For many year I have beensomething of a wargame purist. I had seen Quick Start versions of games but generally dismissed them as nothing more than cheap marketing gimmicks.
But it is amazing what living overseas without your games can do to you. In the past year, I have picked up not only online publications of games but several quick start versions as well. After all, being free you can’t complain about the price!
The first of the Quick Start rules is for J.D. Webster’s incredible Fighting Wings series of games, the most recent being Whistling Death. The FW series of games are tactical air-to-air combat, mostly in the WWII era. On Boardgame Geek, Whislting Death is the 14th highest ranked boardgame and the 725th highest ranked game overall. As highly ranked as it is, the game is not for the faint-at-heart; the rules can seem daunting at first. So it was with more than a little skepticism that I downloaded and played through the Quick Start rules (the latest is version 3.1 published in June 2008). The QS Rules are very lite; four pages of rules and two pages of charts. A QS scenario pack comes with aircraft data sheets for an F4F-4 “Wildcat” and the A6M2 “Zero.” Let’s understand something; lite rules do not mean lite fun. The game is a streamlined version of the actual rules but the focus is on flying and fighting. Both of these come in great, easy to understand and learn quantities in this little package.
The second set of quick start rules is the Star Fleet Battles Cadet Training Handbook. The quick start package is much more dense; 47 pages of rules, four pages of charts, and 13 pages of ships system displays (SSD). When I was younger (way younger…) I played SFB like a religion. I knew ALL the rules and ships inside and out. My friends and I had EPIC battles worthy of (future) history books. In the intervening years, I have been more a collector of SFB; I still buy the ships books but playing was much more rare. That is, until I printed out the Cadet Handbook. The programmed learning approach was ideal to reintroduce me to the game, not so much to relearn but to remember.
So now I have two new favorite games, both Quick Start. No longer do I actively avoid this format, but rather I seek out and am embracing it. Good for me, and probably good for the future of the hobby since they also make great intro games for newcomer’s (or old timer’s who want to remember the glory days).