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Posted on Feb 19, 2022 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

GMT Games P500 Offering “Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare” Aims to Explores the Role of Submarines in the American Civil War.

GMT Games P500 Offering “Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare” Aims to Explores the Role of Submarines in the American Civil War.

Ray Garbee

By Ray Garbee

Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare – P500 Campaign. Publisher: GMT Games. Designer: Ed Ostermeyer and Jeremy White.  P500 Preorder Price $55.00

After playing Nicola Saggini and David Thompson’s solitaire game By Stealth and Sea (DVG, 2020), I started to think about what other periods would lend themselves to a similar type of game. The challenge of using ‘bleeding edge’ technology where you were fighting your own equipment as much as the enemy was an interesting way to depict how warfighting can drive technological innovation (and to a degree, vice versa). In conversation with Matt, one of my long-time wargaming associates, we thought that a similar game covering the exploits of submarine warfare during the American Civil War posed similar challenges and would be an interesting topic. I resolved to pull together various reference books off the shelf and then we would sit down and start to envision what such a game would look like.

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Before we made any appreciable progress (well, I did have a pile of books loosely stacked on the gaming table) GMT Games announced a new P500 project – Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare. Infernal Machine is envisioned as a solitaire board game. From the description on the GMT Games website the game is “…a solitaire board game that casts the player in the role of inventor/entrepreneur in mid-19th century America. The game is set during a historical moment when the business environment has gotten rather dynamic – it is the tumultuous landscape of the American Civil War. The player’s task is to design, build, and put to use a submarine during that war….”

Banner image from the GMT Games website showing playtest components from Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare.

Now I’m the first to admit that there’s always room for competing game designs in the market. I mean, how many games on the Battle of the Bulge do we really need (don’t answer that – it’s rhetorical!)  I would continue to push forward with our project except for the next detail – the Infernal Machine design team is Ed Ostermeyer and Jeremy White. What does that mean – well here’s a few of Jeremy White’s recent game designs:

·        Enemy Coast Ahead: The Dambusters Raid

·        Enemy Coast Ahead: The Doolittle Raid

·        Skies Above the Reich

·        Storm Above the Reich

·        Atlantic Chase

If you’ve never played any of these games, allow me to say that these games all deliver an immersive solitaire experience (yes, even Atlantic Chase!). I’ve included links to reviews from the armchairgeneral.com team for each of the games we have reviewed in the past. You can see how the thought and detail that went into each of these games is reflected not just in the game play, but the organization and execution of the rules and components. Clearly, this is a high caliber team working on the design of Infernal Machine.

Prototype of play featuring Charleston Harbor. Image from the GMT Games website.

Infernal Machine promises to deliver another solitaire experience that should be on par with the Enemy Coast Ahead series of games. From what I’ve read of the games description and Ed’s articles on posted on the website, I’m not making the mistake I made by passing on Atlantic Chase – I’ve already backed the P500 campaign for this game.  If you have an interest in the American Civil War or an immersive solitaire game experience surf on over to the GMT Games website and back this game!

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