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Subject: VASSAL as a Substitute? rss

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Hilary Hartman
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Here's the situation:

My wife and I love to wargame. Our problems of late with getting games to the table are many. First, we have a small home and two young children, so it is difficult to play a game for more than three or four hours at a stretch (after they go to bed) and we cannot leave the game set-up anywhere between sessions (as they will find a way to mess it up).

We are both also in Grad School, so time is limited between studying, work, and other daily chores.

Therefore, I was wondering if we could use VASSAL as a way to alleviate some of these problems. For those of you whom use the program, I have a few questions:

Does it use real-time, or is it an e-mail type of system?
Could we play games in a "hotseat" mode?

I realize I could probably find this out by going to the VASSAL website, but I know many of you use this system and I value your opinions.

(Oh, and is there any one website for VASSAL or is it a conglomeration of sites?)

Thanks!
 
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Jim Cote
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Vassal provides a virtual table top. The players must know the rules of the game and move pieces (and other upkeep) accordingly. There are some modules that do much more. At any point you can save the game state. So you could, for example, take your turn, save the game, and email the save file to your opponent. This would effectively be PBEM. You can also play at the same time, use text chat (although I recommend Skype), and save the game at any time to continue later.

The problem with hotseat mode (if I understand what that means) is that if the game has hidden information, you can't just switch between 1 player and other on the same load. At least not that I'm aware of.
 
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Ricardo Madeira
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You can use it real-time or just play-by-email. The real-time thing involves having an internet connection to the VASSAL server, although I *think* there's a way to connect directly to another computer using its IP when the server is not to be found.

Not sure what you mean by "hotseat" mode, so I'll skip that question.

Also, there's only one vassal website: www.vassalengine.org (okay, two sites, if you count the ASL VASSAL adaptation at www.vasl.org).
 
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John Boone
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Could we play games in a "hotseat" mode?

There are two methods you can use for hotseat if there is hidden info between the two sides.

1. Open up one instance of the game and use the Retire button to give up your seat. To preserve hidden info would also require changing the password (I believe you can use the same username) each time the players swap. This may be a little tedious but you wouldn't have to connect to the server.

2. Option two if a game does use hidden info between players you could start two instances of Vassal on your PC (this is possible I've done it when testing out modules I've worked on) each player using their own window and minimizing it between player swaps at the PC. Ofcourse this will require connection to the server.
 
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M King
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I don't mean to speak for the user who started this thread, but as I understand it, hotseat mode is having two players use the same computer to play a turn-based game. One player does his/her turn, then lets the other player take over the "hotseat" and sit at the computer and do their turn. You see this mode in some computer wargames, like Battlefront's Combat Mission series.
 
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Bob Mosdal
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I usually take "hotseat" mode to mean that a computer game is multi-player but not networked i.e. one person sits at the computer, takes their turn then gets up to let the next person take their turn ergo the "hotseat."

I would also check out Cyberboard (http://cyberboard.brainiac.com/) which is PBEM software that also doesn't have any AI but has modules for games with the board(s) and pieces and allows you to save your boardgame on a PC and also send saved turns via email if you'd like.

Either one would also work to save a game that two of you were playing as time permitted.

Also, if I recall correctly, VASL was the first (i.e. virtual Advanced Squad Leader) and VASSAL was the genericized afterthought.
 
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Bob Mosdal
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D'oh! If I hadn't been distracted I'd have got my post in first.
 
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Dan Verssen
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Vassal is a great addition to the wargaming world. It is ideal for people who can't leave a tabletop game out overnight, or for days on end.

It also provides many built-in functions to make the game play easier.

These are some of the reasons we decided to go into publishing Vassal/PDF games.

-Dan Verssen
www.dvg.com
 
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Troy Davidson
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I love using VASSAL. I am in three Paths of Glory games. There is no way that I can sit through that game in a store. Tried it and it kicked my butt.

I say give VASSAL a try atleast. There is no harm in trying and seeing if it will work.
 
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Gary Krockover
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VASSAL got me back into board wargaming - and is now my preferred method of playing. I love playing via pbem, I love playing it live on the net vs others. I also became interested in creating my own modules and so now I have an ever growing collection of games - dug out the old ones that I had and I keep buying new and used games because I know that I can "VASSALize" them and actually get a chance to play them.

I think that everyone else has answered your questions about VASSAL. I will point you to the "Getting Started" wiki that I started (and others have contributed to) that may answer more questions and/or help you get started:

Edit (URL posted didn't work here to well, so I used 'tinyurl' for it):

http://tinyurl.com/rvj7r

 
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Hilary Hartman
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Thanks for all of the replies and encouragement. I will check out the various websites mentioned, and then decide whether or not it will work for our purposes.

Thanks everyone.

Game on.
 
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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puck4604 wrote:
First, we have a small home and two young children, so it is difficult to play a game for more than three or four hours at a stretch (after they go to bed) and we cannot leave the game set-up anywhere between sessions (as they will find a way to mess it up).

Have you looked at other ways of keeping games set up? I've been very happy with the Frankentable; it was easy to make, and it cost less than the game which is currently set up on it... http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/83345

People had some other cool ideas in the first thread mentioned there.

That now-broken "mapcase" link was a neat idea: it was basically a short, deep bookshelf with removable shelves about 3" apart. (I think the shelves were 2x3 feet, or maybe 3x4, which would be much better. They were just resting on wooden strips along the insides of the bookshelf-box. Actually, I think the shelves might have been poster frames.) Before starting a game, slide out one of the shelves and put it on the table. Set up the game on the shelf; when you need to put it away for the night, slide it back into the bookshelf-box. (To foil your kids, you probably want a door on that thing with a latch.) Anyway, that would let you keep multiple games set up, and would only occupy a 2x3 (or 3x4) footprint (and you could make it short enough to fit under a desk).
 
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Hilary Hartman
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The Frankentable is sort of a legend around here; we tell everyone about it and show them the pictures here on the Geek. Someday, someway, I promise, the Frankentable shall be built.

But not here, in campus housing. They frown upon such "modifications" to their 50's era housing accomodations...

I do like, however, the bookcase/gamecase idea.
 
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