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  A Greater Victory South Mountain September 14, 1862 by  Revolution Games  The time is 1862 in the month of September. Robert E. Lee has ta...

A Greater Victory: South Mountain September 14,1862 by Revolution Games A Greater Victory: South Mountain September 14,1862 by Revolution Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


 A Greater Victory

South Mountain September 14, 1862


Revolution Games

 The time is 1862 in the month of September. Robert E. Lee has taken his Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac to invade the North. His army leaves behind a good number of men who feel that saving their states from invasion is okay, but are not too happy to invade the Union. From Lee's point of view the campaign is going well. His troops have surrounded Harpers Ferry and are about to bag the entire Union detachment there. The Army of the Potomac is once again being led by Little Mac and Lee believes he knows how slow and deliberate his foe will be. What Lee doesn't know is that one of his orders for the invasion showing where every one of his units will be has been found by Union soldiers wrapped neatly with three cigars. Little Mac sees this as the Godsend it is and declares that he will destroy Lee with this information. The gleam in Little Mac's eyes last only about a day. He is energetic enough to send soldiers to cut Lee's army in half at the gaps around South Mountain going into the Shenandoah Valley. Meanwhile the Confederates have learned that the gaps are not being held by any of their troops. So, now we have a footrace between the two enemies to see who gets there first. That is the battle that Revolution Games has given us to refight. 

 This is a game from the Hermann Luttmann Blind Sword Rules System. This is just one of the systems that Mr. Luttmann has created to replicate warfare in the mid-eighteenth century. He seems to have as many systems in use right now as some men have ex-wives. 

 This is what comes with the game:

352 5/8" Counters

22 x 34 inch Map

Exclusive Rulebook

Series Rulebook

2 Event Description Cards

2 Combat Results Table Cards

1 General Records Track

2 Player Reference Cards

2 Brigade Activations Cards

 This is what the designer has to say:

"A Greater Victory (South Mountain,1862) features two small, quick playing scenarios (Fox’s Gap and then the actions around Frosttown), along with a long scenario covering the full day’s engagement. Each scenario has its own Fog-of-War table to more accurately reflect that particular phase of the battle.

The Order-of Battle has not relied upon customary “paper strength”, but a more accurate number of effectives for each regiment and brigade, so expect some surprises here.

Taking advantage of the proven Blind Swords system, AGV has been injected with abundant history while still offering players a plethora of choices as to where and how to deploy their troop formations. Being heavily outnumbered, the Confederates must conduct a skillful defense while the Union will have to effectively coordinate their powerful brigades over brutal terrain. With the climactic battle of Antietam just three days distant, casualties at South Mountain are also an important consideration.

I want to point out that I’ve also focused the design to be an excellent solitaire study, made possible by the historically desperate position that DH Hill found himself - from forgotten rear guard to frontline army savior.

The single map (by Edmund Hudson) and counters (by Charlie Kibler) are truly excellent, and I also wanted to publicly thank Roger Miller from Revolution for his outstanding support of this project since its inception. It’s been a lot of fun to work on, and there’s much more to come!"

Steve Carey - Designer

Beautiful Map

  At 5/8" the counters are nice and big. Infantry/Cavalry units are color coded with a stripe on top to show what brigade they belong to. Artillery units have the commanders' names at the top. They also have their state pictured in the middle of the counter. So, they are nice and big, easy to read, and you will have no trouble picking them up to move. The map is very nicely done. It has good sized hexes to fit the counters. Elevation is done better than most maps and also has a trick up its sleeve. The heights are listed with a small roundel with a number inside going from one to eleven (one being the lowest ground), and the different levels are color coded. These are an excellent way to describe elevation in wargaming maps. The Exclusive Rulebook is sixteen pages in length. It is also in full color. Half of it is taken up by the rules and examples of play. The other half gives the setup for the three scenarios. The end of the Exclusive Rulebook is the various victory conditions and some player notes. Then there is an index, and on the back cover are the Fog of War Tables. The series Rulebook is also sixteen pages in length. However, it is in black and white and has no examples of play. The type on both Rulebooks is large enough to easily read without squinting. All of the Player Aids are made of hard stock and are in full color. The Event Cards are double-sided with the Union and Confederate events on one side and the Unique events on the other. There are two identical ones that are single-sided and have some of the tables and Sequence of Play on them. The next two are also identical and have the CRT, Cohesion Test, and Terrain key on them. Lastly there is another single-sided one that has the Turn Record Track, Victory Point Track, and Broken Track (for broken units) on it. There are also two smaller Brigade Activation Display for both Union and Confederate. Between the beauty of the map and the well-done Rulebooks and Players Aids there is a lot of great things in this small package.

