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From: "Unless your people get off their encounter-suited butts and do something, I've got nothing to lose!" <KOCHTE@s...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 17:04:39 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: [OT]PBEM

>This is a question to all out there who	runs PBEM.
>Me and some friends are going to try the world of PBEM since we're
>through out sweden. As a first game, we have decided to use GW Space 
>Hulk. This is mostly because all knows the rules and there aren't very 
>much you can do when it's your turn. Not many differing options that

I don't know Space Hulk, but I've done PBeM using SFB as well as FT, so
it shouldn't be too difficult to work out.  :)

>The actual question is how to solve the 'if-threads' that occur when
>identify the enemy and targetting potential threats. The "if that one
>gone then carry on forward, if not, continue firing" routine can become

>When you run FT PBEM, do you give orders to all you ships at the same 
>time ... or?
>One ship at a time will take forever.

It totally depends on how you want to do it. I had two ways of handling
combat: simultaneous fire (in which all fire was done before damage was
resolved), and the 'standard' FT one-ship-fires-at-a-time (little more
coordination needed between players, little more effort for the GM to
keep up with; simul-firing was easy :). In EITHER case, what the players
would ALL do is send in their movement AND firing orders in one message.
This forced them to think about their actions ahead of time, and try to
anticipate their opponent's movements. It sometimes worked.  ;-) 
the GM (me) would then take those messages home and implement the turn,
generate a detection report (here's where things went and here's what
happened), distribute that to the list of players (and lurkers, if any),
and proceed with round/turn 2. I could usually get one turn done a week
this way (this allowed for delays on my part due to Real Life, delays on
the players due to Real Life, communication delays as players on one
discussed the tactical situation, etc). If you have fewer players (2?)
and spare time you *could* crank out several turns a week (more if
extra ambitious :).

>If you want to discuss it here on the list or if you can point me to an

>URL that gives tips to a newbie in PBEM, then say so.

Mind you, it's been a *while* (read: couple years) since I ran any
and I can tell you that while I was doing practically everything by hand
(esp the targetting and firing), I've had a wide range of 'contingency
orders' handed to me by players. Some wrote them like a computer program
(Noam, that would've been Karl); others were more reasonable to read. :)
Ultimately you'll have to decide what you're willing to accept for
interpretation, and what's too difficult to deal with. A lot of times
players would say "target ships of X size in R range bracket unless I
can get more weapons to bear on a ship of Y size in S range bracket; if
two ships are in the same range bracket, choose 1) the more damaged of
the two, 2) the closer of the two, or 3) the one which can bring to bear
the most number of weapons on me or one of my compatriot ships, in that
order". This was fairly reasonable, and the crews (me :) were able to
follow the captains' orders better than:

"If X and Y are R then
   target Y unless
  Z is T, then
   target X,
   target G"


If you want to see some of the communications between players and the
detection reports that I had generated, go to:

and page ~2/5 of the way down, to the Babylon 5 section. The first 3
links are three of a half dozen PBeMs I ran using the FT rules. For
what it's worth. There are a number of others who have taken on the
Referee Hat since I stopped running PBeMs (mainly due to lack of time :(
They would be helpful for more recent games that have been run.

   o/		      ..     .
  /@		       .  .	      If you insist on reaching for a
  <|\			  .  )	      star, be prepared to take a long,
   |		     /\ 	      hard fall.
   |		    //
   /		 o //*		      Indy - climber, astronomer,
  /		<%- /|\ 	      supreme. Have rope, will travel.
 /		/\ / | \

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