BoardGameGeek does a poll of con attendees at the major conventions they go to called GeekBuzz. At this year’s Spiel, the game that was highest in GeekBuzz when the con ended was…
The Magnificent is a game from designers Eilif Svensson and Kristian Amundsen Østby, published by Aporta Games. It’s a 1-4 player circus-themed game where players are attempting to get the most people to their shows.
The game is played with different numbers of dice depending on the number of players, which are rolled and placed in the main tent. There are also Master Cards and Trainer Tiles that are randomly distributed, as well as tents that are randomly placed on the 15 spaces of the travel area – there are three circular tracks, with each one taking five tents. The wagons are placed in the designated starting spaces for each of these tracks. There will be four random posters in the poster display, with each player getting a random starting poster. Players also get a board, one scoring marker (which goes on zero of the scoring track), and two hats, one of which will go on the performance track (the starting player goes on one, the next goes on two, etc). Each player gets four starting Master Cards, one of each color gem, 5-7 coins (depending on play order), 3-4 Trainer Tiles, and a training marker.
A game of The Magnificent lasts for three rounds, with players taking four turns per round. On your turn, you follow three steps: take a die, determine your power, and choose an action.
TAKE A DIE: Choose one of the dice in the Main Tent and put it on one of the master cards in your play area. Each one will unlock some special bonus – get money, score points, manipulate the die’s value, etc. This bonus can be used at any time during your turn (unless otherwise noted).
DETERMINE YOUR POWER: The value of the die you just took plus the values of all dice of that same color you’ve already taken in this round is your power. Gems of this color may be discarded to increase your power by an additional two each. Clear dice are wild, and can be used as any color, but only on the turn in which they are taken.
TAKE AN ACTION: There are three action options – build, travel, and perform. You can only choose one of these.
- BUILD: This is where you expand your camp. Your power level will determine what size tiles you can take. You must take tiles that are the same color as the die you took, and must be placed so that they are adjacent to others. Once placed, they cannot be moved. If you color bonuses, gain them at this time.
- TRAVEL: This is where you move your wagon around its travel track. You’ll move up to as many spaces as your power level (though you can certainly move fewer), and you must move the wagon that matches the die taken this round. You’ll pick up gems and posters as you pass them, but you must stop on a space with a tent if you want one of those. You can’t have more than four tents.
- PERFORM: This is where you put on shows. The first time you do this in a round, put your hat on the space matching your power level (or any lower space). You can then complete posters – if you have a tent below the poster, the required camp tiles, and the requisite gems, you gain the points and coins shown on the poster, then flip it facedown next to your board. You are allowed to complete multiple posters in each Perform step, but it should be noted that each camp tile can only be used once. To end this step, you can rearrange your posters if desired.
After each player has taken their four turns, the round ends. You have to pay the value of the highest die in each color you have taken, plus the total value of all clear dice. You lose points if you can’t pay for everything. Each player then gets a new master card, as well as its adjacent trainer tile. You’ll then score and discard one of your five master cards, meaning you’ll have just four for the next round. You’ll then reset for the next round.
After the third round, score half the value of your remaining four master cards, one point per 5 coins you have left, and four points per area in your camp that is completely covered. The high card wins.
This game looks quite cool. The overall aesthetic looks very nice, though I think the theme is a bit lacking. To be fair, it doesn’t actually bill itself as a circus game – the word “circus” is not used in any part of the game – but it’s that kind of carnival show that its meant to elicit, and there seems to be a lot more abstraction than theme here. The posters do show various acts, but most of the rest of the game is a lot of numbers and symbols. This doesn’t quell my interest, however – I’m still very interested in playing this. The dice drafting to increase your power in order to do actions seems like a good idea, and while there are a lot of moving parts in the game, it doesn’t seem that difficult to grasp what’s going on. It’s definitely a game I want to check out whenever it makes it over to the States.
That’s it for today – thanks for reading!