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Subject: FAB: The Bulge review rss

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D Bryant
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A review of GMT’s FAB: The Bulge, a wargame of the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.

BACKGROUND

Designed by Rick Young, the co-designer of the very popular Europe Engulfed (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/6205/europe-engulfed) and Asia Engulfed (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/20609/asia-engulfed), FAB: The Bulge is the first in a planned game series called Fast Action Battles.

The series aims to simulate important battles from the 20th Century in a format that plays in about 3 to 5 hours, depending on the scenario selected.

The game utilizes several unique mechanisms which will be described below. These combine to provide players with a lot of "decision levers" and add a great deal of richness and interest to the game.

More on that in a moment . . . let’s first look at the physical quality of the game . . .

ACT I--THE COMPONENTS

FAB: The Bulge uses small wooden blocks to represent large formations of troops and cardboard counters to represent smaller units (such as small formations of Engineers or Artillery). These components are well-made, as is the playing map.

The map itself is quite attractive and extremely functional. It does a great job of creating the ambiance of the time and place of the battle.

In fact, the only thing I would change is to add some strongly colored purple and blue lines on the borders separating the German army group sectors. (The Germans attacked in three very rigidly separated groups which are color-coded in the game. The boundary between their sectors can be a little hard to see on the map as published.) I hand-drew such lines on my map and that has aided gameplay.

In addition to the game board and pieces, you will find two rulebooks. The first is the "Series Rulebook". As this is intended to be an ongoing series, the "Series Rulebook" contains the rules that will be common to all games in the series.

The second rulebook is the "Play Book". This contains rules specific to the game in question, while also adding a detailed example of play, Designer Notes, Developer Notes, and Scenario set-ups.

Both of these books are well-organized and have minimal errata. (An FAQ and Errata can be found here: http://www.gmtgames.com/fabbulge/FAB_Official-FAQ.pdf )

Along with those items, you will also find several Play Aid charts which contain all of the essential info you need to play the game. Of particular note is the Extended Sequence of Play chart. It is extremely useful.

Designer Young and Developer John Foley deserve praise for their decision to include those well-designed Play Aids.

So, how does the game actually play? Let’s find out . . .

ACT II--THE GAMEPLAY

FAB: The Bulge is mostly an igo-ugo game, but there is the opportunity for the "non-Phasing" player to take some actions during the opponent’s turn. As such, the game keeps players on both sides of the board involved at all times. There is very little "down time".

The game is interesting in that the playing pieces (as mentioned above) are a combination of wooden blocks (for larger Units) and cardboard chits (for smaller formations). These smaller formations are called "Assets".

There are also cardboard chits for things called "Events". These represent Events that either did or could have occurred during the battle, and they add some uncertainty and chrome to the game in a very simple manner.

During a turn, both players will start by drawing a set number of "Assets" and "Events" from something called the "Selection Cup". (Basically, each side uses an opaque cup to hold the small cardboard chits that are the Assets and Events.)

In addition, both players will enter Reinforcement Units (small wooden blocks) into play at specified entry areas.

After that, the Phasing Player (the German player always is the first "Phasing Player" in each turn) will conduct Operational Movement of his/her Units. Following this, Combat will occur.

After Combat, there might be the opportunity for Exploitation Movement or Breakthrough Movement, and the opportunity for the opponent to move some of his/her Units previously marked as being "In Reserve". Additional Combat may arise from these types of Movement.

Finally, Supply will be checked for both sides and then the Allied player begins his/her half of the turn with both sides again drawing Assets / Events from the Cup.

At the end of the Allied Player turn, the Game Turn Marker is advanced and a new Game Turn begins.

Victory is determined by control of important map Areas and by the number of "large" enemy Units destroyed ("large" being wooden blocks that have a full-strength capacity of three or four "steps" or "pips").

That’s an overview of the game procedure . . . but I want to explore with you some of the aspects of FAB: The Bulge that make it exceptionally interesting -- and also mildly frustrating to some gamers.

