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Subject: PBEM? rss

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Phil Fry
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Any desire to start a new PBEM? I would be happy to play and be the GM.

Fair winds,
Phil
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Russ Williams
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PBEM meaning play by email? Or playing here in the forum?

Standard published rules, or various extensions? (I'd be more interested in the standard rules, personally.) (Well, other than whatever mods are needed to handle multiplayer forum play, of course.)
 
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Phil Fry
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russ wrote:
PBEM meaning play by email? Or playing here in the forum?

Standard published rules, or various extensions? (I'd be more interested in the standard rules, personally.) (Well, other than whatever mods are needed to handle multiplayer forum play, of course.)


Sorry. Yes, PBF. Would use the standard rules, with the Space Gamer variant for setting up a new star map. Goal would be to keep the game as simple, and as close to the original as possible.

Use http://encrypt-easy.com/encrypt-text.aspx as has been done in other PBF games.
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George Leach
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What would the time commitment be? How long do you anticipate it would last?
 
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Russ Williams
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Then I'm interested! I've not played WW by forum before so might be newbie-ish in that regard, but at least I've played WW itself.

I tried out the text encrypter and it seems to work fine as expected for me. Yay.
 
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Jugular wrote:
What would the time commitment be? How long do you anticipate it would last?


We can run it at any pace that seems comfortable for everyone. Maybe one strategic turn per week. If any combat happens, that might take a week to resolve. Individual player commitment would not be very time consuming. (It's a pretty simple game.)

I'm thinking an IGO UGO UGO, etc. sequence for strategic moves. Simultaneous sequence for combat obviously. Everyone would keep track of their own fleets / ships (honor system). Fleet composition only shown when combat occurs.

Not sure on overall length for the campaign. We could go "on hold" for holidays and vacations.
 
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Andrew Walters
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If there's an open seat count me in. I've run several PBEM wargames but haven't played in one in well over a decade.
 
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Phil Fry
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So it looks like we have the following:

Phil
Russ
Andrew

We could start with three or four players. More would be better, but I'd rather start sooner than later.
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George Leach
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Phil I don't tink I'll have the time unfortunately. I'm going travelling in a month which will end my contributions here for a long time. I don't forsee the pbem finishing bythen without an unreasonable expectation on others.
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Ah yes, your epic voyage. I think you are right that a PBF WarpWar game would certainly not finish before then. :/ But have fun, it should be a cool trip.

---

About the game: I'm not sure if there are established conventions for how multiplayer works (so feel free to tell me "Duh, of course we'll do that" or "No way, WW campaigns always do it this other way"), but I was pondering:

To avoid turtling, do we get extra build points for additional stars occupied?

Perhaps to save time (and avoid turn-order weirdness, first player advantage, etc) the strategic movement orders should be done simultaneously (just like battle rounds are simultaneous)?

Are all of our builds/repairs and ship attributes public or secret? I can see arguments for both sides, but given that we have no program moderating it, I would perhaps lean toward public information just so we can error-check each other and avoid unintentional blunders. (When I played face to face a few months back a few times, we had secret records, and I know we both occasionally made bookkeeping errors.)

What are the actual victory conditions? Keep playing until all but one player is eliminated (or until everyone agrees we're done)?

Thanks for organizing and getting the ball rolling!
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Phil Fry
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russ wrote:

About the game: I'm not sure if there are established conventions for how multiplayer works (so feel free to tell me "Duh, of course we'll do that" or "No way, WW campaigns always do it this other way"), but I was pondering:

To avoid turtling, do we get extra build points for additional stars occupied?


Yes. Still thinking up ideas for how to handle that. I want to avoid a "logistical" game, so BPs will probably be sent to your home world via an intrinsic "merchant fleet". However, if a warp line free of enemy ships doesn't lead back home, then the supplies won't get home and are lost for the turn. Also, you have to maintain at least one ship (it can be a system ship) on a vacant star to claim it and receive BPs in future turns. Unoccupied stars generate no BPs.

I think movement is way too generous in the basic game. Another PBF game on BGG used a ratio of 5 PD to move one hex (not using warp lines). All ships can move a minimum of one hex regardless of PD. So...
PD 1-9 = one hex
PD 10-19 = two hexes
PD 20-29 = three hexes, etc.

This makes warp lines more important and will eliminate ninja raids into your empire's interior.

russ wrote:
Perhaps to save time (and avoid turn-order weirdness, first player advantage, etc) the strategic movement orders should be done simultaneously (just like battle rounds are simultaneous)?


