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The Bulge: FAB #1

DESIGNER: Rick Young
ART DIRECTOR: Rodger B. MacGowan
MAP ART: Mark Simonitch
COUNTER ART: Mark Simonitch & Knut Grnitz
PRODUCERS: Gene Billingsley, Tony Curtis, Andy Lewis, Rodger MacGowan, Mark Simonitch
Price: $55.00

  • 75 Wooden blocks
  • Die-cut labels for the blocks
  • 228 die-cut 9/16" counters
  • Full color "Getting Started" card
  • 22x34" Deluxe Cardboard Map
  • Rules booklet
  • Play booklet
  • 2 Player Aid Cards
  • Four 10-sided dice


  • Steve Meserve's Review on BoardgameGeek
  • Tim Parker (BGG)
  • Description

    From Rick Young, designer of Europe Engulfed, comes a series of fun, tense block games. The Fast Action Battle (FAB) games place you and your opponent in the roles of field commanders for memorable 20th Century battles. FAB games focus on speed and playability with low-unit density while keeping the history both accurate and exciting.
    Volume 1: The Bulge brings you the Battle of the Bulge from December 16th through December 27th. You command the division and brigade level units using the historical orders of battle. Like Bradley and Montgomery or Model, you order your forces to key points, and decide how and when to order extra Assets to bolster them. There are never enough of these Assets to give to all the units begging for them, so you need to weigh your decisions carefully. FAB games also make use of Special Actions, which allow the players’ opportunities to the turn the tables on one another throughout the game.
    FAB delivers an exciting new blend of units and decisions to the block game genre: your forces are a mixture of wooden blocks and die-cut counters. This blend allows players to face tough command decision choices in a fresh new way.



    • Blocks: your divisions and brigades are multi-step wooden blocks with printed labels on one side only, with step-losses represented by rotating the blocks. This feature of the blocks evokes a strong sense of the “fog of war” for players.

      FAB delivers a new twist on units: The pips on the edges of the blocks are color coded to represent troop quality, which can change as a Division suffers losses. Elite Units can lose their edge and become Veteran, while Green Units can harden and become Veteran as they experience the strains of combat.

    • Counters: Die-cut counters represent (1) additional Assets available to you as the Field Commander and (2) major Events that could have or did occur during the battle.

      Assets represent engineers, army level artillery, independent armor and infantry regiments/battalions, and other small units that can be temporarily assigned to the battles that you deem important to your strategy.

      Randomly drawn Events provide units or actions such as divisional replacements, air strikes, interdiction teams, and parachute drops.

    For example in The Bulge, students of the battle will expect to find special handling for the various elements of Operation Greif involving desperate attempts to confuse the American units behind the front lines. These Events represent unique opportunities which you can use to influence the outcome, although you cannot count on exactly when these opportunities will be available to you.

    Another strong element of FAB is the Special Actions, which have been proven in GMT’s Europe Engulfed design to give flexible, exciting game play. Special Actions give you tense choices in deciding how and when to seize initiative or interfere with a sudden move by your opponent. Should you hold a division back at a key crossroad waiting to see which country path an enemy armored division will plunge down? Should you rally the beleaguered but defiant defenders (instead of more conservatively placing another reserve division at a key undefended road junction)?

    You can play an entire large-scale battle in one evening, using intuitive mechanisms that give you the experience of making bold decisions (or facing crippling indecision) – centered in a historically accurate setting. The system is designed to simulate battles and invasions in all 20th Century theaters. As the series moves to these different theaters, new types of assets will be developed to match the specifics of those theaters (Seabees, sappers, commandos, etc.).

    Volume 1: The Bulge contains the following scenarios:

  • “River Dance” (the campaign game covering all 12 days), which plays in 4-5 hours once players have mastered the game’s systems, and gives both sides the chance to attack and defend.
  • “To the Meuse” (a three hour Tournament Scenario covering the 16th through the 21st of December).
  • Bonus Scenario for P500 Orderers Only: Those who P500 the game will receive the Bonus “Cold Shoulder” (6th Panzer Army) Scenario, which focuses on the planned main axis of the German attack and the tenacious American defense.