 This is from Revolution Games:

"A Greater Victory is a game covering the key encounter at South Mountain on September 14th, 1862. It has been designed to be an historical yet readily playable regimental-scaled simulation of the twin conflict at Fox’s and Turner’s Gap. With two smaller, quick-play scenarios plus a comprehensive scenario covering the full day of action, the design offers flexible and tense situations for both players (also excellent for solitaire play). The Order-of-Battle has been researched to account for items like Confederate stragglers, offering a fresh perspective on the battle.

This is the seventh release in Revolution Games’ popular Blinds Swords series which features a chit-pull system covering the most interesting and important engagements of the ACW. New features debuting here include Brigade Activation cards so that each side can more easily gauge the status of their formations, along with a customized Fog-of-War table assigned to each scenario for an enhanced historical narrative. The series rules have also been adjusted at certain junctions to better reflect the extreme harshness of the terrain that soldiers on both sides had to contend with."

 Revolution Games describes the Blind Swords System thusly: " It emphasizes the three FOW's of military conflict: Fog-of-War, Friction-of-War, and Fortunes-of-War."

 If you have had the pleasure of playing one of the Blind Swords games, you know that this description is right on the money. These game rules have created an almost perfect balance of fun gameplay and adherence to history. It gives you the what ifs without adding dragons or anything else from D&D. Almost anything that is plausible could happen on any given turn. This in turn keeps the player always on his toes. Remember that grandiose plan you made last turn to win the game? Well, forget about it now. Playing the Confederates, you are always looking over your shoulder for those damned reinforcements. As the Union player you will be hampered by the usual 'slows' that affected the Army of the Potomac at that time. Both sides will have to deal with the very rough terrain on the battlefield. One of the biggest changes in the Exclusive Rules is the cost of terrain in movement points. To reflect the nature of the terrain a unit attacking up or down in a steep slope gets penalized when doing Close Combat (this is not in the Series Rules).

 This is the Sequence of Play:

  a. Both players choose event chits and setup draw 
  a. Union Artillery Step (move or fire)
  b. Confederate Artillery Step (move or fire)
  c. Both sides alternate “a” and “b” above until done
  d. Artillery Rally/Rebuild Step
  a. Held Event Chit Step (play any held events)
  b. Draw Chit Step
  • If Event chit, owning player keeps it or plays it, 
  draw new chit
  • If Wild chit, resolve immediately, draw new chit
  • If CIC chit, owning player selects brigade and 
  proceeds to Phase 4 or holds the chit
  • If Division Activation chit, proceed to Phase 4
  • If Brigade Activation chit proceed to Phase 4
  a. Orders Step
  b. Fire Combat Step
  c. Movement Step
  d. Close Combat Step
  e. Rally Step
  f. If any chits remain in the cup, return to Phase 3. 
  g. If no chits remain in the cup, go to Phase 5
  a. Final Held Event Chit Step
  b. Victory Point Awards Step
  c. Flip over all “Activated” brigade markers to their
  “Available” side.
  d. Broken Track Adjustment step
  e. Each player gathers all their Event chits together, 
  none are saved for following turns, and then 
  advance the Game Turn marker

 The Blind Swords System is meant to give the player the full enjoyment of playing a well-done tactical 19th century wargame. This is without giving the players a really deep micromanagement type of game. The system (as well as this game) hits the sweet spot between fun and realism for the player. The games that Revolution Games have published for the system are all excellent for dipping your toes into the system.  

