The game is very similar to a wargame from the mid-late 70s that was for the Napoleonic period. That game was strategic and used rectangular counters, similar to the ones in this game, to depict forces. The game that I played almost 35 or so years ago may have, in fact, been made by Avalon Hill.
I purchased the Battleplan ACW game after playing the demo. I was glad that the developer had released a demo as I always like to try before I buy. The demo proved a couple of things to me: first, to see if it ran under Windows 7-64bit, and second, to see if I like the way the game played since I read a lot of goods & bads on the forums. So far, I like the game. I also saw that the developer had released a patch today so players could slow the game down if you wanted to.
It is a strategic wargame so you should be commanding large units (battalion/regiment & above) and not a tactical game where you command squads, platoons, and companies. I went through the tutorials and found them to be sufficient to learn the mechanics of the game. Overall, you can't beat the price.