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Subject: Vassal - Interested but not sure where to start rss

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Patiently waiting for the zombie apocalypse...
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All,

Vassal is a world that I'm unfamiliar with. I'm a father of two, who has recently needed to cut back on my gaming significantly for reasons of... well I have two kids and one is 4 months old. However, I love gaming and are currently looking for other outlets to game.

Therefore, I have recently downloaded the basic applications, and I've perused the myriad of "modules". Right now it does seem "somewhat" intuitive, but also fairly intimidating... It seems to have a massive library to game on-line.

However, I'm not sure where to start...? Does it play well in real time, or is the play by email the better option? What are your recommendations?

I would appreciate any tips and feedback on how best get started in the Vassal world.

Thank you.

Game on,

Randall
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Tom Stearns
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Randall,

If you have a Facebook account I suggest you check out the vassal wargamers group or the vassal strategy gamers group. There you will find many willing teachers to show you the ropes of playing a game on vassal, live or pbem. Also check out Charles Cabell, the moderator of the group and the producer of "how to" videos for Vassal.

I have played both pbem and live on vassal. I prefer live, as pbem games move too slow for me. I play games with people from all over, including Australia.

I was hesitant and intimidated initially also, but the community is tremendously helpful and friendly. My only regret is that I waited as long as I did. I recommend you jump all in. You won't regret it. Plus you meet some great people.

Good luck!

Tom
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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I have experience with just a few modules (strictly realtime), so you may want to take this with a grain of salt.

I suggest you pick a relatively simple game, such as Memoir '44, and find an experienced and patient opponent to help you figure out the VASSAL interface and that module in particular. If you can Skype or run a chat session with a program other than VASSAL as you're entering VASSAL the first few times, it can make things easier. After you have a play or two (or more! ) in, it should be easier to move on to more complicated games.

Here are a couple of GeekLists that may be of use as you search for an opponent:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/152951/the-vassalcyber...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/23350/the-boardgamegee...-
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Wendell
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I would start by downloading a module for a game you already know and like, and mess around with it. It is difficult to give general hints about key functions etc because those will vary fairly significantly depending on module design. Some will actually help enforce rules, calculate VP, etc. Many others (most?) don't do any of that - which is fine for me, I mean my paper copy of WIF doesn't enforce rules either.

As for playing, there is a geeklist here where players post games they want to play via Vassal. This is the current list: [geeklist=152951][/geeklist]. Here is the subscription thread: http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/115364/subscription-thread....

PBEM vs live. Depends some on the game and a LOT on your preferences. I do both. But if you play live, DEFINITELY use Skype or some other internet-chat function. Live-Vassal-plus-Skype is the next best thing to being there!
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Thank you.

Is it mostly war gaming? or do some play euros? I saw that Dominant Species was on there.

Has anyone tried For the People on Vassal. Europe Engulfed? Those are ones I would like to try. I have the games, but have never been able to get them to the table.

The Skype or live chat is a great idea.

Are the rules enforced, or do they have to moderated by the players? Wendell hinted at that in his post.... just want to clarify?

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Wendell
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CM Randall wrote:
Thank you.

Is it mostly war gaming? or do some play euros? I saw that Dominant Species was on there.

Has anyone tried For the People on Vassal. Europe Engulfed? Those are ones I would like to try. I have the games, but have never been able to get them to the table.

The Skype or live chat is a great idea.

Are the rules enforced, or do they have to moderated by the players? Wendell hinted at that in his post.... just want to clarify?



Mostly wargaming, though I've played Small World by vassal.

No module as far as I know really does rules enforcing - that's a whole other level of programming I suspect. Some (like the very good Here I Stand module) will keep track of space control, victory points, etc. Otherwise, enforcing rules is generally up to the players, just like cardboard games.
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Nigel Heather
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Obviously the most important bit is finding a willing partner and making sure you know how to how to use the vassel software.

But after that, it is equally important to find a good module as all are not created equal.

You are supposed to own the game so that you have the rules and scenarios available. To this extent some modules are really basic, asically behaving exactly like the cardboard - the human has to do all the setup and enforce all the rules.

But some modules have the scenarios already setup in Vassel, you just select the one you want and start playing. Some also go a little further and enforce some rules or provide tools to check line of sight.

For wargaming I find it better to play live online. Playing by email is tedious where the game allows for opportunity fire.

To start I also suggest trying to play with a friend so that you can learn together and you don't feel so embarrassed making mistakes.

The way Vassel provides for peer to peer gaming (playing with a particular friend) is confusing at first. There is an option to do so and the unimformed can waste a lot of time trying to get it to work - basically it only works if you are on the same network (or if you have done some advanced router setup). The problem is that the system doesn't make this clear and let you go through the motions, eventually presenting you with a connection failed message which you then waste more time investigating and trying to correct.

Basically you have to creat a peer to peer game on their server and restrict the invites.

Once started I did find the connection to their servers a bit flakey. Connections would often drop and the game would get out of sink - my view and my opponents view of where units are would be different. There is no good indication that the game is out of sync until your opponents asks how you destroyed unit ABC and it becomes clear that you both think it is in a different location.

Another thing to try is Memoir 44 on Steam. The first 50 plays are free and you can play against the computer or a real opponent. All M44 scenarios are available and the rules are automatically enforced. Restricted to M44 which you may not consider a real wargame but it is a nice app to get started with.

Cheers,

Nigel
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Tom Stearns
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Live gaming isn't as complicated as Nigel makes it out to be. Unfortunately it sounds like Nigel has had a difficult time with it.

When you load the module click look for a game online. It will load the game module, but without loading the map or any pieces. On the right hand side is the server info for that game, showing you in the main room. In the cursor box you will create a room by typing it's name, for instance if Nigel and I were playing I'd type TomvsNigel as the game room. You will then see your room name appear under the main room. You will also see your name in the room. Now you go to file and select scenario or load a previously saved game. When your opponent(s) arrive they simply click on the room to join it. They then right click your name and select sync, then the game loads for them.

All who are playing need to have the module. Prior to your first game it will ask you to create a user name and password for the game. Nigel is correct in that there are times that the server is loopy and there can be disconnects that aren't noticed right away. It does interrupt the game so that whoever disconnected can reconnect and then resync. There is a reconnect button, so you usually don't have to reload vassal completely.

It seems mostly wargames are played, but Ive seen other strategic nonwargames played also. Check out the vassal module list on the vassal website and see if they have the game you want.
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Nigel Heather
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Quote:
Live gaming isn't as complicated as Nigel makes it out to be. Unfortunately it sounds like Nigel has had a difficult time with it.


I think you missed my point or I didn't make it very well.

Setting up a game on the Vassel server is easy - that is what I said we did in the end.

The mistake we made was thinking that as we were playing against each other we should set up a private server. If you go down that route, to all intents and purposes it looks like it is working, lets each of you set it up but then the connection fails and it doesn't tell you why.

So we spent some time trying to resolve the problem and eventually after some googling found that private server\client only works if you are on the same network. You can get it to work but exposing your computers to the outside world using advanced settings in your router.

Once we had found this we used the Vassel server which as you say is pretty simple - it was just that we didn't do this at first.

We did find that our connections to the Vassel server were quite flakey and kept dropping without any alerts - we only discovered this when the game became out of sync and we had to reconnect and do some manual tidy up.

Cheers,

Nigel

 
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