What Is Positech’s Mystery Game “GTB”?

Let's see how John handles all this white space

OK Cliffski, you’ve got our attention. The one man powerhouse behind Positech Games, best known for Kudos, Democracy and Gratuitous Space Battles, has been teasing a new game, currently titled “GTB”, for the last few months. We want to know: What is it? There’s some clues and details already revealed, but not enough for us to piece the whole thing together yet. Here’s what we know so far:

It’s called GTB. Twas originally called “LB”, then “OTT”, then a different “GTB”. Could be some kind of Gratuitous sequel? Gratuitous Tank Battles would fit wouldn’t it? As would Gratuitous Terrain Battles. Perhaps it will be something else entirely?

That little screenshot up there? That’s a screenshot. At first it looked like a mechanical lung to me, but then I realised it’s probably more likely to be a man with a gun, or some sort of gun-man.

You will be able to buy it either with a debit/credit card, or use Google Checkout and/or Amazon Payments. This probably won’t have much impact on the game.

He’s also left a trail of images for us to decipher. Alec got clever and used his Go Go Gadget Google Goggles to work out some of them, the rest we have drawn a blank on. Get to it, people of the internet:

Clue#1 (Update: clever readers reveal this is from Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks, and depicts the Nazi-like Kaleds who eventually transformed themselves into the Dalek race)

Clue#2 (Robert Harris, author of alternate history novel Fatherland, which documents a present-day if the Nazis had won, as well as Enigma)

Clue#3 (Tower of London)


Clue#5 (possibly the turret of a Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf.E. tank)


Clue#7 (Plants vs. Zombies)

With the collective cerebral might of the RPS readership trying to work this out, it can only be a matter of hours til we’ve solved the riddle. Let us know if you have any ideas.

It’s probably a safe bet that it will be a turn based game, and it will be a bit nerdy, going by previous Positech form. It’s on our radar anyway.

Update: a lot of speculation and hints suggest this might be Gratuitous Tank Battles. Which is as fine a name as any.


  1. simoroth says:

    I think a throwaway comment on trying to get topdown views at the tank museum might also be a little clue.
    Edit: btw picture 5 appears to be the turret of a Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf.E.

    • P7uen says:

      Ah it’s obvious.

      Tank Museum Tycoon.

    • Ian says:


    • President Weasel says:

      I bought Gratuitous Space Battles just for the name back when it was in buyable beta and got hours of enjoyment for relatively cheap.
      I shall buy the new game even if it’s not Tank Museum Tycoon (“Great! Tanks at Bovington!”?) because I reckon Cliffski knows how to make a decent game. It’ll take a stinker to change my mind.

    • timmyvos says:

      Looks more like a Jagdtiger to me.

    • Kakrafoon says:

      No, no. This is a Tiger I Ausf. E turret. The Jagdtiger turret has a much bigger, cone-shaped gun mantlet.

  2. abigbat says:

    Grand Theft….

  3. Wodge says:

    it is obviously a steampunk victorian london themed squad based tactical turn based shooter on penny farthings and clockwork submarines.

    Ye Olde Frozen Synapse, if you will.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I’d totally play Rainbow 6 or SWAT with a Victorian theme. Special Weapons and Tea. Or something.

  4. fallingmagpie says:

    Alternate history, you say?


  5. tomme says:

    It’s a game about zombie nazis that takes place in london. And the only way to kill these zombies is to shoot them with gold bullets.

  6. piratmonkey says:

    #1 is an old Dr. Who episode featuring the Daleks in case anyone missed it.

    • AbsoluteDestiny says:

      It’s from Genesis of the Daleks, in particular.

    • TNG says:

      or, more importantly, featuring Peter Cushing.
      Gratuitous Moff Tarkin’s Death Star Builder? the other clues are just obvious red herrings.
      or maybe that isn’t Peter Cushing at all… nevermind.

    • phlebas says:

      Miles, not Cushing.
      In the background, however, is Guy Siner – best known as Lt Gruber from Allo Allo.
      Gratuitous Liddle Tenk Battles ahoy!

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      What is a Dalek and how much does one cost?

    • timmyvos says:

      A Dalek is one of the most important villains in the Doctor Who canon and the price is a recording of one of the many missing episodes of the show.

  7. Sam Crisp says:

    A comment on his blog seemed to have it figured out. gratuitoustankbattles.com and gratuitoustrenchbattles.com had been registered by Cliffski and both sites displayed a grey page with text that said “Gratuitous Trench Battles Placeholder”

  8. Mr_Day says:

    Galactic Turtle Battles!

