The Civil War Enthusiast’s Pink Bunny Suit

27 12 2006


We’ve all experienced it – a gift from a well meaning spouse, relative or friend that is meant to appeal to our particular interest but falls short for whatever reason.  For most of us CW minded folks, it’s usually a book that we either already have or one which we would never buy for ourselves.  The fact is, if it was any good (in our opinion) we would already have it.

My wife got the hint long ago, at least as far as books are concerned.  It was awkward because it’s hard for a gift giver to separate appreciation for the thought and appreciation for the gift.  While I always appreciated her thought, I could never bring myself to appreciate Webb Garrison.

I have an eight-year-old son who, like most eight-year-old boys these days, loves PlayStation.  Santa always gets him a couple of games for Christmas.  This year, while looking for some version of football or hockey or basketball that my son didn’t already have (and you know, with each year last year’s game becomes “obsolete” somehow), my wife came across a Civil War PlayStation game and went out on a limb and bought it for me.  Honey, if you’re reading this understand that I appreciate your thoughtfulness!!!

Now, I’m no CW gamer; not computer, not miniature, not board.  I have nothing against war gaming and can even see how it can be a valuable tool, but as Austin Powers might say “That kind of thing’s not my bag, baby”.  The game in question here is Civil War – A Nation Divided.  It’s produced under the banner of The History Channel.  I have yet to insert the disk into the PS2, so I can’t tell you if it’s interesting or even fun to play.  But some things on the cover and in the manual have me wondering.

First there is the illustration on the cover showing Confederates armed with what look like Henry repeating carbines fighting off a Union attack.  Well, it is possible that this is late in the war and that these particular rebels have captured Henrys with which they were lucky enough to capture ammunition.

Then there are illustrations of “screen shots” from the game.  One of them shows the current status of armaments for the individual soldier playing the game.  These armaments of course include grenades.  Maybe this particular screen shot comes from the battle of Knoxville.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!  Later the manual lists available weapons including the Spencer carbine, which is described as having been “most notably used by the North in the Battle of Gettysburg”.  Maybe the action at East Cavalry Field has become notable to these folks, but I kinda doubt it…

There is also a listing of icons representing items to be found on a battlefield.  In addition to “Cannon”, these include “Gatling Gun” and “Powder Barrel (with fuse)”.  Maybe, umm…maybe…

My favorites though are the battle summaries.  I’ll let two speak for themselves, with my emphasis added:

Bull Run – July 21, 1861

The South attempted an attack on the North’s capital, but Northern forces decided to cut them off before they reached Washington D.C.

Antietam – September 17, 1862

After success at Second Bull Run, General Lee prepared to invade Maryland.  Forces that President Lincoln sent for defense were bested by the South, mainly due to poor communication and lack of leadership.

OK, so I’m a stickler.  I am going to try playing this game, though Galaga and Tapper are more my speed.  If any of you have already played this (not Galaga or Tapper, but Civil War – A Nation Divided), I’d love to hear your thoughts.