From: Snowflake, Arizona
I migrated to Tiller's HPS series years ago. I supported the Matrix project and bought them, but then rarely played them. The graphics are pretty, but as you have noted, the tiny units are really hard to see against the hand painted maps. The HPS series has been rightly criticized for it's graphics, the hex based maps are not as pretty, but are more utilitarian. The larger units seem to be unrealistically out of scale, but are easy to see. Fortunately, there are graphics mods which really improve the games up to an acceptable level.
In terms of gameplay, the HPS series moved to individual losses instead of a block 25 man loss as in Matrix/Talonsoft. Fatigue was changed from a 1 to 9 scale to individual point fatigue losses. I'm playing a game with ORM right now and the unrealistic 25 man loss system is driving me crazy. We'll be starting an HPS Campaign Gettysburg game as soon as he gets it installed. Other than the graphics, there is no advantage to playing the Matrix versions. While the game engine remains pretty much the same in appearance, it has been fine tuned in many ways and the sophistication of the maps and scenario design has increased manyfold. The "campaign" option in Gettysburg offers a dynamic linked game system that creates new battles based on the results of the previous game (including losses being carried over minus reinforcements), but also the player's choice of at least three strategic options for each side. The standard setup includes nearly 4,000 campaign scenarios and I downloaded additional ones to bring my installation up to almost 20,000 unique scenarios that can be presented to you in a campaign game. Just totally fascinating... my favorite game of all time. In terms of "vanilla" scenario play, the HPS version has over 300 discrete battle scenarios vs less than 20 for Matrix/Talonsoft.
The original is still a great set of games, but it's successors are just so much better :)
I would be up for a PBEM of Chickamauga using the Matrix version if you would like a live opponent... or any of the HPS series or even the newest John Tiller Games release of "Campaign Overland" which I just purchased a few days ago. That game offers an incredible range of options and strategies on a million hex map stretching from Fredricksburg to Richmond. Shoot me a PM if interested.
Love & Peace,
Far Dareis Mai
My old Piczo site seems to be gone, so no more Navajo Nation pics :(