Prior to purchasing the game, I had read several reviews and postings here at BGG. Some of those came from gamers who were frustrated by what they perceived to be a steep learning curve for the game as well as what they viewed as a high degree of complexity.

I want to address those positions with examples from the game as a way to illustrate my conclusion: FAB: The Bulge is NOT a complex game. It is an easy-to-play, exciting game which, however, creates (due to some of its unique mechanics) the impression of having a steep learning curve.

For example, let’s look at the Units and Assets. Units are represented by the wooden blocks. Anyone who has played a block game understands the basic mechanics of how they are used.

Assets, however, are a quite ingenious addition to the mix. They are cardboard chits which represent small formations of Artillery, Engineers, Infantry, Tanks, etc. They can be added into a battle to "boost" your side. After the combat is resolved, they are placed in a "Used" box and then recycled to the Selection Cup.

For some, the mechanics I just described seem a bit complicated. However, they really are not. Once you play through a turn and see how they are utilized, you appreciate how easy it is to use them.

Another example is the Combat sequence. This is probably the one area of the game that creates the most frustration for those trying to learn it.

The reason is that the combat resolution system that Young has created is not merely "I roll to get hits / You mark the hits off of your Units". Instead, there is an array of options (especially for the defender) in terms of how "hits" may be allocated.

For example, the Defender may choose to absorb the first "hit" from the attacker by marking a step off of a Defending block. HOWEVER, if a Field Works marker is present in the attacked Area, the Defender will avoid that first "hit" by instead removing the Field Works marker, thus preventing his/her Unit(s) from taking any damage.

In addition, the Defender might also choose to absorb a hit by retreating all Defending Units and then marking them as "Disordered", without any of them suffering "step-losses".

In other words, there are several options available to each player in how he/she allocates damage to his/her Units and Assets. It is the availability of these options that helps create the wide spectrum of "decision levers" that give the game its great richness.

For some, though, the availability of those options equates to "complexity". I disagree, respectfully. There is nothing "complex" about the Combat sequence I just described. It is merely a matter of following the Combat as spelled out on the Player Aid charts. To my thinking, having a large number of easy-to-use options does not equal complexity.

The one point on which I will agree with some who have expressed frustration is with the game’s learning curve. In my experience, FAB: The Bulge was not "easy" to learn. It was just easy to play once I learned it.

Don’t get me wrong: it was not "hard" to learn . . . it just took me longer than with most games to "get my head around" some of the unique mechanisms being used. But once I understood them, I found out how simple and straightforward they are.

As part of my experience, I decided to create a "customized" set of Player Aids for myself. What I put together was a series of large "rolodex" cards which contain the essential rules for Movement, Combat, etc.

The difference with these Player Aids and the ones published with the game are that mine include all info for one rules area on one card. (For example, all the Movement rules are on one card.) In addition, I made extensive use of use of color to assist me, something that (I suspect) game publishers cannot afford to do without raising prices too high.

I found that using my Play Aid cards in conjunction with the published Extended Sequence of Play made the game flow very easily.

As I worked on my aids, I thought they might be useful to others. So, I expanded the Aids into a "Deluxe Player Aid Pack". I added in a "Rules in 10 Minutes" rules summary and then contacted Rick Young, who was gracious enough to answer some strategy questions to be part of the Player Aid pack.

If you would like the Pack, you can get it here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/61995/fab-bulge-deluxe...

Hopefully, the Pack can help new players learn the game more easily, while also helping all players play it with even greater ease.

ACT III--FINAL THOUGHTS

I am highly impressed by this game. I am amazed by the amount of rich decision making that Young has put into the game with very little "rules overhead".

You might think a game with the kind of detail, chrome, and depth that this game has would need a rulebook of 50 or more pages. But that is not the case. The Series Rules are only nine pages and the Rules specific to the game take up only a few more.

Think about that. A game of great depth with only 12-ish pages of rules!

