On Location: Gettysburg – In Magnificent Style

Posted by James (admin) on October 10th, 2013

Metagames In Magnificent Style at Gettysburg

In Magnificent Style played on the location of the actual combat. The top of the board shows Cemetery Ridge, and the real Cemetery Ridge can be seen at top of the photo.

For a long time, I have been interested in the American Civil War (which is slightly unusual for an Englishman).  I finally realised one long-held goal of mine to visit Gettysburg a couple of weeks ago.  If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know I played Alhambra at the real Alhambra (which prompted a friend to play Carcassonne at Carcassonne) – so I departed for the US armed with a Gettysburg game to play at Gettysburg.  The game in question was ‘In Magnificent Style‘ by Victory Point Games – a single-player game set entirely on Pickett’s Charge – the infamous vast, brutal and final action of the Battle of Gettysburg.

[I want to say a huge thanks to Mark Rivera (Boardgames in Blighty blog) for lending me his copy of the game as I couldn’t get one in time for my trip.  He is currently launching his own game Luchador.]

However, rather than just play the game just anywhere around Gettysburg, I set my sights higher once I saw the battlefield and I actually got to play out Pickett’s Charge on the actual site of Pickett’s Charge!  This is a photo of the game ready to be played on location.  At the top of the board is the Union forces’ position along Cemetery Ridge passing the copse of trees.  In the background of the photo you can see the real Cemetery Ridge and the real copse of trees.  So, I was playing the game whilst sat at the position on the board shown by the top-right square of area 8.

The bottom of the board shows Seminary Ridge from where the Rebels launched their attack which, in the photo, is about 1 mile behind the camera viewpoint which you can clearly see when stood there.

For those who may like a bit of detail, Pickett’s Charge was an especially bad slaughter amongst so many in the American Civil War.  The Rebels tried to weaken the Union lines with a 160-cannon barrage that lasted for several hours (and was answered by the Union’s 120 cannon).  Finally, Rebel forces numbering around 12,500 men marched in a line over 1-mile wide on the Union’s positions – a tiring, gradual uphill route into cannon and gun fire.  The assault breached the line in a few places but not enough (the copse of trees is commemorated as the Confederate’s high water mark) and was eventually repulsed.  The Rebels suffered over 50% casualties in an infantry assault that lasted only an hour, and the Union had suffered high casualties too.

Metagames Playing In Magnificent Style at Gettysburg

I will be reviewing In Magnificent Style fully soon.  It was a very enjoyable and a (correctly) harsh game with a push-your-luck element.  The only problem I had was that a freak gust of wind launched all the card counters into the long grass and, as I found all but one counter, I have to report that General Pettigrew was literally blown away and did not return from the battlefield.  (I’m glad I was taking pictures of it as I went so I could resume relatively easily.)

In addition to playing the game, I also took some meeple with me (blue and grey, of course) and got some great photos of those too – but that’s a blog post for tomorrow.


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