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You can have a free board game or two if you lost your job because of the pandemic

GMT Games is bringing back the Tough Economy Special

Multiple wooden markers sit on Havana in Cuba Libre, a COIN Series game from GMT Games.
Cuba Libre, one of several games in the COIN Series that GMT Games is giving away.
Image: Scott Mansfield/GMT Games
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

If you lost your job because of the novel coronavirus pandemic you’re eligible for a free board game or two, no strings attached. The offer comes courtesy of GMT Games, publishers of some of the very best strategy board games and wargames around. The announcement was made on Wednesday via the company’s official newsletter.

“We know that this virus, in addition to the threat it poses to our collective health, has had a negative economic impact on many of our customers, as well,” GMT said. “As with so many social or economic problems, it’s not within our power to provide big fixes — to restore lost jobs, retirement funds, or lost earning power. But we’ve decided, as we did numerous times in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, that we can show support for those of you who have lost jobs by giving you a free game or two.”

Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?, tabletop, board games, GMT Games, Volko Ruhnke Image: GMT Games

All you need to do is mail in to a_curtis at sbcglobal dot net, and include “proof or explanation of your job loss” since March 15, 2020. Let GMT know which in-stock games you’d like — you can pick two if you’re in the United States, one if you’re overseas — and they’ll ship it right out.

“I know it’s not much in the greater scheme of things,” GMT continued, “but we want you to know that we’re thinking of you and that your welfare — including the ability to destress and decompress from the pressures of the world by playing games — is important to us.”

The only game excluded from the offer is Imperial Struggle, the spiritual successor to Cold War-themed Twilight Struggle — widely regarded as one of the best board games of all time. That title, which portrays the conflict between Britain and France in the early 18th century, just began shipping to those that pre-ordered it. Anything else from the in-stock inventory is eligible.

GMT has tons of fascinating games, but perhaps none so well regarded as the COIN (COunter INsurgency) Series, pioneered by game designer Volko Ruhnke. By day he’s an instructor at the Central Intelligence Agency, and by night he’s the designer of legendary titles such as Andean Abyss, A Distant Plain, and Fire in the Lake. You might also look into Labyrinth: The War on Terror, now in its fourth printing. It would pair well with the latest upgrade, titled Labyrinth: The Awakening.

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