From the superbly designed and helpful movement reference card to the complexity of the historical confrontations of the First and Second Battles of Bull Run (or Manassas as the northern factions would have it), Battleground 7: Bull Run is a tour de force in Civil War battle re-enactment via computer wargaming. As a resident in and around Manassas for more decades than I care to admit, I can attest to the unparalleled realism and historical presentation of the battles and terrain depicted in this game. Actually, close proximity to and visitation of real battlefields depicted in the Battleground series (in my case Gettysburg and Bull Run) make the games come alive and resonate with feelings of history observed.
Battleground 7: Bull Run's gameplay is turn-based on a hex-grid where each hex approximates 125 yards of terrain. Turns equal twenty minutes of real time during dawn, daylight and dusk with nighttime turns the equivalent of an hour. Unlike the preceding Battleground 6: Napoleon in Russia, there are only four turn phases (movement, defensive fire, offensive fire and melee) instead of five.
Emphasis on the historical realism of units and commander strengths with the easy to use point-and-click interface still in place. As in previous titles of the series, the same incredible attention to detail of every facet connected with unit portrayal and quality, formation considerations, supply, fatigue, stacking, rallying troops, and terrain has been applied. Once again, computer ability to crunch the numbers frees the user to focus on strategy and tactics with full concentration. Options include a fully customizable level of computer AI (definitely no pushover in solo games against a computer opponent) and numerous multi-player designs enrich the experience.
Music in Battleground 7: Bull Run deserves a special mention since the authentic period music by Bobby Horton is featured throughout the game and decidedly helps capture the mood of the era. Sound effects are geared toward Civil War era warfare and add nicely to the environment.
Nearly two dozen historical and alternative scenarios cover all facets of the Bull Run campaigns, including the matinee warm up to First Manassas of Blackburn's Ford and the Second Manassas preview, Brawners Farm. The inclusion of the previously designed feature allowing the player to record a battle is still a great tool for giving you a chance to review the battle and discover where mistakes were made. The tradition of highly playable and realistic war games continues with this release of the Battleground series.
Graphics: Sharp unit graphics with colorful maps of the terrain and features.
Sound: Excellent musical track and decent ambient battle sounds.
Enjoyment: Having a personal interest in the Battles of Bull Run (Manassas) is definitely a factor when rating the game. Having walked the battlefields, the sense of reality is truly enhanced when playing the game. The rallying cries and fearsome noise generated during the battles makes the action seem tangible, especially when familiar with the landscape and army movements.
Replay Value: Employing different strategies and tactics, along with the number of scenarios, makes replay value high.
People who downloaded Battleground 7: Bull Run have also downloaded:
Battleground 4: Shiloh, Battleground 2: Gettysburg, Battleground 6: Napoleon in Russia, Battleground 3: Waterloo , Battleground: Ardennes, Civil War Generals 2, American Civil War: Take Command - Second Manassas, Austerlitz: Napoleon's Greatest Victory
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