Ultimate General: Gettysburg is Vastly Improved

I just spent an hour playing Ultimate General again.  It is vastly improved from when I last sat down and played it.  It is slower and more deliberate.  The Confederate AI I played against, didn't rush to engage me as it might have in the past, it tried to outflank me and then when it couldn't, it massed it's forces and made deliberate pushes for certain terrain and objectives.  That gave me time to actually consider a strategy.

Monitoring unit morale, keeping units close to their commander (Gen Reynolds I Corps commander) makes a difference.  Here the Union I Corps is trading blows with the Confederates.  In the upper right corner you can just make out Buford's cavalry brigade holding Blocher's knoll.  An interior line of defense, anchored by 2 batteries of guns is also being set up around Penn College and important terrain feature just outside Gettysburg.


After defending the the hills west of town, I moved Buford and his bde northeast of town after receiving reports of Ewell's Corps advancing.  One of the ironies of the battle of Gettysburg is that the Confederates attacked from the north and Union defended south of town.
One of the other improvements is the "Tilt-Shift"effect which gets you closer to the action.  That enabled me to see stone walls clearly and depressions in the ground (both of which I used).  Add the elevation overlay (M key) and you can really get a feel for the terrain you are fighting
on.

Monitoring unit morale is one of the key things a commander must do.  See the skull below the 100%, that's how many casualties Paul's bde has suffered (hence the low morale, plus he is facing overwhelming odds on the valley floor).

Unit casualties are also cumulative from battle to battle.  I use the Iron Bde to cover their withdrawal over the ridge where they regroup. That horsehoe defense pictured with Cutler and Shimmelfennig is anchored along a stone wall on the eastern side of the ridge which is hard to see in this screenshot and the forest atop the ridge on the western slope.  It held out for quite along time.  
Ewell's Corps smashes into my forces north of town at Blocher's Knoll. I had a strong position that I likely could have held had I put better, less tired troops there.  I put Buford there because I wanted his mobility but there just wasn't enough of a force to make a difference. I rushed Baxter over from the I Corps but he was caught in the open by a vastly superior force and driven back towards Gettysburg.
With Buford pushed back into town east of my strongpoint at Penn college I am forced to reinforce my troops on the right with the Bucktail Bde and another Union bde.
The fight at Penn college is about to begin.  Ewell's corps has paused to regroup.  I've established a strong defensive through the middle of the town just off screen to the south.
A look at Reynolds shrinking position.  The Confederates west of the Iron Bde and Biddles BDe have been throwing themselves against the ridge line.  While Cutler and Paul are almost standing back to back with them as they prepare for the fight for Penn College.
A look at the Union line on the northern end of the town.  A force of Confederates is in the town and eventually routs having been cutoff by forces pushing up from the south that I kept in reserve.
Buford deserves a medal and his men have played all over the infield so far.  I send them back to the western side of town. I am worried about my left flank there which is defended by just two batteries.
I score an epic victory in this second phase of the battle despite being outnumbered.  Good planning and knowing about the threat to my north helped me secure a solid defensive line running through the town. Buford has also served as a useful speed bump twice now to Confederate forces west and east of the town.
Another improvement since I last played, you are given a good summary of where your units stand in terms of losses, kills, readiness.
The Order of Battle tab shows you all of the units that are part of the Army of the Potomac and their status.  It would be cool if this screen also gave you a status report for the units not present.  Like: Hancock's Corps is 10 miles away and will arrive tomorrow, Sickle's Corps is crossing the Delaware, etc.
The game has really changed since I last played and for a $10 price tag (the cost of a movie) you can get many hours of enjoyment playing both the Union side and the Confederates.  The challenges of monitoring the readiness levels of your various units, selecting the right terrain and positioning reserves in strategic locations can be very challenging with so many units on the battlefield.

The designers have reeled me back in with their improvements and I can't wait to fight out the next phase of the battle.

Comments

RangerX3X said…
Great post that has me taking a serious look at the game again.
Chris said…
Tim the game has really changed. It can at times be quick but I never felt like too much was going on at once. The only drawback imo is that I am just fighting at Gettysburg but there are so many phases of the battle and depending on what happens, different sections of the larger map open up. The map is really cool and well done. I plan on posting an update to the campaign I am doing later this weekend.
Peter Winship said…
Very interested in this, Chris, mainly because the map is so Non hex like (hurray!) and realistic. But I've heard other things about realism - like the fact that the speed is non-adjustable, very fast and is nowhere near 'real time'. How fast is it? Is play continuous pausable? Also, is it a click-fest game, or is there some manner of friendly AI (as in Command Ops)? Your comments would be much appreciated.

Peter
Chris said…
Hi Peter. You can pause the game and the AI is not as fast as it was. You can also choose a "Cautious" opponent for the Enemy AI which really slows things down.

There is some clicking but it really doesn't seem too bad.

I am glad I own the game and would love it if they would do a Napoleonic version of it.

Phil said…
Been dipping my toe in every now and then with the new updates. I always really it and it just gets better.