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Subject: Non-interactive wargames rss

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Wilbur Whateley
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I am looking for some recommendations for non-interactive wargames, i.e. wargames that are ideal for PBEM. These would be games where you can do your entire move, and preferably your entire turn, which takes a good chunk of time, with no interaction required from your opponent. Obviously CDGs, games with lots of chit pulls, mobile assaults combined with fog of war or retreat choices etc are right out.

The best game I ever found for this was Proud Monster, which you could spend hours on doing your turn, including movement and combat resolution, with no input from your opponent whatsoever. Made the game perfect for PBEM. The 2nd edition The Legend Begins explicitly stated in the designer's notes that it was designed for PBM, with no fog of war or opponent input required during your turn. On the other end of the spectrum are CDGs, where you hardly get to do anything before you have to stop and wait for a response.

I have looked at geeklists for games supposedly good for PBEM and keep seeing recommendations for highly interactive games, which I think are terrible for PBEM, so I am trying to be more explicit in asking for non-interactive games.

Recently have played some France '40 which worked fairly well, with long movement turns requiring no interaction, no fog of war etc. We did combat live in Vassal, with Recovery/Supply and reinforcement draws at the end, but could do the rest of the turn sequence on our own, which worked well. You could agonize over every movement point and combat factor without making anyone wait.

Wondering if there are any others. Most designs in the last 25 years seem to focus on interactivity and avoiding player downtime, which is great FTF or live Vassal, but terrible PBEM. And I don't find myself attracted to the old "classics" for various reasons.

Thanks for any suggestions. Assume my opponent and I are not online at the same time, so rapid back and forth file exchanges are not an option. Really looking for some good, "take two hours to do your turn, no opponent input required" type games.
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Richard Diosi
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I was amused when I read your header. 'Non-interactive' wargames....wars that had only one side show up?

Perhaps games from MMP's OCS and SCS series, especially the bigger ones lend themselves to what you are looking for in general.
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Wilbur Whateley
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OCS is extremely interactive, with fog of war, overruns during movement, option decisions, air power commitment and interceptions, etc. Pretty much the opposite of what I am looking for.

SCS can be more suitable, but I haven't yet found an SCS game I really like. I was considering Stalingrad Pocket II but I am not sure whether the game specific rules add a bunch of interactivity. I recall it being known as "OCS lite" which is not promising.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Axis and Allies may fit but your opponent rolls against you. You also might want to try the solo game Fleet Commander: Nimitz.
 
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Wilbur Whateley
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GeoffreyB wrote:
Axis and Allies may fit but your opponent rolls against you. You also might want to try the solo game Fleet Commander: Nimitz.


A solo game for PBEM? What?
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Richard Diosi
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As I recall, GMT's Battle for Normandy was mostly IGOUGO.
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Rex Stites
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chuft wrote:
I am looking for some recommendations for non-interactive wargames, i.e. wargames that are ideal for PBEM. These would be games where you can do your entire move, and preferably your entire turn, which takes a good chunk of time, with no interaction required from your opponent. Obviously CDGs, games with lots of chit pulls, mobile assaults combined with fog of war or retreat choices etc are right out.


I've found that games with big huge turns are more difficult to PBEM than some other games due to needing to set aside an hour or two to complete your turn. This tends to really slow the exchange of files down and leads to the game wimpering to a halt.

I've found that the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War turn structure works really well for PBEM. You can typically complete a turn in 15-20 minutes and within the turn itself, there's virtually no interaction.* As a result, the games keep a pretty good pace and you feel like you've completed your entire "turn" when you exchange logfiles.



*The caveat here is retreats, but combat is relatively rare as the series is more about maneuver. And even when there is combat, typically there's nothing to do after the retreat anyway.
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Tony Doran
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DocStryder wrote:
As I recall, GMT's Battle for Normandy was mostly IGOUGO.


Yes, and what he seems to be asking for is an igo-ugo game. Many of the earlier Avalon Hill and SPI games would fill that bill.
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Wilbur Whateley
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I loved playing Proud Monster PBEM because it took two hours to do a player move, which was great when I got home from work and had the evening's wargaming to look forward to. Games with 15 minute turns would mean very little moving before everything stops while you wait for a response. But yes it depends on the opponent also having the time to do long turns. A 45 to 60 minute move time would probably be better for most opponents, who don't have big chunks of time like I do.

Sadly there seems to be a real shortage of such games in the last 25 years. When Eagles Fight and France '40 are the only ones I can think of at the moment.
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Rex Stites
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chuft wrote:
I loved playing Proud Monster PBEM because it took two hours to do a player move, which was great when I got home from work and had the evening's wargaming to look forward to. Games with 15 minute turns would mean very little moving before everything stops while you wait for a response. But yes it depends on the opponent also having the time to do long turns. A 45 to 60 minute move time would probably be better for most opponents, who don't have big chunks of time like I do.

Sadly there seems to be a real shortage of such games in the last 25 years. When Eagles Fight and France '40 are the only ones I can think of at the moment.


Der Weltkrieg Series? It's been awhile since I've played, so I don't remember the exact sequence of play, but it should be a longer session before turning it over to the other player. It does model supply points explicitly for combat. I don't remember off the top of my head how it's handled for the defender--i.e., whether there are actual decisions to be made in terms of SP expenditure for the defender.
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Hunga Dunga
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chuft wrote:
OCS is extremely interactive, with fog of war, overruns during movement, option decisions, air power commitment and interceptions, etc. Pretty much the opposite of what I am looking for.

