Sid Meier's Gettysburg
Written by Daniel Westerstal   
Friday, 27 April 2007

In 1997 legendary Sid Meier decided to release a long anticipated civil war game, Sid Meier’s Gettysburg. geared up to play the game design master’s version of the battle.

Sid Meier had been working on a game with the title Sid Meier’s Civil War since 1991, gaming magazines were littered with previews of the game years before the actual release. After a while the famous developer decided to shift from trying to make a general civil war game to one game for each battle. Sid Meier’s Gettysburg and Antietam was born.

As most of you should know the Gettysburg battle was one of the most important battles during the American Civil War, General Meade defeated Lee which was a major turning point during the Civil War.

The game starts with the battle at McPherson Hill, which is more of a tutorial battle where the player is guided through the characteristics of the game. Before each battle the units at your disposal will be marked and described, so you know what you got before going into battle. It is actually quite a good thing, even though it can be tedious at times.

Controlling Sid Meier’s Gettysburg is a breeze; it’s simply a matter of clicking and dragging the units to the right places. However finding the strategically important places on the map is not as easy as it may seem. The enemy is constantly regrouping and moving its forces around, so you have to take that into account. Also you have to try to anticipate the enemy’s next move since it takes a while for your units to get into position.

Your units will gain morale if there are other friendly units around them, and they will lose morale if they are all alone. There are also some strategies that you need to stick to, if a unit gets attacked from one of the flank it will rapidly loose men and eventually be wiped out. Attacking the enemy head on will most of the time get you nothing, while attacking head on with a smaller force and moving the large force around them will give you an advantage. Even though Sid Meier’s Gettysburg is in real time the game requires lots of strategic thinking and maneuvering.

Playing the campaigns either as the Union or Confederate side is loads of fun as the story and battle progress as you are victorious. But it is also fun to watch the planning table sequences were the different commanders discuss the tactics.  The game also has some video sequences (probably from Civil War reenactments) where parts of the battles are shown.

Sid Meier’s Gettysburg can be played in a number of modes (multiplayer, campaign and single battles). Despite the games age it was actually possible to play the game over the Internet, but also using LAN or modem.

The graphics in Gettysburg is isometric and look fairly good. It is possible to zoom in and out, which is more than a pretty feature in this game. By zooming in it is easier to see the terrain and if the units fill in their flanks and so on.

Overall Sid Meier’s Gettysburg is one of the better Civil War games out there, it has more action than the turn-based ones but don’t fall into the action-without-thinking trap that many other war games do. This game is a must if you are into the Civil War or military tactics, however it might not appeal to a wider audience.

Gettysburg Screenshot Gettysburg Screenshot Gettysburg Screenshot Gettysburg Screenshot

Related: Sid Meiers Civilization, Civilization II, Age of Rifles
Developer: Firaxis
Website for Game:
Publisher: EA
O/S: Windows 95/98/ME
Cost of full game: N/A
Year of Release: 1997

Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM
Tested on:
Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon, Windows ME.

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