Alfie Dix, 17, reviews board games that he plays with the family and subsequently with groups of friends. Here’s his review of The Magnificent.
Tickets? Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the show of a lifetime, and not one you’d want to miss! Come see spectacular feats of grandeur and follow us through the country as we perform death defying stunts for your enjoyment. This is a circus like no other, one that comes to your very table, and the best is yet to come!
The Magnificent could not fit its name any better, a game with eccentric art and enticing boxing fits the bill perfectly for all aesthetic purposes and has well made cards and pieces so no worries there. The game is all about performing daring circus acts to your loving audience. On each turn, you have three possible actions: build camps, move wagons or perform. Performing is the main way to get points. However you can also gain points through your action cards, which have a scoring mechanism of their own.
Play occurs over three rounds and in each round, every player takes 4 turns. On each turn, you draft a die to determine the size and colour of your action that turn. Dice values are cumulative, so a previously played green 5 will add an extra 5 onto any new green die you play. This gives you a specialism advantage. However, you will have to pay for dice at the end of each round, so be wary. Workers and crystals can be used to increase the value of your actions or be used in special actions that help offset the luck of the roll.
While you are directing the wide array of performers, from armadillos to fire-breathers, there is that overwhelming sense of ownership and realism. It can really feel like you are creating your very own circus which is a great feature to have in any game. This is aided by the fact that each player has their own set of 4 starting cards and unique player board which also helps create variance throughout the game. This may allow you to easily get immersed in the experience… if only you had the time to think about such things.
The complexity level in a game is important. While too little complexity is often boring, a heavier game may present a challenge when learning the game for the first time. To that degree even though The Magnificent only has 3 main actions, the combination of gems, workers, drafting of dice, choice of card and future implications could make this game quite intimidating to a first-time player.
Even though the learning curve is steep, the rewards are bounteous and is a great game to play with friends or even alone with the solo version. The theme and vast gameplay after you have learnt the ropes is excellent fun and while the game is heavier than many, it can still be enjoyable for all the family. So if you are looking for a game of decisions galore with a theme that’s to die for then look no further, as what I have found for you is surely a Magnificent game.