Civil War II: 186216 Jan 2014 0
Civil War II: 1862 is the prequel to Hunted Cow?s Civil War: 1863. It differs from the original by adding a number of new features and improvements such as flank attacks and strategic movement. Melee combat is apparently more important than 1863 (as I never played that I am not really able to comment) and the range of troop quality has been expanded to include elite units making 4 grades in all.
The basic game comprises of an 8 mission Tutorial Campaign, a 5 battle campaign (?Fix Bayonets?) and an 8 battle campaign (?Steel and Thunder?). Whilst you must play the tutorial as the Union, all the others can be played as either side. There are 8 units in the game: infantry with muskets; infantry with rifled muskets; artillery; generals; wagons; naval gunboats; cavalry and dismounted cavalry.
Look and Feel
I tested this game on an iPad with a Retina display and everything was nice and clear as you?d expect. I also gave it a quick look on my old iPad 1 and whilst it obviously didn?t look as good it was perfectly good enough for use. The game is hex based and the battlefield has a hex overlay on it, but this isn?t too ?in your face?. You can?t turn the hexes off as you can in some other games, but as they are integral to the game I?m not sure that you would want to even if you had the choice. The terrain is modelled clearly enough although it isn?t going to win any awards; you can see what are hills, woods, etc. The same can be said of the units. Most importantly you can tell the units apart from each other? but don?t expect any of the unit individuality that you might get in a bigger more complex game. There is some nice, if simple, unit animation when they move, shoot, fight or are destroyed.
Lastly we ought to mention the sounds. There is background music and various ?combat? and marching sounds. They?re OK, but I found that they added little to the game. However, they can be turned off easily enough so whatever you feel about them isn?t really relevant.
Game play is pretty easy and quickly picked up. The eight short tutorials that are included take you through the basics painlessly, although most of the controls are exactly what you?d expect from a game like this so most people can probably skip these ? especially those who have played this style of Hunted Cow game before as the mechanisms are identical. Almost everything you do is actioned by tapping on the unit you want to move or attack with and then tapping on the destination hex or enemy unit you wish to attack. When you do tap on a unit the hexes the unit can move to, and/or the enemies it can attack or shoot at are highlighted. This means is that you can get on and focus on the tactical situation in front of you rather than fighting the interface.
Movement of units from one hex to another can be a bit slow, but there is a facility whereby if you tap the screen again they speed up which is a great help. Importantly you can also do this when the AI is moving, which is useful as it gets a bit dull watching units stomp slowly around the field. There is an argument that the AI moves should always be at this speed.
Of course the game is mainly about destroying enemy units, which means coming up with tactics based on what units you have and what units the enemy has, plus taking into account the terrain. Each battle scenario has a brief of the goals, which are typically destroy a percentage of the enemy without losing too many of your own units, but some also have time factors in them which adds to the decision making process. The composition of your army is set for each battle, as is your enemies. Units have different strengths and weaknesses, which are described in screens accessed by tapping on an icon at the bottom of the screen, and also come in four different experience levels: Raw, Average, Veteran and Elite. It is worth studying these as they are important when working out tactics. Generals can be used to improve units fighting abilities.
For those who like to see the numbers behind the combats Hunted Cow have included an option that shows you the odds before you commit to a fight ? just like they did in Ancient Battle: Rome. If this is turned on, when you tap to send a unit into a fight instead of it attacking immediately the factors influencing the fight and the odds are shown for you to consider; you then tap again on the target to commit to the attack. Naturally this slows down the game, however, it does explain what the combat mechanism is doing so you can make better informed decisions ? or just be knowingly reckless.
The game comes with three difficulty levels: Easy, Standard and Hard. I found that even the Casual version makes fairly intelligent choices and, at least at first, gives you a reasonably challenging game. However, it doesn?t take long before you have the measure of this level and I?d recommend going up to at least Standard pretty quickly ? again players of other Hunted Cow games in this genre may be better off just jumping in at Standard.
Long Term Playability
As the game ships with 13 battle scenarios which you can play through as either side and has another 40 battles, within 5 battle campaigns of 8 battles each, as cheap In App Purchases and has three difficulty levels there is a good deal of replayability in this game. Once you have played a given battle scenario you can go back and replay it again and again, changing the difficulty level each time, to see if there are better tactics to use. However, I would personally question whether I want to play my way through that many battles even if the additional ones are so cheap. Others may disagree.
Should I Buy?
For somebody like me with a tabletop wargaming background this game is a natural purchase. The game has many of the features of a traditional figure wargame but is conveniently on your iPad to be picked up and played when you want. Each of the scenarios plays out is a reasonable length of time and could, for example, be played on your daily commute on the train ? and that is the sort of thing I look for in a mobile game. The price means it is really a no lose buy, and the additional campaigns are cheap as chips. So all in all it looks good value for money. If the period or more traditional style wargaming appeals to you I?d recommend this game ? and if they aren?t at the top of your list give it a go anyway given the price.
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
App cost £1.49/$1.99; in-app purchases of additional campaigns £0.69/$0.99 each