Johnny Reb II (Lothlorien) Review | Computer Gamer - Everygamegoing

Computer Gamer

Johnny Reb II
By Lothlorien
Spectrum 48K

Published in Computer Gamer #19

Johnny Reb II

Probably because it is the only real bit of history that the Americans have had, the Civil War is one of the best documented struggles anywhere. It was also one of the most bitter struggles of recent times with feelings, pro- and anti-slavery, running high on both sides. Brother against brother, blue against grey, Johnny Reb against Billy Yank.

Rather than take any particular battle for their subject, Lothlorien have produced a basic skirmish with a strong Confederate force attempting to break through Union lines who will receive reinforcements during the course of the battle. Apart from the three basic skill levels, there is also ample scope for rearranging troop strengths and scenery as you see fit so that you have a limitless supply of variations on the basic theme. Other variables include one or two player options and invisible movement for the enemy until he is within viewing distance (one player only).

All commands and options are icon- or menu-driven and the system is very simple to use. There are four different types of unit - infantry, cavalry, artillery and supply units. Typical orders for the infantry include 'continue executing a previous order', move, fire, charge and dig in. Amongst the factors that you will have to consider are how battle-seasoned your troops are and how high the unit's morale is. Morale is affected by losses, the presence of other troops (or a supply wagon) nearby and other units in retreat etc. If the level of morale drops too much, the unit may disrupt and desert.

Like all of Lothlorien's current crop of wargames, Johnny Reb II is easy to control yet challenging to play. The use of icons makes it ideal for beginners and the fact that it is a skirmish rather than a full blown battle also helps. I find it easier to relate to small units rather than entire armies. My only quibble is that I couldn't find a way to quit or save a position in the middle of a game. Also, maybe a slightly expanded instruction booklet giving more background material and concentrating more on the playing side rather than the construction side of the game would have added to its enjoyment.