After watching him talk about all that he has designed on the Mille Miglia, you go away knowing that this is the passion of his life and a topic of which he has an encyclopaedic knowledge. As someone who knows no more and possibly even less about the car racing world of today than the most average "man in the street", I wondered how I would fare with this new product. One thing from my very early childhood I did remember was the name Mille Miglia and the glamour associated with that race and my fascination with the racing driver, Sterling Moss, and his astounding win in 1955 of the Mille Miglia.
My familiarity with car racing games is equally ordinary, starting in 1962 with a Christmas present of Waddington's Formula 1 and then leaping forward many years to a limited experience of formula De, then more recently Thunder Alley and just a few weeks ago Rallyman.
Of the other types of card, there are five named, historical drivers featuring photos of each in his car [seen below]
Text is fairly small and quite densely presented, but well-illustrated in full colour. The opening Component section is clear and easy, explaining first the dashboards and the many items that they monitor [starting with speed in km/h and then engine, temperature, barkes, bodywork and tires]. The course tiles come next and the basic road identifiers; white dots for flat sections, red dots for uphill and black dots for downhill and finally those black lines that you've carefully applied turn out to indicate the beginning and end of the curves [i.e. bends]. All the cards and the Race Chronograph and how to use them are similarly straightforward.
Moving on to what is called the Driving Academy, here we're introduced to the main body of rules and they will take all your concentration. They are for the most part clear and backed up with very thorough examples, but there is a lot to take in and every word matters. Though the final page of the rule book does contain the necessary charts, a separate Play Aid card with additional notes would make the eventual races that you run easier to deal with.
Initially simple movement, acceleration and braking get you off to a smooth beginning. Standing Starts, Great Starts, Slipstreaming and Slopes aren't bad to follow, but the substantial and important section on Curves, which also covers Accidents, need nearly as much care to negotiate as the real thing. I must admit that I felt just as I did when I started to learn to drive and thought," I'll never manage to remember all that's in the Highway Code and the things I've got to coordinate in driving the car will never become second nature." Well, I've been a happy, confident driverfor many years now, but the details of Exceeding the Turning Speed and the ramifications of Head Straight, Emergency Braking and Hard Braking, Fast Exits and then Collisions and Accidents are not yet second nature.
Making my own Play Aid has greatly helped in starting to fix things in my head, but for me this is not a game I can take down and play without substantially refreshing my memory. The essential actions are very simple: adjust speed, move your car accordingly, roll the dice, if necessary, and mark appropriate consequences on your dashboard display. However, the complexities and sometimes confusion arise from the potential
choices of how you may affect, either to enhance or try to avoid dangerous consequences resulting from, those simple actions. All add to the focus on simulation rather than game that I feel this product aims for.
The final section of the rules explains the procedures for setting up each type of race and here there is an interesting variety of options to suit a variety of needs. First and foremost, there is time. for the shortest play time, the advice is to select a Grand Prix circuit. Most of these are three-lap races, but obviously fewer or more laps can further temper your game to the time slot you have available.
Whatever type of race you prefer, you can choose between what the designer calls simulation or arcade mode. The latter choice naturally tends to give you a quicker game, while the former gives a more detailed and historical experience. Using the 1000 Miglia Yearbook page, you can decide on a year which gives you a range of cars to choose from and a maximum budget of lira that you can spend on creating your racing team.
However, if you go for the full Mille Miglia, then each car will be setting off at eight minute intervals and your opponent is going to be the clock. Each stage of the race is run in sequence, with your time the crucial factor, as the winner is the driver who clocks up the fastest time to complete all the stages of the race.
I know the intention is hopefully to work through the years with new expansions and though Race games are not my chosen field of interest, I truly hope that Carlo Amaddeo is successful in his intention. If so, I look forward to one day being able to emulate my childhood hero, Stirling Moss, as well as race with the likes of Fangio and Nuvolari!
My final conclusion is that Legend : Winds of War is definitely for the lover of car racing games and especially for those who want to learn about and experience a detailed simulation of this legendary race. Though this may have introduced some simplifications to the original, it still remains simulation more than game.
So, if, like me, you favour a simpler and more dramatic form of racing then this may be not your best choice.
[Talking about simpler. Next time, I shall be reviewing a game at the opposite end of the complexity spectrum. In Meerkat terms, folks, "It's simples!"]