Civil War Strategy – 1. Introduction


1. Introduction

1.1  Introduction

The VGA Civil War Strategy Game is a 1 or 2-player graphic strategic level wargame of the American Civil War. The game requires VGA. It is provided “as is” without any warranty of any kind. It has been tested on several types of IBM compatibles (from XT to 386) but it is impossible to try all the many combinations of equipment that exist.

The object of the game is to accumulate as many victory points as possible. The game is played in turns of 2 months during which both sides perform their actions. Decisions are made using menus which are described below.

1.2   Requirements

The program requires the following files:

CWS.EXE         – the game program
CWS.CFG         – your customizable configuration file
CWS.INI         – initialization data file
CWSLEAD.DAT     – army leader data file
CITIES.GRD      – city data file
CWSDOC.COM      – online help file
CWS.DOC         – this documentation file
HISCORE.CWS     – high score file

In addition, the program uses the following files for graphical effects:

FACE1.VGA       -|
FACE2.VGA        |
FACE3.VGA        |– for setting difficulty level
FACE4.VGA        |
FACE5.VGA       -|
FORT0.VGA       -|
FORT1.VGA        |– level of fortification
FORT2.VGA       -|
MTN.VGA         – mountain icons

If the History option is ON (see Utility menu below), the following files are created:

BATTSUMM        – summary of battles and losses in the war
CWS.HIS         – chronicle of battles, winners, losers, and losses; can be viewed using the Recap option in the Inform menu (see below).

1.3  Running the Game

Type ‘CWS’ at the command line prompt. The title screen display will appear while the game initializes. You can skip opening music and graphics by typing ‘CWS Q’ at the command line prompt.

The option to load a game or begin a new game is given at the beginning of the game, in addition to being available during the game.

1.4  How to Win

You are awarded victory points for (1) capturing cities, (2) capturing armies, (3) winning battles, and (4) special events. Each city you control gives you a certain number of victory points (and a like amount of income). This varies depending on the city. For instance, a large city such as Philadelphia is worth much more than a smaller city such as Fort Donelson. To see the number of victory points each city is worth, use the “Inform” option to access the “Cities” report.

Capital cities are worth an additional bonus of 50 victory points in addition to the normal victory points. If you lose your capital, you permanently lose the bonus income. If your capital is threatened, you may move it if you have enough money, via the “Utility” option of the Main Menu.

If your army defeats an enemy that has no route for retreat or causes enough casualties to crush the enemy, you capture the army and receive a bonus of 25 victory points. Eliminating the enemy fleet also results in bonus victory points.

For each battle you win, you receive 1 victory point. Under some circumstances, special events (such as the Emancipation Proclamation or Lincoln being re-elected) result in extra victory points for one side or the other.

If the Union does not crush the Rebels, the South will win by default after a period of time (determined by end game conditions). When this happens, the score for both sides is reduced to 70% of the original level.

As play progresses, the score will not instantly track the performance on battlefield, but rather will “lag” slightly.

The game continues until one side achieves an end game condition. (See End Game Conditions under the “Utility” submenu). The side that triggers the end of the game receives an additional bonus of 100 victory points.

If your score is one of the top 5 scores for the side played, you name and score are entered into the high score file.

When the game is over, you are returned to the opening screen, with the option to quit, load a game or begin a new game.

1.5  Map Display

The title screen will clear and a map of the eastern U.S. will appear along with a menu entitled ‘Main’. This is the Main Menu from which you choose most of your options. Above the menu is a flag showing which side is currently selected, Union or Confederate. At the very top of the screen on the right is a bar graph which shows how the current side is doing, along with information on victory points and level of difficulty.

The small colored circles on the map display are cities or other key locations. There are a total of 40 such locations.

Blue circles are Union controlled; gray ones are Confederate controlled. Red circles are neutral cities (not controlled by either side). Two of the cities are CAPITAL cities, and their circle is marked with a small yellow cross. If the graphics option is ON, the connections between the cities will be shown by dashed lines.

