1809 Campaign along the Danube is one of the great military challenges
for Napoleonic wargaming buffs and it has been captured superbly
in Campaign Eckmuhl by John Tiller's team at HPS Simulations.
on the Talonsoft's Battleground engine - although featuring much-improved
gameplay - Campaign Eckmuhl allows players to take command
of either the Austrians or the French.
begins with the French caught out of position by an aggressive Austrian
army launching a surprise invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte's trusted
talented-but-conservative Austrian commander is the Archduke Charles,
while the French are poorly led by Marshal Berthier - a brilliant
chief of staff, but way out of his depth in the field.
become desperate for the French and even outstanding marshals like
Louis Davout find themselves hemmed in against the Danube River
and fighting for their corps' very lives.
arrival of Bonaparte helps stabilise the situation and then it is
on for young and old as the Austrian attack runs out of ideas and
Eckmuhl covers the early major battles of the 1809 Campaign
- including include Eckmuhl, Abensberg, Landshut, Ratisbon and Sacile
- the later ones being simulated in Campaign Wagram.
100+ smaller, more manageable 10 to 30-turn scenarios to play in
a few hours, or you can try your hand at the bigger challenges that
include a whopping 534 turn entire Eckmuhl campaign.
a game of that size does take some hard gameplay, but one of the
beauties about the games from HPS is that you can easily turn the
AI off and on.
means that instead of having to click your way through the massive
number of units you command - you can get the computer to do the
hard work and automatically move your men for you.
it does open up the chance of the machine not doing exactly what
you wanted, but that adds to the challenge and puts more realism
all, Napoleonic communications were pretty basic and misunderstandings
did occur. So when you want to take over for a bit of hands-on leadership
you switch off the auto and unwrap your baton.
itself is fantastic and while turn-based, it does have reaction
phases so that opposing units get defensive fire opportunities when
an in-range target moves, changes facing or formation. This fluidity
enlivens the whole feel of the game.
are four levels for watching the action - easily accessed by pressing
hotkeys - and they range from satellite view to a close-up 3D.
in the Battleground series I prefer moving via satellite view and
then getting up close for the firefights.
game's sprites are not the greatest - and are a bit disappointing
on bird's-eye level - but overall the game is easy on the eye.
screen layout is clean with informative panels on units and that
can be adjusted to have a full-screen map.
music is from the period and features both Germanic and French styles.
game styles are normal, direct-play host, direct-play caller, play
by email and two player hot seat.
Eckmuhl is highly recommended for strategic and tactical wargame