Just In Time For Thanksgiving: A Turkey!

by Brett Schulte on November 19, 2005 · 1 comment

I’m the type of guy who is willing to give almost any Civil War game a chance, no matter how bad I’ve been told it is. Chalk that up to the dearth of games covering the time period. My patience has run out, and this is without even playing the game in question. That game is Cat Daddy Games’ American Civil War Gettysburg. Published under the 2K Games label by their Talonsoft Division (seriously, how far has the Talonsoft name fallen in the past 10 years?), the game makes no appearance at the publisher’s site. I’d say this omission was not an oversight. See, the thing that makes me so angry is that I WANT to like every Civil War game out there. But when the people creating these games make no effort to “get it right”, I’m not going to pull any punches. Although Jim Cobb’s review at The Wargamer tries to sugarcoat it to some extent, calling it a game aimed at 10-15 year old kids, if it looks like a turkey and gobbles like a turkey then, hey, it’s a turkey.

A Children's Game?

Now that I’ve gone on my rant, let me tell you exactly WHY it occurred in the first place. This game bears absolutely zero resemblance to Civil War combat. Now I know some readers (among them a lot of actual combat veterans) are probably wondering how I would presume to know what ANY kind of combat is like. I can’t say that I know as well as the men who were there, or the men who fight in any war. But I have read hundreds of tactical battle studies and I believe I have a solid grasp of how Civil War battles were fought. This game isn’t it. My first gripe is that the game, which is supposed to portray the battle of Gettysburg, has generic units, including militia units on both sides. There were no militia units at Gettysburg, especially on the Confederate side. And generic units? Why wouldn’t I just go play Age of Rifles and create my own units named “Union Militia” and “Confederate Artillery”. According to Cobb’s interview, he couldn’t even pin down with any kind of accuracy what the map scale was, stating “Hexes seem to be between one and two hundred yards across.” Cobb also calls the gameplay “extremely abstract and not very realistic”. Apparently artillery has to “fortify” to be able to fire. Maybe the guys at Cat Daddy meant “unlimber”? Nah, I doubt it. Initiative for Generals is handled using a three-card card game! You choose 2 out of 3 cards, and if you get two stars instead of an X, your general’s moves succeed. Turn up the X? You fold. So no matter how good a general was historically, he is still dependent on your ability to guess which card holds the X, and to avoid said card at all costs. This is only the tip of the iceberg. I saw not one single redeeming quality in this game. Cobb says this might make a nice game for beginners to the period. I say it might make them run away to read the next Harry Potter book or to play the latest FPS. AVOID.

Camp Pope Publishing

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

edwin November 21, 2005 at 2:38 am

IIRC my first wargame on the PC was a game called ‘The Ancient Art of War’ that ran on my 8086 (Note to readers: The first PC). It was one of the first games with a graphic interface and with animations. Think of it as a predecessor of the ‘Command and Conquer’ series. I tried Shogun but couldn’t get the hang of the controls, like with most of the recent PC Wargames. I think the biggest problem I have with thse games is, that you are expected to somhehow control all of your units and wargames are not suited for 17″ computer monitors.

Speaking of FPS, actually, I am enjoying Quake4 at the moment. I need an upgrade to get the full eye candy but it works quite good.

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