 The center of the Blind Swords system is the chit pull mechanic. This alone will make sure the Fog of War enters into both sides play. As mentioned, there is also a chance to pick one of these chits: Event chit, Wild chit, Fortunes of War chit, Fog of War chit, and the CIC (commander in chief) chit. The designer, Steve Carey, had to make some adjustments of the rules because of the actual terrain of the battlefield. Because of this, the Union was not able to bring its superior numbers to bear and crush the Confederates. The battlefield is essentially split into two parts, North and South. The Union player has to remember that his 'Rally' chit is no longer used after 12:30pm.

 The game comes with three scenarios. These are:

1. Carnival of Death

2. Every Man was a Hero

3. The Battle for South Mountain

 The Victory Conditions for all three are mostly based on hex control. Each side also gets victory points for enemy units' destruction. There is also a chance for the Union player to win an automatic victory in the third scenario. I must say that the hex victory conditions in the third (whole battle) scenario are a little more complicated than just which side was the last to occupy the hex in question. 

  As the Rules state, this was D.H. Hill's finest hour. He mostly gets short shrift in many histories. His work here and at Antietam were first class soldiering. Unfortunately, he was known as an irascible man. He was put to the side because of his personality trait of always saying when the emperor had no clothes on. Considering that Lee kept Jubal Early (his "bad old man") D.H. Hill must have really known how to ruffle feathers.

  I am an unashamed fanboy of Hermann Luttmann's games and his gaming systems. So, when I found out that I would be able to review another Blind Swords System games I was very happy. When I got to play the game, I was even happier. Thank you, Revolution Games for letting me review this well-done game. A Greater Victory is on sale right now at Revolution Games. The sale price is $65 for the boxed version and $55 for the Ziploc version. That is $20 and $15 off the regular price.


Revolution Games:

 Mac and Lee by Hollandspiele  The 1862 Peninsula Campaign was at the very beginning a bold stroke to move around the Confederate Army in No...

Mac and Lee by Hollandspiele Mac and Lee by Hollandspiele

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


 Mac and Lee



 The 1862 Peninsula Campaign was at the very beginning a bold stroke to move around the Confederate Army in Northen Virginia. In actuality, it turned out much like the Anzio invasion. A whale had been beached, and that was about it. Little Mac (George McClellan), could not, for the life of him, understand the reality of the situation. The Pinkerton Agency told him that he was outnumbered two to one and he either believed them outright or used it as an excuse for his own doubts and fears. Whatever it was, his attack on Richmond progressed slower than a sloth descending a tree to do its business. Joseph E. Johnston had his own fears and doubts to deal with. He let Little Mac saunter ever so slowly to the very gates of Richmond. Had it actually come to a siege Little Mac's artillery would have pounded Richmond to dust. If, that is, he let them actually open fire. His nightmares of massive Confederate forces clouded his campaign from start to finish. Once Johnston was wounded, when he finally attacked at the Battle of Seven Pines, Robert E. Lee was summoned to take command of the Confederate Army. From this moment on Little Mac believed to his core that he had to be vastly outnumbered for the Confederates to attack him. He went into an almost mental breakdown and left his forces to mostly deal with the Confederates on their own. Lee was presented several times with opportunities to deal the Union forces a crushing blow. Instead, his forces rarely did anything correctly from a military point of view. He either could not get his subordinates to do anything, or they decided to attack the Union forces where they were the strongest. Porter Alexander believed that during this period, now called the Seven Days Battles, was the only time that the South could have won independence. Is it actually possible to put such a strange campaign into a game? Let us find out if Hollandspiele and the designer John Theissen have actually succeeded in doing so.

