Sunday, February 10, 2008

FAB: Bulge first impressions

I got a chance to play a couple of turns of the new FAB: Battle of the Bulge game against Terry Moore Saturday night and I have to say I was very impressed. Despite the fact I'd never seen the game before and necessarily got a bare-boned intro from Terry, we were able to get right into it.
Although considerbaly more involved than the usual block game, things flowed very well. All the rules made sense. Things flowed very intuitvely. The charts and rules were well-layed out and the entire experience was quite painless.
We didn't play long enough to venture any guesses about play balance or grand strategy, but I have to say that I liked how the pieces were falling together. The assets rules allowed a lot of special support elements to be depicted without a lot of baggage. One problem of incoroprating support elements like engineers and artillery as units is that they'll often be misused in the line. Instead FAB:Bulge treats them as "assets" that show up to be used in their role and then go back into a pool for use next turn. This is actually rather more realistic than treating them as units.
An interesting twist is troop quality. In some cases unit's troop quality changes based on losses, so an elite unit may drop to veteran status if it's depth of leadership is shallow.
I'm looking forward to getting my own copy soon so I can look at it in more depth, but my initial impression is very positive.

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