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Subject: Getting Started With PBEM rss

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Michael J
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Hi all,

My game group and I have entertained thoughts of playing some PBEM games to get us over the month-long wait between gaming. And I'd like a few more games to occupy me since I don't game enough at home and would like nothing more than to play some games at night.

What would be the best games to try PBEM? Should I pick up VASSAL? Cyberboard? Both? And which games on those are the easiest to start with?

Any tips on the best way to start? And how to find opponents?

Mike
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R.S. Barker
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Greetings,

Both Vassal and Cyberboard have quite a few games (called modules/game boxes) available at, or through links appearing on their.websites.

It really depends on what games your into. IF it's war based games like those made by Avalon Hill, MMP, GW etc. then either will aid you in solo or PBEM gaming.

The one advantage that Vassal has at the moment is the ability to connect to a server and play your opponent(s) in real time, just like in a f-t-f atmosphere. From what I understand, Cyberboard is supposed to be adding f-t-f online capability in the near future.

Modules I currently own/play for Vassal include:

Lock n' Load: Band Of Heroes
Air Force/Dauntless
Ambush!
Carrier
Empire of the Sun
Fighting Wings
Memoir '44
Pacific War
Patton's Best
RAF
Raid on St. Nazaire
Silent War
Status Pro Football
Submarine
Victory Games' Vietnam
Advanced Squad Leader through VASL (Virtual ASL)

Heroquest
Battle Masters
Shadows over Camelot
Talisman 3rd Edition collection

Game Boxes I currently own/play for Cyberboard include:

Across Five Aprils
Carrier
Empire of the Sun
Korean War
Pacific War
Pattons' Best
RAF
Raid on St. Nazaire
Silent War
Sniper!
Submarine

Runebound
Heroquest
Mega-Talisman
Djarhun

My reasons for listing my collection is to show you that each package has for the most part the same games available. Does one do a better job than the other?

I posted this in another thread in the Software Game Development forum, but your question - and hopefully my extended answers - warrant its rewriting here.

***Comparison***
In my experience with Vassal and Cyberboard, I'm finding that the graphic quality of the game sets within Vassal is superior. Perhaps that is just my experience, but part of that superiority IMHO comes from how Vassal allows one to import graphics of a higher color spectrum - up to 16 million colors, and yet it also seems to shine through in games wherein you have a multitude of counters/cards/playing pieces needed.

I prefer Vassal because of some of the unique options one can set under preferences:

1) High quality scaling
2) The ability to set the ram allotment higher. This shines through when loading in a game like Talisman 3rd edition with all expansions active.
3) Use combined application window (requires restart of Vassal)

**NOTE**
This is huge because you can break off and re size various windows allowing you to decide how big each window needs to be.

I also find that the Vassal community at Vassal.org is extremely helpful, wherein new updates are constantly being made available to the community. Their support is second to none.

**NOTE #2**
You can save a module state in Vassal, which really helps longer gaming sessions.

*****

Cyberboard works well on my Vista system with nary a problem and while I enjoy playing games with it, I'm currently working on translating 1 game that is only available on Cyberboard and another which hasn't been translated to any PC based gaming system.

I do like Cyberboard for it's in-game designer window wherein you can create counters with the built in tools. But 3 games I've d/l and played have had graphics that look second rate to me.

Cyberboard has issues with their help/support system, and I always feel like help isn't available to me at a moments notice.

***

I'm repeating these special RPG/Fantasy games from my list above in case you missed them, If your into games like Talisman etc::

Currently Vassal has Heroquest and Battle Masters along with the absolutely brilliant Talisman 3rd edition complete with ALL expansions and Shadows over Camelot.

Cyberboard currently has Heroquest, Runebound and Mega-Talisman, along with a brilliant Talisman like game called Djarhun.

There are many other games but these stand out to me.

***

Now, to answer your questions Mike:

And which games on those are the easiest to start with?

I'd start with the games you already have the rules for. NONE, I repeat none of the games available through Cyberboard or Vassal come with the rules. This was requested by the varying game publishers to help ensure that the person using said module/game box actually owned the game in question.

So if you own the game in question, having the various rules/charts/tables etc. and knowing how the game is played with increase your enjoyment factor a hundred fold.

Any tips on the best way to start?

I find Vassal easier to play, simply because the interface is easier. Load a game, set your name and password, choose your sides (or even observer) click on which board(s) you wish to use and your good to go.

