Without going into the actual history of the battles (the details of which would add at least a page to this review), 2nd Manassas
places you in the role of Commander of either the Union or Confederacy. Scenarios all draw from real-life conflicts and include battles at Chantilly Hill, Cedar Mountain and, of course, 2nd Manassas.
Unlike most strategy games, 2nd Manassas places an emphasis on large-scale battles, rather than resource management or the actions of individual troops. However, the removal of these elements doesn’t take away from the depth of strategy or attention to small details. Instead, these elements are replaced with an attention to realistic details, resulting in a slower-paced game that may not appeal to everyone.
Most of the game’s emphasis is on controlling large units of troops into battle. Battles can eat up a sizeable chunk of time, even when playing with the smaller numbers. Most of your time is spent simply planning out battles and positioning troops in the best possible location based on the battlefield. Even if you’re a Civil War buff, the slow pace of battles and lack of any real action (at least when compared to other strategy games on the market) may detract from the experience. If you’re used to more action-oriented strategy games, you’ll feel out of place here.
One of the better aspects of game is the carry-over system. Soldiers that survive one battle can be taken into later battles, adding a sense of continuity. This adds even more to the game’s already deep strategy since you’ll have to think long and harder before sending troops into battle. You can’t just throw a group of troops into a battle recklessly since you may need their numbers later.