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Hi, I'd like to play AE with my friend using vassal. We've tried the first three scenarios, sometimes online and sometimes sending logs by email.
What is the best way to play this game? PBEM seems hard, as the non-phasing player has to decide where and how to retreat, contesting support units, renged HQ support in defense, and so on. If someone makes some mistake it may be a headache to solve it - or unfair to just let it go.
Online playing has its own drawbacks, it can be hard to find the time to synchronice with the other player, you may have to wait idle while the enemy plans his move and attacks...
so I'm asking for your advice. How do you play AE:TK in vassal?
I am certainly no expert but my view is that AE should be played with Vassal using a variety of methods, depending on the circumstances. In the Campaign game, the early years are simple and can be played online to speed things up. Adding something like Skype at this stage is also very helpful.
Once movement becomes complex, it is often best to play PBEM, giving the phasing player sufficient time to plan and execute his moves. Occasional Support placement/contesting can be done through email. If there are multiple Support decisions to be made then a generic answer, such as "I will contest all attempts at placement" will reduce the number of emails that have to go back and forth. Also, you could use something like Skype to cover such questions and answers quickly.
When Combat becomes complex, it may be best to go back online to resolve numerous Retreats. If there are single-choice Retreats or an obvious best path then the phasing player could execute them. As long as the players are flexible, any disagreements can be corrected when the other side becomes the phasing player. The same logic can be used for HQ support decisions, with a generic answer covering them.
When learning the game, I found it best to play Vassal online (plus Skype) as much as possible so that the players could discuss the rules and such as the game proceeded. This was particularly important if one of the players was a veteran, as he could teach the other players much more quickly this way.
The most important thing is for the players to be flexible and trust their opponents so that mistakes and such are not a cause for controversy.
I hope this helps.