And it does indeed live up to its name and plays fast. Experienced players should be able to complete the full campaign scenario in no more than five hours. The shorter scenario can be played in about three.

The game has a great ebb and flow to it. The Germans will push hard early, trying to take advantage of the absence of Allied air cover. Bulges will (in most games) form in the middle sector. The Allies will be on the ropes. The Germans will be fighting not only the Allies, but also their lack of fuel for their armored formations.

And the Allied air will fly in the later game, hoping to help turn the tide back in the favor of their side.

Great stuff. Great game. Buy it now if you don’t own it. And make sure to check out the next game in the FAB series, FAB: Sicily. (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/68260/fab-sicily)
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Steve
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I do adore this game and series.

I think your review is spot on in that the game is quite procedural and especially not intuitive... it's not necessary incredibly complex. It takes some time to wrap your head around the ideas in this game even though it has fairly compact rules compared to other operational games.
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Jeff K
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Commish wrote:
FAB: The Bulge is NOT a complex game. It is an easy-to-play, exciting game which, however, creates (due to some of its unique mechanics) the impression of having a steep learning curve.


Well stated, and highly accurate!
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Commish, very nicely done summaries in the toolbox!
 
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Daniel Schulz
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I think the rules are poorly written myself, primarily because they jammed so many rules in so few pages. There are many cases where a rule is only mentioned once, in a non obvious location. I spend a lot of time searching through the rules trying to find something I vaguely remember reading. A game shouldn't require a player to make rules summary cards to learn the game.

I don't agree that there is little down time. I'm playing my first game using vassal (so down time is not a problem). I don't think I've spent less than an hour on each of my turns. Granted I'm still in the learning curve. A player pretty much has to plan his entire turn before beginning. Most wargames I play, I look at regions and figure out what I want to do, perhaps count out a few things. In this game, pretty much everything has to be counted out before hand. This requires a good memory too, or you'll forget to move something. The penalties for forgetting can be high in FAB:Bulge.

Criticisms aside, I do like the game enough to preorder FAB: Sicily
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Andrew Kluessendorf
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Nice review. And it looks like you spent a LOT of time creating those player aids! - I'm looking forward to taking a more in-depth look at them. I've been trying to get this game on my table for a couple of weeks now.

Did you learn the game mostly playing against another opponent or by soloing the game? If you played any games solo, how did that play? I know solo play will lose some of the fog of war aspects of the blocks, but was curious if it was an overall worthwhile experience. I think this would probably be the way I would try to learn the game until I could teach a friend - but would also like to have an enjoyable time playing as I solo.

And I have my pre-order for FAB: Sicily already in!
 
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Xookliba wrote:
Commish wrote:
FAB: The Bulge is NOT a complex game. It is an easy-to-play, exciting game which, however, creates (due to some of its unique mechanics) the impression of having a steep learning curve.


Well stated, and highly accurate!


Wow, I couldn't disagree more. I tried to decipher these rules and found them opaque and frustrating. I found it to be a very complex game, which does indeed have a steep learning curve. Maybe I was just expecting that something with Fast Action in the title would be a little more accessible. For grognards, this may indeed be simple, but for the average gamer, and light wargamer, this is way too much work.
 
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The fact is I've read worse rulebooks but I do believe there are also the ones which are more clearly written; nonetheless, FAB: The Bulge, particularly when one commits some time to play introductory scenario, plays smoothly and rules are obvious and straightforward and after a game become a second nature.

Quote:
Another example is the Combat sequence. This is probably the one area of the game that creates the most frustration for those trying to learn it.

The reason is that the combat resolution system that Young has created is not merely "I roll to get hits / You mark the hits off of your Units". Instead, there is an array of options (especially for the defender) in terms of how "hits" may be allocated.


The wide array of options of how to resolve the attack, this I find one of most interesting mechanisms of FAB series; it really well conveys how difficult is to accomplish a breakthrough in actual war environment. Cool!