I know one of the other PBF used simultaneous moves. A problem arises during adjudication when fleets pass each other on a warp line. What I would suggest is simultaneous strategic moves, but resolve them sequentially. Roll a die for random order. Player 1's fleet 1, Player 2's fleet 1, Player 3's fleet 1, Player 1's fleet 2, etc. You list your fleets in the order you wish them to move. Fleets encountering an enemy fleet cease their movement and are locked in place until the combat phase.

russ wrote:
Are all of our builds/repairs and ship attributes public or secret? I can see arguments for both sides, but given that we have no program moderating it, I would perhaps lean toward public information just so we can error-check each other and avoid unintentional blunders. (When I played face to face a few months back a few times, we had secret records, and I know we both occasionally made bookkeeping errors.)


I was thinking using a private honor system, but I get your point. Since we are new to this, let's use a public system for the first campaign. (If there are other campaigns we can fine tune the rules later.)

russ wrote:
What are the actual victory conditions? Keep playing until all but one player is eliminated (or until everyone agrees we're done)?


Keep playing until we can agree who is the probable winner. It should be obvious.

Other notes:
The warpwar 2.0 rules are available online, but I am going to base the game on the 1977 rules. Therefore we will only have PD, WG, B, S, T, M, and SR available to build. None of the other systems.

Tech Levels will increase on the following schedule...
Tech 0 to 1 on turn 5.
Tech 1 to 2 on turn 10.
Tech 2 to 3 on turn 15.

Ships can be scrapped anywhere in your empire (as long as the location is connected to your home world) for 1/2 BP value (rounded down).

Although new ships can only be built on your home world, existing ships can be repaired / resupplied at any world in your supply chain.

If your home world is captured, you may choose any of your other worlds as your new capitol and production center.

Any other ideas / questions?
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philfry wrote:
Yes. Still thinking up ideas for how to handle that. I want to avoid a "logistical" game, so BPs will probably be sent to your home world via an intrinsic "merchant fleet". However, if a warp line free of enemy ships doesn't lead back home, then the supplies won't get home and are lost for the turn.

So unlike the original game's map, there will be a single contiguous network of warp connections? (OK with me, just checking.)

Quote:
Also, you have to maintain at least one ship (it can be a system ship) on a vacant star to claim it and receive BPs in future turns. Unoccupied stars generate no BPs.

Certainly.

Quote:
I think movement is way too generous in the basic game. Another PBF game on BGG used a ratio of 5 PD to move one hex (not using warp lines). All ships can move a minimum of one hex regardless of PD. So...
PD 1-9 = one hex
PD 10-19 = two hexes
PD 20-29 = three hexes, etc.

Or more elegantly perhaps, just make the distances between stars greater (in terms of number of hexes). Whether movement is too generous or not seems totally dependent on the hex distances between stars and the typical warp line lengths.

I'm less fond of drastic "stair step" changes that throw away finer grained nuance, so that PD1, PD2, ... PD9 all work the same, then suddenly PD10 is twice as good... and the same as PD11, PD12, ... and suddenly PD20 is much better again.

That said, if you simply hate the idea of simply making larger hex distances I guess I can deal with this 1-9, 10-19 business.

Or a finer grained compromise, like PD/2 = # hexes a ship can move and also more hexes on average between stars?

russ wrote:
Perhaps to save time (and avoid turn-order weirdness, first player advantage, etc) the strategic movement orders should be done simultaneously (just like battle rounds are simultaneous)?


I know one of the other PBF used simultaneous moves. A problem arises during adjudication when fleets pass each other on a warp line. What I would suggest is simultaneous strategic moves, but resolve them sequentially. Roll a die for random order. Player 1's fleet 1, Player 2's fleet 1, Player 3's fleet 1, Player 1's fleet 2, etc. You list your fleets in the order you wish them to move. Fleets encountering an enemy fleet cease their movement and are locked in place until the combat phase.[/q]
Hmm, why not simply say that moving ships don't stop enemy ships at stars; stationary ships do stop enemy ships at stars? Then there's no random luck about who stops who etc. and it's all handled consistently and equally? Am I missing something? That seems simpler AND more "realistic" / desirable / playable.

All the other proposals seem clear and fine to me! Thanks!
 
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have fun guys its a blast.

btw,
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wrote to me a while back interested in joining a game.

might pay to drop him a line

Gharlane, speaking for Eddore.