    No? Fine.

  9. Jaxvor says:

    Pic 1 is from Genesis of the Daleks and it features the very Nazi-like Kaleds.

  10. Greg Noe says:

    Pretty sure it’s going to be tanks, Cliff just retweeted this tweet by michaelheald:
    “Just finished up what has to be the most fun game branding project to date…its about war, tanks and its set in the future…EPIC WIN.”
    link to twitter.com

  11. Nero says:

    Gratuitous Tall-nut Battles

  12. Anton says:

    Gratuitous Tactical Battles

  13. Danny says:

    Gratuitous Tower Battles.

    Use the Tower of London to defeat Nazi Dalek Zombies.

  14. PiD says:

    Something to do with tanks if his twitter feed is anything to go by?


  15. Cooper says:

    Clue #4 is a photo of a pair of vases made from WWII artillery / tank shells.

    Original: link to cdn3.iofferphoto.com

    So, yes, something about tanks…

  16. Tei says:

    My bets:

    1) Is a 2D game.

    2) Cliffski want to make the most beatifull 2D game *EVER*.

    My theory.
    1+2 = Science-fiction Sim Towers on a apocaliptic world where plants are carnivore and humans and robots survive fighting plants. Sim Tower + Plants versus Zombies .

    • Cooper says:

      Sim Tower with zombies…

      I want this, so, so much more than I want a tank battle sim…

  17. Squirrelfanatic says:

    Don’t know if I should get excited about that. I heard pretty diverse statements on the quality of Gratuitous Space Battles. Is there now consensus on the question if it was a good or bad game?

    • Wilson says:

      It seemed to me that it was the kind of game you either ‘got’ or you didn’t. I really liked the concept, and I played a fair bit of it, but got kind of bored after doing most of the included missions on normal or easy difficulty. I never delved into the hefty array of fan made challenges or played around that much with the different races. But I can imagine that if it did suit you, there is a lot of gameplay to be had there, figuring out the best ship/weapon/order combinations etc. I suppose I wanted a bit more fluff and a sense of continuous achievement (in theory one of the expansion packs added that, but there was no demo and I wasn’t convinced it would be what I was looking for so I never got it).

      So, to sum up: I don’t know.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Thanks anyways, Wilson. :) So nothing worth getting too excited about.

    • Kdansky says:

      As someone who spent a fair amount of time with it, I have to say, it was quite good, but had a few major issues:

      – Designing ships with a restrictive GUI (fixed resolution, ridiculously small dialogs (Scott Meyers wil throw a book about Keyhole Problems your way)) is a huge pain, and that is where the most gameplay actually happened.
      – The strategic depth was lacking. There was too much rock/scissors/paper involved, with too many direct hard counters to everything, and very little soft counters. To compare to Starcraft: Marauders are considered to counter Roaches, but in reality, they don’t. They work well, but “counter” would be Broodlords versus Tanks (because Tanks cannot shoot air at all). GSB is very counter-friendly: Anti-Fighter frigates slaughter fighters, fighters massacre cruisers, and cruisers annihilate frigates.

      Cliffski does his own thing, and you’ll never see something of an epiphany (such as SpaceChem, Minecraft or Magicka) from him. But they are nice games, and worth playing for a while.

  18. Chakawi says:

    Maybe has something to do with solar panels too?

  19. Bhazor says:

    My guess from the top down screenshot and the Tower and PvZ hinsts is that this is a tower defense game.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Ohhh. Well spotted. A game like GSB with tanks doesn’t particularly excite me, but something involving tower defence…very interesting.

  20. Fred Wester CEO of Paradox says:

    If GTB doesn’t stand for Gratuitous Tits & Boobies, I shall be most disappointed, and not approve.

  21. Fumarole says:

    Gillen Takes Bath.

    • sinister agent says:

      Worst chess final ever.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      I know Karen Gillen has a wee chip on his shoulder about not getting a going away bash from the lads at PCG, recently brought fresh to the surface by the shindig for Quinns (Quindig?)… but taking over the whole town in revenge? Sounds totally over the top – which actually means you could just be right!

  22. Andy`` says:

    Gratuitous Tea Battles


  23. Alexandros says:

    Gratuitous Turn-based Battles?

  24. Dana says:

    Nazi Zombies is a win by default.

