Leaders are important to the performance of your units. With a bad leader, a unit may not move at all when ordered to do so; it will perform poorly in battle; and it will take longer to recover after battle.
The four ratings
Each leader has four ratings, as follows.
|Rating||Possible values||Affects||Changes during play|
|Inspiration||Low, Average, High||Training, combat, and rallying||Rarely|
|Aggression||Low, Average, High||Willingness to attack||No|
|Initiative||Disorganized, Below Average, Average, Good, Excellent||Movement, and maximum number of units||Tends to increase|
|Combat||Poor, Average, Good, Excellent||Performance in combat||Tends to increase|
Inspiration affects training only in the case of army leaders (the only ones who can conduct training in this game).
Know your leaders
Here are the leaders available at the start of the game. I've given them an overall rating by combining their inspiration, initiative, and combat ratings.
|Excellent||Nathaniel Lyon, William T Sherman|
|Good||William Rosecrans, George McClellan|
|Average||Edwin Sumner, James Wadsworth, William Franklin, John Pope, Don Carlos Buell (A), Samuel Curtis, David Hunter, Erasmus Keyes, Irvin McDowell (A)|
|Poor||Henry Halleck, Benjamin Butler, Daniel Tyler, Nathaniel Banks, Samuel Heintzelman|
|Useless||John Fremont, Robert Patterson|
|Excellent||Stonewall Jackson, Robert E Lee (A), James Longstreet|
|Good||William Hardee, D H Hill, Pierre Beauregard, Jubal Early, Joseph Johnston|
|Average||Richard Ewell, A S Johnston (A), Sterling Price, Earl van Dorn (C), Simon Buckner, John Magruder, Braxton Bragg, Leonidas Polk, E K Smith|
|Useless||Gideon Pillow, Theophilus Holmes, Gustavus Smith|
Historical or random
When you start a new game, you can choose whether your leaders will be rated according to their historical performance, or randomly. Each has some disadvantage.
- If you use historical ratings, you have much more information about your leaders than was available at the time. In reality, each leader's qualities had to be discovered by (sometimes painful) experiment.
- If you use random ratings, the names of the leaders become meaningless. Any particular leader may be good in one game, bad in another, and there's no association between the leader in the game and his namesake in reality.
I think both of these disadvantages are serious, but the second bothers me more, so I normally use historical ratings.
There is a way to eliminate both disadvantages simultaneously, but the game doesn't provide it. This would be to use historical ratings, but to conceal each leader's name when he comes into the game, displaying only a randomly-assigned number. When each leader has marched and fought enough to reveal his qualities, his true name (and historical rating) can be revealed to the player.