Abandonware DOS title

Decisive Battles of the American Civil War: Vol. 1 manual

Strategic Studies Group (SSG)

(a).  System  Requirements. This  program  requires  an  IBM
PC/XT/AT  or PS/2, a Tandy or other IBM compatible computer,
with  512K  of  memory. The program supports  the  following
graphics cards - EGA, CGA, MCGA, VGA, Hercules and uses  the
16  colour version of Tandy CGA. The program disk  does  not
include DOS and requires IBM/MS-DOS Version 2.1 or higher to
(b).  Backup and Hard Disk Installation. The game disks  are
not  copy  protected.  Floppy  disk  users  should  use  the
standard DOS commands to copy the disks before use.  Do  not
use the original disks for game playing.
Hard Disk users should create a directory on their hard disk
and  copy  all  of the files from the floppy disks  to  that
directory.  All program files must be in the same  directory
for  the game to run. The path to this directory should  not
be longer than 26 characters.
(c).  3.5"  Disk  Offer. If you need  3.5"  disks  for  your
system,  please return the 5.25" disks to us  together  with
$5.00  plus  $2.50 for postage and packing.  North  American
users  should  send their disks to our US  Office,  everyone
else should use our Australian Office.
(d).  Starting the Game. Boot your computer with DOS. Floppy
disk users should insert their copy of Disk One in drive  A:
and  type  db1  followed by (RET). Hard  Disk  users  should
change  to  the directory containing the program  files  and
type db1 followed by (RET).
Floppy disk users should note there is one scenario on  Disk
One  as  well as the program files. The other five scenarios
are on Disk Two. The tutorial will explain how to locate and
load  in the scenario of your choice. There is a readme file
on Disk One.
(e). System Set Up. The Set-Up menu allows you access to the
user options in the game. It is not necessary to worry about
it  while  you're learning the game. Use the arrow  keys  to
locate the  line and type (RET).
Choosing   will allow you to customise  four  options.
Use the arrow keys to cycle through the options.
(i). Scrolling. The settings are 0-6. 0 = no scrolling;  1-6
= scrolling speed where 1 is slow and 6 is fast. The default
setting  is  3.  CGA users have only one  scroll  speed  (it
doesn't  matter  which setting you choose).  Type  (RET)  to
cycle  through the speed settings when the   line
is high-lighted. Type (ESC/DEL) to recover the menu window.
(ii). DEL = ESC. The default settings in the game allow  the
DEL  key to substitute for the ESC key. If you dislike  this
option, type (RET) to disable it.
(iii). Sound. This toggles the sound effects in the game  to
`on' or `off'.
(iv).   Auto-Save.  Setting  this  option   to   `on'   will
automatically save the game as soon as  is  selected.
Only  one file is maintained and it is overwritten each turn
keeping  the  last turn always available. This file  can  be
loaded  using  the   command  in  the  Save  Game
Choosing  will save your choices to disk in a  special
Choosing    will load the current  options  from  that
file, if it exists.
The   command sets the DOS path for all DOS operations
like  loading  and  saving files. It  is  restricted  to  26
characters in length. When specifying drive names  you  must
include the colon (:) as part of the path.
(f).  Video Trouble Shooting. EGA and VGA systems will start
up  with  our  "full-map"  graphic routines.  Other  graphic
boards use our standard graphic routines. The program  makes
its best guess at your computer's video mode and should run.
In the unlikely event that the program gets it wrong you can
use  a  command  line switch to force the program  into  the
appropriate    video    mode.   This    takes    the    form
(db1)(space)(n)(RET) where n is a single character; i.e. c =
CGA, e = EGA, t = Tandy, m = MCGA, h = Hercules, v = VGA and
f  = switch off "full-map" graphics. The only reason EGA/VGA
users  would  have  to switch off "full-map"  graphics  (and
instead  use  standard  graphics) is for  rapid  testing  of
original  scenarios or the initial creation of  an  original
game  map as described in the WarPaintÖ chapter of the  Game
(g).  DOS Details. In the real world of DOS, save game files
are  maintained  with the name DF_nnn.DXG  where  nnn  is  a
number between 001 and 050. Scenario files have the scenario
name  followed  by  a .DFX suffix. You can  use  normal  DOS
commands  to  delete or copy these files if  necessary,  but
since  you  can  save over existing files it should  not  be
necessary  to  use  DOS often. In addition,  the  "full-map"
graphic routines use an additional file with the same prefix
as the game file and a .LBM suffix. Again, see the WarPaintÖ
chapter in the Game Manual.