If the circle representing the city is surrounded by a HOLLOW BLACK box, it is a FORTIFIED (FORT+)location; if surrounded by a SOLID BLACK box, the location is HEAVILY FORTIFIED (FORT++). Any level of fortification tends to improve resistance to enemy attacks.

A small box appears in the right of the display with the letters ‘PHIL’ underneath. This represents the port of Philadelphia. The city of Philadelphia itself is the right most circle at the top of the screen. You will see a small ship icon in the “PHIL” box which represents the Union navy.

Small flag icons appear next to some cities. Each flag represents an army. Mountain and rivers features are also shown on the map.

1.6  Using the Menus

You may move the highlighted menu option by pressing the “up” and “down” arrow keys. Pressing ‘Enter’ will select the currently highlighted option. In most cases, you may exit from a menu without selecting any option by pressing the “escape” or “esc” key. In a few cases you must select an “EXIT” option to leave the menu without selecting any option.

Hot keys are provided to speed menu access. The first letter of each command will immediately select the item without having to move the menu bar. WARNING: In responding to city locations, watch out for cities that have the same first letter. Using the hot key will select the FIRST city on the menu that begins with the letter you press. If you wanted to select another, you must use the up/down arrow keys. Example: You have the option to recruit at either Fort Donelson or Front Royal, both of which begin with “F”. If you press “F”, Fort Donelson will be selected because it comes first alphabetically in the menu list. If you want to select Front Royal in this case, you must use the arrow keys. If there had been no other cities beginning with “F” except for Front Royal the hot key would have worked fine.

Note that some menu items have had to be changed slightly to avoid duplicate first letters. For instance, “Inform” has replaced the earlier “Reports” menu item because there is already a menu item on the main menu beginning with “R” (Railroad).

The menu cursor placement has been made more consistent for the Option and Utility menus. The cursor now stays on the submenu if there are more choices available for the item currently being selected (e.g., more troops to be drilled). Otherwise it returns to the main menu and stays on the Option or Utility item.


1.7   Menu for Railroad and Capital Moves

The move-to menu for train moves and capital relocation responds to the letter of the destination city as well as the up and down arrow keys. The city that will be displayed will be the FIRST (alphabetically) friendly city beginning with the letter you type. For instance, if you wish to move the army in Vicksburg by train to Charleston, SC, type “C”, and the first friendly city beginning with “C” will show. If Chattanooga is friendly, it will be displayed. You can then quickly use the arrow keys to display the desired destination.

1.8   Screen Saver

|  There is a SCREEN SAVER accessed by pressing “Ctrl-B”. |
|  (The “B” may be either upper or lower case).           |
|  The screen will instantly blank and random geometric   |
|  designs will appear.                                   |
|  To restore the game map, press “Ctrl-B” again.         |

1.9  Set Up

There are several setup options available which can be accessed from the “UTILITY” option of the Main Menu. You can swap sides, select 1- or 2-player options, control sound and graphic options, and adjust difficulty. When you save a game, the configuration file is automatically updated to the current set of options you have chosen.

1.10  Sequence of Play

Play proceeds in the following sequence for each game turn (representing 2 months):

  • A. Decision Phase
    • Side 1 Decisions (Union if 2 players ; Human if 1 player)
      • 1. Recruit
      • 2. Naval Actions (Resolved Immediately)
      • 3. Move Orders
      • 4. Other Decisions (Combine, Fortify, etc.)
    • Side 2 Decisions (Rebel if 2 players ; Computer if 1 player)
      • 1. Recruit
      • 2. Naval Actions (Resolved Immediately)
      • 3. Move Orders
      • 4. Other Decisions (Combine, Fortify, etc.)
  • B. Move & Combat Update Phase
    • (Move Orders Carried Out)
  • C. Turn Update Phase
    • 1. Income Updated Based on Cities Controlled
    • 2. Unit Supply Updated
 Posted by at 12:48 am
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