Well I've had my copy of the 3rd Edition rulebook for a couple of weeks now and I've read enough to get a pretty good first impression of the changes. For those of you that have been reading BLMA for some time you'll know that I'm not great at sitting down and reading rulebooks. I'm much more of a hands on player and learn best at the elbow of an experienced player. So the fact that I'm halfway through this book and still going strong says a lot about the ease with which this new books works as a training manual.
The general approach seems to employ repetition to get rules into the head of the reader. But the manner in which this is done maximises the learning curve and I'm rather impressed with the subtlety of it. Each chapter starts with a contents page outlining the sequence of play. Then there are the rules in detail with a summary page at the end of the chapter. But within each section the three layers of repetition are also used. There is the detailed descriptive text explaining the rule. Then there are summary boxes breaking the rules down into bite sized bullet points. The last element - and the moment of genius in my opinion - the new annotated diagrams (described by Battlefront as fumetti or ‘photograph comics’) which give a visual primer to important rules concepts.
One of the problems I have had with lots of rulebooks in the past is the tendency to have dry blocks of words detailing the rules. On more than one occasion I've found myself having read an entire page and at the end couldn't even remember what the subject was let alone the details. What Battlefront have managed to do it turn their rules into an audio-visual presentation which really does improve the learning experience.
These rules won't satisfy everybody however. There is a whole section dedicated to the basics of wargaming and for many old Grognards they may well find this section a little patronising. But my view is that existing or experienced players can just skip this section and move straight onto the rules. Personally I'm quite excited by this section because it gives me an introduction to wargaming FOW which I can hand to my Brother-in-Law Ray, (a complete wargaming n00b) to get him up to speed.
On Saturday I'll also be getting Ray to pick the winner of Monday's Prize Draw by pulling a name out of a hat. If you haven't entered yet you have just a couple more days to do so.