Friday, July 11, 2014

Battleplan: American Civil War Gameplay Review

During linear ten-mission campaigns and very fast-paced single quick battles, three objective locations must be captured. The interface has numerous issues: selection and movement orders are commonly confused, vague unit portraits don’t easily identify unit type, units will build extraneous time-consuming pontoon bridges immediately adjacent to existing fords or bridges (especially when issued group-move orders across a river), there is no indication when valuable reinforcements arrive, and tool-tips are non-existent. Basic unit types (infantry, cavalry, and artillery), along with a commander unit and supply wagon, are available. Unit experience, morale, exhaustion, and leader aggressiveness can impact their performance and actions during battle. Movement orders are done by selecting a unit and dragging out a path with the mouse; units will attack automatically. Orders travel from the commander to units by courier and may be refused or delayed. Commanders can also rally nearby units, artillery units are affected by the wind and terrain, and idle forces can create temporary defenses. Alternating between active and passive, the AI noticeably waits for pre-scripted events to coordinate an attack. A budget-priced light wargame designed with tablets in mind, Battleplan: American Civil War has some advanced concepts at a heightened pace, but spotty AI and a troublesome interface.