I have very mixed feelings about this game. I just bought it a few days ago and have finished 4 battles (Blackburns Ford, Bull Run, Mill Spring, Wilson Creek) with my only win coming at Wilson Creek as the Union in the single attack column scenario. Civil War Generals 2 is the main reason I play war-games today, and my copy won't work on modern computers, thus I bought this game.
I enjoy this game for the most part, but I think in the quest for "realism" they may have gone over the line and prevented the game from being enjoyable. For the record, I've played Flashpoint Campaigns, Combat Mission Black Sea, and various AGEOD games, so I have experienced activation rules and non-player controlled firing. I find having to change the formation of both the brigade and regiments to be annoying, especially since changing brigade formation often wipes out your movement points, and can be a real problem if half your brigade is in combat and the other half is still marching to the field. I also dislike the activation and mis-interpretation rules. I get that those are to make the game more "realistic" and I think one of the rules might be fine, but I absolutely hated playing with the division activation failure after the turn. I think pre-turn division failure or regiments mis-interpreting the rules could work, but not both.
The biggest example of what I found frustrating was the attempt to move across Stone Bridge at Bull Run. Yes, Stone Bridge in real life was a challenge, but the inability of my forces to get across in the game was ridiculous. Flanking across the river was possible, but it involved units going out of command, multiple regiment and brigade changes, and then my regiments bottled up at the bridge when moving in march formation so that most of them never got to the main battle at Henry Hill. Realistic? Maybe. An enjoyable game experience? NO!
The biggest problem with the game is lack of battles. I hope you (the developers) did not spend too much time or too many resources on Mill Spring and Williamsburg! I understand that it may not be economically feasible to do what CWG2 did, and have most of the battles of the war in one game, but if you are only going to have 4 battlefields, maybe do Bull Run, Wilson Creek (which I appreciated playing), Shiloh, and Seven Pines instead? As the game grows, and more add ons are made available, hopefully a full campaign mode is released. I like the alternate scenarios, but I have to agree with the above poster, for 50 bucks I'd at least want Shiloh and Seven Pines on top of Bull Run and Wilson. I also must say that the main reason I did not buy the game until the last week was because of the lack of battles; I finally bought it mostly because it's the best option in full battle (no Scourge of War) Civil War game at the moment.
Speaking of more battles, I do wonder how this system will work on the larger battles. I find it hard to imagine playing Gettysburg with regimental and battalion control. It might be worth play-testing those battles with brigades instead of regiments. I also think this game engine would be great for an American Revolution tactical game, and I think that's an untapped market, with only HexWar and Tiller there.
However, there were a lot of things I liked about the game. For the most part, I was impressed with the AI. They seemed to hold a lot of troops in reserve, but it seemed to work out okay for the AI. The smoke feature is really interesting, and I liked the fact units fire at a distance, rather than having to move them into each other to attack (RE: Civil War Generals 2.) I really have enjoyed this game, and will most likely buy the expansions, but I think reducing the frustration and creating more battles that people care about will be the fastest way to grow the player base and get more buyers.