On  July  21st, 1861, the first major battle of the American
Civil  War  took  place. In the rolling  farmland  north  of
Manassas  Junction, Irvin McDowell's newly-raised  army  was
confronted, and eventually routed, by the reinforced Army of
the Potomac under the command of Pierre Beauregard.
The  first  battle of the war will be your first  experience
with  the Decisive Battles Game System. The armies  are  not
large and their internal structure is very simple. The Union
army  is  organised into 4 divisions while  the  Confederate
army  is  a  loose collection of 14 independent brigades.  A
complete Order of Battle for both sides is given in Part Two
of this manual.
In  this  tutorial,  you are going to take  command  of  the
Confederate  army  while  the computer  controls  the  Union
As  well  as this manual, you'll need to have the data  card
(if appropriate for your computer) in front of you.

(a). Starting Up. Start up your computer using the procedure
given  on the start side of the menu card. Menu A (Start  Up
Menu) appears to the right of the title page. As is the case
with  every  menu  in the game, you use the  arrow  keys  to
locate  your  choice from the menu and then  type  (RET)  to
select it. IBM users may alternatively use a function key to
locate  and select a menu item. The  line in Menu  A
is  the third line in the menu; therefore f3 will select it.
Similarly, f4 will select the  line.
If  you select the wrong menu, don't worry. Apple II and IBM
users  type (ESC) to go back to the previous menu;  C-64/128
users type (f1). IBM and Apple II users should note that the
(DEL) key will serve as the (ESC) key in most situations.
IBM  users can turn the sound on/off through Menu 12 of  the
Game Routines. Apple II and C-64 users should type Cntl  (S)
to turn on/off the sound. Apple II and C-64 users with a B&W
monitor should type Cntl (B).

(b).  Selecting the First Bull Run Scenario. Before  we  can
start  play, we have to select the First Bull Run  scenario,
tell the computer that we will control the South forces  and
decide which game options we wish to use.
Use  either  arrow key to locate the   line  and  type
(RET) to go to Menu B (Location Select). At this point,  IBM
owners using 5.25" floppy disks should remove Disk One  from
the drive and replace it with Disk Two. Apple II owners with
one disk drive should remove the game disk, turn it over and
put it back in the drive.
Use  an  arrow  key to locate the  line  and  type
(RET) to go to Menu C (Scenario Menu).
Use  an  arrow key to locate the <1ST BULL R> line and  type
(RET)  to go to Menu E (Edit Utility). The scenario briefing
screen  is  displayed to the left of the  menu  window.  IBM
users must select the  line and then position the
cursor over the  line and type (RET).
Use an arrow key to locate the  line and type (RET) to
go  to  Menu N (Game Options). There are two (IBM) or  three
(Apple  II  and C-64) options available when  you  play  the
(i). Exposed. When the exposed flag is set, all units on the
map will be visible at all times. If the exposed flag is not
set,  only  currently sighted units will be visible  on  the
(ii).  Enhanced (Apple II and C-64 Only). When the  enhanced
flag  is  set,  computer controlled  forces  will  be  given
certain  bonuses.  For  example, unit size,  leadership  and
staff ratings may be increased.
(iii).  Radio.  When the radio flag is set,  you  will  have
automatic communications with every unit in your command. If
the  radio  flag  is  not  set, only  those  units  directly
attached to the army HQ and within communications range  can
be given orders.
For tutorial purposes, we will choose to set the exposed and
radio flags but leave the enhanced flag alone. Position  the
cursor  on the  line and type (RET). An Options  in
Effect  box has appeared below the menu window showing  that
the  exposed  flag  has  been set. The  cursor  will  return
automatically  to  the  line. Select  the  
line  to  add  this  flag  to the options  box  then  select
 to go to Menu F (Handicap Utility).
Since  this  is  only a tutorial, we will give  ourselves  a
break. The handicaps below the  line benefit  the
South,  those  above  benefit the North.  The  effect  of  a
handicap is to modify the victory point awards, it does  not
affect  the  artificial intelligence nor the composition  of
the  forces. Note that the handicap structure for IBM  users
asks  you  to  select a veteran, normal or novice  opponent.
Select a novice.
Use  an arrow key to locate the  South line and  type
(RET)  to  go to Menu G (Player Select). Locate the  
line  and  type (RET). The cursor has been thrown  into  the
briefing  screen and you have the opportunity to change  the
commanders' names. Do this if you wish, otherwise type (RET)
until you get back to Menu E (Edit Utility).
Have  a last look at the briefing screen and you'll see  the
South  has  a  major handicap advantage (IBM users  will  be
opposed  by  a  novice  computer general  which  is  a  fair
description of McDowell), the North forces will  be  run  by
the computer and exposed and radio flags are set.
Use  an arrow key to locate the  line and type  (RET)
to go to Menu H (Game Master).
That's  the preliminaries over with. We're just about  ready
to play.
Turn your menu card over to the game side.

