Finally! The groundbreaking wargame classic from the 80s is finally available outside badly worn used copies or pristine copies that cost and arm and a leg. In both cases, you really hate to play it in order to at least preserve the components. Efforts to republish the game over the past 15 years have met with more drama than an entire season of "The Guiding Light."
This is a straight-up scanned version from Second Edition, with reminder text in the Action Deck enhanced for legibility.
Action cards are printed on Poker sized cards, which are a tad wider than the original deck. This makes sleeves easier to find, as they fit perfectly in sleeves for M:tG. The backs have the images expanded to fill the entire card to excellent effect, while the front of the card maintains the same ratio, leaving a negligible bit of white space on the left and right margins. This deck has the most errata that needs to be applied: Marsh cards should have -1 instead of +1, Card #7 should have a 1 instead of a 7 in RPC position 9, and all the black RNC Movement cards should have INF shifts 2 to the right instead of the left. Remember: you'd have to do the same thing to your $150 copy off eBay. The cards are flexible and riffle shuffle easily. As stated previously, the reminder text has been enhanced for legibility.
AFV cards are printed on the same size cards as the action deck, and have been slightly enlarged to fill the size of the card, as the original cards were smaller. The errata on some of these cards were already applied by the time the Second Edition was published, so no problems there.
Personality cards are printed on mini-card size cards, and the images were reduced from the original size of the cards. This will leave a smaller footprint on the gaming table, which is nice. I'll have to play a game or two to determine whether the size reduction will make reading the game information during play more difficult (Morale and Firepower numbers, for example).
The rulebook is a PDF scan from a well-preserved copy, and the scan quality is fantastic. There's only a slight discoloration on the back of the rulebook, which is pretty common for a game 30-some odd years old.
The counters are available as both PDF for self-printing, or printed on the same card stock as the card decks. The card stock version is the most convenient for those who simply want to cut and play, but it's very much worth putting forth the effort to apply to sturdier material such as cardboard or wooden square pieces you can buy at Craftparts.com.
As for the game itself, it's incredibly tense. The game is designed to produce the type of fog of war and chaos that soldiers faced on the battlefield. The Designer's Notes in the rulebook should be required reading by all wargamers, as it explains the method to the madness. There are "gamey" elements to play, such as the fact that groups don't have flexibility to move to one side while they have flexibility to move to the other due to the A/B/C/D nature of group formation the game imposes.
Learning the game can be a challenge, as there are tons of fiddly bits you have to remember. Once you've played the game a few times, things fall into place, and game play will quicken with only minor reference to the rules for handling situations that don't occur very often. You have to be patient with both the game and yourself, roll up your sleeves and dive in as best you can, and go back and review areas that are unclear. The effort is definitely rewarded.
[5 of 5 Stars!]