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The American Civil War: From Sumter to Appomattox, a two-disk, Windows-compatible CD-ROM set from Interactive Magic (800-789-1534 or, lets strategy game enthusiasts fight the Civil War on their own terms–and perhaps change its outcome. Players command either the Northern or Southern armies, and can fight the war from First Bull Run (Manassas) to the surrender at Appomattox, or join the fray in the spring of 1862 or ’63. As in real war, decisions regarding who is put in command and how troops are fielded affect the outcome of individual battles, and those results in turn influence the conflict’s overall outcome.

The American Civil War combines the best features of a strategy game and a historical reference. In addition to the game disk, the set includes a multimedia CD-ROM featuring interactive maps depicting specific battles, a 175,000-word narrative text, archival photos of key leaders, and period music along with song histories and lyrics. It also has video clips of Civil War re-enactments and photos of battlefield sites as they appear today.

As might be expected, one of the game’s strong suits is its extensive database, which rates 125 genuine Civil War leaders according to inspiration, aggressiveness and combat skills. One key to victory lies in choosing the right commander for a specific battle scenario. Players who throw untrained troops into battle or venture too deep into enemy territory risk losing the war.

With a suggested retail price of $54.95, The American Civil War is competitively priced for today’s CD-ROM marketplace. Interactive Magic’s inclusion of the historical disk makes the set a good value for wargamers and history buffs alike. In a medium where historical accuracy sometimes takes a back seat to graphic presentation, it’s refreshing to find a strategy game that delivers both.