Zachary Grant, 20 April 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay
Is it still an unboxing when the game was released 12 years ago? Should this go in the “Throw Back Whenever” category? Whatever the answer might be, I was surprised to discover from the list of games that have been unboxed, FAB: Sicily by Rick Young (2011) was not present. Let’s take this opportunity to change that.
If you are not familiar with this game, it is the second game in Mr. Young’s Fast Action Battle series, the first of which was FAB: The Bulge (2008).
The box is 2 inches deep, sturdy, with a glossy finish. The cover art is a picture of US Infantry moving down a street, presumably somewhere in Sicily, which I like.
click images to enlarge
The back of the box has a small image of the entire map and a short description of the game. There are sample images of the game counters and markers. There is also the usual information about game scale, complexity, and solitaire suitability. Being a game with blocks, the solitaire suitability rating is low, at three, which makes sense.
Let’s lift the lid and see what is inside.
We’ll begin with the “Thank you” note. I like these notes. I know these notes are not personalized and we all get the same message. I enjoy them anyway.
What about the rest of the contents?
There are a lot of items in this box, so let’s bring them all out and show you the obligatory group photo before we look at the items individually.
As you can see, there’s a lot of stuff in this game. The game comes with four 10 sided dice, along with plenty of small ziplock bags to hold the counters.
FAB: Sicily uses blocks and you get plenty of them, 73 in total. I counted! They are of good quality and colored for the different nationalities represented in the game. There are so many I was able to spell out ACD.
The stickers for the blocks look great. They are easy to read and look like they will apply to the blocks well. You get an entire spare set too, which is great; however, I’m not sure why. From what I can tell, there are no spare blocks provided in the game.
FAB: Sicily also uses counters. They are 9/16” in size and you get a sheet of 228. Just like the stickers the counters are easy to read and they look easy to punch from the sheet.
There are many player aid cards: scenario set up cards, sequence of play cards, unit starting and reinforcement cards, and even a small separate map for the Sunrise Bridge intro scenario. Here is a sample of some of those items:
Here is the Sunrise Bridge scenario map used to learn the rules of the game.
There are two books in the box. The Series Rule Book and the Play Book. The Series Rule Book is 24 pages of rules for the FAB Series as well as the Exclusive Rules for FAB: Sicily. The Play Book is 32 pages of designer’s notes, player’s notes, scenarios, and many, many examples of play. Both books have saddle stitch bindings and use SPI Case to organize the information. The Series Rule Book has a nice table of contents and an excellent index. The Play Book only has a table of contents. Considering the Play Book devotes 26 pages to examples of play, not having an index is fine. Both books have color pictures and the Play Book has many pages devoted to examples of play, in full living color, which look both great and very helpful.
Here’s the Series Rule Book
Here is the Play Book
Last and certainly not least, the map.
The map is 22” x 34”, made from thin sturdy cardboard and designed to fold neatly into the box. This design means the map is not one continuous sheet. Only two sections are connected, (the western two pieces), forming a hinge. The other parts are separated by a cut that runs through the middle of the map, east to west. It is a bit awkward to fold and unfold at first and the map doesn’t lie flat; however, those are minor quibbles. The map looks great, has lots of useful info, is easy to read, and has plenty of space for all those blocks.
This looks like a great game and now that I’ve dusted it off and looked at it again, I hope to get it to the gaming table before another 12 years pass.
Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed a look under our hoods! You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
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With anticipation I wait,
As I open my new games’ crate,
The cardboard will fall,
Revealing it all,
And I’ll marvel at each piece so great.
Tanks and soldiers, maps and more,
All laid out on the table before,
I’ll read the rules,
And act like a fool,
As I plan my first winning score.
For wargaming’s more than just play,
It’s a hobby, a passion, a way,
To learn about history,
And gain victory,
In a simulated battle’s display.