(c).  The  First Turn. This tutorial is a brief introduction
as  to  how  the  game plays. It is not  intended  to  be  a
description  of everything that can happen. The Game  manual
describes in detail the full use of each menu. Once you have
some  experience with the game menus, we recommend you  read
Chapter 5 in the Game manual for an explanation of the major
game systems controlled by the computer.
Back  to  Menu H. A current turn briefing appears above  the
menu  window. The date is July 21st, 1861, it is  6  am  and
this  is the first of the fourteen turns in the game.  Below
the  menu window you can see it is daylight and the  weather
is clear.
In  the  bottom centre of the map is the town  of  Manassas.
Five  Confederate brigades can be seen to  the  north.  Your
army  HQ is at Manassas. Don't worry that you can't  see  it
yet;  you are still asleep and it won't be until turn 2 that
your HQ appears.
The    and   lines  in  the  menu  have  been
overprinted with a solid bar to show that you cannot  access
them.  The  solid bar will disappear from the   line
after  the  line has been accessed. This is to  guard
against  accidentally selecting  before issuing  your
orders.  The  line will always be overprinted  during
the  game. The computer does not want you to see what it  is
Locate the  line and type (RET). This brings up  Menu
2  (Operations  Master). Your choices here  are  ,
,  ,  or ,   and
 (IBM Only).
The  map  has  not changed, just the information  above  and
below the menu window. Above the menu window you can see the
army  I.D. Johnson is Beauregard's second in command.  Below
the  menu window you are given a casualty and victory  point
summary.  Obviously, there are no losses yet. The  VPs  show
what  your  score would be if the game was to  end  at  this
The ,  and  lines are over-printed
with  a  solid  bar  because you  are  not  present  on  the
battlefield this turn. You will wake up in time  to  command
your  army  next turn. The computer will direct your  troops
until  you are able to command them yourself. Type  (ESC/f1)
to go back to menu H and then select  to activate the
There  will  be a flurry of activity from the  Union  forces
near  Centreville. One or two of your brigades may  redeploy

