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PBEM Game Discussion, Tips and Introductions

Discussion in 'Civ4 - PBEM Games' started by kiwitt, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. kiwitt

    kiwitt Road to War Modder

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    There does not appear to be a thread on this so I thought I'd start one. This thread can be used to discuss PBEMs in general and any tips and also if you want to introduce yourselves

    Introduction

    I have been playing wargames for over 4 decades now; starting with Chess, Stratego and then onto model soldiers. Eventually I started making my own tabletop games - making my own counters and maps by hand. PC wargaming came along recently (last decade or so) and I loved the strategic overview games (now I think they are called 4X), starting with Civ II. I had played Total War: Shogun and Medieval and the rest of the later series. I much preferred Totalwar:Medieval with it Risk-Style European Map of Provinces. I did try the Paradox series of games as well, but they just seemed too complex.

    Eventually I narrowed my focus to Civilization IV (including a brief trial of Civ V) and developed my own version of Road to War - Historical 1.04. And am now researching an developing 2.0 based on Road to War - Ultimate 1.1.

    I am also currently researching a "Giant Modern Earth Scenario" for Earth 2010, which involves extensive research into cities and nations. I hope to have it completed in a couple of months. The map will for the basis for Road to War - Historical 3.0 - which I am considering as a World War 3.

    My multi-player strengths are quite weak as I have only being playing for a few months, albeit some very complex games. Before that I played in IOT games and even GMed a couple of them. What I like about PBEMs is I can combine my skills from IOT diplomacy with my skills in wargaming and play in Civ IV (the world's best 4X game) framework with others.

    Tips

    Now for some tips I picked up so far

    1. Don't trust anyone, they are all out to win the game
    2. Be prepared for war at all times, you will be attacked, and often when you least expect it
    3. Don't just protect your cities, you need to protect your resources as well. Loss of access to these will seriously affect your ability to build good units

    General Discussion

    What I have found is that PBEMs are very interesting to play. It is great to have the inaction with others and when my initial thoughts were that "Play-by-Email" would be slow, in one game I have played I had 3 turns in just one day!!!

    The use of PBEM tracker is a great tool to use to manage games and I would recommend all people who start games use this as well. The creator of this website should be congratulated for making it so easy to use.

    But most of all the option of playing with/against others is the best part of PBEMs.
     
  2. Core Imposter

    Core Imposter Deity

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    Ah, kindred soul. Chess, Stratego, giving way to Avalon Hill wargames....Panzer Blitz! Dungeons and Dragons! Sports gaming... Strat-o-matic Baseball by Hal Richmond who was before his time....along later came Bill James, fantasy baseball and Moneyball.

    Then computer gaming...Doom, Civilization, too many too much stuff... online mulitplayer first person shooter action with Starfleet Command, and of course Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (which was actually Brian Reynolds). SMAC PBEM was a cutthroat's world. :mad:

    When I think of all the gaming I've done (most of it badly) I almost feel bad about mocking today's kids for their smart phone obsessions. Almost.

    Gaming is life and life is gaming. The money game, the sex game, the power game, and the survial game. We all live to play and strive to win.

    Mine is the paladin's curse. I have so much trouble lanching the backstab blow...though I admit to have sneaked one in here and there. But I'd rather choose the honorable path and often choose the doomed path of scruples.

    PBEM games are played on many levels.

    For example in Octafish the game was created with unrestricted leaders. But it was not really discussed and only used by the game creator. You know to whom I refer, the person with six names who shall not be named. Edge?

    Suspicion?

    Tension?

    Let the games begin and blood simmer, boil, and run down the walls of our souls.

    Edit: I thought to come back here and clarify that I was only trying to illustrate how gaming mirrors life in terms of how little meaningless things can blossom into distrust and have an impact. I was certainly NOT trying to imply anything at ALL about the person to whom I alluded. To the best of my knowledge this person has impeccable integrity. I want to make that CLEAR.
     
  3. bathsheba666

    bathsheba666 Fast 'n Bulbous

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    The part I missed stating is that random tribe/leader allocations are indicated in the first post by use of { }, as was used in the fabled Chi.

    Ricketyclik and myself went random.
     
  4. Core Imposter

    Core Imposter Deity

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    Seriously I didn't mean anything by that.
     
  5. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    I will never forget my first PBEM game with Civ3 -- I was Russia in very good WWI scenario (I mostly prefer accurate historical scenarios) -- was playing against pretty smart German gentleman as Germany. It felt like a chess, poker, and math puzzle game combined. Very intense, quite emotional, very demanding in terms of cooperation with allies. We lost by kill-points but the core of the Russia was defended in spite of the very heavy losses. Nietzsche once said -- What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome. For some reason I don't like feeling that type of happiness in real life -- sometimes I even feel guilty when I get a job and some other good fellow competitor does not (I know, I am weird :) ). I guess Civ PBEMs allow to have that kind of fun without those moral issues -- if you follow the rules that is ;)...
     
