Ultimate General: Civil War catch-all

This game deserves its own thread in my opinion so I am giving it one.

The original Ultimate General: Gettysburg was a decent game if limited. While entertaining it felt to me more like a tech demo for a combat engine and less like a real game. I thought the concept, the UI and the graphics were good. But I did not really like the broken up aspect of the battle and in over 20 hours of game play I never got to play the entire battle. I just played pieces of it that rarely made me feel like I was playing the most epic battle of the Civil War with 200,000 soldiers on the battlefield. Positioning of the units could be difficult and getting it seemed like getting good feedback on some units could be tricky. Finally there was no strategic layer and since Sid Meier’s Gettysburg did essentially the same thing better 15 years ago I thought the game was merely okay. The price was right and the AI was excellent so overall it was and remains a good value.

Enter UG:CW. It fixed virtually everything I did not like about the first game. Everything is improved. The maps are visually spectacular with great places to set up ambushes and plan defensive lines. While before there were broad forests, this game has hills, rivers,creeks and clumps of realistically-spaced trees that provide wonderful tactical options. The perspective has changed slightly and I find the game much more engaging because I can see my units better. The already great UI has improved so that I get all the information about my troops that I want.

Battles are set up in multiple stages but you get to work the whole battlefield. For instance, in the Shiloh battle as the Union you start with an encounter to the West. Once you complete that battle you get to fight on the East side of the battlefield. Then the game brings both of those together as you left each battle and now you are fighting both fronts trying to hold each position. The next stage brings you the historically accurate withdraw to better defensive positions (something that is rarely done well in war games) and then finally the defense of Pittsburg landing by the Union. Instead of being disjointed the battles start off small but grow in scope and I can see how the results of a successful tactical engagement in one area of the battle can influence the battle elsewhere.

There is a also a strategic layer to the game where you build your army, select your weapons, pick your leaders and grow your mighty army the way you want to see it built. It is a limited strategic layer but offers just enough to provide some quite interesting possibilities because you can create a cavalry, artillery, skirmisher or troop heavy army if you would like. Since I am not very good with cavalry I can choose to use skirmishers instead, equip them with very expensive sniper rifles and hunt down enemy artillery that way. It is costly but that is my choice.

The game is still in Early Access and the campaign is not complete though there are already many battles in the game, battles are getting balanced and bugs are being ironed out. But if you liked the first or thought it was merely okay this one seems to be a giant leap forward. This may be the best Civil War game of all time by the time it is finished.

It’s been on my Steam wishlist for a few weeks and I’ve been tempted to nab it while on sale, but the early access status always puts me off. Good to read positive comments on it though, the subject material is of huge interest to me and I can’t remember the last strat game that covered the period.

I’ve seen what appears to be a timer in some of the videos. Is that the countdown to the next part of the battle, or to “you lose, sucka”?

Because if the latter, that’s a big pass from me.

Hm. That’s funny. I found the tactical AI of UG: Gettysburg to be mostly worthless. I don’t think I ever lost a game, and most of them ended up as totally lopsided romps. With a even roughly competent tactical AI, this would be an automatic buy for me. Maybe they improved it later on in Gettysburg’s lifecycle?

I have not been in a position to lose outright but once I had only one of two objectives completed when the timer ran out. The game allowed me to continue and I took the second objective. So while I am sure eventually there is a timer that will induce a fail state (the sun does eventually set after all) it is note solely limited to the timer.

The AI was significantly improved over the course of the game and in multiple patches after launch. Patches 1.3 and the last patch (1.7) were almost exclusively AI enhancements. So if you played during Early Access then the AI was significantly better later on.

I keep voting for this for Tom’s Request Wednesday. One day I shall win!

The opening days of General Beauregard Chick’s career were characterized by a lot of on-the-job training.

Thanks for “randomly” choosing my pick, General Chick

I watched that video last night. I have never felt more sympathy for the foot soldiers of the Confederacy.

I am still playing and enjoying this. It really is a massive improvement over the first one.

In case anyone thought the battles in Gettysburg were not big enough, this will not be a problem in UG:CW. I just got to the Fredericksburg battle. I am commanding 106,763 soldiers and 341 guns across 4 corps, 13 divisions and 74 brigades It is quite the battle.

FYI, yesterday’s update added the battle of Gettysburg. So if you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with some historical fratricide…

Surely I can’t be the only one thinking that there’s so much potential with an engine that can let you handle 106,763 soldiers…

I’m thinking a realistic depiction of the battle of Cannae…

I’m just waiting for this to come out of EA and go on sale before I snag it. I know I’ll suck, but it sounds great.

This is just about out of EA and is 33% off during the Steam sale. That is a major bargain and 6 month later it is still one of my favorite current war games along with Hearts of Iron 4.

Oh great. I was trying to decide between this and HOI4. Now you’re telling me I need to get both! :P

This youtuber has some fantastic videos up of this, I am sold.


I just watched one of his later ones, and in the summary screen, it looks like literally every battle he fought (like 10+) was a victory.

What’s the point of playing? Is the AI that terrible?

There are four different difficulty levels. I can safely assure you that the higher ones offer real challenge.

Yes, I had to replay the first battle many times as I failed miserably, and later since casualties carries on, because I got entire units wiped out.

This game is hard, and the AI is not stupid at all…

You can equip your units with cool guns, I got hold of some napoleon heavy hitters cannon only to loose the lot to cavalry…

I just wrapped up my first Union campaign against those Confederate traitors. By the time I got to the final battle in Richmond it was very easy as my army vastly outnumbered the Rebels. This is what happens if you inflict twice as many casualties as your opponent throughout the campaign.

I still hold to my original post that this is a giant step forward and is the best Civil War game ever. The difference playing the Gettysburg scenario in this version versus versus UG:Gettysburg is night and day. The CW version is simply larger, more dynamic, more fun with more beautiful maps. I stoned the Rebels at Devil’s Den and inflicted massive casualties from the woods along Cemetery Ridge. I believe at one point there must have been 100+ corps with more than 175,000 troops on the field doing battle.

The AI is quite good and truly tried to exploit some of my blunders. It is also fun to set your own traps. In one scenario I drew 2 Rebel corps down a road with my skirmishers off in the woods holding their fire. The skirmishers were simply there to act as my eyes. Once the Rebels passed and engaged in my front line I brought up 3,500 men that had been hiding deeper in the woods behind the skirmishers and brought them to bear on the rear of the Rebels. The slaughter was glorious as the trap closed perfectly with fire from the front, rear and both sides from the skirmishers. 1,200 Confederate troops surrendered and the route was one.

33% off on this game which is just about out of EA is a massive bargain.