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Posted on Mar 3, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

HPS Campaign Peninsula – Game Review (PC)

By Mike Tomlin

On the opposite tack, the closer territorial framework, plus the tight timescales covered, provides a linkage between the battles and a true cohesion to the full Seven Days Campaign that all the other games lack.. In other HPS games, the campaign scenarios are spread out over both time and space, and successive encounters can be very different. Indeed defeat in one battle does not necessarily mean losing the campaign. The effect of losing a battle in Peninsula, particularly if casualties are high, can be much greater. In this game the full Campaign (or indeed the actual single scenarios covering the whole 7 days) provides a feeling of continuity the others cannot match.

Full on frontal attacks will undoubtedly prove bloody and costly, and it is easy to force your opponent back but be unable to exploit the situation due to the state you have left your forces in.


Typical screen with Controls – 3-D Zoom In View

Waterways, and their crossings, and road networks will heavily influence the way the game is played. Movement as always is critical in these games, and there is good potential for switching forces rapidly, and secretly, for the daring general. In many of the larger scenarios, movement will occupy most of the early turns and will be key. Whilst you may not be able to replicate the surprise that Lee sought (but didn’t actually achieve) you should be able to try a variety of different strategies to varying degrees of success. Would-be McClellans (are there any?) will find less opportunity to maneuver in many situations due to the confines of the ground, but may begin to understand the originals worries with such vulnerable flanks.

In order to reflect the fact that early battles of the war were fought differently, and not to unbalance the attacking/defensive balance at this stage of the war, some scenarios will not allow the building of breastworks.

The HPS AI opponent is not necessarily challenging for the experienced player, being predictable and limited, but adequate for the new wargamer. Undoubtedly the real thrill and glory of the game is in playing against another human being, either in real time, (Hotseat, LAN or over the internet) or by Email. Several Internet Clubs exist where opponents can be found and I would strongly recommend once you are familiar with the game, you join one of these.

Typical 2-D Zoom In view


As with all the HPS Civil War games, the graphics are relatively basic, but what one would expect with turn/hex based games. The main map can be viewed in both two dimensional and three dimensional landscapes, with a close up and zoomed out view for each. Personally I play in the 2-D Mode exclusively, these days, but either is adequate. There are many options for enhancing the unit information visible to ease command problems.


In a turn-based wargame, sound inevitably takes a back seat, as being non-essential to the game. That being said, the game has adequate sound effects for the wide variety of weaponry modelled, which can be turned off. Also available are some excellent background songs, from the period, which add greatly to the atmosphere.

Final Thoughts

I’m a fan of all the HPS ACW Campaign games and admit to having bought them all. Whilst the early ones, Corinth, Ozark & Corinth, were interesting and showed the capacity and capabilities of the engine etc., I confess to having been somewhat disappointed in the Campaigns chosen as they failed to interest me personally, and in at least two cases were not on the scale of armies that I prefer. HPS has certainly remedied this fault, from my viewpoint, with their three latest campaigns, Gettysburg, Peninsula, and Shiloh. Each has a very definite and different feel, and offers a scale of battle that I find far more challenging and interesting. One can only wait to see what comes next.

– Campaign continuity
– Excellent historic "feel"
– Replayability
– Human Opponent options

– Limited number of different battles
– Lack of longer Campaign from first invasion
– Limited AI opponent

Bottom Line: An absolute must for any ACW wargaming enthusiast

Armchair General Score: 83%

56/60 — Gameplay
10/20 — Graphics
07/10 — Sound
10/10 — Documentation & Technical

HPS Website

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