Personally I think the term 'review' should only really be used if you have played a game through several times, ideally opposed, and feel qualified to make some comment on the games balance. Most games that don't work for me are never going to get played multiple times. In fact I probably won't play them right through even once if they are a lot of work. Over the past couple of weeks I have been playing two titles from Legion Games, Dien Bien Phu the Final Gamble and Quatre Batailles en Espagne. I really like Quatre Batailles but I didn't really get in to Dien Bien Phu.
I going to start doing this new quick looks format for games I have only spent a few hours with and only played once. It allows me to give a general impression to the read of what the game is trying to do but falls short of a full review.
Quatre Batailles en Espagne
I played the Salamnque battle and it took me about 3-4 hours with just the base ruleset. The system plays a lot like La Bataille light (La Bat being a series from Marshall Enterprises and Clash of Arms games) the key different being this game as 30 minute rather than 15 minute turns. In effect the turn length produces very decisive results to actions giving the game a very action orientated feel. A cavalry charge will produce bedlam, an infantry melee will mostly result in one side breaking and artillery at close range really knocks holes in the regimental formations.
I am probably going to stick with this series for my Napoleonic fix it gives me a convincing simulation but with a shorter rule book than some of its competitors. It also plays rather quickly with the basic rules. The advance rules at a read seem a bit ambiguous in some areas, but not in a way that particularly bothers me. They will raise the realism, particularly in terms of command and control IN the base rules you can do whatever you want and it results in a short battle as both sides can get the attacks they want committed.
Visually, the maps are attractive and in the Legion style. The counters have some small numbers on them, and quite a few different numbers too. They are elongated and you flip them depending on whether a unit is in line or column giving the game a nice visual effect.
My main criticism at this stage would be the casualty chart. You can use counters to track hits, but this adds to counter density and they could easily be confused with disruption counters. The game comes with a chart listing each unit and its casualty hits. If the boxes were bigger they could hold a cube, as it is you really need to photocopy it and use a marker pen. Its a shame a booklet of paper copies was not included. The only other issue I see some folks having is the setup rules can be a little vague. You get instructions like setup X division halfway between this land mark the south map edge. You can work it out but I could see ultra competitive types making an argument out of it.