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Subject: My rolls have style - A post-play-month briefing rss

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Florent Leguern
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Saint-Martin-d'Hères
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I bought this game a few months ago, and played it once before letting it dust a bit. I don't really know why, because my initial impression was rather pretty good ! But now, I've played it regularly and I wanted to share why I really love this game

WHATblankISblankINblankTHEblankBOX

I ordered the boxed version of this game because I wanted rigid maps - and because having a box also was a good point to consider ! Once opened, the box contained two maps : the puzzle-mounted one, and the paper one. That's actually rather neat : I can use the paper one under the plexiglass, and keep the puzzle one for when I'm away from home.

Apart from that, the counters are all top notch ! Laser-cut chits is something I didn't know before and discovered them with Zulus on the Ramparts!, and I'm all in for it. Soot is just a minor inconvenience that doesn't last ^^ I think the Brigades counters would've been better if the "routed" side had been a bit more distinguishable, but that's nitpicking.

The rules are clear, well organized, contain a summary but no index ; they use the color-coding VPG seems fond of. I'm a bit mixed about that, because it makes the booklet look like a student's notebook, and the coding relevance isn't always very useful, but I can see where they're going, and it at least shows a great investment to convey clarity and easy-to-find information.

Some polybags, two different-colored dice, a player aid, a napkin and that's all quite good so far. Let's play now !



WHYblankITblankISblankGOOD

The more I play, the more it seems I like games with a bit of randomness that's delivered through dice. But the use of those dice must be justified (at least a little) with a solid gameplay that supports its use - or the mechanics around need to integrate those dice perfectly. I thought it was the case here. Even if strategy tends to minimize luck in the outcome of operations, at a more tactical level, luck is an integral part in most of the ouctomes, and that's well rendered here. The player aid displays the chart of dice combinations, with all the explanations beneath : after a few plays, most of the players should remember them without too much difficulty.

In magnificent style mixes chit-pulling and dice with a hint of commanding to offer some tense decision moments. You push your luck, but you also try to maximize the tactical options at your disposal : using one of your generals can be done in many ways, and once he's been used on a Brigade, you have to wait next turn to use him again - if he's still available ; some chits can alter the outcome on some brigades, but it's up to you to decide when and how ; you can call for Lee's help, but only once, during one turn ; you can use some of the dice results in several ways : make that brigade advance two spaces, or let the whole division advance, but only one space ahead ?

I thought that the way to represent the hits on the Union troops was rather clever. Unless you end a brigade's turn, you don't know how hard an ennemy has been hit. That uncertainty is rendered with chits that have two sides : one that lowers their Strenght Value (SV) by one, one that has an effect when revealed (that happens at the end of a brigade's turn or with some chits). The latter will then be an effective hit, a temporary battle effect, or maybe even a miss ! All this is done to fleshen out the idea that the enemy is suppressed, reaching for cover, wounded, replaced... That makes even the final melee an indecesive event : your bridage with its 5 Strenght Value approaches an ennemy that's a full 5 too, with three Hits : if they turn out to be two misses and just a modifier for Firing, the outcome might not be that good for you !



Because that melee can be influenced by numerous factors, and that's where most of the decisions can finally come to fruition. Your brigade has a SV of 6, which will be dimished by the opposing troop ; this will next be modified by wether the adjacent spaces are occupied by union troops, your troops, and even by generals attached to your own brigades. Add a little dice roll, and the result will be compared to a chart : a result of 12 or more ? You destroyed to opponent, and tool control of the area ! If it's less, some hits are gonna be distributed among the opposing forces... and sometimes, death will be waiting. But the fact that adjacent spaces can influence such a melee also means that the order you activate your brigades in will have some importance as each brigade nears its objective. That adds another little layer of strategy - that can of course be mercylessly thwarted with no looking back.

Of course, being the Gettysburg battle, this setting is quite unforgiving towards the player. Some obstacles hinder your approach, and require specific dice results to be crossed - so you might save your best options or modifiers for those moments. But you're absolutely not sure which brigade is gonna reach the Union lines first - if ever. Sometimes, a chit will pin your bridage from the get go ; sometimes, your brigade will reach the wall but remain stuck there in bayonett struggle. So some of the randomness can be a bit frustrating. On the other hand, knowing how the game works should prepare any player and diminish one's anger ^^

On the picture below, we see the situation at the end of the first turn : two of my brigades have taken control of their column's goal ; one is stuck in a melee, and three others are on their way. The rightmost brigade cleared the first six spaces without any hit, but the red zone was deadly. But some lucky chit pulls had given me some modifiers that helped tremendously in the final battle.



There are a lot of things you are not going to control in this game, and the way I see it, that's quite all right. The game design has been decided as such, and the machanics revolve around this concept rather well. For its intended public and aim, In magnificent style delivers perfectly. There is a little guessing when assigning officers and modifiers, but other than that, it will mostly be a luck-driven play.

E So I give this game an 8, because it is a solid solo-play, with a sub-theme of an already overcharged theme that's been cleverly used both in the design and the mechanics. But not more because this isn't a game I'm going to setup at any random moment. It seems the play-time is a bit longer than the one advertised (but that might as well be a personal blunder ^^'), and even though I praise its randomness, it's definitively not a factor that I want to encounter each and every time I want to play a boardgame.

It is not a heavy game, nor is it a game that will hone your skills as a commander. You won't be able to turn the tides of the Battle, you won't see anything ahead or beside this little "skirmish". But as a game that can be setup quickly and deliver a fun and intense play, and if you see the game as it is, In magnificent style really shines. If that what the intention (and I suspect it is), then that goal was reached.








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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Wow! Thank you so much, Florent! I really appreciate this wonderful review.

Hermann
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Florent Leguern
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HORST324 wrote:
Wow! Thank you so much, Florent! I really appreciate this wonderful review.

Hermann


You're all too welcome laugh As I always say, thanks to you, the author, for such an invigorating experience.

I'm quite curious to know if there's gonna be another installment in the Death or Glory! series ?
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Well, VPG has a couple of games in the queue from other designers (Hans von Stockhausen and Duncan Rice). I don't know their status.
I am planning a variation to this system that will be basically the same, but a bit more complex in the variety of options and action, yet easier to resolve (by using Movement Cards rather than dice to decide the unit moves). One game is on the Rangers at Pointe du Hoc on D-Day (for Flying Pig Games) and another is on the Battle at Culp's Hill during Gettysburg (for Hollandspiele). I'm hoping to see those done by early next year.

Thanks again!

Hermann
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