  6. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    These forms were super active lately -- I am not used to see so many playmates simultaneously online :goodjob:
     
  7. kiwitt

    kiwitt Road to War Modder

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    I think it is great too! So much fun to be had
     
  8. Nighthawk419

    Nighthawk419 Deity

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    I think this thread is a great idea, I've thought about posting a similar thread in the past but just never got around to it. A Q&A thread is what is needed around here to get things active again, far too many potential PBEM players disappear because they post about being interested in a game, no new games start, and there is no other direction for anyone.

    I said it in that thread and I'll say it again here - the best way to get involved in a PBEM game is to just start one yourself! There's always new players looking for games or veteran players looking for more games...

    Anyway, I think we've had an influx of activity due to multiple new games starting all at once, and a lot of the people who posted on the "looking for a game" thread joined in those games, and suddenly we have a bigger pool of people on here posting. It's definitely a good thing! :D
     
  9. kiwitt

    kiwitt Road to War Modder

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    That's why I thought I'd start this thread. This thread can be used for even idle/OOC chit-chat, just to give a bit more of a "community feel" to this forum.

    It funny how I was browsing this forum a few months back and then boom I was in, and then another and I was spurred on to create a new Mod. It has certainly helped to maintain my interest in developing Civ IV as well.

    I am now in 9 PBEM games (2 Modern, 1 WWII, 1 Medieval, 5 Ancient), which just goes to show the variety available.
     
  10. Nighthawk419

    Nighthawk419 Deity

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    It certainly doesnt take long. I got into this community just by starting up a new game myself, and within a year I've now got about 15 games going, most of them differentiated from one another in some form or another. I've really come to love the scenarios and earth-map games, to the point that my "regular" games are a little more boring... but then again they are all no farther than the classical age yet for the most part, so I'm sure things will pick up as it moves along and my fancy will change yet again. Either way its definitely made the best game I've ever played become one that I will probably never stop playing, fully. There will always be a new PBEM to get into that will last a couple more years ;)

    Even if I was to put myself into "run-off" mode at this point, I wouldn't be done with games for another 8 years, at least, pending total anhiliation in multiple games (unlikely!)
     
  11. methinkso

    methinkso Prince

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    For those of you with some dozen+ PBEM games going at once, does it get confusing having to manage that many games at once? Both keeping track of your in-game strategy as well as logistically managing all these save files and sending them to different people every day or every other day? That seems like a lot of effort to keep up on it all.
     
  12. Nighthawk419

    Nighthawk419 Deity

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    Yes and no. At first I used to keep track of the status of all the games on an excel spreadsheet, including grand strategies, troop positioning, plans for cities, etc etc. But I quickly realized I was just wasting my time because I did manage to keep everything in my head. After a couple of turns in a game, its like riding a bike and all the ideas come flooding back every time you open the save. With so long between turns you have more than enough time to think through strategy, with me I tend to think about these games between turns during life downtime and when going to bed (helps me fall asleep faster actually!) so when the turn loads I already know exactly what I'm doing. I do miss remembering a few things here and there when it goes a long time between saves... but thats what the in-game notes are for too. Leaving key signs by your cities helps a lot.

    As for the logistics of emails, no its not hard. All the games automatically make their own folder, you get into a routine of who you send the next turn to, it becomes second nature. The hardest part is when the moons align and you get multiple save files all coming in at once and no time to play them all... which is an unfortunate delay sometimes, but you'd have the same problem whether its multiple games or just 1 game. I actually have been in a weird rotation where I get just about all my turns within a 24 hour window, then get 1-2 days completely off where I get nothing other than the quickest, early ancient era turns... then a bunch of much larger turns all coming at once. It always seems to work that way, I have no idea why...
     
  13. Core Imposter

    Core Imposter Deity

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    I had up to eight SMAC games at one time but that was when I was working a very demanding job and had kids at home. It was almost too much.

    But some of those games were 2v2 team games. You could get multiple turns per game and you spent a lot of time talking with your teammate. There was a grid system in SMAC that we don't have in CIV as far as I know. You would therefore get graph paper and map out your world. When you make contact with an enemy you could extrapolate and determine where everything is and send that information to your partner who could then send out an air strike based on coordinates.

    At least that is the way I remember it.

    I will be starting my second game soon. I expect to be schooled. You never really learn to play until you play the game with humans.
     
