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Posted on Jun 14, 2007 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

HPS Jena-Auerstaedt Review

By Mike Tomlin

This mode aside, the feel of the game is extremely positive and the player should soon be thoroughly absorbed in the period and technical and tactical aspects of Napoleonic warfare. This is further enhanced by a selection of background marching tunes of the period which may be selected, or not, as the player chooses.

But does it play well? Unequivocally yes. The basic mechanics of the game are very easy to get to grips with for the novice, although a rudimentary understanding of formations and tactics of the period would be an advantage. There are copious detailed help files available to assist those needing or wanting further information. For the experienced gamer with a working knowledge of the period the game provides a very accurate simulation of all aspects of Napoleonic warfare, within the turn and hex based framework. As experienced players of this series will already be aware, the AI is not its strongest aspect, but it provides a reasonable opponent for those new to the engine. However the game reaches its true peak when played against a human opponent. This can be achieved via hot seat or email play, and there is a strong gaming community already in existence.


To achieve success in battle, the player will have to plan moves very carefully and choosing the right formation for each unit, particularly in the near presence of enemy artillery and cavalry, is essential. The correct use of reserves is absolutely critical – victory will often go to the general who last commits his or her reserves. Although no game is 100% accurate in its replication of warfare, the player will have to closely follow and use the correct tactics of the period to overcome the opponent.

Let us not forget the scenario and campaign editor. The former permits the creation of new battles/skirmishes, albeit these are limited to use of existing maps, and also new orders or battle in addition to being able to edit existing ones. The Campaign Editor allows full new campaigns to be created, linking new or existing scenarios, but again using existing maps.

Graphics are appropriate to a turn and hex-based game, and in the close up 3-D views of the units are colourful, if static. However much of the game, particularly on the larger maps will inevitably be played out on the 2-D maps where the graphics are more basic. This is not really a drawback, except for those who insist on state of the art graphics.

The game engines for each new campaign are virtually identical, although new features are constantly being added and all games are frequently updated. However the key element is the campaign being covered and whether it brings anything new to the pot. Jena-Auerstaedt is a campaign that is rarely, if ever, covered, especially in computer wargaming and this alone makes it worth acquiring. However, the confusion of the commanders, the string of meeting engagements, the speed and drama of it all, plus the scale it is played on and the close linkage between engagements give this game a unique feel. This is a must have game for anyone who loves warfare of this period!



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