We sorted out simultaneous strategic movement by and impulse movement system.. each fleet moved enough mps for a hex at a time.. the faster fleet(determined by countback if needed) considered arriving first(to determine attacker.defender) where two forces entered the same star hex on the same impulse, with fleets arriving from open space always assumed arriving last(countback for ties if two fleets from open space arrived on the same impulse)

I wrote up the rules and posted them here somewhere last time we did a PBF.

One optional indy and I planned to test was having a squared MP scale for open space hex movement. this avoids slugs making silly snap long distance open space dashes.. keeping Warp movement dominant.

but I think there was an optional in the wwdg rules optional with a suggested workaround for this..
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Phil Fry
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russ wrote:
So unlike the original game's map, there will be a single contiguous network of warp connections?


Yes. Actually, I came up with an "abstract" map (randomly generated) using Excel that will allow much easier management of the game. I think it addresses the "granularity" issue as well.

For me, WarpWar is about ship design and combat tactics. Strategic movement is secondary. It's almost as if the strategic game is a "scenario builder" for the tactical game.

russ wrote:
Or more elegantly perhaps, just make the distances between stars greater (in terms of number of hexes). Whether movement is too generous or not seems totally dependent on the hex distances between stars and the typical warp line lengths.

I'm less fond of drastic "stair step" changes that throw away finer grained nuance, so that PD1, PD2, ... PD9 all work the same, then suddenly PD10 is twice as good... and the same as PD11, PD12, ... and suddenly PD20 is much better again.


Addressed with the Excel generated map. Again, totally meant to simplify the strategic game and get us into combat quicker.

On a side note, for awhile I was also thinking about using the strategic movement system from StarFire. Each star is connected by a warp line to 1 to 3 other stars. Stars are numbered, and you don't know where your destination is until you use the warp line for the first time (by rolling a die and getting a numbered destination).

russ wrote:
Hmm, why not simply say that moving ships don't stop enemy ships at stars; stationary ships do stop enemy ships at stars? Then there's no random luck about who stops who etc. and it's all handled consistently and equally? Am I missing something? That seems simpler AND more "realistic" / desirable / playable.


Makes sense. Newly dropped system ships should not block movement. However, I think we are going to see fleets blasting past each other. I would suggest that we allow fleets to move through only one "hostile" or "neutral" warp line per turn.

Warp movement through controlled lines would only be limited by the ship's PD. For example: a PD6 Warp Ship could move through four friendly warp lines, drop a System Ship, and then cross a "hostile" warp line. So moving across a neutral or hostile warp line would essentially end movement (much like a "zone of control" in other games). You would know which lines are hostile when you are plotting your move, so there shouldn't be any surprises.

However, we might get a common situation where A---B are facing off against each other. A moves his entire fleet to B, while B moves his entire fleet to A. Now both fleets are isolated and out of their supply chain.

Could we eliminate that by using simultaneous plotting with sequential movement, so that A might move before B (thus cancelling B's movement and generating a battle)? Any thoughts on that? Maybe the PD plus Tech Level of the slowest / oldest warp ship in the fleet is the fleet's initiative. With a tied initiative, a die roll breaks the tie. Highest initiative moves first?
 
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philfry wrote:
russ wrote:
So unlike the original game's map, there will be a single contiguous network of warp connections?


Yes. Actually, I came up with an "abstract" map (randomly generated) using Excel that will allow much easier management of the game. I think it addresses the "granularity" issue as well.

Sounds interesting, but do you mean that there is ONLY warp movement?

Or are there also physical distances between stars, and you can send a ship from one star to another (not via warp line) and it travels for as many turns as needed to reach the destination? (That's more appealing to me; if you want ONLY warp lines, then it's perhaps a bit too abstracted from WarpWar as I know it, like the old PBM game Starweb.)

Quote:
russ wrote:
Hmm, why not simply say that moving ships don't stop enemy ships at stars; stationary ships do stop enemy ships at stars? Then there's no random luck about who stops who etc. and it's all handled consistently and equally? Am I missing something? That seems simpler AND more "realistic" / desirable / playable.


Makes sense. Newly dropped system ships should not block movement. However, I think we are going to see fleets blasting past each other. I would suggest that we allow fleets to move through only one "hostile" or "neutral" warp line per turn.

Why not just keep the standard rules on this instead of adding the notion of friendly/neutral/hostile warplines? If someone wants to block enemy movement through a star, they need to dedicate ships as a garrison there.