From this point, the game will load, and you can either play solo, set up email gaming, or simply click the icon that looks like two arrows pointing in different directions () and the connect window will open on the right hand side of the screen. When you connect, your taken into a gaming lobby where other players gather. Then from there you simply create a game room, the people come in (join), set up the scenario and voila! instant gaming.

And how to find opponents?

Well, through VASL the online ASL system there is a message board system wherein you can leave messages looking for opponents etc. (I'm not sure about this part within Vassal itself since I've never used it - but I'm betting it's similar).

Otherwise, you can go to the Opponents Wanted section at Vassal.org's forum and leave a message. OR if it exists, the game in questions own forum - like those found at/through Yahoo groups or even ConSimWorld

One note about CSW, the interface always bothers me, so 1990's but it is a huge place for boardgamers to meet up.

Lastly you could always post a message in the forums here one would think.

Whew.....

***

Hopefully, I've been able to give you both personal and factual information on these two systems that may help clear up any questions you have.

Cheers,

R.S.
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I vote VASSAL!

1. I just started to use VASSAL a few days ago and it seems very user-friendly to me.
2. PBEM works like a charm, but RT is also possible and it is easy to mix both (for example: finish the final turn of a PBEM game in RT).
3. VASSAL is available for GNU/Linux, MacOS and Windows, while Cyberboard is Windows-Only.
4. Behold! http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/23350
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Michael Bachelor
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I've just spent some time the last week Downloading and learning Vassal and Cyberboard.

The interfaces are pretty similar, so I suspect whichever one you use depends on what modules are available. In then end you open up various "tray" windows and move pieces from the tray onto the "Maps", or move pieces around on the map. If you figure out how to use one, it should not take you too long to figure out how to use the other. If you are going to design a module, then you've gone beyond all I've been able to figure out in a few days.

I think I am with the others who prefer VASSAL - mostly because I tend to use Ubuntu linux, and Vassal runs better under it (although I can use wine to get Cyberboard to work). But I have found more modules available for cyberboard.

Now the hard part - convincing my friends who said they might enjoy a PBEM game to download the materials and actually PLAY it!.

MB

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Michael J
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This is all great stuff guys. I've been a little intimidated by VASSAL, but it looks to be the better of the two just from a selection standpoint.
 
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R.S. Barker
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Mike,

You really can't go wrong with either, because each has a large gaming library, so just remember if a certain game isn't available for one, it may be for the other.

Have fun,

R.S.
 
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B. Marsh
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VASSAL gets my vote.
 
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Lynette
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www.MaBiweb.com

 
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Steve S
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Meerkat wrote:


Ya, I was gonna say, depending on what games you're looking for you may not need any software whatsoever, and many PBEM sites are way more active as far as players go than the software clients as well.

My personal favorite is Yucata.de - with games such as:
Carcassonne H&G, Arkadia, Balloon Cup, Hey That's My Fish, Kahuna, Masons, Oregon, Downfall of Pompeii (new), Alchemist (also new), Stone Age, Vikings, and several others.

Also good:

GamesByEmail.com:
Axis & Allies, Risk, Acquire, History of the World

SpielByWeb.com:
Amun-Re, Reef Encounter, Tikal, Wallenstein

YourTurnMyTurn.com:
I come here mainly to play Lost Cities, though they have several others

MabiWeb.com (mentioned above):
Samurai, In the Shadow of the Emperor, Ur, and a few others

MichaelSchacht.net/pbm:
Hansa, Patrician, China

PR-Game.com:
Puerto Rico (has frequent server issues)



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JJ Asghar
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Shadoglare wrote:
Meerkat wrote:


Ya, I was gonna say, depending on what games you're looking for you may not need any software whatsoever, and many PBEM sites are way more active as far as players go than the software clients as well.

My personal favorite is Yucata.de - with games such as:
Carcassonne H&G, Arkadia, Balloon Cup, Hey That's My Fish, Kahuna, Masons, Oregon, Downfall of Pompeii (new), Alchemist (also new), Stone Age, Vikings, and several others.

Also good:

GamesByEmail.com:
Axis & Allies, Risk, Acquire, History of the World

SpielByWeb.com:
Amun-Re, Reef Encounter, Tikal, Wallenstein

YourTurnMyTurn.com:
I come here mainly to play Lost Cities, though they have several others

MabiWeb.com (mentioned above):
Samurai, In the Shadow of the Emperor, Ur, and a few others

MichaelSchacht.net/pbm:
Hansa, Patrician, China

PR-Game.com:
Puerto Rico (has frequent server issues)





Thanks for for the gamesbyemail.com link, perfect of what i was looking for!
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