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The Great Battles Collector's Edition is the crowning achievement of an evolving system of games that deal with ancient history, specifically those battles fought between 338BC to 45BC and includes the latest versions of all three Great Battles series games. It runs the gamut of historical warfare from the times of Alexander the Great through those of the mighty Caesar and includes the fascinating efforts of Hannibal. So much more than just a re-issue of the previous three games, this package contains the one element of war gaming that was so obviously missing and desired by the many fans of the series, specifically a scenario editor/builder. Now with the advent of this wonderful tool, fans can reacquaint themselves with all three games with an entirely fresh outlook and license to alter history in as many ways as their collective imaginations let them. With the collection containing the most recent versions of all three games (version 1.3 of Great Battles of Alexander, version 1.2 of Great Battles of Hannibal and version 1.1 of Great Battles of Caesar), plus three entirely new battles designed specifically for this collector's edition and inclusion of the scenario editor, Great Battles Collector's Edition should hold a fairly permanent spot on most war gamers shelves. As for the scenario editor, the composite rule book that comes with the collector's edition devotes approximately ten pages to operation of the editor. The editor is simple to use yet can create some very complex scenarios. With it you can customize existing battlefields and scenarios or build your own. Terrain, orders of battle and unit selection are totally customizable and the editor features a map painter, group painter and a simple, easy to use menu interface system. Various topics assigned menus include maps, units, view, window and help. There is even an AI editor so you can manipulate the "brain" behind the orders of battle with options such as default behavior, group attack and defend parameters and group move.
With the issue of the collector's edition, wargaming fans can actually watch the face of combat and conceptual strategies change over the course of a relatively short historical era. From the cavalry and spear toting infantry of Alexander's armies to the exotic idea of elephants used in combat during Hannibal's day to the rigid military doctrine of training and the not inconsequential advent of the Roman sword, ancient history buffs can relive those dynamic early centuries. As an added bonus, of course, are the three new scenarios that ship with the collector's edition, one designed specifically for each of the three games. With the numerous (usually) discounted "package sets" being published in the industry that do nothing more than group leftover warehouse caches of similar games together, it's heartening to see a collector's edition that provides absolutely new value for the money. Great Battles Collector's Edition takes the consumer interest to heart and actually gives something in return for the price of admittance.
Graphics: Varies depending on which of the Great Battles you choose to play so the rating is a composite.
Sound: Another composite rating, taking into account the early game was a lesser product than the last game which achieved high marks.
Enjoyment: With over 30 scenarios to play and the addition of the scenario editor, there's a great deal of play in this package.
Replay Value: Scenario editor ratchets the rating up the scale. Coupled with the large number of battles included in the collector's edition and the fascinating change in warfare methods chronicled across the games, there is a lot here to warrant replays.
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