 This is what comes with the game:

22" x 34" mapsheet

184 counters

8-page series rulebook

12-page module rulebook

2 display sheets

1 double-sided player aid

28 special event cards

1 six-sided die

 The box and its contents are standard Hollandspiele fare. The map needs some coercion to lay flat. A piece of plexiglass or a few books on top for a bit fixes the issue. The map is reminiscent of a spruced-up map from SPI or AH. It is meant to be a wargame map and not a wall decoration. In this it serves its purpose admirably. The terrain is easy to discern and there are no ambiguities. About one third of the map is taken up by charts and tables. These are in large print and have enough separation so that all the information is easily discernable. The counters are a little dark in color, but their information is large enough to be read without squinting. The number of actual units on the board is very small, which is a hallmark of Hollandspiele's American Civil War Operational Series. They are Corps sized for the Union and Division for the South (Not until after this campaign were Corps introduced to the Confederate Armies). The Series Rulebook is eight pages long. It does have some color thrown in for aesthetics. The print is nice and large. The Module Rulebook is actually ten pages long. First is an excellent five page write up about the campaign by Doug Miller. Then there are four pages of Module rules for Mac and Lee. This follows the same format as the Series Rulebook. There are three Player Aids. These are standard size and in full color. The first one has the Terrain Chart on one side with multiple tables on the reverse side. The other two Player Aids are Strength tracks for both sides in the two scenarios that come with the game. Next up are the Special Events Cards. These are the standard game size and are nicely done. The only problem with the cards is that they contain so much information that the type is rather small. Again, the above components are the standard fare for Hollandspiele. There is nothing wrong with this. They just veer toward meaty games in play instead of artwork for the components. 

 The Sequence of Play is:

A. First Player

  1. Reinforcement

  2. Movement

  3. Combat

  4. Recovery

B. Second player same as above.

 The scale of the game is:

Time: One day per turn.

Hex size: 4.9 miles per hex

Men: About 3000 men per Strength Point.

 A game can be incredibly plain Jane in the components and still be on your table for months at a time. Conversely, some games belong in the Louvre but are never brought out to play. So, now we will go into the game itself.

 As I mentioned, this is an incredibly hard campaign to design a game around. Little Mac should have been able to swamp the Confederates and been in Richmond in no time flat. There have been many theories put forward to explain his actions, or more correctly non-actions, during the campaign. So, the designer has to take into account that the Union Army was operating with a large ball and chain attached, mainly its commander. Then on the Confederate side you have Johnston who seemed just as reticent to engage the Union troops (This was shown throughout the war). The designer chose to simulate this with a Caution & Uncertainty Roll. Each side's Caution Level is kept track of, and this simulates the oddness of the first part of this campaign. Both sides are like old Walruses who are stuck in the mud glaring at each other. At times this will be a bit maddening for the player, just as it was for Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Once Robert E. Lee shows up, the campaign usually turns abruptly into constant battles. This again shows how much the designer worked to make the game historically accurate. As Little Mac you cannot just ignore his foibles and and use your army to say, maybe fight the enemy. As Johnston, you can retreat only so far before you are heading toward the Appalachians. I love games where the designer puts you into the shoes of the commanders but also gives you the opportunities and restraints that those commanders had to deal with. This includes seeing hordes of butternut soldiers where there are none. The game also comes with 'Dummy Counters' for the Confederate Player to use to confuse Little Mac that much more. 

 The Victory Conditions for each scenario are based mostly on the control of Richmond (again historically based). The Union Player receives ten points if they occupy Richmond at any time and another ten points if they control it at the end of the game. If the Union Player never scores these points the Confederate Player receives twenty points at the end of the game. You can also get Victory Points for disrupting and eliminating the other side's forces as long as any of your units are not disrupted or eliminated in the combat. Each side must also take a Rest Turn during each quarter-month segment. This is not enforced during the first turn or during July. 

 Thank you very much Hollandspiele for allowing me to review this game. I am a deeply read student of the campaign and I am very impressed on how Mr. Theissen has been able to give us almost a simulation of it. Hollandspiele has just released an expansion to 'The Grass Crown: Battles of the Roman Republic'. It is called 'The Grass Crown II' and it includes eight new scenarios. The link to my review of The Grass Crown will be below. They have also released 'Horse and Musket V Age of Napoleon'.




Mac and Lee:

Mac and Lee – Hollandspiele

The Grass Crown review:

The Grass Crown by Hollandspiele - A Wargamers Needful Things

Antietam September 17, 1862 by Worthington Publishing  Antietam was the costliest day of fighting during ...

