike expressed that all were pleased to hear about the enhancements to the ETO series and pairing of the rules (rather than unnecessary wholesale revisions). As attendees listened, he gave several examples of the playtesting polish that has occurred and the audiences’ nods were a clear sign of their understanding and approval, from weather to Retreat effects. As fellow gamers, this is the direction we all want this series to take.
Ike also showed off a component experiment we are playtesting; it is a type of comprehensive OOB mat. Wargamers, as a group, tend to prefer that, in games of this size, every counter and card “has a place to live” while in play and before its arrival on an OOB mat. While it creates an increase in table space, these experimental OOB mats we are developing and playtesting have a small table footprint of 8.5” x 11” sheets (where, at most, only two are needed on the table at a time).
The Work Has Never Ceased
The project is at a major crossing with Frank editing the entirety of the rules (and doing so with the player new to the series in mind to keep everything straight and as simple as possible). All components, testing, and release dates will meet the confluence of a rules set that has evolved from system design and development to playtesting polish and scenario building.