Playdek and GMT Games partnering to bring popular Labyrinth, COIN wargames to digital

Playdek and GMT Games have announced today that they’re initiating a long term partnership to bring GMT’s catalogue of strategy and wargames to digital platforms. The two companies previously partnered on the digital adaptation of hit cold war strategy game Twilight Struggle. The first announced games are the ambitiously-subtitled Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001-? and Imperial Struggle, the mechanical successor to Twilight Struggle. Beyond that, games from GMT’s popular COunterINsurgencies (COIN) series will be adapted. GMT has said it's narrowed the choice of which game will be adapted down to two, but it's not ready to announce which just yet.

Labyrinth is scheduled to come to Steam later this year. The other two releases will come in 2019.

Playdek is a creator of digital board game adaptations perhaps best known for its fantastic adaptation of Lords of Waterdeep (and for its messy Unsung Story Kickstarter, which was eventually handed off to another developer). Playdek will act as publisher for the games in the partnership. GMT Games is a fan favorite in the world of tabletop war games, publishing everything from card-driven strategy and sci-fi 4x to traditional hex-and-counter cardboard monsters.  

Imperial Struggle is a two-player game exploring the 18th-century hegemonic contest between Britain and France, billed as a spiritual successor to Twilight Struggle. Imperial Struggle will be of particular interest to many digital gamers, as it’s a co-design between Ananda Gupta and Jason Matthews. Gupta was a designer on 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown who now works at Riot Games.

Labyrinth and the COIN series games are much more exciting to board gamers, who know them not only for their quality, but for their designer. Volko Ruhnke was a CIA analyst for years and turned that experience towards designing games about counter-insurgency warfare. The initial game, about the American invasion of Afghanistan, has become a series ranging from the Vietnam War and Caesar in Gaul to the American and Cuban revolutions. Complex and strategically rich, they’ve been a frequently requested target for digital translations since before Playdek adapted Twilight Struggle.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.