Sid Meier’s Gettysburg!

snap1183In concept, Gettysburg! is not all that revolutionary – a historical wargame recreating the Rebel invasion of Pennsylvania. What is revolutionary is the fluid design and integration of tactical detail with a simple interface, fast-moving real-time gameplay, good AI, and stunning visuals. This is not a wargame like any other. Much of the meat is there with little of the fat. It’s a challenge to play, not a chore like the Battleground games. In streamlining the controls, Meier and Reynolds have freed wargaming from its limitations while retaining much of its realism.

Gettysburg operates in semi-real time, with varying speed controls and a pause mode that gives you a chance to survey the battlefield and issue new orders. Units are grouped into regiments, and these regiments fall under the command of a brigade leader. By selecting the leader, you can issue commands to the entire brigade, or detach regiments to give them individual orders. Orders are logical and provide the depth needed for a game of this type. Units are divided into infantry and artillery, with dismounted cavalry taking a role in some battles. Infantry can be formed into lines: double, battle, skirmish, maneuver, road, and columns. Each has a different tactical application, from moving quickly to covering a wide front or defending the flanks.

snap1181By combining formation and movement orders, you can shape the tactics for the battle simply and quickly, building an approach to the victory requirements that can easily be altered on the fly. Once set in motion, your soldiers act according to their morale ratings. Morale is central to Gettysburg, and is modeled in some depth. A morale bar in each unit’s ID window shows how much they have based on leadership, experience, terrain bonuses, and supporting units. As this morale is chipped away, the bar goes red, and units may break and flee. Maintaining solid lines and placing leaders near crucial units is vital.

Sid Meier’s Gettysburg! is a wargame that bridges the gap, as both newcomers to this genre and die-hard veterans will find a game they can appreciate.

System Requirements: Pentium 233 MHz, 64 MB RAM, Windows 95

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