Quote:
However, we might get a common situation where A---B are facing off against each other. A moves his entire fleet to B, while B moves his entire fleet to A. Now both fleets are isolated and out of their supply chain.

Could we eliminate that

Should we eliminate that? Is it a bug or a feature?
The possibility of that happening seems "realistic" to me, and leads to bluff and trying to outguess what the opponent might do, so I'm not sure I see the motive to eliminate the possibility.

You could argue that it's undesirable since it introduces the "rock/paper/scissors" type luck of simultaneous decision making, but given the tactical combat resolution model, we're already deeply in that realm, so having the same element at the strategic level seems perfectly consistent and fine to me.
 
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Phil Fry
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russ wrote:
Should we eliminate that? Is it a bug or a feature?


I think it's a "bug" created by the desire in multi-player PBF to move the game along quicker. The original game used an IGO-UGO strategic movement system. Since we only have three interested players, I even think IGO-UGO would work.

However, I don't think you lose anything by plotting simultaneously and resolving sequentially. It also appears to have been done before in PBF.

gurubob wrote:
We sorted out simultaneous strategic movement by and impulse movement system.. each fleet moved enough mps for a hex at a time.. the faster fleet(determined by countback if needed) considered arriving first(to determine attacker.defender) where two forces entered the same star hex on the same impulse, with fleets arriving from open space always assumed arriving last(countback for ties if two fleets from open space arrived on the same impulse)


I actually think that slowing down strategic movement helps Warp War in the long run. However, my desire is to have a PBF game that we all can enjoy, so I don't want to be dictatorial in the set up. Perhaps Andrew will chime in with his thoughts.

I'll try to post a sample of the map later today.
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This is a very simple strategic map for WarpWar which should lead to interesting battles. It was created with Excel.

Each box (star system) has its location number in the lower right hand corner. Each system has a chance for a primary planet (big "O"; normally with a larger BP) and a secondary planet (small "o"). Some systems may have a secondary planet without a primary planet. And some systems may have a secondary planet with a higher BP than the primary planet.

The lower left hand portion of the star system box denotes if a wormhole is present. Wormholes are "one way" warp lines. A fleet may not move prior to, or after transiting the wormhole (until the next strategic movement phase).

The dashed yellow lines represent warp lines. The orange numbers represent the number of hexes it takes to move from one adjacent system to the next when a warp line is not present.

All of the parameters can be modified prior to the spreadsheet "calculating" the map.

On this particular map there is a 75% chance of a warp line between any two adjacent star system boxes. There is a 65% chance of a primary planet being present, and a 15% chance of a secondary planet being present. There is a 15% chance that a wormhole is present, and the destination of the wormhole is random.

The BP range for planets can be modified for either more or less BPs. On this particular map, the formula for the average number of BPs that a primary planet should have is 8, and for a secondary planet 4.

When a warp line is not present, the spreadsheet will determine the number of hexes between the two systems. For this map the range was set between 5 and 20 hexes.

There are other boxes that can be used to note star system ownership, fleets present, and other notes, during the game. This should make the gamemasters job much easier.

Note that star system boxes without primary or secondary planets can still be occupied and moved through.

Also note that the map is not balanced. One solution for that problem is to randomly determine player order prior to the start of the game. Then Player #1 nominates three starting locations. Player #2 chooses one of those three. Player #3 choose one of the remaining two starting locations. And Player #1 takes the final location. It is incumbent on Player #1 to choose the three best locations.

If a map is woefully unbalanced it is very easy to generate a new map. It is also relatively easy to increase or decrease the size of the map for more or less players in the campaign.
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philfry wrote:
This is a very simple strategic map for WarpWar which should lead to interesting battles. It was created with Excel.

Each box (star system) has its location number in the lower right hand corner. Each system has a chance for a primary planet (big "O"; normally with a larger BP) and a secondary planet (small "o"). Some systems may have a secondary planet without a primary planet. And some systems may have a secondary planet with a higher BP than the primary planet.

What's the purpose of 2 planets? There's still only one owner of the system (whoever has ships there) right? Isn't a system with 2 planets worth 5 and 6 BPs the same as a system with 11 BPs?

Quote:
The dashed yellow lines represent warp lines. The orange numbers represent the number of hexes it takes to move from one adjacent system to the next when a warp line is not present.

I guess that seems a reasonable sort of solution/abstraction in lieu of making a really big hex map!

Also easier for making an easy display of who owns what. Neat.

