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Subject: Best CDGs for PBEM rss

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Øivind Karlsrud
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Twilight Struggle and 1989 should be excellent for PBEM, since there are no reaction cards. The UN card in TS is played along with your own card, to block the opponent's event, so it is really a reaction card. Power struggles in 1989 will be slow PPEM, but that doesn't matter too much, since Power Struggles are important events which don't happen too often. So which other CDGs are good for PBEM? It has become my favorite genre, so I have bought/pre-ordered quite a few: Hannibal, Wilderness War, Washington's War, For the People, Paths of Glory, Empire of the Sun, just to mention those I own or which I will own within a few months. If anyone could rank them (along with Twilight Struggle) with respect to PBEM-ability, that would be very useful.
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R Larsen
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I only have a few, so Can only talk for those:

1. Paths of Glory is excellent, as there is little interruption. Only issue is playing combat cards, but it is easily solved by the defender maling all combat rolls.

2. Empire of the Sun has reaction cards, which is a complication. However, it is not overwhelming, and certainly has not prevented me from playing this gem by email.

3. Hannibal is an old favorite, but not one that i would play by mail. This not because of reaction cards, but due to the battle cards. I love this mechanism, but does not make for a great PBEM games, as each battle could require 15-20 mails.

Enjoy.
Ras
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Daniel Berger
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Though I've not tried it, I think Thirty Years War: Europe in Agony would work well since there is no interception.

On the other hand, I found The Napoleonic Wars was a painful PBEM experience due to regular interceptions and copious battle or response cards.
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Rex Stites
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If you're playing against someone you trust--or just don't care if the opponent "cheats"--then interrupt cards and intercepts aren't as problematic. Instead of announcing what you're going to do and then waiting to see if your opponent is going to react, you can go play out your turn completely and then have your opponent stop your logfile and create his own if he wants to play an interrupt or intercept. So long as the other player doesn't play the entire logfile to see your entire turn first, the result is the same.

If you play this way, then the PBEM game only slows down when there's actually an interrupt/intercept instead of every single play.
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Henry Rodriguez
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rstites25 wrote:
you can go play out your turn completely and then have your opponent stop your logfile and create his own if he wants to play an interrupt or intercept.


Quoted for truth. This is how we play Sword of Rome.
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Judd Vance
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I'll grade them from the ones I played. A = Best. F = Worst. I'm going by memory, here, so take that into consideration. Also, I'm only looking at CDGs that use operation points and are based on We the People.

A-Letter Grades:

I have not played a perfect PBEM Card Driven Game. Perfect games are ones where I play my entire turn and send it to you, with no log interrupts or extremely rare ones. The best example I can think of is Hold the Line.


B-Letter Grades:

Empire of the Sun: I want to say that there is a storm card and a submarine card, but other wise, very little in the way of log interrupt. Attacker plays a card, select a HQ, move units, declare battle hexes. Send file to opponent. Defender plays intelligence card if he has one. Rolls up reaction. Moves his units. Rolls up combat. Takes damage (generally, it is obvious to both sides, but if not, he just does his damage). He performs post battle movement and sends files to attacker who perform Post Battle movement.

Shifting Sands / Paths of Glory / World War II: Barbarossa to Berlin: Excellent. Attacker plays combat card first, so you play yours, send log to defender and he rolls combat. I don't remember there being much to interrupt.

For the People: Minimal interruptions. I remember a Quaker Guns card, but these are few and far between. I played 3 games by e-mail and they worked out greatly.

Lincoln's War: I haven't messed with the game for awhile. I'm waiting on some final rules as Gen 1 was a disaster and I didn't feel like playtesting Gen 2. From what I saw of Gen 2, it played pretty well. The only interrupt I remember was combat: what resources do you want to commit?

Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?: I don't remember any interrupt cards, but if one of you play an opponents event, you might have to stop your turn, send the file off, and see how he wishes to resolve the card.


C-Letter Grade:

Washington's War / Unhappy King Charles!: I know WaW better than UKC, but I don't remember an interrupt card in UKC. Both games have interrupts when it comes to finding out if a defending force wishes to retreat or interrupt intercept, and I think UKC gives you a chance to disperse after you have seen the attacking force. Otherwise, in combat, attacker plays combat card. Sends off file. Defender plays combat card and rolls up combat.

Wilderness War: You have an Ambush card, but otherwise, you have to worry about interceptions, just like you do in Washington's War.

Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975: This works pretty well. The combat cards can create some interruptions. It's not going to play as quickly as For the People, due to the nature of spending Operation Points for multiple actions with each card play (I spend a point to move a stack. You might ambush. I move on. We fight. I fight a 2nd round. That is 5 files.)


D-Letter Grade:

Twilight Struggle The module was overly automated. So I played my headline card, sent you the file. Then you played yours. Then if my headline got played first, you had to send it to me. Then I had to send it back to you. With your typical module, I would play my headline card, insert 3 spaces for you to flip yours, then flip my card. You would receive the file, interrupt my card, and I trust you not to cheat. And if I didn't trust you, I wouldn't play with you in the first place. This module is made for live play. It sucks for PBEM play.

The Price of Freedom: The American Civil War 1861-1865: Like Washington's War, there are lots of questions about retreating and intercepting, but the combat system, where I play a combat card or pass and then you play one or pass, and then I add one, until both of us pass, can be time consuming. If you are really good at creating interruptible log files, some of this pain can be alleviated.

F-Letter Grade:

Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage / We the People: The Battle Card system makes it impractical to play by e-mail. It could take you weeks to fight a single battle. You can play everything BUT the battle by e-mail and then agree to play the battle live or by Skype. If not, don't waste your time.
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Randy C
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Any of the games with ACTS modules!
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Øivind Karlsrud
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Thanks for the responses everyone. Judd, those grades are really useful. It's good to know you rate all the games I have bought/pre-ordered higher than Twilight Struggle. I guess all of them except Hannibal are pretty good for PBEM then. Washinghton's War will probably be saved for F2F play, since it's such a short game, and has a high chance of getting played F2F.
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Max DuBoff
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The CDGs I've played PBEM are Here I Stand, Virgin Queen, For the People, and Paths of Glory. All of them are fantastic in that medium, and they occupy my time with thinking of my next move even when it's my opponent's turn.

I would never try Twilight Struggle, 1989, or Hannibal PBEM. I love them-- they're great games--but I just don't consider them meaty enough to warrant PBEM play. The battle card system is another deterrent for the latter two of those.
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Mike Szarka
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1989 is not a good PBEM game. The Power Struggles are really tedious unless you arrange to play them in real time.
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Bartow Riggs
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I think almost any of the games listed are fine for PBEM (Except Hannibal w/battle cards and I have not played 1989) as long as dropbox or similar is used. I specifically enjoy Twilight Struggle that way.
 
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Greg Ottoman
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The COIN series games, such as A Distant Plane, Fire in the Lake, etc work well PBEM. There are no interrupts involved. They are best with 4 players however, and they also are best with interpersonal diplomacy and negotiation which are best done playing face to face or live on vassal with Skype. That said, I've played them several times PBEM and they work fine.

Same with Labyrinth, it plays very well PBEM.

Otherwise, echo Judd's list. Perhaps would add in WW2 Barbarossa to Berlin, have played 4 games of it PBEM and it works quite well.
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Carsten Bohne
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mcszarka wrote:
1989 is not a good PBEM game. The Power Struggles are really tedious unless you arrange to play them in real time.


Exactly. Exchanging logs just for a single Power Struggle card is really annoying. Two of my trans-continental email games died due to this, especially that one game when we had back to back 20-card Power Struggles which would have taken a month or so.

What works for me is playing the Power Struggles via ACTS because you can access their website through your smartphone browser. No need to be in front of your computer and using Vassal then...

Currently struggling through a Twilight Struggle email game using the v3.1 mod. We've had our share of 'hey, you forgot to advance the turn track and I can't do anything', which I can live with. It's more difficult to figure out the automation of certain cards.
The automation itself is great - I just wished it talked a bit more about what the next action must happen. Looking forward to the iOS/PC adaption...
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airjudden wrote:

Twilight Struggle The module was overly automated. So I played my headline card, sent you the file. Then you played yours. Then if my headline got played first, you had to send it to me. Then I had to send it back to you. With your typical module, I would play my headline card, insert 3 spaces for you to flip yours, then flip my card. You would receive the file, interrupt my card, and I trust you not to cheat. And if I didn't trust you, I wouldn't play with you in the first place. This module is made for live play. It sucks for PBEM play.



There is a PBEM module. In conjunction with ACTS, it plays smoothly without hassle.

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Judd Vance
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joekong_hk wrote:

airjudden wrote:

Twilight Struggle The module was overly automated. So I played my headline card, sent you the file. Then you played yours. Then if my headline got played first, you had to send it to me. Then I had to send it back to you. With your typical module, I would play my headline card, insert 3 spaces for you to flip yours, then flip my card. You would receive the file, interrupt my card, and I trust you not to cheat. And if I didn't trust you, I wouldn't play with you in the first place. This module is made for live play. It sucks for PBEM play.