What I find most frustrating, however, is that an attack lead by an elite SS armor unit may be thwarted by noob infantry greenhorns if you're unlucky with the dice. Game implements no 'inherit' bonuses for attacking with tanks against infantry alone which I find a bit more unrealistic (I do admit, however, that yes, dice hate me!)
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simon thornton
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Quote:
an elite SS armor unit may be thwarted by noob infantry greenhorns if you're unlucky


... as does historically happen in war at times I believe. Tank columns whilst immensively powerful can be ambushed , particularly in places like the ardennes. Or think of the Guards Armoured vs Garrison units on the way to Arnhem.

Quote:
Game implements no 'inherit' bonuses for attacking with tanks against infantry alone which I find a bit more unrealistic


Im at work and its a while since Ive played it but dont Armoured Units get a bonus against non-armoured units in combat ?
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bluekingzog wrote:
Im at work and its a while since Ive played it but dont Armoured Units get a bonus against non-armoured units in combat ?


Only if no field works are present. And again, it's just an odd modifier, with no luck one may still inflict literally no damage.
 
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Commish wrote:
FAB: The Bulge is the first in a planned game series called Fast Action Battles.

The series aims to simulate important battles from the 20th Century in a format that plays in about 3 to 5 hours, depending on the scenario selected. The game utilizes several unique mechanisms which will be described below. These combine to provide players with a lot of "decision levers" and add a great deal of richness and interest to the game.

And make sure to check out the next game in the FAB series, FAB: Sicily. (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/68260/fab-sicily)


Great review, great game. And more, FAB: Sicily has reached the all important amount of 500+ preorders and is scheduled to come into production somewhere in the next year! laugh
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grouchysmurf wrote:
bluekingzog wrote:
Im at work and its a while since Ive played it but dont Armoured Units get a bonus against non-armoured units in combat ?


Only if no field works are present. And again, it's just an odd modifier, with no luck one may still inflict literally no damage.


I've been in the Ardennes and can assure you: it's hard for tanks and motorized units to beat an infantry opponent (even green units) especially under the harsh snow conditions of late december 1944. I think the +1 modifier for armor units firing not dug-in infantry units is quite accurate.
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oneoldgamer wrote:
Xookliba wrote:
Commish wrote:
FAB: The Bulge is NOT a complex game. It is an easy-to-play, exciting game which, however, creates (due to some of its unique mechanics) the impression of having a steep learning curve.


Well stated, and highly accurate!


Wow, I couldn't disagree more. I tried to decipher these rules and found them opaque and frustrating. I found it to be a very complex game, which does indeed have a steep learning curve. Maybe I was just expecting that something with Fast Action in the title would be a little more accessible. For grognards, this may indeed be simple, but for the average gamer, and light wargamer, this is way too much work.


A pet peeve of mine is that wargame rules often get compared to other genres. Emphatically, you cannot compare the complexity of wargame rules to other genres, by necessity there are quite a few small rules to remember for even the simplest wargame.

Therefore, it could not be less helpful to do so, because the unavoidable conclusion would be: "it's a wargame, therefore it is complicated." This situation does not allow you to assess the actual complexity of one wargame compared to another. There has got to be some sort of scale or else how will you really know how they compare?

I mean, in this case, FAB is basically 10 pages. What would you classify as simple?
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Xookliba wrote:
I mean, in this case, FAB is basically 10 pages. What would you classify as simple?


Four pages as with A HOUSE DIVIDED.

I was tempted by a discounted copy of FAB Bulge a few weeks ago and I am looking forward to getting it on the table.
 
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Nice review. And it looks like you spent a LOT of time creating those player aids! - I'm looking forward to taking a more in-depth look at them. I've been trying to get this game on my table for a couple of weeks now.

Did you learn the game mostly playing against another opponent or by soloing the game? If you played any games solo, how did that play? I know solo play will lose some of the fog of war aspects of the blocks, but was curious if it was an overall worthwhile experience. I think this would probably be the way I would try to learn the game until I could teach a friend - but would also like to have an enjoyable time playing as I solo.


