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I see things posted about Vassal all the time. I know its a way to play games online, but thats about all I know. Can anyone fill me in?

Thanks!

Steve
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Joel Toppen
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Well, you can get the program at http://vassalengine.org/community/index.php.

Once you have the core program (which is Java based so it will work on both PC and Mac), go to the "modules" page on the website and download the modules of the game(s) you wish to play using Vassal. That should get you started.
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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It's simply a virtual game board service so that you can play games online. You download the client (based on Java) then download a game module for a game you want to play, then join a virtual lobby to find/meet your opponent. There is no AI (Computer Intelligence), there is no rule enforcement. It's simply boards, bits and randomizers. There are some bells and whistles in some of the games, but it's pretty simple. There is a chat client built in, but some kind of voice software makes things easier (Teamspeak and such).

You are supposed to have a legal copy of the game to play. Which you would want to anyway so that you have a copy of whatever ruleset you use. Some people do ignore this requirement, especially when rulesets are available online. For this reason, certain game publishers/designers (example: Steve Jackson Games & Games Workshop) invoke their copyrights and have their modules taked off the Vassal downloads page (though the modules are still available in the dark corners of the interent where shady, shifty-eyed types traffic in illicit pdf's).
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Sounds like one more thing to keep me from being productive at work.
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It's also possible to use the same core program and game modules to play by email. You start a log file, make all your moves, dice rolls etc, then send the file to your opponent. They play it back seeing everything you did, then make a log file of their own. The chat window still works, so you have a kind of comments / delayed messages function.

The email works well for games which are fairly distinct I-go, you-go turns. It's possible to do for games which have more options for players to interrupt each other's turns, but it's a bit more fiddly as you have to stop in the playback without going to far to see what the other play did next, log your interruption, then send that back to let them react to your interruption and then re-do the rest of their turn. (Or some more involved form of interleaving - it's possible to play back a log and record into a log at the same time, but try not to think about that for now!)

Is there a particular game, type of game, or format (live online or PBEM) you were interested in? I'd be happy to help get you started if it's a combination of those things that I'm familiar with, and I'm sure there's plenty of other people here who could do likewise for other types...

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I've used VASSAL for a number of PBEM games. I've played all the games in the Command and Colors system (Battle Cry, Memoir '44, C&C: Ancients, and BattleLore). The first three, particularly the first 2, work very well. The only significant change we made was to outlaw the playing of the Ambush card, as its the only time the opponent can make a card play on your turn. Retreat direction is obvious 95% of the time, so only occasionally do you need to stop your turn midway through to let your opponent make a decision. C&C: Ancients is a bit more problematic with the Evade rules, and BattleLore is a pain if you play with Lore as so many of the Lore cards can be played on the other player's turn.

I've also used it for a number of Columbia's block games, and again it works pretty well. Since the block games are pretty much IgoYougo it works fine.
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Is there someplace I can see a list of what's available to play?
 
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Dale Martin
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Go to www.vassalengine.org and click on 'Modules' (upper left) and you'll be surprised at the list of what's available.
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I will not rest until Biblios is in the Top 100. - Steve Oksienik
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Well I been watchin' while you been coughin, I've been drinking life while you've been nauseous, and so I drink to health while you kill yourself and I got just one thing that I can offer... Go on and save yourself and take it out on me
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Wow, lots and lots of wargaming. Thats an impressive list.
 
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joel_m_toppen wrote:
Well, you can get the program at http://vassalengine.org/community/index.php.

Once you have the core program (which is Java based so it will work on both PC and Mac), go to the "modules" page on the website and download the modules of the game(s) you wish to play using Vassal. That should get you started.


Hey Joel! I just got your avatar killed during a game of Pax on Vassal!

Good Gaming~! Mick
 
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Hi,

A couple of other things. These are the bonus credit answers.

