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Posted on Aug 5, 2007 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

HPS Campaign Chickamauga Review

By Mike Tomlin

In addition to the individual scenarios, the game can also be played in campaign mode. In Chickamauga, players start a campaign with two strategic options from which they must choose one. A pre-defined decision tree exists for each campaign and each particular combination of actions chosen by the two sides decides the specific scenario to be played. At the end of the battle the players are redirected back to the strategic options, those available being dependent on the result of the battle just played. This process continues until one side or the other achieves the conditions for a campaign victory, or a draw is declared.

The disk also includes editors for both the scenario and campaign modules, supported by very good help files for each. While these do not allow the player to create new maps, the scope for adding value and creating new battles and campaigns is still good and with HPS’ wide user base scenarios will undoubtedly become available.


HPS typically include very comprehensive user manuals for the game engine and getting started, and also campaign notes relating to the design aims and decisions relating to the current game. While these are always of a high standard, the latter document deserves special mention because it includes not only the comments of Rich Walker, the designer who is responsible for this and the previous three games, but also comprehensive documentation on the orders of battle in the game compiled by Dave Powell. This represents 69 of the 115 pages of the notes and amounts almost to a "doctoral thesis" on unit returns etc. This will be a delightful bonus to those gamers who love to delve ever deeper into the historic background, and also reflects the research put into this game.

As always, each new release includes improvements to the game engine, and this is no exception. The main upgrade concerns the optional weather feature previously introduced in Shiloh, which is now more detailed. When selected, this option permits a risk of weather changes based on percentages – current and forecast weather can be displayed in an info box. This is also used to replicate gun smoke or brush fires even on clear days. This not to say that players can actually see the smoke or weather, but rather that line of sight is reduced appropriately. In addition, disrupted units have had their movement increased from 50% to 75%, artillery may retire by prolonge in certain circumstances, and finally cavalry skirmishes are automatically deployed when the relevant option is selected. For visual variety and to reflect the fact that included historic battles were fought in both summer and winter, two versions of the ground graphics are given to offer added feel.

This game actually covers more than just the Chickamauga campaign. Also included are the battles of Perryville in Kentucky, Murfreesboro in Tennessee, Chattanooga – not previously covered in a computer game – and hypothetical battles at Frankfort, Nashville and Greater Mill Springs. There are in total 170 included stand alone scenarios, plus 80 further ones for use within the 8 campaigns. These battles vary from full battles of one, two or three days, of up to 132 turns, down to smaller engagements of just nine turns that represent particular sectors of the larger fields.

However, these numbers can be a little misleading as virtually all scenarios are repeated in two formats, one normal and one to be fought under the new expanded weather rules included in the game, and each campaign has two similar versions. Also many of the stand alone scenarios have winter graphic versions of both normal and weather versions. The maps are detailed and as accurate as hex based games and research permit, and the Chickamauga one is large, containing the Chattanooga field as well.

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