There is a PBEM module. In conjunction with ACTS, it plays smoothly without hassle.



That's good to know. I haven't played it for a couple of years. I used to marvel at the module, but when I played it by e-mail, I was more annoyed than anything by it.
 
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Don Barree
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My only PBEM CDG experience is with Here I Stand and Virgin Queen. I recommend both using ACTS.
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David Janik-Jones
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I know Judd won't touch this one with a 10-foot pole but I have to add Combat Commander to the D or F pile. I know some people can play PBEM but I can't wrap my head around it at all, I just find too many times where I personally need to do something in reaction to my opponent's action. It bothers me. Face-to-face or real-time Vassal only for me.

mcszarka wrote:
1989 is not a good PBEM game. The Power Struggles are really tedious unless you arrange to play them in real time.

I plan on beating Mike face-to-face in 1989, after my (close) loss last night in our CC Pacific game.
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Although I found that playing in the three-player Napoleonic Wars tournament was overwhelming as a PBEM, I have found that ACTS worked quite well for Here I Stand (though it got pretty overwhelming, too), Barbarossa to Berlin, For the People! (though I was just learning and lost track of what I was doing--I had clearly lost, but was a DNF for my opponent), and Empire of the Sun. My BEST experiences using ACTS were with Paths of Glory.

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Am currently playing an ACTs game of EotS and loving it although it is pretty complex and despite the grading system above it seems to require a lot of interactions. Tremendous game though. I think my favorite as a pbem ACTs game has to be Wilderness War. Not terribly complex, but exciting and carries off the theme very well.

Generally I prefer to play CDGs on ACTs rather than FtF (well perhaps games like Successors and Nappy Wars are still better FtF) I just enjoy the slower pace which I think is more suited to a strategic level game. And all of the CDGs work very well pbem.
 
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Judd Vance
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DaveyJJ wrote:
I know Judd won't touch this one with a 10-foot pole but I have to add Combat Commander to the D or F pile. I know some people can play PBEM but I can't wrap my head around it at all, I just find too many times where I personally need to do something in reaction to my opponent's action. It bothers me. Face-to-face or real-time Vassal only for me.

mcszarka wrote:
1989 is not a good PBEM game. The Power Struggles are really tedious unless you arrange to play them in real time.

I plan on beating Mike face-to-face in 1989, after my (close) loss last night in our CC Pacific game.


Actually, I have no qualms with including it or COIN games (I'd rather play CC:E). I said I only listed games with Operation Points in the Mark Herman tradition, of which CC:E and COIN are not. I thought that is what the OP was asking. I also listed games I played, so obviously, CC and COIN aren't going be on it

But if he wants to expand it, I'd be happy to talk about more games with cards, like Command & Colors, Hammer of the Scots variants, Rommel in the Desert, Test of Fire / Clash of Wills, A Few Acres of Snow, and Blue vs. Gray. Just say the word.
 
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Max DuBoff
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Oh, Pursuit of Glory works well PBEM, although I was a bit busy trying to figure out all the rules to filly enjoy it.
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Robert B
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I wouldn't rate it "the best" CDG for PBeM, but I do enjoy Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975 via VASSAL. Judd rated it a "C" for PBeM; I'd rate it a "B". There are occasions where you must send the file back for a choice (ambush, evade or fight), but as long as you are patient, it works and I think the game progresses at a satisfactory pace.
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airjudden wrote:
DaveyJJ wrote:
I know Judd won't touch this one with a 10-foot pole but I have to add Combat Commander to the D or F pile. I know some people can play PBEM but I can't wrap my head around it at all, I just find too many times where I personally need to do something in reaction to my opponent's action. It bothers me. Face-to-face or real-time Vassal only for me.

mcszarka wrote:
1989 is not a good PBEM game. The Power Struggles are really tedious unless you arrange to play them in real time.

I plan on beating Mike face-to-face in 1989, after my (close) loss last night in our CC Pacific game.


Actually, I have no qualms with including it or COIN games (I'd rather play CC:E). I said I only listed games with Operation Points in the Mark Herman tradition, of which CC:E and COIN are not. I thought that is what the OP was asking. I also listed games I played, so obviously, CC and COIN aren't going be on it


You're right, I was thinking about CDGs the way you define it (I rememember your view on this from the HAMTAG-video on non-CDGs ). Mostly, this is because those are the kind of card-driven games I have liked the most up until now.
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