Review – In Magnificent Style from Victory Point Games
Designer – Hermann Luttman
Art – Tim Allen and Rick Barber
A copy of this game was provided by Victory Point games for review purposes
Innovation, thy name is Victory Point Games! Or, at least an enabler of innovation in game design. For me, the most exciting game company around, bar none, is “the Little Game Company that could”. Alan Emrich and team continue to produce games with new approaches. Their print-on-demand model is ideal for allowing creativity in game design to push the boundaries of what is possible and we gamers can reap the benefits.
Here we have yet another interesting game series of solitaire experiences, although they can play with 2.
From VPG –
The first in the Death or Glory! series, In Magnificent Style is a solitaire game depicting the final desperate Confederate attack on 3 July 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg, popularly known as Pickett’s Charge. As General Longstreet, you must decide how quickly to press your troops across this deadly open ground before allowing the men to regroup for another bound. But time is not on your side, and the longer your stalwart soldiers remain in this maelstrom of enemy fire.. the more dangerous it becomes, and the less likely they will arrive with the verve and numbers required to carry the day.
With only five turns in which to reach your objective and attack, how far can you push your luck? Your options are simple: Death or Glory!
I won’t keep going on about VPG‘s enhanced production values… Oh, ok I will. The art standard is excellent, evocative, and appropriate for the events being shown.
One full color, 20-page Rules booklet
• 11″ x 17″ paper game map
• 1 Player Aid sheet
• 45 double-sided 1/2″ round small troop markers
• 28 double-sided 5/8″ round large troop markers
• 20 double-sided 1/2″ square counters
• Two six-sided 12mm dice
• One 11″ x 17″ mounted, jigsaw-cut game board
At first, I thought that the map was a bit bland, but actually, it looks like an after action sketch map and looks really nice with the counters displayed.
Nice chunky counters, with images and information that you need. I really like the look of what appears to be, in effect, a miniatures-like game, done up in a board game format.
Game play overview
Each game of In Magnificent Style lasts five Game Turns (each representing about 10 minutes of real time). When you digest this, you realize that this was a whirlwind , through which Longstreet’s corps had to walk through. The game process is laid out well in the rules and it is easy to follow.
Each Game Turn is divided into Phases that must be performed in order and each must be completed before proceeding to the next Phase, as follows:
1. Union Activity: Draw and implement Blue (Union) Event chit(s). This Phase is skipped on the first Game Turn. These chits have a Union effect and a Confederate effect. Interesting stuff, and they really give a sense of the fighting.
2. Follow Me!: Assign each Confederate Division General marker still in play to one of its three Brigades.
3. Brigade Activations: Choose any one Brigade you wish that has not already been active this turn; that Brigade is then denoted by placing the Advancing Brigade (“green light”) marker behind it on the map. It performs the following Steps in order:
A. Activate: The Brigade elects to either Move (which can occur many times) or Regroup, until its turn ends. When finished, flip its Rally marker over to its Done side. Note – regrouping is VERY important or else you may find your units getting knocked back across the killing field. The choices for Movement are governed by a Movement Table for which you role 2 dice to get the result in the matrix. This adds the randomness of combat with some very interesting results which will impect the damage units take, and their ability to proceed under fire. What is very cool in the design is that you get to choose between the potential effects and this is where the Push-Your-Luck element comes in. Take a risk, and you may see the rewards!
B. Sighting: After all of the Brigade’s activations are done, reveal Fire! chits in the Union Position space along this Brigade’s Column, if allowed, and apply their effects. The Union troops are not that easy to dislodge.
C. Move on!: Move the Advancing Brigade marker to the next eligible Brigade of your choice, flipping the marker back from its Shaken! side (if it is on that “yellow light” side) as a reminder of which Brigade is currently active. After all Brigades have completed their turn, place this marker to the side and proceed to the Housekeeping Phase.
4. Housekeeping: Flip all Confederate Division Generals on their Used sides back to their Ready sides, remove all temporary
effect Fire! chits, flip Done markers over to their Rally side and advance the Game Turn marker one space. If Game Turn 5
was just completed, score the game.
Compared to some other solitaire games, the system for In Magnificent Style is sleek, and simple. In fact, I would say that it is elegant. Hermann Luttman has done an excellent job here. Its easy to pick up and learn. I was up and playing within 15 minutes. It moves along quickly, and is exciting and fun!
Did I like In Magnificent Style?
What a game! This system is very clever and brilliantly simple. It allows you to get a real feel for those terrible minutes where the charging rebels faced such horrific combat. Yet, I found myself egging them on, to try and reach the Union lines.
I found myself really getting into the process as the tension rose with each unit that I activated. Its very interesting to follow how each unit moves towards the Union line. Will they make it? Its hard to tell. At first, I wasn’t convinced about moving one unit at a time, across the ground, as it seemed so unrealistic but I soon realized that, of course, they were all moving simultaneously, but the only way to manage this was individually as a game mechanic. I also thought that there was a tabletop miniatures feel to the actions and I was very happy with it.
The Event chits add a lot of the feel for the situation and there are enough to keep things fresh and up for numerous plays. Rules for Generals, Bayonet combat, Hits and Regrouping all add a tabletop miniatures add a great feel and yet it feels simple throughout the game. A wonderful example of design for effect over design for heavy detail.
I have to say that In Magnificent Style, is a very imaginative design. It is evocative, fast playing, exciting, nerve-racking and fun. One of the most interesting designs that I have come across in a very long time. The linear feel for the game is, on the one hand, frustrating, but its important to understand the context. This is a brutal affair which happened in a short amount of time so it needs to be linear. Yet there is a lot of variety in the story of events thanks to the event chits.
This is the ultimate push-your-luck game as you are continuously asking yourself how far you can go, when do you regroup, and you have plenty of choices, depending on what kind of fire your units are taking.
The only downside, for some players, may be that after repeated plays, it may seem repetetive. Doesn’t bother me, but it might bother some.
Overall, I would have to say without reservation, In Magnificent Style, is done in magnificent style and should be a must-buy for war gamers, particularly those who are interested in the Civil War.
Magnificent job, Hermann Luttman and Victory Point Games!
For more information, go to – http://victorypointgames.com/details.php?prodId=191