I picked the 5-turn tournament scenario as a starting point, but the playbook also offers up a short 4-turn introductory scenario (Sunrise Bridge) and a full 9-turn campaign scenario.
The Tournament Scenario
|Historical - US deploy in Zone "A" and British deploy in Zone "B"|
The historical deployment allows the Allied player to setup four beachheads in Zone "A" for his U.S. troops and in five consecutive beachheads (from the six landing spaces available) in Zone "B" for his British troops.
|Alternate - US deploy in Zone "D"|
I had planned to cover the rules in a battle between AndyA and GaryB, but Andy was running a little late so we forged ahead with GaryB taking on the role of Axis player vs. my Allies. Game On!
The Axis deploy first and start with a number of German and Italian units in preset locations across Sicily. Once these units are in place the spread of the untried Italian units must be completed. A couple on things to consider here as these units are generally very weak and the scenario dictates that they are placed face down in locations selected by the Axis player. So he could choose where the units go, but not choose which type of units go there. Additionally units placed on coastal areas exposed to the possibility of beach assaults would begin the game with a defensive field works marker.
No real surprises in the setup, but I did try to keep same division units together where possible to provide a +1 die bonus during combat.
|Early game view|
The British were having a slightly easier time on the west-coast (B) not having taken the step losses that the Americans had taken in Scoglitti and Licata (D). Both of the Allied airborne units to step losses in trying to secure Comiso and Palazzalo Acreide (C). Meanwhile the Axis took the opportunity to reinforce Catania and Vizzini (E) ahead of what would surely be a strong push from the now grounded Allies.
|The Battle for Catania|
|Deserving of a Patton slap!|
|GaryB's "3-finger" Assault|
A lot of credit needs to be give to GaryB here as his early to mid-game defence prove too tough for the Allies to effectively breakdown.
Approaching our final turn for the evening the Allies launched a commando attack in the Mount Etna region placing the asset to limit any retreat options for the weakening German unit in Catania. The battle for Catania remained contested though and reinforcements soon arrived, strengthening the Axis hold in the region. Elsewhere the Axis moved to block a gap in their lines with some experienced Italian troops and the defensive position looked certain to be held.
Surprisingly the Germans elected to attack in Catania and ended up losing a unit and seriously weakening their position there. GaryB later described it as the "red mist settling". In any case we were done for the evening and decided to call a close to the game.
Would this have changed the final outcome? Possibly, but with one more turn remaining it is likely that the German lines would have been strong enough to hold.
Thoughts on FAB Sicily
I found the evening a hugely enjoyable yet challenging one, given the fairly steep learning curve to incorporate all of the rules. In the end I think we'd cracked most of them, but are still missing some subtleties around strategic movement, special actions and timing event/asset plays. We need to reduce our play time for sure, but this one is worth the little bit of extra effort required.
GaryB - "...I think it plays very well, very fast...unfamiliarity with the rules slowed us down a little...I see a lot of pain in mixing forces (placing supporting assets) for the Axis..."
AndyA - "...a very enjoyable, playable game..."