Thrift Thopter
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Hello. I'm new to posting in this forum, though I used to enjoy reading through play by forum games, over five years ago.

Anyway, last month, when reading the waiting list page, for the first time, I learned about kingerc's By Your Command - Mod-Free BSG PBF, and thought it was a good idea. However, as he had only recently made it, he'd mentioned that there may be occasional bugs, no By Your Command game had finished at that time, and all of the games that had started then were run by him, I'd figured that it was still in an early stage, where kingerc and a few volunteers were working bugs out, during test games. I figured that that once it was eventually, working well enough for general use, they'd let people know, and those on the waiting list would gradually start trying it out. Until then, it seemed that people were still waiting for normal play by forum games with moderators. Following their example, and the instructions on the page, I added myself to the bottom of the list, with the intention of waiting as many months as was necessary to play a game, before I started moderating, myself.

At that time, I then noticed that the Arkham Horror play by forum games were much less active than I'd remembered, and hadn't had a game, in a month. Feeling sorry for the people on that list, I changed my mind, and started moderating, immediately (though for a different game). Now that I've gotten used to moderating (some kind of) play by forum games on Board Game Geek, and I just got an extra base game, along with the three expansions, I've decided to try moderating Battlestar Galactica, as well. As I don't have PhotoShop, I was going to see if anyone wanted to play text-based games with the photo icons, found in; Example of Text Game.

However, I'd subscribed to some of the recent Play by Forum games, both with the intention of reading them later, and to keep an eye, on how By Your Command was doing. It now seems to be doing very well, from what I gather. One of the other players has started two games with it, and they're starting rematches, as well, not that I'm complaining. Here are some quotes from two of the players, about it, at the end of game 615 - Chef! Tyrol:
zelarvi wrote:
Sure, I'd be good with a rematch.

The interesting thing about BYC-- In the past, when moderators were required, people would be much more careful about rematches to ensure the waitlist kept moving. That's not so necessary with BYC, since anyone can start a game anytime as long as they're comfortable with setup. Not sure why I'm pointing this out, I just find it an interesting change to the general PBF system we've got.


vraeden wrote:
I think the only reason the waiting list is still long is because people don't realize how easy it is to start a game now and how well BYC works. I just started a game with some "real" life friends & family that live more than 3 hrs away. It'll move slow. Maybe someone should start setting up more BYC games using the list.

I'll start this rematch later today if it hasn't already been started.


Is By Your Command actually ready for widespread use? Is kingerc ready to let random people start using it, and for the potential flood of technical support geekmails, that might bring? (It actually sounds easy to use, but it's in my nature to worry about these kinds of things.) If it is ready for general use, and kingerc starts telling people at the top of the list, that they can invite people to By Your Command Games, I imagine that would be much more appealing than the text and icon games, I was about to start offering. In that case, I'd wait until I'm ready to both play and moderate variant games.

If this is the case, it may help if someone (kingerc, perhaps?) notified the person at the top of the list about the program. If they're not interested, (or responsive,) the notifier could proceed down the list, until they find someone who is interested in inviting people to a By Your Command game, of the type of their choice. Once this person finishes inviting people to their game, they would become the new "notifier," until they found another person interested in starting a game, and it could continue from there. This would prevent the chaos of people from all over the list, inviting each other to games at the same time. Besides, as I'm in the bottom third of the list, I wouldn't want to get ahead of people who have been waiting longer than me.

Then again, if kingerc isn't ready to open the floodgates, and say that it's ready for everyone to use, or if a number of people are concerned about the potential for bugs, in what sounds like a properly working program, I'm willing to start running slower, and less pretty, but "more stable" games, if necessary.

Sorry for the long post, and let me know what you think. I'm the one who's new to this, so I should probably be the one listening, while you make suggestions.
 
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Brenton
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I don't want to speak for Zach (kingerc), but I'd say it's pretty much ready to go from what I've seen. I'm currently playing in 2 games run by BYC, and bugs have become very few and far between. I'm sure there are still a few lurking out there, caused by very niche situations, but by and large it's pretty solid. Another user, vraeden, has started 2 new games here, and here, so I'd say Zach is happy for others to start games with BYC.