(d). The Second Turn. Back to Menu H again. It is now turn 2
(7  am).  Select  the  line. You will  see  that  the
 line is still over-printed with a solid bar.  This
is  because you have no corps or division HQs to give orders
(i).  Reviewing  Your  Forces. Before issuing  orders  we'll
examine  the  battlefield,  the  objectives  and  the  enemy
Select  the  line to go to Menu 3. The screen  has
cantered  on a hollow, flashing cursor. Use the arrow  keys,
the  I,  J, K and M or the 1-6 keys to move the cursor  over
the  map.  The map will scroll once the cursor  reaches  the
edge. Type (0) to centre the screen on the cursor. IBM users
can use function keys f1-f9 to select 9x9 map sections; i.e.
f1  will select the top left section, f3 will select the top
right section.
At the very bottom of the information panel, you will see  a
three-part icon display. From left to right this  shows  you
the  type of terrain in the hex, which sections of  the  map
are  in  use  for this scenario together with  the  relative
position of the cursor and which side currently controls the
hex.  The name of the terrain type appears immediately above
the display.
Move the cursor to Centreville. Centreville is an objective.
Its name appears above the terrain type name and its victory
point  details are described. Move the cursor to any one  of
the  Union  brigades on the road to the  stone  bridge.  The
icons at the top of the information panel tell you it is  an
infantry brigade while below that you are told its formation
and condition.
Type  (RET)  to bring up the map walk menu. Select  ;
all  roads are removed from the map. Type (RET) to bring  up
the  menu  again  then select  to  replace  the  road
 allows you to see which side controls a particular
hex.  removes all units on the map so you can see the
terrain underneath.
Move  the cursor to the Confederate brigade defending Ball's
Ford.  This  is  Cocke's infantry brigade.  The  information
provided  is  mostly  self  explanatory;  more  details  are
available in the Game Manual.
(ii). Operations. Go back to Menu 2. The  line  is
the  place where you must decide where to put your  army  HQ
and  how  personally involved you want to get in the battle.
Select  . Below you menu window you will see  that
both  yourself  (P. G. T. Beauregard, that is)  and  General
Johnson  are OK. In the battle you can get captured, wounded
or even killed!
Select   and you will be presented  with  the  four
profiles  you  may choose from. You may change your  profile
each  turn. Your profile will not change from turn  to  turn
unless  you enter this menu and change it. You always  begin
with  the  default value set to . The  words  here
mean  pretty  much  what they say. Heroic will  inspire  all
troops  within four hexes of your position while  increasing
the  likelihood of a nasty accident. Cautious will keep  you
safe  and  sound  but  the effect  on  your  men  may  prove
disastrous.  For  this  tutorial,  keep  your   profile   on
Select  . This is the mechanism by which  you  move
your  HQ around the map.  tells the army HQ to remain
exactly where it is.  gives you access to the cursor
so  that you can use the I,J,K,M keys, the arrow keys or the
1-6  keys  to  move your HQ to the location of your  choice.
Note  that  you  will  not be allowed  to  select  an  enemy
controlled hex as your destination.
 directs the army HQ to move as quickly as possible
to  a  friendly corps HQ for the purpose of placing it under
direct  command.  Since there are no  Confederate  corps  at
First Bull Run, this option has been over-printed by a solid
bar.    allows  you chose  an  objective  as  the
destination for the army HQ, using either the arrow keys  or
the name routine.
Since history tells us that McDowell is crossing Bull Run at
Sudley Springs, we will use our foresight to prepare a tough
reception  for  him  around New Market. Select  ,
cycle through the arrow keys until you locate New Market and
then type (RET).
Now  that the personal matters have been taken care of, it's
time  to  give orders to your brigades. Type (ESC/f1)  until
you get back to Menu 2 and then select .
Because the radio flag is set, you have communications  with
all  of  your brigades. Use the arrow keys to cycle  through
them.  You  may wish to compare the on-screen displays  with
the Order of Battle printed in Part Two of this booklet. IBM
users  have on-screen access to the Order of Battle via  the
Defending  Union  Mill's Ford is Ewell's brigade.  His  last
order  appears below his I.D. box; i.e. he has been  ordered
to defend the Union Mills Ford objective. Locate his brigade
using  the  arrow  keys  and type  (RET)  to  bring  up  the
manoeuvre  order menu. The  option is exactly  the
same as the routine in Menu 2.
You  may  give Ewell's brigade any one of 5 orders.  At  the
moment there is no need to change Ewell's orders.
Locate  the  following brigades and give them all  
orders. This tells them to go the current destination of the
army  HQ;  i.e. to New Market. The brigades are Bee,  Early,
Bartow, Jackson and Holmes. These are the men we will use to
stop the Federals.
Go back to Menu H and select  to execute the turn.

(e).  The  Third Turn. Select  from Menu 2.  By  now,
Evans  brigade  defending  the  Stone  Bridge  has  probably
started  a  fight with some brigades from Tyler's  division.
Locate Evans brigade and type (RET). If he is engaged,  then
you will get the engaged order menu.
There  are 4 combat choices. Evans will have already decided
what  he  is  going  to  do.  Outnumbered,  he  will  almost
certainly  withdraw. This is a sensible  thing  to  do  when
faced by superior numbers so don't change his order. Options
which  for one reason or another are not currently available
will be over-printed with a solid bar. If Evans has not  yet
engaged, leave him where he is. Bull Run is a good defensive
No-one  will have reached New Market yet, so just make  sure
that  the  5  brigades you gave regroup  orders  to  haven't
changed them and then select .

(f).  The Game Plan. Hunter and Heintzelman's divisions have
arrived  on  the battlefield. Their lead brigades  may  have
even  crossed Bull Run. It's time to deploy your  forces  to
meet  them.  Bee  and Bartow's brigades  should  be  at  New