Quote:
Also note that the map is not balanced. One solution for that problem is to randomly determine player order prior to the start of the game. Then Player #1 nominates three starting locations. Player #2 chooses one of those three. Player #3 choose one of the remaining two starting locations. And Player #1 takes the final location. It is incumbent on Player #1 to choose the three best locations.

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philfry wrote:
russ wrote:
Should we eliminate that? Is it a bug or a feature?


I think it's a "bug" created by the desire in multi-player PBF to move the game along quicker. The original game used an IGO-UGO strategic movement system. Since we only have three interested players, I even think IGO-UGO would work.

Then I'd vote for IGOUGO instead of simultaneous orders with randomly determined resolution order, which seems like the worst of both worlds to me.
 
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russ wrote:
What's the purpose of 2 planets? There's still only one owner of the system (whoever has ships there) right? Isn't a system with 2 planets worth 5 and 6 BPs the same as a system with 11 BPs?


Just looks cooler.
 
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russ wrote:
Then I'd vote for IGOUGO instead of simultaneous orders with randomly determined resolution order, which seems like the worst of both worlds to me.


That might work best since there are only three of us. If Andrew has no objections, I think that's the way to go.

Turn order should probably be the reverse order of choosing our starting home worlds.

What do you think about:
When retreating from combat a ship should be able to transit a friendly warp line, or get back on the individual "hex move" route. Attackers forced to retreat need to go back the way they entered the star system. (Attackers entering a hex from a wormhole cannot retreat.) Defenders forced to retreat can go in any three directions (but not the direction used by the attacker to enter the system), but should have to choose a friendly occupied destination before an empty destination before a friendly disputed destination (where a battle is pending; retreaters will participate in the battle) before and enemy destination.

Retreat priority:
1) Attackers retreat to their entry point
2) Defender - Friendly occupied destination
3) Defender - Empty destination
4) Defender - Friendly disputed destination
5) Defender - Enemy destination (triggering new battle)

This might lead to a situation where a retreating ship bounces back and forth between two star systems creating a new battle each time. To counter that "cheesy" tactic, only allow an individual ship to retreat once per player turn.
 
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Ooo! A new game? When are you guys starting? How fast will the turns be turned around? (I've been too busy to peek in on the forum here, much less chime in earlier, so the tardy post now). I'm interested, but not sure if I have enough time to really participate. zombie I'd have to dust off my WW stuff, too.
 
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philfry wrote:
What do you think about:
When retreating from combat a ship should be able to transit a friendly warp line, or get back on the individual "hex move" route.

Aha, I knew there was something that seemed "wrong" about abstracting away individual map spaces. Now I remember. Retreat. In standard WW you retreat to a hex adjacent to the star. I liked that. It meant the fleet had straggle back to civilization more slowly.

So... if we don't want a hex map due to practical pain of creating and maintaining it, why not just use a square map that's much larger, so movement on individual squares is possible. Follow the standard retreat rule then instead of all the proposed modifications that become necessary due to abstracting away individual starless maps spaces.

Warplines can be represented in a variety of ways. We could even try just saying a star has a warpline to the first star north of it, the first star south of it, the first star west of it, and the first star east of it. With an appropriately laid out star map, that sounds plausible to me...

What do you think?
 
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russ wrote:
Aha, I knew there was something that seemed "wrong" about abstracting away individual map spaces. Now I remember. Retreat. In standard WW you retreat to a hex adjacent to the star. I liked that. It meant the fleet had straggle back to civilization more slowly.


I think I can use the current set up, just listing the "hex count" in orange between each system. The spreadsheet "turns off" that data if there is a warpline present. I can just reprogram it to leave that data "on" regardless of warplines.

A smaller "footprint" is still better than a larger one for the purposes of maintaining and reporting the game.
 
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My father (circa 1945). He navigated B-24's (5thAF 22ndBG) in the Pacific Theater.
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IndyMD wrote:
Ooo! A new game? When are you guys starting? How fast will the turns be turned around? (I've been too busy to peek in on the forum here, much less chime in earlier, so the tardy post now). I'm interested, but not sure if I have enough time to really participate. zombie I'd have to dust off my WW stuff, too.


We'd love to have you join the game. We're still working out the kinks, so it might be the middle of next week before we get started.

I've never participated in a PBF WW game before, so not sure about the time commitment. Also, we are going to use the standard IGO-UGO movement system. That might result in some down time as we'll move at the pace of the slowest player.

Just let me know if you want to play. We can always use a fourth.
 
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