TalonSoftâ€™s “Battleground” system is too well known by its niche fans of wargamers to really require much description: it permits the player to switch back and forth between miniatures and more conventional hex-grid views. And as far as these boardgame-inspired products go, Battleground: Waterloo is indeed a visual feast. It is also an expert simulation of Napoleonic tactics — gamers who come to this product straight from Battleground: Gettysburg will have to make some serious adjustments in their tactical thinking.
For one thing, the notorious inaccuracy of smoothbore muskets makes artillery, bayonet-melees, and cavalry charges much more decisive than marksmanship. Unit-facing, morale, fatigue, and leadership factors all become more critical than they were in the Civil War game. To be successful, youâ€™ve got to master the techniques of skirmishing, forming squares, timing cavalry assaults, and learning when to move in columns and when to deploy in lines. Even such a simple action as climbing a stone fence or fording a shallow stream can cause disciplined formations to spread and therefore be vulnerable.
As was the case with Gettysburg, you have the option of playing the entire engagement or of refighting all of the critical “modules” that made up the overall battle. But you get even more for your investment: a truly fascinating series of “what if?” scenarios that are predicated on hypothetical turning points that could have caused the battle to go very differently.
Like other Battleground games, Waterloo is explicitly aimed at diehard fans of these sort of games – regular strategy players will find it difficult and quite possibly not nearly as fun. But if detail is king and you enjoy hex wargames as well as Napoleonic history, then Waterloo is definitely a game you should play.
System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 8 MB RAM, Win95
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