SCS can be more suitable, but I haven't yet found an SCS game I really like. I was considering Stalingrad Pocket II but I am not sure whether the game specific rules add a bunch of interactivity. I recall it being known as "OCS lite" which is not promising.

Stalingrad Pocket II is a rivetting game strictly in the IGOUGO model.
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Peter
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Battle For Arnhem was a game in the print and play wargame contest last year that was explicitly designed to work in a "non interactive" way. For example, the retreats after combat are handled by the attacking player, so each half-turn is controlled entirely by one player. There is a vassal module, but you have to dig around for it on the contest page.
 
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Brad Miller
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I agree with the above poster regarding early AH games. And not even totally early, as igo/ugo remained a thing for a long while, even after more interactive concepts came into the hobby. Afrika Korps is still good, The Russian Campaign, etc. Lots of options there.
 
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Wilbur Whateley
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As I said in my original post, I don't find myself attracted to the old "classics" for various reasons.
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Nicholas Uloth
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For a lot of games you can make them a lot less interactive by modifying the phase order. So instead of:

player 1 phase A
player 2 phase A
player 1 phase B
player 2 phase B
player 1 phase C
player 2 phase C
etc

you rearrange as:

player 1 phase A
player 1 phase B
player 1 phase C
player 2 phase A
player 2 phase B
player 2 phase C
etc

Basically percolate the phases together so that the number of email exchanges are minimized.

It takes a bit of work to think through to make sure that player1 phase B doesn't depend on what he sees player2 doing in phase A etc.

In cases where there is a dependency you can either:

1) ignore it and put it down to increased fog of war.
2) or communicate some sort of standing orders or extra info in your
turn.

Since designers try to make games as interactive as possible to stop people getting bored, it interesting to see that when you consider the actual decision points you cant do away with, how few there really are in many games.

Combat is a prime example where in many cases the whole thing can really be resolved by one side.

 
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Terry Maciw
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If you enjoyed France 40, there are a few others in the series that would play the same. Normandy 44, Ardennes 44 and Ukraine 43. There is also a Caucuses one, which I don't have but it's the same system.
 
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Wilbur Whateley
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Your suggestion makes total sense. Unfortunately I really didn't enjoy France '40 and have lost interest in playing other games using that system. I own Ukraine 43 but will likely sell it still shrinkwrapped unless I become convinced somehow that it is a lot more fun to be the defender in that game than it is in France '40.
 
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M St
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You run a lot as the defender in U'43 but you also get to beat up attacking stacks on a reasonably regular basis.
 
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tim allen
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Russian Campaign. It's perfect for PBEM. No interaction between players during a turn. All combat results including retreats are handled by the attacker. Its easy to find an older copy and a new edition is due out next year.
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Michael McCalpin
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chuft wrote:
Your suggestion makes total sense. Unfortunately I really didn't enjoy France '40 and have lost interest in playing other games using that system. I own Ukraine 43 but will likely sell it still shrinkwrapped unless I become convinced somehow that it is a lot more fun to be the defender in that game than it is in France '40.

The Germans in Ukraine '43 have scary panzers that run here and there, causing mayhem all over, so even while the Germans are generally moving backward, they are able to hit the Soviets and hit them hard.
 
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Martin Larouche
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Maybe good old Ogre ?

One side moves everything and rolls his dice for all his firing units, gives the result to the opponent who then gets his turn...
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Malcolm Cameron
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chuft wrote:
OCS is extremely interactive, with fog of war, overruns during movement, option decisions, air power commitment and interceptions, etc. Pretty much the opposite of what I am looking for.


OCS works very well PBEM. My time zone means that is pretty much the only way I regularly play OCS. I have played dozens of OCS scenarios PBEM.

Fog of war is easily handled by each side having the ability to unmask the opponent's units - but only doing so after committing to an attack on the hex.

Overruns can be done by the moving player without input from the defender almost all of the time (see the next point).

Defender option decisions are usually obvious. Once in a while there will be a non-obvious decision, but a very small percentage of log files have to be stopped for that reason.

The only airpower decision for the inactive player is on interception, and again that is usually obvious (with the same caveat as with defender options - once in a while a non-obvious interception breaks up a file).

Things like defender combat supply are also almost always obvious. I leave a trail of markers behind with reminders about defender supply (for my opponent to spend in his next log), rather than handling defender supply during a log.

Most player turns get done in three log files: from turn start to the beginning of reaction; then defender reaction phase; then combat, exploit and clean up.

If you like OCS, you will probably like it by email. If you don't, you won't!



 
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tim allen
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I stand by Russian Campaign. Its super easy to play via email on any system- vassal, or cyberboard, or even ADC2. Heck back in the day when it first came out, in the late 70s, it was specifically made to be Play-by-Mail friendly. Not email, but plain old physical post-office mail friendly.

It may be old, but its also going into its 5th edition printing so I think that says a lot of people are still playing and loving it (me included).
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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DocStryder wrote:
I was amused when I read your header. 'Non-interactive' wargames....wars that had only one side show up?

3rd Punic War was my guess.
You can play that in the old S&T issue game The Punic Wars
 
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Wilbur Whateley
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chuft wrote:
As I said in my original post, I don't find myself attracted to the old "classics" for various reasons.




TimAllen wrote:
I stand by Russian Campaign. Its super easy to play via email on any system- vassal, or cyberboard, or even ADC2. Heck back in the day when it first came out, in the late 70s, it was specifically made to be Play-by-Mail friendly. Not email, but plain old physical post-office mail friendly.

It may be old, but its also going into its 5th edition printing so I think that says a lot of people are still playing and loving it (me included).


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