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Hjalfnar_Feuerwolf

Historical accuracy of the game

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Hey guys!

Some of you might know I run a youtube channel that has only a single purpose: To show people those games that are historical accurate...or not. Next on my list is UGCW. Now the problem is that while I am far more informed on the US civil war than most Europeans, that does not mean much as the average European knows virtually nothing about it...if he even knows there was a civil war. So, I would like to know from you guys here what are the points in the game that you deem historical accurate or at least abstracted in a way that makes sense, and of course also those things thatin your eyes are absolutely not historical accurate.

On my list so far are:

Accurate:
battlefields
available generals
campaign progression (largely at least)

Not accurate:
losses
weapons
AI failing to retreat

Please let me know your opinion as I only have a few days left to do the video before I have to head over to England for the Tankfest.

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I'd go with about a 4/10 on the battlefields. For example, the area west of Burnside's Bridge at Antietam is actually a series of rolling hills that run north to south, not the flat terrain depicted on the map - it's ideal defensive terrain. At Burnside's Bridge itself it is far too easy to force a crossing. The small hill and weak fortifications depicted on the map are actually a cliff with insanely good fields of fire - which is why the Confederate sharpshooters were able to hold the old quarry for so long with so few men (the equivalent in-game would be a 250-man skirmisher unit holding that position until they run out of ammo). North of the Sunken Road there are also low hills, such that visibility is about 100 meters. In general, the terrain is a lot rougher than depicted on the game maps, and sightlines are a lot more restricted - which is why they are built the way they are in game, because otherwise it would be incredibly frustrating to play.

Cold Harbor is another example that's pretty inaccurate. The actual fighting near Mechanicsville in 1864 took place over two weeks, with more casualties from the trench fighting than from the failed Union assaults on the Confederate lines. In fact, the game doesn't really simulate the trench fighting at all, other than fortifications that need to be assaulted - which is understandable as it would be super boring to watch two lines of fortifications shoot at each other for days of game time with no movement or effect other than casualties.

Some of the battles themselves are entirely fictional as well, such as Newport News and of course Washington - and Richmond isn't anything like the historical battle, which was attritional trench warfare that lasted almost a year and eventually forced the Confederates to withdraw.

The crucial role of cavalry as a screening and reconnaissance force is almost negligible, primarily due to the good sight lines on most of the maps. Smoke isn't modeled, which would further reduce sight lines and spotting. Entrenchment is only modeled with fixed fortifications, when late in the war it was SOP for both sides to immediately dig in wherever they stopped. You've already mentioned losses, which are about 2-3x historical values. Cavalry moves far too slowly - they should move about 3x faster than the infantry and skirmishers in clear terrain and on roads. The importance of roads for troop movement is vastly understated. As you noted, both sides are far too determined, which leads to melee combat occurring much more often and lasting far longer than it historically did. Skirmishers are represented, but aren't used the way they were historically, as pickets and screening elements - again because of sight lines, and the game can't really represent dispersed troops very well. All of your orders as commander are instant. :)

Don't get me wrong - you know I love UGCW and I think it really captures something of the feel of Civil War combat, but historically accurate it is not.

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For accuracy I would add:

Overall Mechanics - the variety of unit types and weapon types plus the use and *relative* impact of each, unless being intentionally gamed, matches well with real history.  Also the impact on morale of damage output and taken as well as flanking, thus impacting battle strategy.  (I would *not* include condition in this list, as in-game even units with zero condition can be pushed far more than in real life).

Grand Battle Layout - on balance, the key VPs were the key VPs in real life, the initial placement of units (on defense) and arrival times and strengths of reinforcements (on attack) match real history very closely, as indeed does the 'advice' given during the battle.

 

For inaccuracy I would add/modify:

Minor Battlefields.  Almost every single minor battle is fought on a smaller map that, if you investigate, is a cut-and-paste from one of the Grand battle maps.  Broadly the minor battles may, usually, thematically approximate what happened in real life (and certainly they serve their purpose to make varied and unique challenges for each battle by using different pieces each time).  However, they are rarely as accurate as the Grand battles are.

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Thank you for your answers, guys! Your points are great additions to my list, now I hope I will be able to finish the video before I head of to England, but I doubt it.

BTW...my last major video was about CoD: World at War and ouch, that hurt. In comparison UGCW is almost realistic. xD

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i got me this game thx 2 steam's summer sale :)

and i just got wiped out completely as CSA at Shiloh, the number of union troops was x3, on arty x5 😫

and wtf r skirmishers doing in this game as seperate unit? that never existed imho ... yes every regiment send out some of them, they worked in pairs and a division skirmy size had a max of a platoon ... here half a dozen of those units run over the battlefield with 200-500 men destroying my 1.000 men infantry brigades. or do the devs mean sharpshooters? large skirmy formations only had been dismounted cavalry ...

irl skirmys coming under direct fire of line infantry or being attacked by cavalry would be vaporized in minutes ...

what i hate on simulations is when i have to adapt tactics due to inaccurate gameplay

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The skirmishers are actually sharpshooters, or at least that is the only efficient way of playing them.  For Shiloh as the CSA...well...put points into politics and increase your army size next time.

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20 hours ago, Hjalfnar_Feuerwolf said:

The skirmishers are actually sharpshooters, or at least that is the only efficient way of playing them.

Not necessarily you can harass artillery and fortified or well-covered infantry by moving your skirmishers back and forth behind enemy lines. Some may find it more effective to use Skirmisher Cavalry instead though. You can use standard skirmishers as "pickets" to cover your army's flanks as well or to use for scouting ahead. Most players will use skirmishers as sharpshooters and that's perfectly fine, however you can get a lot of use out of them by sending them on side-missions to help your main effort on an objective.

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Since you make those videos and i have you at hand, i would love to watch historical accuracy videos on matrix's war in the pacific admiral edition, nobunaga's ambition, command ops, histwar, and the like.

As to your question i think that the most detrimental thing to the game historical accuracy is simply the overall scale, the relation between units speed, scale and the maps, and the battles lenght just makes those battles more of a skirmish to me than say some of the hps games where, admitably with mechanics that tend to appear only in turn-based games, you feel the scale, the losses, the weight of your decisions much more, much more than you do in this one. The battles here don't seem as massive, as crucial, as costly as they usually were, do to the game mechanics.

It's just the nature of the game to allow for anyone to pick it up and enjoy in real-time in a short time with some nice graphics that doesn't allow the level of historical accuracy that some other games have, but because of that it's also easy to close on eye on those imperfections.

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@Sanny For harassing artillery and supplies I usually use skirmisher cav, I might use skirmishers with fast loading rifles in the future, but I don't really have so far.

@Captain Jean-Luc Picard ...I would love to do videos about these games, and I might at some point. The problem is these are so huge and detailed, I sometimes don't really see them as games anymore but actual simulations of the timeframe they are depicting. There is no question these "games" would get a "verified" rating on my channel. xD Just because they are so huge and detailed it will take me ages to get used to them. I already own a few, like WITE. But they are so far apart from what I usually play I just couldn't find the time to really try them out, and this will keep me from making videos about them for quite some time.

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Just saying, the script is mostly done, thank you all very very much for your insight. You might find a few things you mentioned in this thread in the video that will hopefully be released in a few days.

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