  25. Clean3d says:

    No one got #6 yet? I feel so special! Or sad and pathetic…

    That’s a Star Wars stormtrooper helmet.

    • Joe Deadman says:

      Nice catch you… special person :D, I thought it looked kinda familiar.
      Here’s an image for refrence as well: link to 501st.com

    • Chaz says:

      I was just about to say that was a Stormtrooper helmet. Good job I checked the rest of the comments first.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Thanks for pointing that out, I knew it was really familiar but couldn’t work out what it was. Was giving me a brain itch.

  26. aircool says:

    So, Nazi’s won the war and are now super-dalek type tanks.

  27. Gabe Lewis says:

    Gratuitous Toboggan Battles.

  28. HermitUK says:

    A game in which you defend the Tower of London from Space Nazis from the Future.

    I call it “Hitler Wants Your Crown Jewels”.

  29. yhancik says:

    So first it was about Lesbians and Bisexuals (LB), now it’s about Gays, Transexuals and Bisexuals?

  30. Flakfizer says:

    After the stellar success and glowing reviews for Duke Nukem this is obviously a cheap cash-in …

    Guns, Tits, Blood

  31. timmyvos says:

    Probably some sort of isometric shooter game in an alternate history where the Nazi’s won.

  32. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Developers: More game announcements like this, please.

  33. Knave says:

    Guys look at link to gratuitoustankbattles.com

    There is a bad ass picture of a 2d future tank!

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Registrant Contact:
      Positech Games
      Cliff Harris ()

      Yep, that’s it. Still wondering if the similar name implies similar gameplay, though.

  34. BaronVonsnakPak says:

    Gratuitous (alternate)Time-line Battles

  35. Zakski says:

    Tower Defence where you have to keep zeppelin wielding nazis from stealing the crown jewels

  36. Baggypants says:

    Chaos Engine 3 in a WWII setting. Someone else can sort the acronym

  37. Dog Pants says:

    You can remove the ‘possibly’ from #5. I have an almost identical picture of the Tiger at Bovington. In fact, looking at the flaw in the metal just down from the top bolt, it’s the same tank.

  38. Lion says:

    So, here is the story so far :

    In the future, all dead Nazi evolve in “cloned Nazi-Zombies from outer space”, they are still good at building tanks and they want revenge over the UK who stand against them in the 20th century !

    But we, as a brave British defender (Churchill’s blood probably flows in our veins), are determined to prevent yet again the rise of another Reich.
    The Channel may be dry today (that’s why this time, they can attack us with tanks) we got (big) tanks too !

    So far we know that the game is probably top-down, turn-based, tile-based.

    Will there be infantry units ?
    I don’t know if we will get missiles and lasers this time but there will be explosions for sure !

  39. TheLemon says:

    Clue 4 is a set of decorated artillery shells from World War I. Google Trench Art to see some examples.

  40. Jake says:

    Gratuitous Teddy Bears. Oddly, this was the first thing that came to mind.

  41. Frabble says:

    Gratuitous Tactical Battles?

  42. TsunamiWombat says:

    Nazi tower defense game.

  43. Shodex says:

    It’s obvious, Gratuitous Turkey Battles.

  44. Mechanicus_ says:

    Visit link to gratuitoustankbattles.com

    Mystery solved. I’m amazed nobody tried this before me.

    • Wilson says:

      You mean apart from the guy who posted about it yesterday? :)

      Still a smart idea though, wouldn’t have occurred to me.

    • Mechanicus_ says:

      Of course, all these domains could be a clever ruse to throw us off the fact the game is actually about the manifold troubles involved in installing solar panels for your home (the last level featuring a listed building!). I will let others figure out how to wrap that into the GTB acronym.

  45. lunarplasma says:

    It must be Tanks. That explains his day out to that Tank museum place.

  46. Neonsamurai says:

    Clue#4 is probably an trench art artilery shell. Like this: link to trenchart.org

  47. Khann says:

    Gratuitous Complain-all-the-time-about-not-making-enough-money Battles

    Hmm nope, doesn’t fit.

  48. Sinomatic says:

    ‘Go to Bed’ – in which you dream of nazi space zombies invading London and your dream-self runs over them in giant futuristic tanks.

    Its obvious.

  49. Cvamped says:

    Loved GSB, really interested in Cliffski’s next game.

  50. Araxiel says:

    Clearly Zombie Nazis that attack the Tower of London with a Tank to get the Royal Chinese Golden Rods…or Plant Nazis