  • Customer Reviews
    # of Ratings: 20
    1. on 10/8/2012, said:
    A little too much process for not as much result...still magnificent components and a wide range of scenarios. It just feels half baked somehow.
    Was this comment helpful? yes no
    (11 people found this comment helpful, 8 did not)
    2. on 11/19/2011, said:
    With all of the positive comments, I hate to submit a critical one. My regular gaming partner and I have been playing the game for several weeks. It appears that our experience has been similar to Tom J. We have played the Bastogne mini-game three times and each game took over three hours to complete. We agree that the complexity level should be higher than three. One problem is with the organization of the rules. When we need to look up something we can not remember whether to consult the Series Rule Book or the Play Book. While the Series Rule Book has an index the Playbook does not. Since we both have a copy of the game, we each have a copy of the rules that we can use in order to look things up. This speeds up the play some. We feel that the learning curve for the game is high. An example of the disorganized nature of the rules concerns one of the player aide cards. On one side there is recorded a 'Sequence of Play'. On the other side there is recorded an 'Extended Sequence of Play'. We employed the 'Sequence of Play' the first time we played the game and discovered that we were skipping many actions. Right now we feel like we are playing the game instead of each other. If after playing the game a few more our impressions change, I will return and amend this entry. EDIT: Upgraded from three to four stars. We have just complete our playing the "Cold Shoulder" scenario for the second time. It is a very balanced scenario. Next week we are going to try the full game. We still feel that the learning curve is high for the game. When we played it last night we finally did it without making any mistakes concerning the rules. We found an excellant playing aide at the Board Game Geek Website that was very helpful. Check out FAB Bulge Deluxe Player Pack.
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    (12 people found this comment helpful, 2 did not)
    3. on 4/4/2011, said:
    I was disappointed with the game. It was too fiddly, and spent more time concerned with rules than playing the game. Its a shame because I really wanted to like this game; great components, and touted as a complexity level 3 game. I think the complexity level should have been rated higher. For bulge games I don't want to invest the time for something more complex than a 3.
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    (9 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not)
    4. on 2/23/2011, said:
    I'm a fan of all of Rick Young's games and very impressed with this one too . Unlike any game I have played before so it took us awhile to learn all the rules and come up with some tactics and strategy. Considering how few units there are on the map, there is lots to think about each turn. The drawing of assets and events should make each playing different so the replay value is good.
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    (6 people found this comment helpful, 2 did not)
    5. on 8/31/2010, said:
    Terrific game, very playable and re-playable. I introduced my teenagers to wargaming with it and they can't get enough.
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    (3 people found this comment helpful, 3 did not)
    6. on 3/10/2010, said:
    Excellent game. Stands up well to detailed analysis while still playing intuitively. Can't wait for volume 2!
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    (4 people found this comment helpful, 2 did not)
    7. on 5/18/2009, said:
    The intro, tournament and full scenario's are great value. Straightforward to learn, with a great deal of depth and hard decisions to make at every turn.
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    (6 people found this comment helpful, 4 did not)
    8. on 1/17/2009, said:
    Fast, fun, furious. My only beef is the replay value. Still, how many games ca be played to the end in one nite and yet be sos suspenfull
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    (7 people found this comment helpful, 4 did not)
    9. on 4/23/2008, said:
    Haven't taken this off the table since I got it six weeks ago. Fast, fun, and lots of replay value.
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    (9 people found this comment helpful, 4 did not)
    10. on 2/29/2008, said:
    A fantastic game! Even though I am not really interested in the battle of the Bulge this game has me hooked. It is easy to learn yet hard to master, quick to play, feels realistic, and is a true joy to play.
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    (10 people found this comment helpful, 2 did not)
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