Yeah, I spent a lot of time on the Aids, but I thought they might be helpful to others. Hope they are!

I first saw the game when Rick Young did a demo at the WBC a couple of years ago. I ended up purchasing it last year and played a face to face game (only the first five turns) with a friend who walked me through the rules.

Since then, I read the rules myself, played some solo games, and made the Player Aid pack.

I found that playing solo didn't prevent having a great gaming experience, but I'm sure the game is even better when played against a person with the blocks standing up.

:-)
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Xookliba wrote:
oneoldgamer wrote:
Xookliba wrote:
Commish wrote:
FAB: The Bulge is NOT a complex game. It is an easy-to-play, exciting game which, however, creates (due to some of its unique mechanics) the impression of having a steep learning curve.


Well stated, and highly accurate!


Wow, I couldn't disagree more. I tried to decipher these rules and found them opaque and frustrating. I found it to be a very complex game, which does indeed have a steep learning curve. Maybe I was just expecting that something with Fast Action in the title would be a little more accessible. For grognards, this may indeed be simple, but for the average gamer, and light wargamer, this is way too much work.


A pet peeve of mine is that wargame rules often get compared to other genres. Emphatically, you cannot compare the complexity of wargame rules to other genres, by necessity there are quite a few small rules to remember for even the simplest wargame.

Therefore, it could not be less helpful to do so, because the unavoidable conclusion would be: "it's a wargame, therefore it is complicated." This situation does not allow you to assess the actual complexity of one wargame compared to another. There has got to be some sort of scale or else how will you really know how they compare?

I mean, in this case, FAB is basically 10 pages. What would you classify as simple?


The game is not a simple wargame. There are many others that are much simpler. For a complete answer to your question see this thread:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/319853/a-reality-check
 
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Fubar wrote:

The game is not a simple wargame. There are many others that are much simpler. For a complete answer to your question see this thread:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/319853/a-reality-check


Hey Fubar!

Prior to purchasing FAB Bulge over a year ago, I read your review (linked above) and the ensuing discussion -- in fact, I read all of it twice, for I found both your comments and those in the discussion to be insightful and interesting.

However, despite your somewhat unfavorable reaction to the game (and by the way, it should be noted by everyone that your review was fair, as you praised some aspects of the game) I decided to purchase the game. That was mostly because I already owned and enjoyed EE and AE, and because I had watched Rick give a demo of the game at WBC.

Part of the discussion generated by your review focused on the rules having a lot of "exceptions". Obviously, I would side with those who argued that the game gives a player OPTIONS, rather than having a lot of EXCEPTIONS. But I see your point: one man's Options are another man's Exceptions.

Semantics aside, though, the main question is the level of complexity (or "fiddle-iness") in the game. Here, I will restate what I tried to say in my review: the game is not "simple", but neither is it "complex". It is (obviously) more complicated than something like Memoir '44 or Axis and Allies. But then again, that's not surprising given that it is a more realistic simulation of a battle.

But in terms of complexity, I simply do not find it to be that complicated a game. Again, it is designed to be a realistic simulation of a battle. To accomplish what it does with (to my thinking) a fairly low rules overhead is pretty impressive.

I guess I look at the options a player has and find that none of them are really complicated. As I had said in the review, having a wide selection of simple options does not equal complexity.

In addition, the game does (in my experience) play fast. I know that Dan Schulz commented above that:

I don't agree that there is little down time. I'm playing my first game using vassal (so down time is not a problem). I don't think I've spent less than an hour on each of my turns. Granted I'm still in the learning curve. A player pretty much has to plan his entire turn before beginning.

. . . but my experience was simply nothing like that. My first "real" game was person to person with a somewhat experienced player. We did five turns in two hours. Were there some rules lookups? Absolutely. Was I fuzzy on what I was doing? Yes. But after the second turn, I had a pretty good idea of how things worked and we got through the last three turns pretty quickly.