  14. academia

    academia Master of the Universe

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    and now it´s my turn!

    i´ve been playing strategy and wargames since i was a kid. obviously starting with chess, hehe!
    i later moved on to board games like TEG (it´s an argentine version of Risk), 1914 (yeah, based on ww1) and finally to the PC world with the glorious civlization 1!
    i personally consider the total war series as the BEST grand strategy "game" ever, because it combines the best of both worlds (turn-based empire management + real time battles)

    regarding pbems, i´m a civ2 pbem veteran. if i correctly recall, i played pbems during 3 years, which was really fun. the customization possibilities of that game were infinite, which even led me to create my own pbem scenarios.
    but... i eventually grew up, started working and didnt have much time for this "silly, time-consuming games" :D
    nevertheless, i guess that old habits die hard, and after talking to another "crazy for strategy games" friend about the civilization series, i decided to download civ4 and give it a try. and that my friends, was a good call :goodjob:

    so, here i am again!

    regarding my first pbem... well, i can relate to this tip by kiwitt:
    i was playing a napoleon era pbem, where i was using russia. and well, i backstabbed prussia, after many private messages where we were coordinating an attack on france :D

    so, kiwitt is right... dont trust anyone in a pbem!
     
  15. Core Imposter

    Core Imposter Deity

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    Academia-

    Why is your A not capitalized?

    One of the things we saw in the SMAC pbem world was situations where in a given game player A would backstab player B and then because the universe of players was fairly small, player B would retaliate against Player A in another game. And there were a wide range of opinions on that. Some thought people ought to be able to compartmentalize that sort of thing. But human beings don't work that way.

    We get spoiled in single player. We expect to win most of the time. In an eight player PBEM game your expectation of winning is pretty small. So you have all sorts of messy human emotions to deal with. There was also the builder versus rusher debate. Some folks get really upset when their lightly defended cities are overrun. Why so serious?

    I might start an always peace game for the builders at some point.
     
  16. kiwitt

    kiwitt Road to War Modder

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    I'm in ...

    I like building my cities too! This was great fun in Single-Player. But after creating what I consider the ultimate WWII Wargame, the war-monger is still inside me.
     
  17. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    Civ2 had a very fun mode where you actually play as your country's corporations. You need to expend and buy out enemy corporations. I usually read about what I am playing, so I learned alot about corporations, and they seam to be as fun as wars with countries. Too bad BTS does not have anything like that. I was thinking if Earth 2010 can become a Always Peace/Espionage/Cyber Warfare/Corporation fight game?
     
  18. Nighthawk419

    Nighthawk419 Deity

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    It is tough to keep emotions at bay at times. There was a short period of time where I was very angry at Tigranes and almost felt like I couldn't help myself to attack him in another game if I had one with him. But that has since faded. I think most of us try our best to compartmentalize and not retaliate in a different game, but sometimes emotions get in the way. But also playing with someone in different games you really get to see how people play differently in different games and get to realize that its nothing personal and move past it. On the other hand, you can also learn a lot about a player by seeing them in multiple games, trends and tendencies come out... ;) I could probably write up a small scouting report on at least a few players around here. Some play similar in their games, but some can be very tricksy fellows indeed.

    And the builder vs. rusher thing is always interesting. My big game before civ was Command & Conquer (the original!) and C&C:Red Alert, and in multiplayer that game was tank-rush crazy. I was never as good as the online players at tank rushing and constantly got crushed and always complained about it. Yet now in civ I find myself considering a relatively early rush sort of situation at times and I almost can't help myself. I mean you need to have some sort of defense, at least! The good thing with this game is that as long as you spend a little bit of time thinking about building a defense early on, a rush is very hard to pull off. I've lost a civ where I gambled on avoiding defense for the ancient age and it bit me... but in another game I noticed an early close neighbor doing the same thing and felt forced to play police and invade because it was just too easy. But in all other games and situations, as long as there is some attention paid to defense, a rush isn't easy and can be easily defensible, which is why civ is great. In Red Alert the only counter to a tank rush was to be faster than your opponent... which is why multiplayer in that game faded quickly for me, it just became a competition of who can click an order of buttons the fastest. In this game you can actually defend against a rush and use other strategies to win!
     
  19. kiwitt

    kiwitt Road to War Modder

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  20. rd13

    rd13 Prince

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    i've played Civ 4 PBEM now for only 1-1.5 years, so no deep insights. but there are two things that i really like about this game -

    1. the pace suits me. i'd probably suck in turn timer Civ games, but PBEM gives me time to think about my moves, to perfect every little action, to read up on the different aspects of the game when faced with something new and unfamiliar... getting that extra gold from micromanaging a city; or maximizing the foreign trade income for every surplus resource, thats my thrill.

    2. best game is a close game (and thats only possible with human opponents). when i sense a strong opponent, each turn is eagerly awaited, be it war or peace. if the opponent does not seem to be taking it too seriously, i feel like im playing an AI again :)
     

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