I really do enjoy modding games, and maybe there'll be a group of people out there still wanting to play games modded by a person as opposed to a script, but I think Zach might have put us out of a job, so to speak.
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Ernest Chua
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Speaking just as a player (and not someone who has ever moderated a game), I'd be happy to participate in a player-moderated game.
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Mindy G
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Speaking as a player and a mod, I personally have zero interest in non-mod games. I love the interaction between players and mods, on both sides, and is part of what I enjoy so much about PBF.
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Marcus Cathey
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I wouldn't put too much stock in my actions as I may have committed a faux pas since I didn't ask permission. I had assumed that he would want people to go ahead and use it and never thought differently till this thread.

As I was wrapping up my first game using BYC, I figured I'd start one with my own "real life" friends. Figuring that wouldn't mess with anyone in the queue besides me and kinda like I'm bringing my own players rather than jumping the line. Kingerc commented on it noting that he wouldn't be subscribing to it and I had already decided that, while I could report bugs to him, I was in no position to demand fixes, etc. As well as he has designed it, it seems to me that most things can be brute force fixed within the game actually, such as changing resources, etc. I imagine the only problem would be fixing a deck shuffle.

I wasn't aware that rematches were frowned upon as this is my second rematch. I can see how it would be an issue when it tied up moderators. BYC could be the great liberator, but it still won't bridge the gap between experienced players and newbies if we only play rematches.

Kingerc, would you weigh in on a question: do you have any concern for the # of games that may get started here? I would suggest we start messaging experienced players and see how many of them would be willing to start BYC games with one or two newbies per game and just ask people to limit it to the number you feel comfortable offering some level of support. I imagine it COULD become an issue if 30 games got started and people had a lot of questions all at once. On the other hand, I haven't had more than a hiccup or question in the 3 BYC games I'm involved with that I even felt like waiting on support for.
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Marcus Cathey
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oriecat wrote:
Speaking as a player and a mod, I personally have zero interest in non-mod games. I love the interaction between players and mods, on both sides, and is part of what I enjoy so much about PBF.


I wanted to note here that I HAVE LOVED my mods. That aspect is so great. I even contemplated becoming a mod myself, but decided I wasn't ready to commit to the time requirements and I only have the base game. As much as I've loved my mods, I appreciate not having to wait longer for a game though. If enough people feel the same, we might consider multiple queues.
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Gerry Smit
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There are lots of rematches of groups. But they tend to be folks who launch their own game(s) and keep going, not folks from the queue. Though I suppose a couple of quick-ending games have re-matched. It comes down to "whatever the mod is willing to do" as without them, that game wouldn't be running anyway.
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Thrift Thopter
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Thank you all, for your feedback. I decided to go ahead and start moderating. I just finished sending the initial invitations. I'll wait until someone accepts before posting the thread for what would be game 620. Besides, I don't have enough energy to do it right now, anyway.
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Zach T
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Didn't see this at the time, but felt I should still weigh in, if a bit late:

People should absolutely feel free to start games with BYC without me, and I'm glad that a couple have been. I generally won't be subscribed to these games, but if you run into any bug or technical difficulty, let me know and I'll fix it ASAP. (I should generally be able to fix any game-breaking bug within 36 hours unless I happen to be on vacation; quality-of-life issues may take longer to fix.)

BYC is a different beast than a manually-modded game; the play flow feels different, and you no longer have a mod to ask questions of or vent to. Also, being a mod is a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed it when I did it. Sadly, my new work schedule means I'm not going to manually modding many more games myself; part of the reason for making BYC was to fashion a replacement for myself. But it was never meant to replace all human-moderated games, and I imagine there'll be a mix of both going forward.

(Humans will also never really be replaced for the vast majority of Variant games, for obvious reasons.)

EDIT: Also, BYC has a bit of a steep learning curve for those who aren't familiar with the conventions of PBF games. It's probably best, at least for the near future, that new or new-to-PBF players get a human moderator.
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Brenton
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Yeah, I love it when players in my games chat/vent/gloat about how things are going for them. Likewise I love talking the the mods in the games I'm playing about how thigs are going. In one of the BYC games I'm currently playing, I really wanted to comment to someone about something, but since only I knew the information concerned, I couldn't.

You need to implement an AI chat bot into the script, Zach (jk haha)
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