To be fair, Dan points out that he is still on the learning curve. Hopefully, the time-per-turn will shorten as he goes along. But my point is that the game can be played quickly, once a player understands the rules.

And, as I said in the review, I think the learning curve seems steep because of the unusual (but clever) mechanics. They do require some learning and remembering. But with a play aid (either the published ones or some player-created ones available here at BGG) handy as a reminder, the rules and mechanics become very easy to internalize.

I know you were responding to someone who said the game is "simple" (or words to that effect). Note that I do not call it simple . . . but I do feel that for a game that is a pretty detailed simulation, this game is in the "low to low-mid" complexity level on the scale.

Anyway, just wanted to reply to expand a bit on what I was trying to communicate in the review.


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Borat Sagdiyev
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Commish wrote:
But my point is that the game can be played quickly, once a player understands the rules.

(...)

I know you were responding to someone who said the game is "simple" (or words to that effect). Note that I do not call it simple . . . but I do feel that for a game that is a pretty detailed simulation, this game is in the "low to low-mid" complexity level on the scale.


Ditto.
 
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harzal wrote:
Commish wrote:
I know you were responding to someone who said the game is "simple" (or words to that effect). Note that I do not call it simple . . . but I do feel that for a game that is a pretty detailed simulation, this game is in the "low to low-mid" complexity level on the scale.


Ditto.


I'd say "mid-level complexity".

You say it is "not that complicated" I say it is "not that simple". I think we agree.

Commish wrote:
But my point is that the game can be played quickly, once a player understands the rules.


I suggested that this might be true in my article (although my two plays were not enough to verify it) - We agree again.

Commish wrote:
Semantics aside, though, the main question is the level of complexity (or "fiddle-iness") in the game


Commish wrote:
Part of the discussion generated by your review focused on the rules having a lot of "exceptions". Obviously, I would side with those who argued that the game gives a player OPTIONS, rather than having a lot of EXCEPTIONS. But I see your point: one man's Options are another man's Exceptions.

>SNIP<

I guess I look at the options a player has and find that none of them are really complicated. As I had said in the review, having a wide selection of simple options does not equal complexity.


I personally don't think this is semantics... it's substance.

An OPTION is "should I move, or shoot?".

An EXCEPTION is "I want to move 3 areas with my infantry unit (which is their movement allowance) but I can't move 3 areas, because this is a blown-bridge, non-road with a unit on the other side - in other words, because of all the exceptions.

From my article:

Quote:
I’ll give an example: movement.

Infantry moves 3
Armor moves 6
It costs 1 to move across an area boundary that has a road.
It costs 2 to move across an area boundary that does not.
If you enter an enemy occupied area you must stop

Sounds simple, right?

Except: you are using strategic movement in which case you can’t enter an enemy occupied area (which you can only do once per turn as the German and only by spending a fuel asset)
Except: if you are disrupted or recovering
Except: you don’t use a fuel asset and are German Armor
Except: if there is any unit in the area you are moving into (friendly or enemy)
Except: if it is a river boundary and has an enemy unit on the other side
Except: if the bridge is blown
Except: if you didn’t start in an adjacent area and the bridge is blown while you are crossing it
Except: if you are covered with an “interdict team” counter
Except: you are moving into the area with the German Paratroopers
Except: you are leaving an area occupied by an enemy unit

This is just a quick off-the-top of my head list (I’m sure I missed a few). Granted they are not phrased as exceptions in the rulebook, but in my opinion as I define the term for purposes of discussing complexity in a war game: they are exceptions.



The playtesters didn't call it "Fiddly Action Battles" for nothing!




 
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Jim F
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Who knew trench warfare could be such fun?
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Ashwin in front of Tiger 131
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The review has given me a good idea of what the game involves so a big thank you to the OP. This has been on my radar for a while although I'll probably do my usual and wait until it's gone out of print to buy it and then pay over the oddsshake

As an experienced wargamer I think I'll find the rules fairly straightforward. It's great that more eurogamers are dabbling in the 'dark side' of the hobby but I can understand their frustrations - the reward is usually worth the effort you put in and certainly seems to be with the case with this one.
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Borat Sagdiyev
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fubar awol wrote:
From my article:

Quote:
I’ll give an example: movement.