Antietam Septmber 17, 1862 by Worthington Publishing Antietam Septmber 17, 1862 by Worthington Publishing

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!



September 17, 1862


Worthington Publishing

 Antietam was the costliest day of fighting during the entire American Civil War. The cover shows a picture of Burnside's Bridge. This is just one of many places in this small battlefield that were etched upon the soldiers' minds. The East and West Woods, and that terrible Millers Cornfield; I have walked this battlefield, and was simply amazed at the smallness of it. How so much death and destruction was wrought in this little area is hard to fathom. By the way, the Sunken Road is not what many people think it is. I always assumed that it was a sunken lane, and that the area in front of it was flat and offered the Confederates a sweeping field of fire. In reality the lane is sunken, but it is actuality much lower than where the Union attacks came from. The Irish and others attacked over a small hill right above the Sunken Lane. You would think that the Confederates would have occupied the crest of the hill. However, they were already the closest Confederate unit to the Union batteries on the other side of Antietam Creek. The heavy Union artillery would have wreaked havoc on them. From the crest to the Sunken Lane is probably only a few hundred feet, if that. The battle there was at the same close quarters as the Cornfield. The battlefield is very well kept up and if you get a chance, go and check it out. Now on to the game. This is one of Worthington Publishing's first games in their 'Civil War Brigade Battle Series'.

 The game comes with:

22 X 33 hard mounted game board
4 counter sheets
8 page Series rules
8 page Playbook
2 ten sided dice
1 6 sided morale die
1 box

 Instead of me rewriting it, here is information about the game from Worthington Publishing:

"The game is igo-ugo, brigade level with each strength point representing 100 men. Map scale is 250 yds per hex. An 8 page rule book will have you playing within an hour as many concepts will be familiar to war gamers. Ranged artillery fire, morale, melee, cavalry charges, and more will have you battling until the last turn to see if you can achieve victory. Step loss counters in 1 point increments."

 The map is big and beautiful with very large hexes. The terrain of each hex is easily identifiable. The counters are large, easy to read, and color coded for their division. They are also marked as far as what corps they belong to, come pre-rounded, and fall out of the cardboard sprue like they have been greased. The numbers on the strength point counters are large enough for me to see without my spectacles (bifocals). The overall appearance and manufacture of the game pieces is pretty darn good. 

 You get two rulebooks, one for the game and one for the series. They are both only eight pages long. The designers went for a game that will have you playing in under an hour. I think they have succeeded admirably in reaching that goal. The game comes with four scenarios. These are:

The Morning Attack
Bloody Lane -  (Sunken Lane)
Burnside Bridge - (Or how to waste the day)
The Battle of Antietam: The Full Battle

 The game comes with the usual rules for nineteenth century warfare. Cavalry can be either Mounted/Dismounted. Artillery are either Limbered/or Unlimbered, and can only move when Limbered. You do get a bonus for moving in column on road or clear hexes, as long as you are four hexes away from an enemy unit. The Player does not have to remember to put his units into and out of column. The rules assume that the general in charge would be able to take care of this detail. Unfortunately in history this was sometimes not the case. Leader units are extremely valuable. If a Leader is stacked with a unit that has to make a morale check, a -1 is added to the die roll. During the Command Phase if an infantry or cavalry unit is within four hexes they are in command. Leaders can be eliminated and then the counter is placed on its obverse side (replacement). A unit has to be within three hexes of a replacement leader to be in command. In the Rally Phase a unit has to be within Command Range of their Leader to attempt to Rally. Battle in the game is as bloody as it was in reality. You will be using a lot, if not all, of the strength point markers. The game rules allow the battle to swing back and forth just like it did in reality. The rules do a good job of giving you historical and plausible outcomes in your different playthroughs.

