Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 79 / DECEMBER 1986 / PAGE 68

Gettysburg: The Turning Point

James V. Trunzo

Requirements: Apple II-series computer with a minimum of 64K, Commodore 64, and Atari 8-bit computers (64K minimum).

Even those with only a passing interest in the War Between the States nod knowingly when they hear the names Big Round Top and Little Round Top, Devil's Den, Seminary Ridge, and Cemetery Hill. These names were part of the most infamous battle fought on our own soil: the Battle of Gettysburg. Now, on the heels of the critically acclaimed Battle of Antietam, Strategic Simulations has released yet another outstanding computer war game, Gettysburg: The Turning Point.

While Gettysburg has been the theme of numerous board games and several earlier computer simulations, never has it been done with such thoroughness and accuracy. Gettysburg: The Turning Point was designed by Chuck Kroegel and programmed by David Landrey; and if the game bears more than a passing resemblance to its illustrious predecessor Antietam, it's no coincidence. The same two talented individuals created Antietam.

A First-Rate Simulation

SSI's product contains all the elements that one expects in a top-notch simulation: playability, good use of graphics, and a well-thought-out phase system. Combine the aforementioned with such factors as fatigue, routs, the effects of superior and inferior command, the effects of elevation, realistic terrain, and so forth, and you have a winner.

Gettysburg: The Turning Point offers a great number of options: Any one of four scenarios can be selected for play (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, or a Campaign game), and the computer can play either or both sides, or two people can play. There are three difficulty levels, and optional hidden units, icons or symbols, variable orders of appearance (which can alter the historical accuracy of the game), and optional cavalry reinforcements.

One of the outstanding features of Antietam is the "feel" of the game. Gettysburg retains that feature by its very structure. The simulation, like the actual battle, begins with a skirmish between the Confederate forces of Heth and the Union forces of Buford. Game turn by game turn, more and more troops appear on the screen, awaiting combat orders. Like a small fire feeding first on twigs and finally turning into a blaze, the game grows into the major conflict it simulates, a conflict that eventually involved over 160,000 troops and decided, during the course of three days, the fate of a nation.

Many Refinements

Gamers who have played Antietam will enjoy the similarities between it and Gettysburg. However, the system used in the earlier game has been even further refined to insure greater accuracy and playability. While the changes are numerous, some of the more significant ones include ammunition points; more realistic fatigue rules; an End-of-the-Day Phase that provides an accurate score at that point in the game; clearer cursor plotting in the combat phase (with the cursor first appearing over the firing unit and then appearing over the target unit when casualties are inflicted); artillery units containing both men and guns; no activation limits; and much greater emphasis on and flexibility in Command control, Commanders can be shifted from one Brigade, Division, or Corps to another as the player desires.

It's hard to improve on a product like Antietam, but SSI has done it with Gettysburg, This simulation is a worthy addition to any war-gamerís library; especially if the gamer has an abiding interest in the Civil War.

Gettysburg: The Turning Point

Strategic Simulations 1046 N. Rengstorff Ave. Mountain View, CA 94043-1716 $59.95