Infantry moves 3
Armor moves 6
It costs 1 to move across an area boundary that has a road.
It costs 2 to move across an area boundary that does not.
If you enter an enemy occupied area you must stop

Sounds simple, right?

Except: you are using strategic movement in which case you can’t enter an enemy occupied area (which you can only do once per turn as the German and only by spending a fuel asset)
Except: if you are disrupted or recovering
Except: you don’t use a fuel asset and are German Armor
Except: if there is any unit in the area you are moving into (friendly or enemy)
Except: if it is a river boundary and has an enemy unit on the other side
Except: if the bridge is blown
Except: if you didn’t start in an adjacent area and the bridge is blown while you are crossing it
Except: if you are covered with an “interdict team” counter
Except: you are moving into the area with the German Paratroopers
Except: you are leaving an area occupied by an enemy unit

This is just a quick off-the-top of my head list (I’m sure I missed a few). Granted they are not phrased as exceptions in the rulebook, but in my opinion as I define the term for purposes of discussing complexity in a war game: they are exceptions.



The playtesters didn't call it "Fiddly Action Battles" for nothing!


You call them fiddly exceptions. I call them realistic details that make the players face some of the key challenges their historical counterparts had to confront.

Without them, this game would will lose much of its simulational value and therefore its appeal to players interested in recreating this specific battle in a plausible way. cool
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Jonas Jacobsson
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Well-written review! I need to take my FAB:B from the shelf and start reading the rules!
 
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John McLintock
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harzal wrote:
You call them fiddly exceptions. I call them realistic details that make the players face some of the key challenges their historical counterparts had to confront.

Without them, this game would will lose much of its simulational value and therefore its appeal to players interested in recreating this specific battle in a plausible way. cool

They can be both you know: realistic details making for fiddly exceptions. The realism lies in how the details enforce both decisions on the players and flow on the gameplay. The fiddlieness can lie in remembering and applying the relevant cases. This is as much a matter of the layout of rulebooks and playaids as it is one of the coherence of the game's systems. FAB: Bulge is a game I've not played so I can only here say that reading the rulebooks has convinced me of the latter. I cannot comment upon the former until I've played.
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jay white
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horrido wrote:
I don't agree that there is little down time. I'm playing my first game using vassal (so down time is not a problem). I don't think I've spent less than an hour on each of my turns. Granted I'm still in the learning curve. A player pretty much has to plan his entire turn before beginning. Most wargames I play, I look at regions and figure out what I want to do, perhaps count out a few things. In this game, pretty much everything has to be counted out before hand. This requires a good memory too, or you'll forget to move something. The penalties for forgetting can be high in FAB:Bulge.

Criticisms aside, I do like the game enough to preorder FAB: Sicily


I agree with Dan (who I'm playing on VASSAL). This is my 4th or 5th game of FAB:Bulge. Compared to most wargames, I find myself spending a lot more time planning before I make my move. It feels kind of like chess (which I don't mind).

I agree with other posters who said that Fast Action is a misnomer. It definitely takes a few games to learn the system, and it takes a bit of pondering to play well. I think the failed expectation of a "Fast Action" game originally turned me off, but I'm starting to appreciate the system for what it is. I think there's a lot of depth and difficult decisions in this game, and I still feel challenged by it.

I've also preordered FAB: Sicily. I'm curious to see if the FAB system is able to give different operations with their own unique "feel".
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JJ Micromegas
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It seems as though this is the first game in a series, and Sicily will be volume 2. Does anyone know how often and how many games are planned for the series in total.

Also I am hoping they come out with greater frequency than once every two-three years.

Is there somewhere to get this info, the GMT site doesn't seem to have it.
 
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