This is the sequence of play:

First Player Command Phase
First Player Organization Phase
First Player Offensive Artillery Phase
First Player Movement Phase
First player Combat Phase
   Second Player Defensive Fire 
   First Player Offensive Fire
First Player Rally Phase
Second Player has the same exact phases
The Turn Marker is advanced one turn

 The Victory Conditions are pretty straightforward. Each side scores one point for every casualty point the other side has accumulated. This is a list of the Victory Point hexes:

Dunker Church - Confederate Control 10VP - Union Control 25VP
Any Sunken Road Hex - Confederate Control of all of Them 10VP - Union Control of any of Them 25VP
Potomac Ford - Confederate Control 25VP - Union Control 50VP

 Antietam is a battle that only a general like McClellan could lose. Lee would not have forced this battle if he had not been the Union general. In actuality, the battle is only for the Union to lose or win. McClellan's timidity is shown in the rules by only allowing the Union player to activate only two corps each turn. This is the only way that the battle can be recreated, and show McClellan's timidity, and also not allow the Union to just crush Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. If the Union player does not use his two corps a turn better than McClellan, he will probably lose. If the Confederate Player does not use all of his units as fire brigades he will probably lose. The Confederate player must play like the 'Little Dutch Boy' and use all of his fingers and toes to dam up the dike. The game was designed by Mike and Grant Wylie. Grant 's suggestions for the Union are that you get Sumner's Corps and Porter's Corps across the middle bridge before doing anything on the Confederate left with Hooker's Corps. He also states that you have to get Mansfield's Corps in position with Hooker's Corps before attacking there. Grant's suggestions to the Confederate Player is to "Be like Lee". Meaning run about the board and deal with one disaster after another. The game is an excellent medium complexity game on the Battle of Antietam. It has just the right amount of rules and glitz to make it eminently playable and fun. Thank you Worthington Publishing for allowing me to review another great game of theirs. I cannot wait to see some more battles in their 'Civil War Brigade Battle Series', especially The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, or The Seven Days Battles.

Antietam website:

Shenandoah Campaign by John Tiller Software & Wargame Design Studio  I am not really a student of ...

Shenandoah Campaign by John Tiller Software & Wargame Design Studio Shenandoah Campaign by John Tiller Software & Wargame Design Studio

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Shenandoah Campaign


John Tiller Software


Wargame Design Studio

 I am not really a student of 'Stonewall' Jackson's Valley Campaign at all. I have read some things about it, but was never really enthralled as I am with the history of the Army of Northern Virginia's Campaigns. I am also somewhat familiar with the 1864 Valley Campaign, but not enough to consider myself versed in it. Jackson himself remains an enigma to me and many others. His Valley Campaign of 1862 is considered the height of military science by some, even though he really did not face the cream of the crop as far as Union Generals and troops. The Union Generals during the campaign resemble the Three Stooges more than competent commanders. Jackson's subsequent almost uselessness during the Seven Days Battles has been excused by a lot of authors. Still, I do not know where he fits in the scheme of things. Was he the best of the Southern Generals or just great because of the opposition he faced? Sorry for the digression, now back to the pertinent subject.

 So, the game gives you two diverse campaigns separated by two years and thousands of dead on both sides. Both do have one striking similarity, and that is both were fought by Southern Generals to take pressure off the Army of Northern Virginia. In 1862, Jackson succeeded marvelously. In 1864, Jubal Early succeeded early (sorry) in the campaign, but was inevitably broken by the Union preponderance of strength in the end. Jubal Early is also an enigma as a commander. Quite possibly he lost Gettysburg for the South by whispering in Ewell's ear. Then again, in 1864 he was able to put a scare into Washington, which had a much greater effect than it should have. Early was described as his "bad old man" by Robert E. Lee even though he wasn't that old at all. His hair and stooped figure made him seem much older than he was. He was also the only person we know of that had a plate smashed over his head as a cadet at West Point. Brigadier General Lewis Armistead, of Gettysburg fame, was the plate wielder.

