GMT Games is a California-based wargaming publisher founded in 1990. The current management and creative team includes Tony Curtis, Rodger MacGowan, Mark Simonitch, and Andy Lewis. The company has become well known for graphically attractive games that range from "monster games", of many maps and counters, to quite simple games suitable for introducing new players to wargaming. They also produce card games and family games. The Washington Post called GMT "the modern hobby's highest-profile wargame publisher". Wargamer Magazine called them a "house-name in table-top wargaming". VICE News said they published "some of the best wargame design of the last twenty years."
GMT's name comes from the first name initials of founders Gene Billingsley, Mike Crane, and Terry Shrum. Crane and Shrum later left GMT and founded the Fresno Gaming Association.
In the 1990s GMT pioneered a pre-order system called "Project 500" or "P500", which the Washington Post characterized as a "Kickstarter before Kickstarter that allowed fans to vote with their wallets on which GMT games should come to market". Customers pre-order a title and production does not begin until a set minimum of orders had been reached. This system has been adopted by other wargame publishers. GMT was successful during the 1990s, when other war game publishers were failing, which has been credited in part to their innovative P500 system.
GMT is known for publishing the COIN series of games, which started with Andean Abyss: Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Columbia by Volko Ruhnke, a CIA instructor. Most COIN titles feature four playable factions commanding guerrilla forces or conventional military forces, both trying to win the hearts and minds of the local population. The games focus on historical conflicts such as the Cuban Revolution, Vietnam War, Gallic Wars, and others.
GMT's best-known game may be Twilight Struggle, a card-driven strategy game about the global Cold War. In 2018, GMT began creating Windows and mobile adaptations for some of their titles, including Twilight Struggle and Labyrinth: The War on Terror.
GMT was about to publish Scramble for Africa in 2019, but pulled the title after controversy erupted about its subject matter, as reported in the New York Times.
Some of the better-known games produced by GMT Games include:
- Jason Albert (January 10, 2014). "In the world of war games, Volko Ruhnke has become a hero". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Michael J. Gaynor (July 17, 2018). "They created maybe the best board game ever. Now, Putin is making it relevant again". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2018-09-07.
- Joe Robinson (July 24, 2018). "GMT Games are bringing Labyrinth, COIN games and more to digital". Wargamer. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
- Rob Zacny (July 25, 2018). "GMT Games Already Make Great Tabletop Wargames, Now They're Going Digital". Vice News. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
- Matthew B. Caffrey Jr. (2019). On Wargaming: How Wargames Have Shaped History and how They May Shape the Future (PDF). Navel War College Press. p. 396. Archived from the original on 2020-01-25.
- Hall, Charlie (June 22, 2017). "The art and craft of making board games for the CIA". Polygon. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
- Roeder, Oliver (December 31, 2014). "Designing The Best Board Game On The Planet". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved July 7, 2019. With prototype map.
- Kevin Draper (August 1, 2019). "Should Board Gamers Play the Roles of Racists, Slavers and Nazis?". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
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