However - has there been any cool advancements in how to manage magic?
I must admit I don't play many magic-heavy games. The magic systems which immediately come to mind are....
How: Spend Will from a pool (resource management), then pass a d6 roll to cast (test). Can use one at a time.
What: Mages have several preassigned spells according to movie/book settings.
How: Spend a Magic Point (resource management). Your character must = the spell level (i.e. novice, experienced, master). Can cast spells concurrently but -1 each spell.
What: Mages select 3+ spells from a generic list.
How: Roll above Spell Difficulty on 2D6 or no magic that turn. One spell per turn - replaces missile fire.
What: Can use ~6 spells from their faction list. (x5-6 factions)
How: Spend Focus points from a pool that replenishes every turn. Can spend to cast spells or buff allies with in a control radius.
What: Warcasters (mages) have several preassigned spells according to movie/book settings, and usually a powerful "feat" that be used only once per game.
The PC game Verbus Virtus you use a voice and your mic to cast spells. Sounds cool... ....but what about weak, repetitive spells? Saying "kazam" until your throat is hoarse.... yeah.
Same old same old?
A quick look at my random grab bag of wargame magic systems shows there is usually (but not always) a casting roll to pass, and often magic is drawn from a pool of "magic points." Magic often functions in the place of the missile phase. I like the resource management aspect to the magic point pool.
However, they are all pretty similar in how/when they work. Have you seen other, cleverer ways of using magic in games?
I'm thinking RPGs might be a fertile source of ideas... ...but it has to be a practical, "closed" system that can be balanced. Some RPG stuff is waaaay to abstract and open-ended. Fine for storytelling but not for a wargame. I'.e. I'd avoid magic systems like "if you can rhyme the effects of the spell in a haiku, you can cast it" or "player describes the spell aloud and GW assigns a casting rating from Easy to Very Tricky."
Any cool magic systems you've seen lately?