1) Personally I do not like the randomizer for die rolls in Vassal. I prefer to use the one on ACTS.
http://acts.warhorsesim.com/
I only use ACTS for die rolls. There are a couple of advantages: a) Immediately when you roll the dice the results are transmited in an e-mail to all players of the game. This lets everyone know where things are at and keeps the folks up to date. b) It avoids any, "I don't like that die roll. Let me restart Vassal and start my turn again. c) I also believe the results to be more random than what Vassal generates.

2) You can go here for a list of Vassal players and games on the geek.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/23350

3) I enjoy Vassal because it gives me time to think about my moves and get longer games in that would be very difficult with face to face play.

4) Pax Romana rocks. Vassal is a great way to get plays of this excellent game in. I need to write up a review or session report of using Vassal and Acts to play Pax Romana. It adds a lot of depth to the game.



 
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Archilochus wrote:
joel_m_toppen wrote:
Well, you can get the program at http://vassalengine.org/community/index.php.

Once you have the core program (which is Java based so it will work on both PC and Mac), go to the "modules" page on the website and download the modules of the game(s) you wish to play using Vassal. That should get you started.


Hey Joel! I just got your avatar killed during a game of Pax on Vassal!

Good Gaming~! Mick


Pax rocks! Have fun!
 
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Joe Lott
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autumnweave wrote:
Hi,

A couple of other things. These are the bonus credit answers.

1) Personally I do not like the randomizer for die rolls in Vassal. I prefer to use the one on ACTS.
http://acts.warhorsesim.com/
I only use ACTS for die rolls. There are a couple of advantages: a) Immediately when you roll the dice the results are transmited in an e-mail to all players of the game. This lets everyone know where things are at and keeps the folks up to date. b) It avoids any, "I don't like that die roll. Let me restart Vassal and start my turn again. c) I also believe the results to be more random than what Vassal generates.



Let me just say about this. You can play real time, and there is no problem, because everyone can see your rolls, as you make them. If you 'undo', well they see that too. Nothing disappears. It's like playing FTF, but the other persons face is a computer.
 
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Stance Nixon
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I have to aggree with the Die Rolling comment. I play VASL, the dedicated Advanced Squad Leader version of VAASAL. The die rolls seem to go in batches. A group of good rolls then a group of cruddy rolls. I've seen the tests, some of the code and the discussions about this. It is supposed to be VERY random, it just doesn't seem that way.

I haven't tried Acts yet.

I will say this, play your first game with some one who is understanding as it can take a little bit to get the hang of things. Your first email game might take a couple of restarts.

VASSAL is great for those games that take a long time, it makes it easier to store the maps and counters between plays.
 
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Quote:
The die rolls seem to go in batches. A group of good rolls then a group of cruddy rolls.


Sounds like my die rolls with actual dice. When I'm on, I'm on, but when I'm off, it's awful.
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autumnweave wrote:
Hi,

A couple of other things. These are the bonus credit answers.

1) Personally I do not like the randomizer for die rolls in Vassal. I prefer to use the one on ACTS.
http://acts.warhorsesim.com/
I only use ACTS for die rolls. There are a couple of advantages: a) Immediately when you roll the dice the results are transmited in an e-mail to all players of the game. This lets everyone know where things are at and keeps the folks up to date. b) It avoids any, "I don't like that die roll. Let me restart Vassal and start my turn again. c) I also believe the results to be more random than what Vassal generates.



Random is random, and if you have to be concerned about cheating, you are playing the wrong people...
 
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Tim Franklin
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Tatsu wrote:

Random is random


Yes but computers are not always very good at it. rand() is not random(), /dev/urandom is not /dev/random, not all systems generate sufficient entropy to use as input, and not all algorithms do something useful with it.

I'm fairly convinced VASSAL is pretty good, as is ACTS. I tend to use the ACTS roller if I'm using ACTS for anything else (card management, journalling), but for a game entirely in VASSAL, I have no issues with its native roller.

Quote:
and if you have to be concerned about cheating, you are playing the wrong people...


This, though, is entirely true.

 
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