They're back--the venerable and more beloved titles from the old Simulations Publications Incorporated (SPI) folio game list, updated and reissued by Decision Games. Oh, and there are handful of new titles added to the mix. Check out the list at the DG website here
The good news is that those old "dog" titles from the various old SPI Quadrigames don't seem to present in the mix. For example, while ARNHEM and BASTOGNE are updated and republished, missing are HURTGEN and REMAGEN. More good news is that even our old favorites have been refined--CHICKAMAUGA is a good bit different in the DC incarnation than in the original. There's also the new titles, like AACHEN: FIRST TO FALL, and STONES RIVER. Perhaps best of all, there are only three systems used in these games--Battles of the Ancient World (CHALONS is the only Folio that uses this right now), Musket and Saber (Napoleonic and Civil War), and Fire and Movement (WWII, post WWII, and contemporary).
For gamers pressed for time to play, this is a good thing, as well as those of us who have fond memories of the better Folios and would like to get new players/gamers interested in them. The success of Victory Point Games
--specializing in fast-playing but thought-provoking and competitive titles--no doubt inspired the Decision Games leadership to press forward with these small games. Time will tell whether the Folio series will prove to be a success. When I was in the Compleat Strategist game store in Falls Church some weeks ago, they told me they were flying off the shelves.
Most controversial are the support fire rules in the Fire and Movement series. Given the differential-style CRT, designer Eric Harvey decided to use this in lieu of indirect fire pieces many of us remember from the original games in the ISLAND WAR, NORTH AFRICA, WESTWALL
and MODERN BATTLES I
quadrigames (hard to believe it, but those titles are 35 years or so old!). It does achieve its stated purpose which is to add more uncertainty to combat factor calculations and allow single-unit versus single-unit engagements for other purposes than the typical sacrificial "soak-off." Because of this, low counter densities, no stacking, and a bloody CRT, this also can cause some "gamey" situations. Support Fire assets can never be captured or destroyed or put out of supply--ever.
There are those who would also question using the same series for both Napoleonic and Civil War battles--it's worth checking out the extensive designer notes that explain this on the Decision Games website. Click on "Musket & Saber Expanded Design Notes" on the Folio Series E-rules series here
(plus you can download the rules for all three systems the folio series uses.
Which games from either Victory Point Games or the new DG Folio Series do you like? Which ones don't you like? Do you think there will be "head-to-head" competition for quick playing but engrossing titles? More worryingly (for some), will commercial success of these two efforts drain away game company interest (and effort) in the "meatier" titles and subjects? Tell us what you think!