3D extreme zoom in of the Kernstown Scenario

 So what exactly is in this game. We know that it spans two different years of the Civil War, but what is behind door #2?
Here is the list:

"174 scenarios are included, and all can be played as either side, against the A/I or other human challengers.
Each major battle has three versions, 1) the standard, for playing head to head, especially PBEM and Hotseat. 2) Weather, for playing when Mother Nature is unpredictable, and 3) A/I, for playing against the computer. NOTE; all scenarios can be played against the A/I, but these scenarios are designed specifically for, and will provide a greater challenge for those familiar with this game system.
Most scenarios can be played against the A/I in a single day, yet others may take several days to complete, or even weeks. Just save, and continue later at your own pace.
For more fun, challenge another human, and play either face to face, or PBEM (Play by email)
Battles include: Kernstown, McDowell, Winchester, Cross Keys, Port Republic, New Market, Piedmont, Lynchburg, Monocacy, the siege of Fort Stevens, Cool Springs, Berryville, and the climactic battle of Cedar Creek.
4 campaigns are included. Each can be played with or without the added hardships of weather. Weather can be anything from a mild mist and fog, to muddy roads and torrential thunderstorms."

2D version of the same screen

 The games is classic John Tiller Software with a large dose of Wargame Design Studio mixed in. The visuals, like almost all of the John Tiller stable, are now much clearer and look nothing like when the other Campaign Games were released years ago. The speed at which they have been releasing games has now been put into overdrive. Where we used to wait all year for one or two releases we have seen four new games in the last few months. The enhanced games are still easy to get into if you haven't played one of the series for awhile. The amount of playtesting that goes into the games is probably the most for any computer game. The fact that now the AI is so much better than it was is also laudable. Some will argue that point, but most of us do not play one game to death so that we find all of the AIs weaknesses. I know I flitter through the games following whatever I am reading at the time. One thing that I have not mentioned is the excellent tie in the games have for reading history. For those books who have little to no maps on a battle, here it is in almost life size. You can follow along with the book through the different placement of troops and the important geographical points around the different battlefields. Because it is a game, you can then decide to try and do better than the historical Generals did when they had control. These are some of the enhancements that you get now-a-days from these games:

"A total graphics package:
3D hand drawn maps, 3D units, with individualized regimental flags.
Colorized leaders and unit files.
Traditional B/W unit, and leaders are also an option.
Improved 2D road graphics.
Scenario and Campaign editor: Build new, or improve existing battles and campaigns.
Many “What If” battles and maps, both large and small. Including the massive Shenandoah Master map.
Extreme Fog of War optional rule.
Objective hexes are now awarded points for each side. The number of points that can be earned are determined by length of time controlled, and its strategic importance for each combatant. Therefore, earned points are not equally distributed.
A true, large (4X) 2D map view."

Extreme zoom out of the same screen

 I will say that the opening paragraph notwithstanding, I have come to appreciate Jackson's ability in these battles somewhat differently. That leads me to another incredibly laudable point of the entire John Tiller stable. You can actually learn history, or at least grasp it that much more by playing these games. I have tried to play as many of the different scenarios as I could, but with 174 it is a lost cause. The Shenandoah Master Map is exactly as described: 'massive'. I will say that while I enjoy zooming in to the 3D to look at the graphics, I do spend most of my time playing on the 2D Map. I have done a fair number of reviews of the different Campaign Series games, and I am still impressed by the depth and sheer size of what you get for the price of a cheap dinner for two. I really cannot say enough about the gaming you will get for a mere $39.95. The Campaign/Scenario Editor is so large that you can get lost in it and never actually play the game. I will have some links at the bottom of other John Tiller Software/Wargame Design Studio games I have reviewed. I am sure I will have forgotten to mention some part of the game that you receive with your purchase, so the other reviews will help you to understand the breadth of just one of these games.

 So in recap, you get 174 scenarios, historical/and what if, that can all be played on either side against the AI. You also get at least one, sometimes a few, version(s) of each scenario that is meant to be played from the ground up against the AI. My favorite one so far is the Kernstown Battle from 1862. Thank you John Tiller Software/Wargame Design Studio for allowing me to review this, as usual, excellent package of history, posing itself as a game.

Campaign Shenandoah:
Campaign Eylau-Friedland:

Campaign Petersburg:

Japan '46: